Goodbye, Jeff Ackerman

Jeff Ackerman, editor/publisher of The Union, has announced his depature from the newspaper, effective in early July. Jeff is moving to Roseburg, Oregon to take the reins of that city’s News Review.

Jeff came to Nevada County during the contentious NH2020 era, when passions were at their zenith concerning land use issues. It was comparable to being thrown into a snakepit, armed with nothing but a keyboard and a barrel of ink. Even though he was somewhat familiar with the terrain from his days as a reporter here, it was an unenviable position to be in, and he was immediately set upon by both sides in an effort to curry favor with the county’s main source of information. (Yes, there was an internet then, but it wasn’t nearly the force it is today.)

Ackerman was the fourth publisher I had the privilege to work for at the paper. The first three were culled from the advertising arm of the business, and had little desire to express an opinion on the printed page. Jeff, who was a journalist, was not shy about writing what he thought about politicians, policies and people. He ruffled more than a few feathers during his decade-long stint at the top of the news heap. Whether you agreed with him or not, (and I didn’t always follow in lockstep) at least he had the gonads to take a stand.  If one of my cartoons contradicted him, he’d still let it run.

Arthur Miller once said a good newspaper is a nation talking to itself. Media has taken some wrenching twists and turns in this new millenium with the rise of the internet, and newsrooms have been decimated by the loss of advertising dollars. Investigative journalism has become the victim of modern economics. People still want the news, they just don’t want to pay for it. As the internet becomes our main source of information, there is a tendency to gravitate to sites that project a certain point of view that caters to one’s own prejudices. It’s the news you want to see, the way you want to see it.

Despite the claims that The Union has become an arm of the right wing, (and there are plenty on the right that would dispute that notion) you can still find many points of view and articles of general interest in the paper every day. Maybe I’m prejudiced, since my work appears there twice a week, but then I’m just an old fashioned guy who still enjoys getting inky fingers from fondling pages that don’t glow in the dark.

So good luck, Jeff. I will miss you. And I look forward to seeing what the new blood will do with the paper that has survived since the civil war. Publishers and editors come and go, but the news goes on.

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132 Responses to Goodbye, Jeff Ackerman

  1. Don Baumgart says:

    I was arrested in Roseburg, Oregon. It was the 70s and we were in a van heading from the Bay Area to Seattle when we stopped for breakfast. The driver was arrested because he used drug paraphernalia to keep his headband on – an electrical alligator clip. We were arrested because we were with him. When they booked us they hung the little plaques around our necks and fastened them with alligator clips on a chain. Come to find out the Roseburg Police chief was a new hire from LA and he brought a bunch of his buddies along…all of them trying to get as far away from the new Miranda decision as possible.

  2. rlcrabb says:

    My only memory of Roseburg is as a place you sometimes ended up in when you were too tired to drive anymore, usually going to or from Washington state. One time my cartoonist buddy J.R. Williams and I spent the night there in a roach motel watching the movie “Roadhouse” with Patrick Swayze. The only thing I remember from it was when Swayze was squaring off with another tough guy and uttered the line, “I used to f#*k guys like you in prison!”
    From the info I read in Pelline’s blog, it looks like Jeff might be going from the frying pan to the fire.

  3. TD Pittsford says:

    Good bye and good riddance to Mr. Ackerman. His replacement should be interesting. Maybe Pelline will apply for the job and he can finish the job of running the Union into the ground.

  4. Well now I can subscribe to the Union. I stopped as I think many of us did, when Ackermann and Sommers, was it? Pre Butler? Anyway, I stopped when they used their paper BULLY pulpit to attack dedicated community activists in this town including Bruce C., Grant and Ingrid C., many others come to mind, the point being that even if you did not agree with the activists (though I did), we need the ones with courage here to push our community forward and we must support them. How hard is it to really stick your neck out for social change (beyond fund-raising events and pot-lucks which I do not consider real activism but what I call “recreational activism)? Dmn hard. You risk isolation, malign-ment and it keeps other more timid types from speaking out. His was a great way to tear our community apart (dare I even bring up NH2020?) and shutter local acts of democracy. Using your own paper to attack good people in your town you don’t like is also not professional. We must support the brave agents of change in our community that work to better the community. Truth seekers. We need them. I agree with TD up there. Good riddance Ackermann. It is the end of an era in W. Nevada County. A very much needed END to this era. I hope the replacement is professional, equitable, and fosters the original intent of journalism–a democratic fair hearing for all.

    • rlcrabb says:

      Welcome to the peanut gallery, Virginia. I agree it was time for a change at the paper, and I know what a lightning rod Jeff was here. (When people find out you’re connected with the paper, they are never shy about their complaints. I’ve been hearing it for eighteen years, no matter who was at the helm.)

