Gary Petersen announces candidacy for Nevada City Council

I received this press release from Gary Petersen:

“Beginning as a young wildland firefighter, my life’s work has been in public service.  I believe my 45 years working to provide quality, responsive government services will help, here in Nevada City, as we prepare to face some tough financial and social challenges.”

“As a recently retired Public Works Director for a city with over 150,000 residents, I know that this work will mean getting back to the basics of protecting and maintaining our water supply, sewer system, roads, and parks.  My past experience will be an asset, especially as we face a likely financial downturn stemming from the pandemic’s challenges and precautionary restrictions – challenges our whole society is now going through.”

“It means steadfastly protecting our neighborhoods, our quality of life, and the unique character of our beautiful and historic city.”

“It means having faith and determination that we can work together to find common ground in answering fundamental questions about what public safety and service means to ALL of us, as a diverse and engaged community.”

Gary first came to Nevada City in the 1970’s. For seven years he worked with the US Forest Service as a “hot shot” firefighter, a tank truck operator, and a Heli attack squad leader in California and seven other states. This led to a 30-year career in airport management during which he served as the Nevada County Airport Manager. He helped to reorganize Nevada County government, and worked on the United Way Community Report Card.

In 2005, Gary relocated after being offered a position as the Salinas Municipal Airport Director, and eventually became the City of Salinas Public Works Director. During this time, he chaired the Governing for Racial Equity program, produced one of the first Groundwater Sustainability Plans in California, completed innovative solar energy and water programs and dealt extensively with neighborhood viability, homelessness and community relations.

Petersen notes: “It seems clear to me that when times get tough, leadership must be strong, consistent, flexible, and founded on the principles of fairness, compassion and collaboration. These principles have always guided me in my work. It is crucial that all stakeholders are heard equally, and that everyone has an opportunity to participate in the governing process.”

Gary and his wife Christine Bottaro (RN, retired) live in their home on Park Avenue, near Pioneer Park. They restored their Victorian home after acquiring it 20 years ago. 

They especially love the park’s cultural and recreational richness, and see it as the heart of a vibrant city.

Gary says: “My focus in office will be:

  • Ensuring Nevada City’s financial health in difficult times
  • Calling for a safe uninterrupted supply of water and power
  • Reinforcing fire safety
  • Protecting Nevada City’s historic identity and quality of life
    • Providing quality city services responsive to the needs of the entire

“Sadly the Jones Fire has impacted Woolman”

Editor’s note: Thanks to local Amy Cooke, we were introduced to the Sierra Friends Center and Woolman School outside of Nevada City. It is a local gem. (“Sixty years ago, a group of Quaker and like-minded families came together with the dream of creating a Quaker/Friends residential high school on the West Coast and purchased a 300-acre, historic cattle ranch in the Sierra foothills, and in 1963 opened the first Quaker residential high school west of the Mississippi.“) We are saddened to read this note posted on the website:

Kamala Harris is Joe Biden’s pick for vice president

“Joe Biden has named his one-time rival Kamala Harris as his running mate, the campaign revealed on Tuesday, elevating California’s junior senator as the first woman of color to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket,” as the Los Angeles Times and others are reporting. 

“Harris, who centered her unsuccessful White House bid last year on a promise to ‘prosecute the case’ against President Trump, was widely seen as a front-runner to be Biden’s vice presidential pick. With her statewide experience as California attorney general and four years in the U.S. Senate, Harris was among the most conventionally qualified of the half dozen or so women under consideration in the most diverse crop of contenders ever.

“’I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead. Kamala is that person,’ Biden wrote in an email to supporters Tuesday afternoon. The pair is slated to appear together for the first time as a presidential ticket in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday.

“In many ways, Harris, 55, is a safe pick — broadly popular in the Democratic Party and well acquainted with the rigors of a national campaign. But her selection also carries symbolic heft in this moment when race relations are at top of mind for voters, particularly since Harris, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent, had her own highly publicized confrontation with Biden over race during the primary. 

“Despite her strengths, Harris’ selection is not without risk, particularly if the race tightens. She was an inconsistent candidate in her own presidential run and her record as a prosecutor has at times been a political millstone, particularly as attitudes on law enforcement and mass incarceration have dramatically shifted to the left. While Harris has more forcefully embraced criminal justice reform recently, she faces lingering distrust from some in the party’s progressive flank, including younger voters of color who did not broadly embrace her candidacy.”

The rest of the article is here.

Nevada City Police Chief: “I was appalled by the behavior of the counter-protesters.”

