Union columnist Boardman’s uncalled for attack on YubaNet

The Union newspaper’s “growth strategy” seems to be clinging to a declining, aging, deeply conservative demographic, and nowhere is it more apparent than with its paid weekly columnist George Boardman.

Boardman’s latest target is YubaNet, which has been delivering daily news to the Sierra since 1999 — for free. Its fire coverage is impeccable and its co-founder and editor, Pascale Fusshoeller, is widely respected.

Yet Boardman claims that YubaNet is “smoke and mirrors” when it comes to being a “genuine news source.”

The real issue is that Boardman can’t stand that YubaNet won’t agree with his own views, so he belittles them.

And it has polarized the community. Here’s a comment on Boardman’s blog from Todd Juvinall: “Funny how even I wore (sic) to ask the Yubanet babe be allowed to stay in America. So have we seen any thanks? Nope. And I am told there are other reasons the Yubanet folks are not going to do anything to hurt Senum.”

No one else has commented. No one.

Boardman has a conflict of interest, because he is paid to write for The Union, a competitor.

But worse, you have to wonder what in the world the new publisher Don Rogers thinks is so valuable about paying Boardman to be its weekly columist. Boardman is a “mini me” of The Union’s former publisher Jeff Ackerman, a highly polarizing force who is “yesterday’s lettuce” in our community.

I wonder if Don will have the fortitude to replace Boardman with a columnist who reflects the future of our community — not the past. The community is watching, that’s for sure.

Union columnist Boardman’s latest blunder: the “Fathers Day Classic” bike race

You can’t make this stuff up! George Boardman, The Union’s weekly columnist, waxes on in his column that runs on Memorial Day about the “Fathers Day Classic” bike race in Nevada City.

Huh? George, it’s called the “Nevada City Classic Bicycle Race,” not the “Fathers Day Classic.” It is on Father’s Day, though.

What a dumbbell! I guess we have to excuse George. His email address is still an AOL.com account. How about upgrading to “gmail”? Does anybody edit George’s column? ROFLOL!

The Union columnist Boardman better stick to Penn Valley, not Silicon Valley

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Memo to George: “Caufield, not Caulfield”!

The Union columnist George Boardman personifies the “big fish, small pond”/”all hat, no cattle” syndrome that is rampant among many “know-it-alls” in our little community (until you actually look at their resumes).

On Thursday, small-town columnist George displayed his own ignorance — again — when he tried to masquerade as a big-city/Coastal California journalist. In this case he tackled the topic of the Golden State Warriors and its successful owners on his resuscitated blog.

But George lost my interest right away when he wrote:  Warriors’ co-owner Joe Lacob is a partner in “Kleiner Perkins Caulfield [sic] and Byers, one of the most successful Silicon Valley venture capital firms.”

Huh? The iconic VC firm is called Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. For the record, Frank Caufield (not Caulfield) has been active in the venture capital field since the early ’70s.

And George has bragged that he was a business writer in Palo Alto and San Mateo, not just Grass Valley!

When he gets on board in May, the new publisher of The Union needs to rethink the value of George’s column. I’ve long found it to be “fish wrap.” And pointing to a blog with such a egregious error is an embarrassment to any newspaper, even The Union. Next …

Here’s a Kleiner video:

The Union and its parent crank up “sponsored content”

More and more newspapers are turning to the sponsored content “in the face of continued contraction of print revenue,” as the media “think tank” Poynter Institute observes.

One of them is Swift Communications, parent of The Union. “Many of Swift’s newspapers are heavily composed of paid advertorial ‘sponsored content,'” according to Wikipedia.

The Union, for example, is running more sponsored content (The Union’s paid columnist George Boardman has called this kind of content “fake journalism”). An example is here, here and here.

I’ve often seen The Union mix its “sponsored content” with its news articles on Facebook, blurring the line between articles and advertising.

I would like to see The Union address this issue with its readers.

Some people (including Boardman) seem to confuse sponsored content with feature stories, but it not the same. In the case of “sponsored content,” an advertiser pays for an article instead of an ad. For a newspaper, it presents a mixed message and conflict of interest to readers.

