Boardman Part II: Even Hodge thought The Union columnist was being unfair to Miller

What a hoot! Besides belittling staunch conservative Brian Dahle’s ability to work with progressives on some issues, The Union’s weekly columnist Boardman took a swipe at Dan Miller.

Boardman was challenged, and as usual, his response was defensive and arrogant on The Union’s website: “One more time, Linda: KNCO is a major force in a small media market, and any on-air personality associated with a popular activity like high school football develops a ‘good guy’ aura that can influence undecided voters in an election. Major networks remove personnel from the air when they declare their candidacy but before they officially file; KNCO should follow the same policy.” Then he blamed ‘Dave Bear at KNCO,’ instead of himself, for getting Dan’s tenure in the booth at football games wrong. How’s that for accountability?

But it gets better. Even Hilary Hodge, who is running against Dan for District 3 Supervisor, thought Boardman was being unfair.

She wrote on The Union’s website: “While The Union asked me to step down as a columnist, I think it is a mistake for KNCO to remove Dan Miller from the air as a local football commentator. Both Dan and I spend a lot of time in our community. We live in a small town, and our contributions to our community matter. Dan’s commentary is a service to our community. Whereas, my column was issues-based. While I understand that FCC regulations require equal time, I don’t think Dan’s contribution for NU Football poses a problem. Of course, if KNCO is worried about equal time, Dan and I could do the broadcast together. I love football.”

That had Boardman gnashing his teeth, responding: “That’s practically the same thing Terry Lamphier said four years ago. That approach didn’t do him any good.”

And Hilary handled the snipe beautifully, stating: “George Boardman I’m not Terry Lamphier.”

You can’t make this stuff up! Memo to Don Rogers: Take George out of his misery, and find a new columnist.

Hodge’s run for Supe confirms The Union columnist Boardman got it wrong (again)

“Bored Georgeman”
Credit: The Union

“What office is Hodge seeking? How about GV Council?” The Union’s columnist George Boardman wrote on his blog on July 11.

No George, you got it wrong. Again (examples here, here , here and here). Hilary is running against Dan Miller for District 3 Supervisor, as she announced in a press release this afternoon. Even arch-conservative Don Bessee had figured this out in advance.

But instead of apologizing to his readers for getting it wrong, Boardman spins his own fantasy that I am a “boy toy” for Hilary, just as he claims I was a “fav” for Terry Lamphier.

In fact, I did not endorse Terry, and I do not plan to endorse Hilary.

The “boy toy” for Hilary’s campaign, I suppose, was The Union, who got the press release ahead of others in the media. She had been a weekly columnist for The Union.

It didn’t bother me to post the “news” later, because it was old news (except to Boardman). Still, Hilary wrote this note to me: “Sorry about the delay out of the gate there. A friend just told me that I should send my PRs to all media on the same email. I’ll use better protocol as I get the hang of this.”

While I didn’t endorse a candidate in the District 3 race, I did do some reporting. I was happy to call out a bullying campaign practice where Miller’s supporters hung a sign over the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce during last District 3 race, supporting Miller. The Union wrote about it too. It showed no class.

Boardman goes on to speculate: “He yearns to see Hodge join Heidi Hall and alleged liberal Richard Anderson on the Board of Supervisors to create a new progressive majority.”

Other than sounding threatened, Boardman is wrong (again). But what Hilary does bring to the table is a more mature temperament that what I have often seen from the boisterous 60- and 70-something “get off my lawn” white males in our towns (Boardman is one of them), who dominate our homogenous demographic.

We are changing, though. In fact, I noticed a loyal show of support for Hilary on social media, including from some longtime residents. It’s apparent that some are fed up. The results of the last local election showed as much.

And as I predicted the campaigning already is getting ugly. On Facebook, an ugly group called “Deplorables of Nevada County” posted this under the announcement on The Union’s Facebook page. Here we go again!