Editor’s note: The Nevada City Police Department’s Facebook page tonight points to a statement by the Police Chief that has been republished on YubaNet:

“As many of you have heard, Sunday evening [August 9] there was a Black Lives Matter protest/march in Nevada City. Historically, Nevada City has been a place where peaceful protest are welcomed and encouraged by the community at large. During yesterday evenings peaceful Black Lives Matter protest participants were met by a group of counter-protesters who appeared to have no purpose other than to bring controversy and conflict to the streets of Nevada City. The Black Lives Matter protesters consisted of local community members and not people ‘bussed in’ as rumors suggest.

“Over the course of the day, I have had the opportunity to review several different video clips of the conflict provided to me by the community. I was both appalled and disappointed by the behavior of the counter-protesters.”

The rest of the statement is here.

YubaNet’s article on the incident is here.

Here’s a Sacramento TV report:

Supes allocate $250,000 to the Nevada County Relief Fund

I received this press release from the Nevada County Relief Fund:

In mid-July, the Board of Supervisors allocated $250,000 in State Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to the Nevada County Relief Fund, part of the $3 Million total set aside to support small businesses and nonprofits hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These new monies will fund a third grant cycle with $125,000 reserved for eligible small businesses throughout the County, $100,000 for safety-net nonprofits in western Nevada County, and $25,000 to the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation to assist nonprofits serving eastern Nevada County. The Relief Fund’s third round of grantmaking opens August 10th through August 21st, with awards announcement expected by September 3rd

Since its launch three months ago with a $100,000 “challenge grant” from the County of Nevada, the community-based, public-private partnership has raised over $462,000 and provided grants to 53 small businesses and 21 nonprofits. With its original $500,000 goal in sight, and re-energized by this latest infusion of State dollars, the Relief Fund set a new goal to collect $1 Million by the end of the year.

“We applaud the Supervisors’ commitment to getting these vital funds out quickly to our community, which is really struggling right now. We see that the need hasn’t gone away, so I am confident that everyone will step up generously once again, to give hope and comfort to our community,” said Sherry Bartolucci, the Relief Fund’s co-chair.

New for Round 3 is added focus on services to families and children

“The Relief Fund remains committed to safety-net services but has expanded the scope to include child care and other educational support services for children that allow parents to return to work despite school being primarily or entirely online,” said Phebe Bell, County of Nevada Director of Behavioral Health, who also chairs the Relief Fund’s seven-member Nonprofit “Safety Net” Grants Team.

Grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 will be made to nonprofits focused on the rapid deployment of services for seniors, people who are homeless, people with disabilities, youth who are at-risk, families or individuals struggling to find access to food, shelter, childcare, mental health services, and other critical needs. Together with the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, which serves eastern Nevada County, these efforts boost nonprofit capacity and strengthen the “safety-net” for the region’s most vulnerable citizens.

New for Round 3 Small Business “Micro-Grants” originally capped at $5,000, now upped to $10,000

The Relief Fund raised its $5,000 cap on micro-grants. Small business owners and nonprofits countywide struggling to survive may now apply for amounts up to $10,000. Prior awardees are eligible to apply again in Round 3, though combined awards may not exceed $10,000. These grants will continue to be managed by the Sierra Business Council, who provide awardees with one-on-one business counseling through its Small Business Development Center.

Round 3 will be entirely funded with State of California Coronavirus Relief Funds

In total, the Board of Supervisors allocated $3 Million in CRF monies to support economic and community resiliency, and offset COVID-19 related economic hardships and disruptions to local businesses. This represents thirty percent of the $10 Million of State CRF for Nevada County. In addition to the $250,000 to the Relief Fund, the Board approved $1.5 Million for the “Economic & Community Resiliency” grant program, $1 Million to expand rural broadband, and the balance to support local law enforcement.

“These funds will be used to expand critically needed community broadband access so our residents can work and study from home. It will augment the Nevada County Relief Fund, which has done a great job getting private and public dollars where they are needed most,” said County CEO Alison Lehman.

The Fund was established in April 2020 with a $100,000 “challenge grant” from the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. Since then, it has gained traction as a reliable way to give back to our unique small businesses and nonprofits that have been stretched to meet extreme community needs. 

List of awardees from Round One and Two: https://www.nevcorelief.org/our-awardees/

Texas Ted Cruz calls out civil unrest in Nevada City

On August 4, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) convened a hearing in D.C. titled ‘The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence,’ which will highlight how Antifa and other anti-American anarchists engage in riots and violence.”

