A novel idea: Nonpartisan, community politics

We were happy to post a campaign sign at our house for Mayor Reinette Senum in the upcoming Nevada City elections. Though I don’t always agree with Reinette, I appreciate all that she’s done for the city. She is a co-founder and former manager of the popular Nevada City Farmers Market, organizer of community-wide cleanings, advocate of the Commercial Street Boardwalk, and farm-to-table events.

Reinette’s “Goat Fund Me” campaign was cited as a “novel idea to fight the increasing threat of wildfires” in the Los Angeles Times.

She is a recipient of a prestigious Lambert Award: “Her list of community accomplishments is long and growing longer each year. She has helped transform our historic community in ways that have put Nevada City on the cutting edge of the 21st Century,” said David “Sparky” Parker at the time. “The Famous Marching Presidents are proud to honor Reinette with our 25th annual Lambert Award.”

We also donated a modest $50 to Reinette’s campaign for City Council — appropriate for a small town like ours.

But wait, there’s more: We’ve also posted a campaign sign for former Supervisor Nate Beason in our front yard.

On the surface it would seem that Nate and Reinette have little in common. In fact, to their friends and some others, it would seem laughable.

After all, like-minded people tend to stick together, and small towns are known for that — Mayberry R.F.D. stereotypes notwithstanding.

But when viewed through a nonpartisan political lens, both Nevada City residents have both made positive and lasting contributions to our community.

As The Union summed up: “After 12 years in office, Beason has a handful of projects he’s helped shepherd that stick in his mind. Improvements at La Barr Meadows Road and Highway 49 is near the top of the list. The project, which cost about $17 million, widened lanes, installed lights, reconfigured connecting roads and built noise barriers.

“Beason also points to the renewal of state payments in lieu of tax. The state had stopped those payments to counties, which stem from state-owned land that provides no tax revenue. Beason served on a panel that convinced the Governor’s Office to restart them. ‘Keeping the county afloat fiscally has been a big deal for us,’ Beason said.

“County CEO Rick Haffey praised Beason in an email. ‘Nate Beason is one of the finest elected officials I ever have worked with in my career,’ he said. ‘He exemplifies what being an excellent public servant is all about.'”

We are deeply grateful for Nate’s contributions. He has our community’s interests in mind.

Small towns (and our country for that matter) are known for polarizing, partisan politics — and ours are no exception. But it is possible to think differently about the issue — if we want to.

Thanks to Nate and Reinette for your contributions to our community! Ha!

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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