Supervisor Dan Miller challenges cannabis growers to participate in more fundraising efforts

The race for District 3 supervisor is underway even though only one candidate has announced. (Other than The Union’s columnist/”journalist” George Boardman, many people expect Hilary Hodge to enter the race).

In a column in The Union, incumbent Dan Miller writes: “I am often approached by business owners who inquire, ‘Why don’t the cannabis growers participate in fundraising efforts?’ Frankly, I have no answer for them.

“It is often mentioned the cannabis industry brings in boatloads of money to our county. Where is it? Since the growers do not pay taxes yet, this challenge provides an opportunity for them to participate in a jumpstart of goodwill.

“I ask them to consider some of the following: Contribute to Hospitality House or the Salvation Army. I know Habitat for Humanity needs help, and also the Interfaith Food Ministry.

To be sure, cannabis growers do support local businesses — some of them “in spades.” In fact, their contribution is significant — and we’d suffer economically without it.

And some individual cannabis users are big local donors, thought not in “the name of cannabis.” (Dan should have acknowledged this more and had more of an “answer” for the naysayers).

But Dan raises a good point. Our small business, for example, makes a lot of local donations for its size, ranging from donations to arts and culture to a monthly contribution to feed families at the Interfaith Food Ministry. It is part of the culture of our towns, and it’s enjoyable.

As cannabis becomes legal, it would be good for the growers to make some high-profile, long-term donations. Having said that, the non-cannabis crowd, including “good old boys,” needs to reach out and invite them into the tent. We still are a “cliquish” town.

Cub reporter Boardman, call the office: The Nevada County Democratic Women’s Club is out raising $$$

“Which way did they go George, which way did they go?” (Photo credit: The Union)

No sooner had I written “It’s Miller Time” than the Nevada County Democratic Women’s Club flexed its own political muscle: filing papers with the Elections Office showing that it quietly has been raising thousands of dollars for upcoming elections. Today’s filing — proof of a real grassroots effort — is HERE.

While The Union’s weekly columnist George Boardman sucks his thumb in public, speculating on his blog that Hilary Hodge is running for Grass Valley City Council, smarter people are wondering why the Democratic women would be raising all that money for a City Council race. Duh George! Think big (for a change).

The Elections Office filing shows nearly 30 donations from individuals with an ending cash balance of $4,587. The group shows an outstanding debt of $1,454 but you can be sure that there’s more money where that came from. No Democratic candidate has even announced for the District 3 supervisor race.

The donors include Carole Chapman ($190), Shanti Emerson ($199), and Joey Jordan ($170). The contributions come from residents of “Penn-tucky Valley” too — long a conservative stronghold. By contrast, hard-right politico Barry Pruett only donated $100 to Dan Miller’s campaign. Open your wallet again Barry!

Here’s the bottom line. As this blog has written, progressive women are organizing — on a more “neutral” platform of pragmatism, respect and tolerance. This is true on a national level too.

Emerge CA has been focusing on Nevada County to elect Democratic women, including Hodge. The background is HERE and HERE.

Our County voted for Hilary Clinton in the Presidental election — not Donald Trump.

Meanwhile our intrepid “bulldog” journalist George Boardman is on the hunt! Go get ’em fido! ROFLOL

It’s “Miller Time”: Pruett, among others, early donor to Dan’s campaign

It’s Miller Time!

The District 3 Supervisor’s race already has become interesting with only one candidate (so far)! Local Barry Pruett, who lost the clerk-recorder’s race to Greg Diaz in 2010, one of the most polarizing local campaigns in memory, is among those who already have donated money to Dan Miller’s re-election campaign for District 3 Supervisor, according to public records.

Pruett — who once declared “the only way I can fight back is to never vote for a Democrat” — donated $100 to Miller’s campaign on 6/26, the documents in the Elections’ Office show. Other donors include Miller’s friend since high school Patti Ingram Spencer ($100), Amos Seghezzi ($100), and David Scinto ($100) — part of Grass Valley “old guard.” Miller’s latest report shows an ending cash balance of $4,427. The document is HERE.