The Union’s weekly columnist: Curmudgeon in residence

flamingo4The Union’s weekly columnist Bored Georgeman (AKA George Boardman) has become a parody of himself. Like our local hard-right political bloggers (loud and obnoxious but a minority when you consider the political diversity of our community), he’s locked in a “get off my lawn”! mindset.

I continue to be perplexed by “Bored’s” presence each week in our local newspaper, because his “wisdom” is not a growth strategy for the newspaper to sign up new readers. At best, it is a defensive strategy to hang on to the aging conservative demographic. Meanwhile, the paper hasn’t replaced Heidi Hall’s column. Go figure.

This week we are treated to Bored’s latest tirade — bashing a plan to build EV charging stations in Northern California and poking fun at Portland “where it is said that 20-somethings go to retire and that they have so many coffee shots because they’re trying to stay awake.”

As usual, his columns gloss over important details — in this case the cost of electric cars. He likes to point to the $75K Tesla Model S — but never mentions the Chevrolet Spark or Nissan Leaf, which go for less than $30K.  He also “forgets” to mention that California is the nation’s top EV region. Duh.

But instead of informing, it’s the same old “public welfare”/”taxation without representation” mantra. Blah, blah, blah. George feels the same way about the organic food movement — too darn expensive for its own good.

But amid Bored’s convenient “eat the rich” rhetoric, not a peep about his own “let them eat cake” vacationing in the South of France. It’s funny how that works. Little to no self-awareness.

But wait, there’s more. This weekend we were treated to “Can California be Saved” on George Rebane’s blog: “Wealth in California is today made in ‘high-tech, social media, the Internet, government employment, academia, lawyering, and acting,’ and not in ‘the old-fashioned way’ – mining, timber, ranching, farming, and construction.”

I enjoy the NC Scooper’s parody. But when you stop to think about it, you don’t have to make this stuff up. In our community, it’s real.

Here’s an ode to that “old-fashioned way”:

The Union’s weekly columnist: an ideologue but not informative

In his weekly column today, dissing California’s “green revolution,” The Union’s weekly George Boardman wrote: “State Senator Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, proposed earlier this year to eliminate state tax credits for cars costing more than $40,000. ‘It’s hard for the average Californian to understand why someone buying a $100,000 car should get a rebate,’ he said. As the saying goes, the measure was DOA.”

But the idea wasn’t “DOA.” What Boardman left out — for whatever reason — was  that a state plan has been in the works for California to set restrictions on the rebates for electric cars and plug-in hybrids. It would have required minimal research to set the record straight for The Union’s readers.

As the website of the California Air Resources Board points out: “Several changes to CVRP (Clean Vehicle Rebate Project) will go into effect approximately four to six months from the approval date, including the following: Income cap for higher-income consumers. Increased rebate levels for low- and moderate-income consumers.”

I picked up the phone — something Boardman could have done — to get more information about this program, having recalled articles about the restrictions in The Chronicle and L.A. Times (but not The Union). CARB said:

“Regarding your questions, what are the changes to the CVRP and when will they take effect? The changes (expected to take effect in early 2016) include an income cap and increased rebates for low-and moderate-income consumers.

“A description of those changes starts on Page 27 of the plan, which was adopted as proposed: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aqip/fundplan/proposed_fy15-16_funding_plan.pdf

“Here’s a link to our press release from June, when the Board adopted the funding plan: http://bit.ly/1J8slKl

“The Center for Sustainable Energy administers that program and that website has lots of good information on the program, too. Here’s a link that talks about changes: https://cleanvehiclerebate.org/eng/information-fiscal-year-2015-16-income-limit-changes  And a more direct link:

In addition, in today’s column, Boardman is responsible for another error of omission in his ideological rant against electric cars and hybrids — and the “green revolution,” for that matter.

In this case, Boardman just focuses on owners of high-end Tesla cars as benefitting from the rebates.

