Local elections show we’re center-left, but KVMR still promoting Rebane’s extreme right rants

The last local election results showed we’re center-left: The returns are HERE and show our County continuing to go “blue.” Democrats Newsom, Yee, Becerra, Hallinan (not Gaines), Denney (over LaMalfa 55-45), Morse (routing McClintock 76-24), even Sisk (over Dahle), and “no” on gas tax repeal, among others, all won — much to the chagrin of our local Republican Central Committee.

I’m glad to see some diversity among our electeds too — in offices such as Sheriff (Shannan Moon), Grass Valley City Council (Hilary Hodge) and Clerk-Recorder (Gregory Diaz). We’ve turned the corner politically — and I doubt we’ll be turning back. Truckee has been a leader, and the rest of the county (sometimes begrudgingly) is going along. Meanwhile, our national demographics are changing — in the year 2044, white Americans are projected to fall below half the population and lose their majority status, according to Census Bureau data.

The Union newspaper — with a long-deserved reputation as being the “Tea Party Gazette” — is becoming more center-left. The newspaper showed real courage in banning righwing blogger and resident loud-mouth Todd Juvinall from posting at TheUnion.com for a month. (Some users claimed Todd was offensive; Todd said The Union had “no balls.” You go, Todd!) Rebane himself has been more critical of The Union’s politics — a sign that he’s not getting his way (think Baby Huey).

With the winds of local political change blowing through our towns, locals would think KVMR — long a local beacon and pioneer of progressive ideas — would be feeling good about its precient programming.

Instead it is stuck with extreme rightwing blogger George “Raghead” Rebane — a Simi Valley transplant —as the commetator on its news hour. Huh?

Rebane’s post this past week was another over the top, even outrageous, “rumination.” On KVMR, he claimed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was somehow “resolved.” An excerpt: “So now the Saudis execute one of their own on foreign soil but in their own consulate, and the world’s ‘moral majority’, led by the US and its allies, gets their collective undies in a bundle, decrying the murder and demanding confessions and justice from the Saudis.

“So, despite the public gnashing of teeth and rending of garment by Trump’s political opponents, everyone understands that this is the correct way to end the affair.”

“Undies in a bundle”

That’s right “undies in a bundle” over a brutal murder and this is the “correct way” to end it.

Meanwhile, The New York Times is calling Trump’s statement “extraordinary”; a Washington Post columnist writes: “In effect, Trump is doing his best to help the Saudi regime get away with the murder of a U.S. resident and one of the Arab world’s most prominent writers. If the administration continues down this path, it will further destroy whatever is left of America’s moral credibility on global human rights and freedom of expression.” Turkey ripped Trump for turning a “blind eye” to the killing.

I have also heard from prominent local business leaders who were outraged at the killing and our President’s response. It created a long thread of local outrage.

What is KMVR thinking? The rest of us are becoming more open minded politically, and the commentator that KVMR chooses during the “news hour” is a political troglodyte — all but parroting Trump’s lame defense of this brutal act. Rebane’s bizarre “rumination” is here.

Local right-wing blogosphere shows stupidity in attacking Hodge for Supervisor

No sooner had Hilary Hodge made her candidacy for District 3 Supervisor “official,” running against Dan Miller ( AKA “Dan has lived in Nevada County since he was a sophomore at Nevada Union High,” as Patti Ingram Spencer wants to remind all of us) than the local right-wing blogosphere began a pit-bull attack on Hodge.  They made fun of her job, her skills, and columns (“sounds like somebody done got fat shamed”) and even commented on her looks.

And they illustrated their sheer stupidity.

George Rebane wrote on his blog “Hillary Hodge running for Nevada County’s District#3 supervisor?!” And Rebane concluded his rant, writing “Would I be that far off to doubt that even the Sierra Business Council would have a hard time endorsing her as our county’s revitalizing sparkplug?  Well, maybe.”

No, George. As Steve Frisch had to remind him: “Just for the record the Sierra Business Council, the organization I work for, does not endorse political candidates. As a 501c3 nonprofit we are precluded from endorsing candidates.”

But wait there’s more.

Gregory Goodknight wrote: “Look at the bright side on the Hodge candidacy… it means she won’t be writing the column in the Tea Party Gazette until it’s over. I find it interesting that the candidate HH has opted for a new, cleaner looking hairstyle and covering up that tattoo on her chest. Now if she can button up the hate she has for people who think her worldview is at right angles to reality… nahhhh.”

Then Todd Juvinall weighed in: “She has a tatoo on her chest? LOL!”

Someone named “ScenesFromTheApocalypse” corrected them and and linked to a photo to prove it.: “This pic?http://www.theunion.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/HilaryHodge-GVU-mug-5.jpg Looks like a necklace.”

Gregory concluded: “I stand corrected…. in the low res color printing of The Union it always looked like a tat to me but zoomed in, it’s obviously a necklace.”

As I said, this race is going to be ugly.

George Rebane scoops George Boardman on Prestwich departure

What a hoot! On June 25, The Union columnist George Boardman began his column quoting words from Nevada City manager Mark Prestwich on city policy.

He must have been unaware that two days earlier, the Napa Valley Register wrote that Prestwich was on his way to another job, city manager of St. Helena. On June 23, the Napa newspaper reported, “Mark Prestwich identified as finalist for City Manager.”

The planned hire also was reported on the town’s agenda as a “consent” item for Tuesday night’s meeting. Details at Staff Report.

Then George Rebane weighed in on his blog Tuesday night in the comment stream that the consent item was approved. It was “announced” at the Council meeting, Rebane said.

St. Helena’s vice mayor also emailed me that the city had hired Mark.