The Nevada County Contractors PAC has amassed a $10,873  “war chest’ for upcoming elections, according to filings. The NCCA has supported Miller in the past. The PAC Chairman is local contractor Keoni Allen. (Remember the “It’s Miller Time” signs when Dan ran against Terry Lamphier?)” The Elections Office document from the NCCA PAC is HERE

The filing also shows $500 in consulting fees to Dauntless Communications, a public affairs and digital communications outfit out of Roseville. It has worked for Republican causes.

With thousands of dollars already in hand, Miller’s camp must be thinking it is going to get some formidable competition, even though nobody has announced they are running against our District 3 incumbent.

Hilary and Congressman Ami Bera at a recent Democratic gathering (Credit: Nevada County Democrats Facebook page)

Hilary Hodge, who has become active in local Democratic politics, has announced she is going to be a local candidate in the upcoming elections but hasn’t said what race.

The Union columnist George Boardman thinks Hodge is going to run for Grass Valley City Council, he wrote confidently on his blog. Hmm. That doesn’t pass the smell test, at least to this seasoned journalist. (Of course I only worked at The Chronicle for 12 years, not the teeny-weeny San Mateo Times as Boardman did). lol

This wouldn’t be the first time that The Union’s columnist Boardman got it wrong.

And it wouldn’t be the first time that we had an ugly, polarizing race for a nonpartisan seat in District 3. Here we go again.

Scoop: Meckler, McClintock aide, Contractors met to form Tea Party-managed PAC — now targeting 60 board, commission seats in County with like-minded candidates


The Tea Party-managed PAC — “Americans for Good Government ” — has donated money or mailers to the campaigns of Dan Miller for Supervisor, Cliff Newell for DA and Anna Ferguson for Judge. The Contractors Board has donated money to Miller and Hank Weston’s re-election. The PAC just received a $20,000 contribution from Rocklin developer Martin Harmon, Yubanet reported. Former County Supervisor Fran Freedle, who identifies herself as “leader of the Nevada County Tea Party,” is the PAC’s treasurer.

Group targeting 60 local "nonpartisan" seats
Group targeting 60 local “nonpartisan” seats

But that’s just the beginning. Little has been known about this group until now. As it turns out, “Americans for Good Government” plans to fill 60 open seats on boards and commissions throughout the County with like-minded candidates to “build a strong farm team for elevation to local office, while affecting local policy and fiscal matters,” with support from organizers who include Tea Party Co-Founder Mark Meckler, McClintock aide Kim Pruett, the Contractors Board and others, Sierra Foothills Report has learned.

It is asking for donations of at least $6,000 per year for two years from local businesses and individuals to help finance this project — starting in Nevada County and building a national base.

“We are conservative grassroots organizations, such as tea party groups and other independent groups who are willing to work with political operatives to recruit candidates for positions in local government,” the website states.

“Ten candidates have already been identified, and the initial work is being done to get them placed on local boards and commissions,” according to the group’s website. “Pruett has begun networking with other local organizations, such as the Contractors’ Board, Board of Realtors, and other pro-business organizations. Response has been very positive all around.”

Meckler: "Quick start" in Nevada County
Meckler: “Quick start” in Nevada County

Nevada County is an “example of a quick start,” but the group also cites case studies in Wisconsin, Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Louisiana where grassroots politicking has led to inroads for the Tea Party mindset.

“As our team began to review the commonalities between the examples provided here, we decided to begin an early test run to check local level receptivity to such an approach. Because Mark Meckler lives in a small, rural county in California, we decided to try there.

“Meckler first met with a well-known local political operative named Kim Pruett. Kim is the local field representative for Congressman Tom McClintock. In that position, she is well known in local political circles. She has worked extensively with both the business community as well as with all local grassroots organizations. Meckler pitched her on the Status Go Project, and she expressed immediate enthusiasm, saying that this was ‘exactly what was needed locally.'”

