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 columnist Boardman chides Heidi Hall for expressing her first-amendment rights

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A candidate for Pink Hat Project!

The paid Union columnist George Boardman, king of  the curmudgeon, “get off my lawn” movement in our community, has a problem with incoming County Supervisor Heidi Hall expressing her first amendment rights.

In an insulting tone “Supervisor Heidi Hall’s on the job … in Washington,” Boardman writes on his blog:

“When Heidi Hall was sworn in recently as the new District 1 supervisor, she said she has a lot of things she wants to accomplish … but that doesn’t mean she can’t find time in her schedule to stand in solidarity with her sisters in Washington D.C. this weekend.” “Sisters”?

Hall is part of a peaceful march but Boardman — in the same paragraph — lumps that group with “festivities (that) included street violence, vandalism and the arrest of at least 100 demonstrators after Donald Trump took the oath of office.”

No, George, you’ve got the wrong group. And “brothers” (AKA men) also were marching with “sisters” in the peaceful march.

“Hopefully, Hall can avoid such unpleasantness and return to Nevada County in time for Tuesday’s supervisors meeting so that she can, you know, get to work on cannabis regulations, helping the homeless and getting ready for the fire season,” he concludes.

George and his like-minded “brothers” ought to be prepared for an invigorated group from our local left that likely will continue to shift the local political scene in their direction — not his.

I guess George forgot that in the election Heidi Hall won her race handily, and Hillary Clinton carried our County. Kamala Harris also carried our County. And Tom McClintock lost in our County while Doug LaMalfa won narrowly.

George Boardman would be well advised to trade his little tin foil hat for a pink-knit hat. (I came up with a rendering of what he might look like in a pink hat, choosing a fashionable one).

As for The Union, I keep wondering how George Boardman is a “growth strategy” for its own future. He is a “declining, aging” strategy.

Here comes Heidi! Duane’s crew better open wallets wider, finance reports show

Duane Strawser has collected $14,200 in campaign contributions from January 1, 2016 to April 23, while his opponent Heidi Hall has collected much more — $24,703 at last count, campaign finance reports reviewed by Sierra Foothills Report show.

Duane’s cash balance stands at $6,859 compared with $8,070 for Heidi. Duane has 31 contributions listed compared with 102 listed for Hall, the records show.

This comes as local progressives have launched an aggressive voter registration campaign in the western county — an area long tilted to the right.

It’s clear from analyzing the campaign finance reports that both candidates have strong grassroots support; it’s just that Heidi has more. The finance reports also confirm what I’ve said all along: there is a strong “anyone but Heidi” vibe in this race, because she’s a visible Democrat seeking public office in a part of the county where Tea Party co-founder Mark Mecker got his start.

Duane — actually a Democrat who has switched to “decline to state” in this race, as YubaNet first reported — has won some token contributions from locals who have supported staunch conservatives in the past. Examples include Joanne Rebane, wife of hard-right political activist George Rebane ($100). (In a blog post this weekend, George is whining about Heidi — again; instead, he ought to disclose his family’s contribution to her opponent.)

In addition to the Rebanes, hard-right and CABPRO supporter Norm Sauer, who writes rightwing screeds for The Union seemingly monthly, gave $100 to Duane.

Keoni Allen of the Nevada County Contractors PAC gave $100, the report shows. Insurance broker Anthony Halaby gave $200, lawyer Craig Diamond (who once defended The Union’s ex-publisher Jeff Ackerman in a well-known local case) gave $250 and insurance broker Mike Bratton gave $500. These local businessmen (Allen, Diamond and Bratton’s offices are in Grass Valley) typically support staunch conservatives in local races.

The records also show the Americans for Good Government PAC (whose supporters include local tea party activists) raised $3,697 for Duane in a “fun raiser event,” as previously reported. The money is listed as “non-monetary” on the campaign finance report.

Duane also received $1,000 from a local climate change denier, Frank Pinney of Grass Valley, as reported.

Among Duane’s expenses, Full Spectrum Marketing Services, whose owner is Andy Burton (also an “editorial board member” of The Union), received the largest chunk of money: $1,340 for “printing services.” Andy and Duane are friends and have worked together to promote the Amgen Tour of California when it came here.

Heidi’s contributors

On Heidi’s side, her contributors include local grassroots Democrats such as Carole Chapman ($175), Kimberly D’Urso ($200), Shawn Garvey ($100), Elisa Parker ($100), Audrey Smith ($225) and others.

The contingent opposed to Measure W (AKA the local marijuana initiative) gave some money to Heidi, but it is not excessive. Examples include Stephen Munkelt ($25o), lawyer Heather Burke ($250) and Patricia Smith ($500).

The environmental, anti-global warming and organic contingent (important issues in our region) is showing support for Heidi. Progressive Michael Funk, CEO of United Natural Foods, gave $500 to Heidi; Roger Hicks, a longtime board member of SYRCL, gave $100 (through an intermediary Democracy.com); and Steve Frisch of the Sierra Business Council gave $400. (Frisch’s donation was received through an intermediary, NationBuilder, as was the case with some others).

Local artist Judith Lowry-Crowl gave $1,000, as previously reported. The Nevada County Democratic Women’s Club donated $1,500.

This is interesting: Nevada City Council member Evans Phelps gave Heidi ‘s campaign $500; she gave Duane, who sits on the council with her, half as much: $250.

Heidi’s biggest expense was Green Dog Campaigns of San Rafael for $9,233. “Dotty E. LeMieux founded GreenDog Campaigns in 1998, since then she has successfully run campaigns for State, County and local office. These have included campaigns for local school boards, special districts, town and city council offices and county supervisor,” according to the website.

Local Jim Hurley, who is a seasoned local election analyst, received $343. Jim pours over the local election precincts and is highly knowledgeable about this task.

This is going to be an interesting race! It looks like the “anything but Heidi” contingent better open its wallet wider ASAP, including the hard-right activists who are pulling Duane further right. The campaign finance reports are Duane and Heidi.