    • Todd juvinall says:

      Virginia is a good example of the divide in the county (hell and the country). Sh is from Venus and I am from Mars. I have been a subscriber all my adult life. Even when Virginia and her ilk were trashing people like myself on a daily basis over the years. When finally JeffA came along and let people trash Virginia, she did what libs do, she “boycotted” her own paper apparently. Now why would someone cut their own nose off like that? The community newspaper especially before the internet, was where you find out what is going on in the area. As I read personal attacks ad nauseum when I was in office or as the leader of CABPRO and the Republican Central Committee I not once wished or tried to boot the Publishers. So Virgina and your ilk, a free press needs our support if it is to stay free. It costs money and JeffA was able to make and keep the Union profitable as well as write funny stories and put two kids through the schools here. He allowed both sides to spew in the political sense and it is too bad you can’t see that. You are a bitter person in your writings here and I feel sad for you.

      Oh, a regarding “social” issues. Crabby has been quite adament that he dislikes organized groups pushing them. He has told us many times he feels the Tea Party is guilty of that and doesn’t like it. So be careful, you may get a smackdown by Crabby if youpush anything “social”.

      • RL Crabb says:

        Thanks, but I’ll speak for myself, Dragon Boy. Virginia is welcome here, as is anyone who can keep it from degenerating into a mud wrestling match. Jeff A. is gone, let’s move on.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      So the hated Ackerman let Virginia post a screed in te Union it appears. Now isn’t that special? I read the screed in the Union and noticed she lives in Alta Sierra. It amazes me when folks living in a intense small lot subdivision want to tell everyone else what to do with their property.

      Bruce Conklin was beaten at the polls because he was sending Northstar House money to a pal if I recall. The people did not like that. So they booted him. I went to Virgina’s website and it looks to me like she is trying to start the landuse wars again. Hell, her side won for goodness sakes.

      Ackerman is not perfect as is no human but my goodness, why trash him for his opinions, mostly humorous anyway? After the Moran Union screed, one can see why their is a great divide in our county and it is not because of people llke me but people like her. She wants more controls on my property I want more freedom.

  5. Brad Croul says:

    Looks like “The Publisher” is circling the drain – Drain, OR, that is.

  6. It could have been worse–“The Publisher” could have ended up in Boring, OR, which recently signed a sister city agreement with Dull, Scotland.

    It looks like the new publisher comes from the business side, which means he’ll probably hire an editor to run the newsroom. This may be Pelline’s chance to practice what he’s been preaching since Ackerman gave him the opportunity “to pursue other interests.”

  7. Todd juvinall says:

    I didn’t think Keachie was a Pri** but I just read his nasty on the purple blog about JeffA. That is it for me with Keachie. What a creep.

  8. Michael says:

    I haven’t always agreed with Mr. Ackerman’s editorials, but I do wish him luck up there. My uncle lives in Douglas County so I am vaguely familiar with the area.

    Say what you want about Jeff, but I certainly hope the new paper doesn’t become an echo chamber in the other direction either. I do like reading columns and editorials and views that I might not agree with. Gets you thinking, and I think that’s important. As opposed to the internet sources, where we get to pick and choose our slant. The printed page allows us or “forces us” to read opposing views. I like that.

    I hope the new guy will keep the “all-local front page”, “Other Voices” and Bob’s cartoons. Hope also that he can understand that this is not some generic strip-mall town and try and keep the local focus as much as possible.

    It’s a tough job, I sure wouldn’t want it.

    Good luck Jeff. I think one of your best strengths was when you wrote humorous columns. Remember the Valentine’s Day one? I couldn’t stop laughing!

    I thought it appropriate to stop and think about the good things we’ve had in The Union, rather than trip over ourselves crowing about how great things will be now.

    Like we have any idea what’s going to happen yet. Sure would hate to lose ink on paper.

    And for the record, I don’t work for, and am not affiliated with anyone related to The Union. I did buy Bob’s book from them though. Thanks Bob.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      The only two criticisms of Ackerman from me are 1) academic failures of the local schools continued to get free passes, in the news, and 2) Pelline lasted as long as he did.

      The folks who are saying ‘good riddance’ are likely to be unhappy with the next guy, too.

  9. Todd Juvinall says:

    I have had many beers with JeffA over the years (starting in 84 I think) and the people that were viruntly nasty too him were almost all the lib goons in our community. Sure a few conservatives would get mad but they did not wish him phyical harm or death. Big differnce in attitudes. I am not shocked the lib goons on the purple blog are as creepy as they are. SOP. One only needs to remember the lib goons going after Rush a cuople of months ago. Also, the OWS rapes and thefts and the attitudes of those people. But, most of the community appreciated JeffA’s community service. Hell, I never saw a Home Show booth by Frisch, Emery or Pelline! I don’t remember eeing those lovelies at the Red Light Ball or Starry nights. JeffA was always there.

    • Michael says:

      Yep, Todd pretty much sums it up there. I can’t believe how giddy Jeff P. seems now that Jeff A. is leaving.