But he ignored all the other electric cars/hybrids that are on the road, from Cadillac, Chevy, Ford, Fiat, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Smart, Toyota and VW. “For example, the Chevrolet Spark EV can currently be leased from $139 per month for 39 months with $0 due at signing. If you prefer more range, deals have never been better on plug-in hybrids,” as CarsDirect.com wrote this summer.

George missed a golden opportunity to inform and educate his readers with his weekly column, choosing to be an ideologue instead. I wonder if The Union management is even reading his column.

Union columnist seeks to discredit social media at the same time he lifts its content

“Bored Georgeman,” The Union’s weekly paid columnist, is joining The Union management is trying to discredit social media. But at the same time, he’s lifting its content and presenting it as if it was his own.

In “Bored’s” Monday column he lifts a post that appeared on this blog first. “If members of the Nevada County Tea Party are going to promote the Constitution to school kids, they should at least learn how to spell the word…,” he writes lifting an item that appeared here back on July 27 — but without providing any credit.

Then “Bored” has the audacity to criticize the social media coverage of the Lowell fire — singling out Nevada County Peeps — when The Union was late to post the breaking news of the fire on its own website.

And he cites another example — a fire in the Dry Creek area of Auburn — where The Union was also late in real-time reporting. The details are spelled out here.

“Bored’s” weekly bully pulpit is entertaining to the careful reader, but it is useless as a source of credible information. How long is this going to continue?

The two George’s (Rebane and Boardman) on the Rood Center, economic development — or whatever

Editor’s note: George Rebane’s blog is a true source of comic relief if you need to be on a laptop all day. What would we do without their wisdom? Here’s an excerpt:

Boardman (The Union’s paid columnist): Dr. R: Your 9:11 AM got to the heart of the issue: There is no coherent economic development plan in Nevada County because there is no leadership on this issue from the Rood Center. The Supes’ No. 1 priority is to balance the budget. Economic development is considered a second level priority, and then they’ll get involved only as appropriate. Instead, they are content to send a check to the ERC every year and distribute patronage to the local chambers, hardly a winning economic development strategy. Maybe I spent too many years in the Bay Area, but I’m used to seeing leadership and initiative from local elected officials. All we have up here is a bunch of auditors.

Rebane (once Drew Bedwell’s planning commissioner): GeorgeB 944am – Thanks for those good words. I’ve been on that ED soapbox for years trying to goad the Supes and Councils to put their shoulder to the wheel. I think it might be of considerable help if you wrote a column or two in that vein, and we could pick up and/or point to each other’s words. Your ‘bunch of auditors’ observation is spot on. Without such coordinated backing, Greg’s dour analysis will continue to rule the day (year after year).

The Union columnist ignores news in his own neighborhood

Last month, The Union columnist “Bored” Georgeman denigrated Nevada City — a favorite pastime — but he might want to “dig deeper” within his own gated confines.

One page away from his Monday column (signed “George Boardman lives in Lake of the Pines”), there is a “you can’t make this stuff up” article about his own neighborhood.

The headline reads “Trial set in LOP civil harassment case for July 7.” It is about a man who alleges harassment on two occasions by an HOA board member and his wife.  “The alleged harassment stems from his role in questioning activities of the homeowners’ association board and its oversight of the community finances and operations,” according to the article.

The man said he attended “numerous board meetings where he questioned certain actions of the board, such as administrative issues and the administration of slip rentals at the LOP marina,” it continued. “These acts of threats and violence have ruined the lifestyle that we have paid greatly for, and tried so hard to obtain at Lake of the Pines,” the man said in court documents.

The HOA board member’s attorney, Ray Shine, denies the allegations. His statement: “We deny that both of these things happened. And we deny that there was any intent to harass him.”

Last year, an episode in Lake of the Pines aired on a television network called Investigation Discovery, as reported previously.

I went and found the video clip: “An elite California Lakeside Community is rocked to its core when two well-to-do gentlemen go to war over an 18-inch property line discrepancy. One neighbor takes the dispute to new levels when he hires a hitman to permanently solve the problem.”

The episode was titled “Fear Thy Neighbor.”