LaMalfa Town Hall shows continued shift to the left in local politics

Locals lineup for the LaMalfa town hall meeting (Photo credit: Facebook)

A theme on this blog last year was that elections results are pointing to a shift to the left in local politics. Though much of the local hard right is in denial — including the human global warming naysayers— the handwriting has been on the wall since last June and again in November.

In Nevada County, Heidi Hall won the District 1 Supervisor’s race; Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump for president; Kamala Harris bested Loretta Sanchez for the California Senate; Doug LaMalfa narrowly beat Jim Reed (50.56 percent vs. 49.44 percent) for Congress; and Robert Derlet beat Tom McClintock for Congress — handily. Nevada County is going blue.

This weekend, the trend was reinforced at Doug LaMalfa’s town hall. I listened to the proceedings on KVMR and watched them on YubaNet — in real time. The Union lacked the real-time reporting of the progressive local media, only reinforcing its perception as the “Tea Party Gazette.” (Memo to The Union: The internet is changing how we communicate).

LaMalfa was contrite: He mentioned progressive Nevada City council member Reinette Senum, SYRCL executive director Caleb Dardick and other progressives by name as being instrumental in being catalysts for the town hall meeting.

Meanwhile, rightwing activist and blogger George Rebane was having a hissy fit. He wrote: “The meeting was co-opted by the left.” No, it wasn’t. The local GOP was outgunned politically by the progressives despite having a staunch Republican Congressman in their camp. LaMalfa must have been disappointed at the local GOP’s effort — despite the advantage.

Senum shared a video on Facebook, writing: “Such bull. ‘Early on at the town hall. Red shirts going in on the side while we wait outside.’ Trying desperately to get an advantage. … BTW, I give kudos to LaMalfa. … To Bessee and the Chair of the local Republicans, not so much.”

She was referring to this email blast sent by the local GOP, stating: “We must show up in large numbers to show we are strong too.  The best way to assure seating is to volunteer for the set-up effort.  For that, a list of approved set-up personnel is being compiled by Don Bessee.  Only persons who are on the set-up list will be provided with the details for arrival location and early admission time for set-up.”

The progressives were well organized, holding up signs that read “agreed” when a speaker made a point that resonated with them.

What’s ironic is that their grassroots efforts are redolent of the Tea Party Patriots — but without anywhere near the hatred and rancor. The progressives’ protests are more civilized than anything that the Tea Party ever dished up.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of the next round of local elections.

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Scoop: Downtown Grass Valley to get its first full-fledged brewery and taproom

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

Last August, our magazine reported that a group of locals was actively seeking to open Grass Valley Brewing Co. in the historic downtown. Now more details are emerging: the group is seeking to operate a brewery and taproom in an existing 7,600 square-foot building that has been occupied by Tripp’s Auto Body at 141-143 East Main Street.

The Grass Valley Planning Commission will consider the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, March 21, at 7 p.m.

The business includes a 1,700 square foot taproom with bar and table seating; an area for a future kitchen; about 5,600 square ft. for the brewery and storage area. The space is equipped with roll-up doors that will add “curb appeal.” The applicant listed is Chris DeSena, and the owners and Hans and Jan Nagler. The Naglers will sublease the site to the brewery operators — right now, a group of four locals. The DeSenas are well-known in the area; Chris is a Cal Fire division chief. Other partners in the venture including fire fighting personnel.

If all goes well, the brewery would hope to open as early as the fall, one of the owners told our magazine. He cautioned, however, that the date is dependent on numerous factors, including receiving all the required regulatory approvals.

Food trucks are expected to serve the site, as at other breweries, but food service planned in the future.

“Staff recommends the Planning Commission approve Use Permit 17PLN-05,” according to the staff report.

As previously reported, the group had registered the URL Grass Valley Brewing Co., filed a fictitious business name with the County, scouted out potential locations — including this one on East Main Street — and consulted with the City of Grass Valley about permitting requirements. Now the website is live. Tripp’s, meanwhile, is moving to another location in Grass Valley.

The drawings include a tap room and small brewery that would be a gathering place. The plan has created a buzz among local brewing enthusiasts, who gather at places such as Sierra Moonshine brewing supplies in Grass Valley.

Another Grass Valley brewery planned

The plan to open a brewery in downtown Grass Valley comes amid recent Planning Commission approval for another brewpub:  a brewery, wine tasting room and outdoor beer garden in the empty space where The Union used to print its community newspaper before outsourcing the printing to the Sacramento Bee. The details are here.

The 1849 Brew Pub at 464 Sutton Way will include an outdoor beer garden area, a pizza oven, a 20-foot tall grain silo. Soft rock and live music will play inside the pub on weekends, the application said.

Grass Valley elected officials have been seeking to bring a brewery to town — noticing the success in Nevada City with ol’ Republic Brewery and Three Forks Brewery & Baking Co., as well as the boom in craft brewing. Ol’ Republic Brewery recently won a prestigious “best of show” honor at the California State Fair. Three Forks also won an award at the Fair.

“Grass Valley Brewing Co. is a craft brewery coming to Grass Valley, CA that uses the best ingredients to produce a variety of classic and innovative beers.  Our goal is to engage our community, travelers and beer connoisseurs alike, by offering an unparalleled product in an inviting environment,” the website reads.