First meeting held at “local timber company”

“The first meeting was held in the conference room of a local timber company and approximately 15 business people and 6 grassroots leaders showed up. Among the business people were the largest local building contractor (also the head of the Contractors’ Board), and the head of the local conservative business owner’s lobbying group.

“Meckler presented the basic overview:

  1. Meckler presented the basic overview:History – Wisconsin, Texas, Missouri, Kansas
  2. Commonalities I Plan
    • Engage visionary businessperson I businesspeople willing to invest time and assets for long term.
    • Engage mission driven political operative(s) willing to commit for long term.
    • Engage in candidate sourcing, recruitment and training for bottom to top of system (in cities, counties and states).
    • Engage in local and state elections from bottom to top of system.
    • Create legislative plan for each jurisdiction in which Status Go is engaged, in order to turn electoral gains into permanent policy gains.
  3. TheAsk- A minimum of 10 donors willing to each commit at least $400 per month, for one year to start. Donations to be paid up front for the first year. Then at the end of the first year, if donors like the results, we’re looking for afour year commitment.
    • Donors to meet at least quarterly to provide guidance and support, interview potential candidates, etc.

“Response was overwhelmingly positive, with all in attendance wanting to participate. The only complaints were that Meckler and Pruett were not trying to raise enough money. Instead of $4K per month, the business owners felt the target number should be $8K per month to allow more aggressive and effective efforts more quickly. Additionally, while Meckler and Pruett had suggested that donors get together once per quarter, the donors themselves suggested once per month, wishing to be more engaged. They were excited to move from no say in the party status quo to say so in a local Status Go project.

“Pruett also presented an initial plan to fill open seats on boards and commissions throughout the county and local cities. She found that over 60 positions are currently unfilled, and that by working to fill these positions the local group could build a strong farm team for elevation to local office, while affecting local policy and fiscal matters. Participants in the meeting immediately began suggesting candidates and some even volunteered themselves.

“Post meeting, Pruett received many requests from business people who had been unable to attend the first meeting, that a second meeting had to be scheduled. A similar presentation was made, and similar results achieved.

“Current Status. A meeting with local counsel well versed in California and federal election law has been scheduled. This will allow the team to determine the best organizational forms for this effort in California. Organizational formation may vary from state to state based on the interplay between state and federal election laws. Donors have committed to funding the plan, and are currently waiting for appropriate entity formation to deposit the first year budget.

“Ten candidates have already been identified, and the initial work is being done to get them placed on local boards and commissions. Pruett has begun networking with other local organizations, such as the Contractors’ Board, Board of Realtors, and other pro business organizations. Response has been very positive all around.

“Goals include:

  • Engage visionary business people who are willing to invest time and assets for the long term victory.
  • Engage mission driven political operatives who are willing to also commit for the long term victory.
  • Engage existing grassroots conservative organizations for candidate sourcing, recruitment and training from bottom to top of the political system in all cities and counties throughout the state, including state and county court elections.
  • Engage in local and state elections from bottom to top of the political system in all branches of the government and including judicial branch officials state wide as well as locally.
  • Engage politicians, business people and activists in creating a legislative plan for each jurisdiction in order to turn electoral gains into permanent policy gains.
  • Engage existing organizations to build, nurture and systematically integrate vertically and horizontally a permanent infrastructure outside of elections that puts pressure on and supports correct legislative decisions.

“As a donor, you have the option to be named as a sponsor or as an anonymous donor,” the website adds. “There is also the option of a tax deduction where you receive a receipt for your donation or one that is not tax deductible. The Tax Deductible option means that your name is reported to the IRS and the state as a donor to Americans For Good Government. It also appears as a public record. The Non-Tax-Deductible option does not give your name to the IRS or the state, nor is it on public record.”