The two Georges have been jabbing at one another in the local blogosphere. “With fans like George Rebane, I don’t need any critics,” Boardman wrote on his own blog last month.

Rebane got Prestwich’s annual income wrong (it’s a base of $189,880) and couldn’t offer a start date (it’s July 31). The Union, meanwhile, hasn’t reported any of this.

We’ll miss Mark.

Rebane once called STEAM education “specious”; now his TechTest is integrated into the local program

Local hard-right political activist Dr. George Rebane — a legend in his own mind — used to rant against STEAM education (a reasonable educational approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics).

One of the rants appeared on KVMR, where George is a commentator on the news hour (and a generous donor). “STEM is not powered by STEAM” he opined, seeming to insult the intelligence of arts students: “Preparing for a STEM career is hard, and not everyone is qualified to do so.  That is a prime reason why so many of our youth seek easier educational paths into adulthood and the nation’s workforce.”

“With all these important things going on, we suddenly see a new initiative from the progressive Left to revive arts education in our public high schools through a specious attempt to attract additional funding from established STEM programs.  This is done by injecting ‘Arts’ as a necessary and integral part of a complete STEM education – the new acronym then becomes STEAM.”

Well guess what? Rebane’s “Tech Test” is now part of the local STEAM Expo! “This year TechTestJr was part of the Nevada County STEAM Expo (http://www.nevcoexpo.org) held on Saturday the 25th of March at the Nevada County Fair Grounds at which time the test takers received their awards,” the good Dr. informs us on his blog. (BTW, as most STEAM students know, it’s “Fairgrounds,” not “Fair Grounds).

A change of heart or a breakdown in George’s own rigorous “critical thinking”? lol. The “Church Lady” sums it  up best:

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.

Union editorial board member Sauer defends unqualified education secretary DeVos

One reason The Union is such a mediocre newspaper is that it has stacked its “editorial board” with selfish ideologues.  In a politically diverse community such as ours, it serves to divide, not unite.

Norm Sauer is one shining example. Like George Rebane, I guess it pleases him to see his name in print, because his words are not educational or informative. It is as predictable as the tea party talking points, or any ideologue for that matter.

This time we are treated to Norm defending the unqualified education secretary Betsy DeVos in a column, along with disdainful remarks about teachers unions and their “bosses.” As a matter of fact, the vice president was forced to cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm DeVos, almost unprecedented, but readers would not know that from reading Norm’s glowing endorsement of her “qualifications,” in essence her rigid right-wing ideology, including the union bashing.

Also lacking from Norm’s praise of DeVos is her inexperience for this role. “Betsy DeVos is a lot like the man who nominated her for education secretary,” as an opinion in Forbes points out. “She showed up for the exam unprepared and careless and seemed to think that her mere presence was sufficient to carry the thing off. Perhaps that’s how it’s worked for DeVos her entire life, allowing her to skate past the need to learn pesky details about things like grizzly bears or federal education statutes related to disability.”

Norm’s columns lead to ignorance and misunderstanding in our own community about local education. It is one reason that Measure B — the local school bond measure for needed improvement — struggled. The opposition was based on hyperbole, misinformation and outright lies.

Such self-serving ideology also is an impediment to local economic development. Families who read these extremist rants would not be inclined to relocate here. We have good public schools; Ghidotti — a public school with teachers who belong to the California Teachers Association — is ranked #1 in the state based on a new assessment of student performance.

Nevada Union and Bear River high schools, among others, have helped educate students who became Rhodes scholars or have returned to our community to open successful businesses. One that I know of is a doctor; this is a blessing since we face a doctor shortage.

The Union should show more leadership besides an inattentive disclaimer: “His opinion is his own and does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of The Union or its editorial board.”

Wonder why The Union’s print circulation has “plateaued”? Another Rebane column

515cpgeyidl“Our print subscriptions have plateaued along a line that would show a slight drop since the recession,” writes Publisher Don Rogers in his weekly column. “The drop is very, very slow, but yes, perceptible.”

One reason is The Union’s choice of content — it is often predictable and monotonous, not inspiring, informative or uplifting. It appeals to the “aging and declining” demographic.

A shining example is the pontifications of George Rebane, the hard-right political activist and blogger who obviously likes to read his name in print and whose hero is “Father Knows Best.” This weekend The Union readership is treated to more of this man’s diatribes — not a “growth” strategy for a “community conversation” or even a sustainable one.

I did not seek this one out until I received an email from a reader, pointing to it. It read “crapola.” Rebane mocks Calexit (even likening the “Never Trump” crowd to the serious effects of PTSD — a totally inappropriate simile); he mocks the “glorious age of Obama,” adding “then in November their ‘new world order’ collapsed; he points to “comrades” Bernie and Liz; and he mocks “leftwingers.”

At the same time, of course, Rebane has pointed to the “wisdom” of the State of Jefferson.

He sees the world through WASP-tinted glasses. “Today in California there is a growing cohort of leftwingers who have evaluated our nation’s socio-political terrain, and conclude themselves to be irredeemably different from the rest of the country,” he writes.

But the socio-political terrain is changing: In California, ‘whites’ (AKA those of European ancestry like George Rebane) have become a minority, and America is experiencing the same transformation.

Rebane might think multi-culturalism (AKA “multi-kulti” to him) doesn’t work. But the vast majority of us do see it working. In the November election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.86 million ballots.

The Union could grow its business — fostering a true “community dialogue” — if it focused more on the mainstream rather than the extremes of our community. The Union thinks the divisive language is on Facebook. It ought to look in the mirror. The best ideas should win, not the loudest ones.