Cruz saw fit to mention what he called civil unrest in our neck of the woods. He said: “This is happening in my home state in Austin and Dallas, and it’s happening across the country. Whether in Minneapolis, Nevada City, Pittsburgh or Toledo, But tragically, nowhere more so than Portland, Oregon…”

Nevada City? I wonder what he was referring to. I can’t think of an incident that occurred at that time that ranked with the ones in the other cities he mentioned.

Mount St. Mary’s Academy in Grass Valley on front page of L.A. Times

Mount St Marys Academy in Grass Valley, California, where our son Mitchell went to grade school and middle school, is on the front page of the Los Angeles Times this morning in a feature titled “This school is open.” It’s a good read of the challenges that schools face with COVID-19.

The teacher in the front-page photo is Dave Pistone (see below), who was Mitchell’s math teacher. I’m a fan of Dave, who was an engineer at Intel before becoming a grade-school math teacher. (I have another friend who did something similar: Sam Harper, who worked in the venture capital world after receiving a Stanford MBA, but he made a mid-career switch and became a high-school math teacher in Tennessee, where he grew up. Students can benefit from teachers with these skill sets and experiences).

“While remote learning is the rule at nearly all public schools right now, Mount St. Mary’s is opening because it is in Nevada County, which is not on the state’s coronavirus watchlist, and also because its administrators believe it can do so safely,” according to the L.A. Times article.

“As parents across California struggle with plans for more at-home schooling, Mount St. Mary’s is engaging in an experiment it hopes will provide a model for other schools like it.

Dave’s quote ends the article, displaying his typical dry humor: “We are going overboard,” said David Pistone, a middle school teacher who used to be an engineer at Intel. “I am surprised my hands are not falling off from the bleach.”

The complete article is here. Good going local schools!

(Photo: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Joe Arpaio loses Arizona primary to reclaim his old job as sheriff

“Joe Arpaio, the bellicose former Arizona sheriff whose harsh immigration tactics earned him international notoriety, narrowly lost his Republican primary as he tried to regain his old office in Maricopa County,” The New York Times is reporting.

“Voters instead backed Jerry Sheridan, Mr. Arpaio’s former chief deputy, who promised to revive many of Mr. Arpaio’s policies but without the showmanship that defined the office under Mr. Arpaio’s 24-year reign. Mr. Sheridan will face Sheriff Paul Penzone, the Democrat who trounced Mr. Arpaio four years ago, in the November general election.

“In the latest count from Tuesday’s primary, announced on Friday, Mr. Sheridan had secured about 37 percent of the vote in a three-way race, compared to Mr. Arpaio’s 36 percent — a difference of 6,280 votes out of more than 420,000 cast, with only 2,385 ballots remaining to be counted.

“Most political observers say Mr. Penzone is the favorite in the general election.”

The rest of the article is here.

Johns Hopkins goes “fully remote” for fall

Editor’s note: “The virus” is still winning. TGIF!

“The Johns Hopkins University on Thursday reversed plans to bring undergraduate students back for in-person classes, housing, or activities, urging them to stay away from Baltimore for the fall semester,” as The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting. “Employees, the campus said, should expect to work from home through the end of the year.

“Previously Hopkins said an in-person undergraduate experience would be available ‘to all who want it.’ Thursday’s announcement is the latest shoe to drop in a late-summer wave of announcements, one after the next, of scaled-back reopening plans.

“The decision by Johns Hopkins — with its deep endowment, breakthrough research on and tracking of the virus itself, and close ties to world-renowned medical services — demonstrates that even higher education’s heaviest hitting research universities may see their in-person plans stymied by Covid-19.

“’Based on extensive consultations with our faculty experts in public health and medicine, and emerging guidance from public-health officials, we have concluded that returning in person would pose unacceptable risks for you, our faculty and staff, and our neighbors in Baltimore,’ wrote Ronald J. Daniels, the president, and other campus leaders in an email to students. 

“The decision follows months of planning for the Baltimore university. Administrators shook up the academic calendar and planned to offer courses online and in person.

“The university also put forward an exhaustive testing plan: Hopkins, one of the wealthiest colleges in the country, said it would test everyone on campus twice weekly, developing a capacity of multiple thousands of tests daily.

“Campus leaders determined that several public-health measures were trending in the wrong direction. The average local number of cases per hundred thousand hit 27, compared to just two or three elsewhere in the country, Inglesby said. The percent of tests that came back positive remained high. And more than 30 percent of Hopkins students would come from areas of the country with high case counts.

“Turnaround times for testing in many regions have been ‘brutally long,’ Inglesby said, which may challenge other campuses’ reopening plans. ‘You need to have quick information about who to isolate.'”

The rest of the article is here.