(“Supreme Court ruling threatens election integrity” is here).

This is redolent of the Tea Party 40-year plan to “take back out country.”

The Tea Party Patriots, led by local Mark Meckler, held a rally at the Elk’s Lodge in Grass Valley in November 2010, outlining the 40-year plan that has been leaked on the Internet.

The plan is far reaching. “Meckler suggested it would tackle four areas: educational, judicial, political and cultural, infusing them with traditional values by supporting conservative teachers, judges, politicians and musicians,” according to the Internet reports. The Tea Party also will target voter fraud.



Local tea party rhetoric: What do candidates Miller, Newell and Ferguson think?

More PAC money is infiltrating local races — this time the newly created PAC called “Americans for Good Government,” managed by local Tea Party members, paid $2,222.37 for District 3 Supervisor candidate Dan Miller’s first campaign mailer. The local Tea Party PAC also donated $2,000 to Cliff Newell’s DA campaign and $2,000 to Anna Ferguson’s Superior Court Judge campaign. Details are here and here.

Here’s a “screen grab” of the latest Facebook post on the Nevada County Tea Party Facebook page: “Poor people have been voting Democrat for 50 years, and they’re still poor,” from Charles Barkley. I wonder if the candidates who have accepted this PAC money condone this highly partisan (not to mention, nasty toned) message. Where, on earth, is the public-sector leadership in our community? I’ve voted for Republicans and Democrats during my life, but I can’t see how this type of discourse is good for anybody or anything.

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 12.02.55 PM

Miller campaign sign now hangs over Grass Valley Visitors Center and “nonpartisan” Chamber


Nowadays this is what people who come to the much-touted Grass Valley Visitors Center see when they walk up to the door: A partisan political message hanging above the entrance, endorsing Dan Miller for supervisor for District 3, seeking to unseat incumbent Terry Lamphier.

It seemed like a prank when I saw it on Miller’s Facebook page with the caption, “It’s Miller Time!!! Vote Miller for Supervisor for District 3 Supervisor!!!,” so I had to go see it for myself on Sunday night.

Alas, it’s true. Underneath the sign reads: “Dan Miller for Supervisor.”

For background, Dan was on the Grass Valley Cty Council when it unanimously agreed to help fund the Visitors Center and Chamber with taxpayer dollars.

Keith Davies, who has said he’s been Dan’s “good friend since high school,” was appointed to the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce as the co-CEO, along with his wife.

Since then, Dan’s campaign manager has been hired by the Chamber.

And the building’s landlord is supporting Dan in his campaign to be supervisor and sponsoring a fundraiser on April 3.

For it’s part, the Chamber claims it is “nonpartisan,” according to its bylaws.

You can’t make this stuff up. If Tom Wolfe were in town, he could write a novel about it — a Nevada County version of “A Man in Full.”

And Grass Valley City Hall, if it condones this, seems to being played like a violin — not to mention the city’s residents (who are nearly equally divided between “R” and “D”).

(Photo: Dan’s Facebook page)

Grass Valley Chamber’s hiring of Miller’s campaign manager raises concerns about nonpartisanship, transparency

We belong to the Truckee and Nevada City Chambers of Commerce. We also are associate members of the Grass Valley Downtown Association. We appreciate their professionalism, active role as business advocates, transparency and nonpartisanship.

This week we were glad to see the Auburn Chamber of Commerce hire a new CEO, but most of all spell out the transparency of the selection process: “Twenty-four candidates from both the Auburn area and outside the region applied for the CEO position. The selection team narrowed the pool through an extensive review process. The process consisted of a phone interview, written interview and concluded with a series of oral panel interviews led by business leaders.”

We firmly believe that Chambers need to stay out of small-town politics. Many of them are very clear about this. Here’s an example from the Annapolis, Md., Chamber: “The Chamber of Commerce is nonpartisan in its approach, and does not endorse or oppose legislation based upon political party philosophies or political party sponsorship. Nor does the Chamber of Commerce endorse or support candidates for public office.”