“Grass Valley Brewing Co. came to life due to our passion for great beer and our love of community. We believe great beer is produced when skill meets ingredients. Our skill is in our team.  The ingredients go beyond the grain, hops and water to include people; and we have a community of great people! When our skill meets our ingredients, magic happens. The recipe for our success starts and ends with people.”

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SBC takes over Gold Country Broadband Consortium

This is from the Sierra Business Council’s March newsletter:

“SBC is excited to begin work on the Gold Country Broadband Consortium. Taking over from SEDCorp, SBC is now the facilitator of a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) grant to launch a public-private partnership aimed at increasing digital access and use in Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Sierra, and eastern Alpine Counties.

“The Gold Country Broadband Consortium (GCBC) is one of 14 regional consortia in the State funded by the California Advanced Services Fund Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia grant program. The Consortium was formed to leverage regional, state and national resources as an investment in improving and expanding broadband access.

“As a triple bottom line organization, SBC sees high speed broadband deployment as vital to the economic development and health of the rural Sierra communities we serve. One of our first steps as facilitator will be to seek public input on internet speed and barriers to broadband in the 5 counties. Stay tuned for more information on how to speed test your internet and provide feedback on internet connectivity issues that may be affecting your home and business.”

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Ides of March

Ha! (Source: Facebook)


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Study: Breitbart-led right-wing media ecosystem altered broader media agenda

“A major new study of social-media sharing patterns shows that political polarization is more common among conservatives than liberals — and that the exaggerations and falsehoods emanating from right-wing media outlets such as Breitbart News have infected mainstream discourse,” according to WGBH News in Boston.

“‘Though the report, published by the Columbia Journalism Review, does an excellent job of laying out the challenge posed by Breitbart and its ilk, it is less than clear on how to counter it. Successfully standing up for truthful reporting in this environment ‘could usher in a new golden age for the Fourth Estate,’ the authors write. But members of the public who care about such journalism are already flocking to news organizations like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and, locally, The Boston Globe, all of which have experienced a surge in paid subscriptions since the election of President Trump. That’s heartening, but there are no signs that it’s had any effect on the popularity or influence of the right-wing partisan media.

“The CJR study, by scholars at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, at Harvard Law School, and the MIT Center for Civic Media, examined more than 1.25 million articles between April 1, 2015, and Election Day. What they found was that Hillary Clinton supporters shared stories from across a relatively broad political spectrum, including center-right sources such as The Wall Street Journal, mainstream news organizations like the Times and the Post, and partisan liberal sites like The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast.

“By contrast, Donald Trump supporters clustered around Breitbart — headed until recently by Stephen Bannon, the hard-right nationalist now ensconced in the White House — and a few like-minded websites such as The Daily Caller, Alex Jones’ Infowars, and The Gateway Pundit. Even Fox News was dropped from the favored circle back when it was attacking Trump during the primaries, and only re-entered the fold once it had made its peace with the future president.”

“Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, writing about the study earlier this week, recalled talking with a Trump voter in Pennsylvania who said she didn’t support Clinton because ‘I didn’t like how she stole those emails and it got people killed in Benghazi’ — a perfect storm of misinformation.”

The rest of the article is here.

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Local: Rightwing activist Bessee seeking to micro-manage the LaMalfa town hall meeting

This was posted on Reinette Senum’s Facebook page:

“Sadly, it looks like a lot of shenanigans are going to be happening at this Saturday’s Town Hall with Doug LaMalfa.

“This comes via one of our Indivisible Women:

“Just had a long chat on the phone with Don Bessee. I tried to sign up as a volunteer for the Town Hall. He would not provide any details or information unless I provided him with proof that I had personally received the email addressed to me from Nevada County Republicans. I was asked to send back the email to him showing my name and email address. I suggested that it was unethical, undemocratic and unamerican to limit volunteer slots to one political party only. He replied that he was only interested in allowing people who got the email to volunteer. He stated there would be plenty of room for all to attend the meeting, even those who did not volunteer,. I asked him how many volunteer slots he was designating for Republicans. He would not tell me.”

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Carvilles revamp Club Sierra into a state-of-the-art South Yuba Club

I celebrated a “50-something” Birthday this afternoon with first swim in the indoor pool at old “Club Sierra” where I used to swim since the Carvilles (Mike Carville, Phil Carville, Belinda Rush Carville and Nell Esterhazy Scannon) have refurbished it as another South Yuba Club — from top to bottom. What a treat!

This was a total “gut job.” This “project” must have been like tugging on a thread, finding one problem after another to tackle. (I emailed Phil the real-estate listing for Club Sierra months ago before the Carvilles bought it, but don’t blame me).  The pool features salt-water sanitizing instead of chlorine with new locker rooms. The club has Belinda’s touch throughout, some amazing artwork on the walls, including bright-colored paintings and cool wooden masks. There’s a coffee station and fresh-baked goods.

I’ve been friends with Phil for a decade, enjoying his wisdom and handiwork as a lead at Northstar California Resort, including The Village at Northstar, as well as Carneros Resort and Spa in The Napa Valley. The proposed Loma Rica project in Grass Valley, California is sub-par compared with what the Carvilles had in mind for that land. We are fortunate to have locals such as the Carvilles who are willing to invest in local projects. Belinda owned V’TAE Parfum and Body Care. I do not know Mike as well as Phil and Belinda, but he’s fortunate to have such enterprising parents and good business partners.

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