One reason to steer clear of politics is conflict of interest — real or perceived. Many of the Chambers still receive taxpayer funds to operate — the Greater Grass Valley Chamber is one of them. Wearing his “mayor’s hat,” Dan Miller and the rest of the Council voted to fund the Chamber with money ($30K per year over two years) from the City of Grass Valley.

When they receive public money, Chambers particularly have a fiduciary duty to represent all points of view, not just “like-minded” ones.

As a result, I was troubled to see the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce — whose co-CEO Keith Davies already has cited Miller as a “good friend since high school,” as he put it — now hire Miller’s campaign manager Yolanda Cookson as its new executive assistant and “membership retention manager.”

It came during the height of the election season.

Miller is in a heated race against incumbent Terry Lamphier for District 3 supervisor. In addition, Patti Ingram, who was instrumental in a recent restructuring of the Chamber that put Davies in charge, is actively supporting Miller for Supervisor.

In January 2013, I asked: “‘New’ Grass Valley Chamber; really just the ‘old guard’ GV political machine?” At the time, I speculated: “Some people think there’s a political agenda in play: to build a base that includes getting Dan Miller elected to the county board of supervisors, replacing Terry Lamphier. Terry’s upset of John Spencer (Patti’s husband) did not sit well with the ‘old guard’ politicos.”

Well, here we are a year later, and now Miller’s campaign manager has joined the Chamber’s staff.


I’ve heard of “all in the family,” but this is too much political togetherness for me, especially for a nonpartisan organization that receives public funds.

•The Grass Valley Chamber’s press release about its new hire omitted Yolanda’s role as Miller’s campaign manager. It should have included it.

•It also should have discussed the hiring process for both Yolanda and Keith Davies for that matter — exactly as the Auburn Chamber of Commerce did this week.

•And the Grass Valley Chamber also should have spelled out what policies it has in place to address its member’s and the community’s concerns about perceived conflicts.

The community is not naive or ignorant. As outfits such as YubaNet noted when republishing the press release: “Editor’s note: Per the latest campaign finance filing available, Yolanda Cookson is also Dan Miller’s campaign manager in his 2014 campaign to become District 3 Supervisor.”

The Union also mentioned her role as Miller’s campaign manager in its story, where Yolanda added: “I believe in him,” referring to Miller.

The rumor of Yolanda’s hire began to leak out in the community last week, and this issue of her role in Miller’s campaign immediately came up.

To be sure, Yolanda Cookson is a professional, and she is qualified for this job. I like her. She has a wonderful family. We’re friends: or have been (LOL). And I passionately support working families in our community.

But I’m hoping she understand the concerns and discusses Dan’s campaign outside the doors of the Chamber office and new Visitors Center — and doesn’t react defensively. There need to be some real boundaries.

Most of all the Chamber executive team and board need to be aware of the community’s concerns. And so does Dan Miller.

As I’ve stated before, we’ve held off on joining the Grass Valley Chamber, largely out of the transparency concerns expressed here. We have not experienced any of this in our Chamber memberships in Truckee or Nevada City.

The Grass Valley Chamber is not alone. I was also concerned to see the Penn Valley Chamber send out an “eblast” inviting its members to a political fundraising event for Hank Weston at the Nevada County Contractor’s Association. The details are here.


A similar issue was raised only last week — whether Grass Valley was transparent enough about the reasons for the Dorsey Drive Interchange. Was it meant for easy access to the hospital or Sierra College — or to facilitate for a newly proposed “lifestyle” center?

The response was a highly defensive one — but it should have been an introspective one — just like this issue.

In both cases, the issue is one of trust — between elected and civic leaders, and their constituents. And some people in Grass Valley have to work harder to build community trust, rather than become defensive about it.