      I guess both Jeffs have their strengths and weaknesses. Like all of us.
      About all you can say.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Todd once again demonstrates just what a dinosaur of a bygone era he really is. He trashes people who post here (“when Virginia and her ilk were trashing people like myself every day”) and warns them about what they say, and then waxes illiterate about “free speech”; then he puts all posters on other sites into a single “box” and name calls; then he falsely claims that people who criticized Mr. Ackerman in the past wanted him to suffer “phyical [sic] harm or dead”, finally he assumes that only people that walk in his circles and attends or donates to events he frequents are connected to or care about their community (by the way I go to the Home Show in Truckee and have even done a both there in the past).

      • Todd juvinall says:

        Oh SteveF, you protest way too much. Sounds like a guilty conscience. You simply are not in the same league with Ackerman or any other successful businessman but you certainly try and tell us you are. A non-profit that sucks up the taxpayers dollars to concoct more rules and studies is not the same as a private enterprise such as the Union. It puts millions into the community and the people in charge have to produce something of value to be able to be viable. JeffA did all that and more. I never saw you at the Starry Nights or Red Light Ball where money is raised for good works. Where were you? Where was Pelline” JeffA was there, so were many of us people you deride. So go pound sand and do what you do and leave the grownups to run the place.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          Fortunately Todd you are far from the final arbiter of what makes up a connected and committed community member. I have a suggestion, since there is a format for insult, asinine comment, lies and bullsh*t over on a couple of other community blogs, how about we agree not to address each other personally here, and stick to the issues? You don’t bring me up and I won’t bring you up. I must admit that I would rather you follow the leader to Drain, but in the absence of that glorious day, how about we not sully Bob’s site with “waste”?

          • Todd juvinall says:

            So you want to bury the hatchet and then insult me? You crack me up. The only thing you seem to spout off about is you can’t take what you dish out. You do this everywhere. No I will just be me and some can take me and some can’t.

            I would suggest you not follow me around and post your insults.

            Oh, Bob has already chastised me for telling Virginia a similar “lookout”. Let’s see if he repeats that for your “lookout”.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            I responded to a combination of your post attacking another member of our community, and your mention of me by name. In short, I did not follow you, I responded to your attack. As I stated I would be happy to never mention you by name again. But clearly I won’t have that luxury, since you don’t have enough honor to respect Mr. Crabb’s forum, refrain from attacks and personal insults, and strike a gentleman’s bargain to spare our fellow posters from the nonsense. Any time you are ready to embrace that bargain I will be willing.

          • Todd juvinall says:

            What a hoot!

  10. Judith Lowry says:

    The Union now has the daunting task of rising from mediocrity (except for Crabb), becoming relevant and increasing circulation.
    Bon Chance to the new editor, he has his work cut out for him.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      So you know the circulation numbers eh? How about the bottom line in profit? You people are too much. The Union is a successful paper in a sea of cutbacks by the New York Times and the LA Times and many other leftwing papers. So, snarky about things a liberal doesn’t know anything about, business, is alive and well.

  11. Doc Halstead says:

    Funny how the departure of Jeff Ackerman has caused such a stir. I think that points out just how successful he has been. I have only know Jeff for a few years ,while I was President of the Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association , but I have read his editorials for years. I have not always agreed with his point of view but respect the way they were presented in such a way as to give me pause to think and consider his points of view.
    Good luck Jeff.

    • Judith Lowry says:

      It isn’t nice to kick a guy on his way out the door, is it?
      However, IMHO Mr. Ackerman’s bias, when an editor ideally should be above it, is the reason he failed to forge a good relationship with “pert near” half the county.
      Under his guidance the Union also tended to the salacious, as in the Hetty Williams story, which was extremely insensitive to her daughters and the community. I’ll never forget those horrible headlines, day after day of them.
      He gave different treatment to the girl who he claimed died from drugs but was ever so sensitive to the Bratton’s, never giving out sensitive details of their tragic loss.
      Time and again the whiff of cronyism was pretty strong, but he did his part at fund raisers and many other acts of charity.
      In the end, he was simply inconsistent and mediocre, many of us are.
      But the responsibility of an editor is first and foremost to integrity and requires a very special person at the helm.
      Let’s see what the next year brings.

      • Todd juvinall says:

        Golly JL, two issues JeffA printed you disagreed with? What a hoot. The man did millions of dollars for charity in our community and employs a lot of folks. He is not perfect as none of us are but weighing his imprint on the community with the typical liberal whiners, I’d say the county is much better off he was in charge.

        I remember when the “lady” publisher was here and attended the Starry Nights up at the pond. She removed her clothes in front of many and jumped in after imbibing heavily. Now I bet she would be judged better by the libs for her spontaneity than JeffA for publishing news stories about a local tragedy wouldn’t she?

        • Steve Frisch says:

          Attendance at “Starry Nights” is now the measure of commitment to community.

          • Todd juvinall says:

            Surer it is SteveF. The hospital needs money for cancer stuff and new equipment. Try to stay up with community needs would ya?

          • Steve Frisch says:

            There are many ways to contribute to community Mr. Juvinall, and all contribute in their own way. It may be to support a hospital, a homeless shelter, a church, a community garden, or facilitating business development. It is not up to you to determine which way is best, it is up to the individual that makes the contribution. You chose to deride people because you could not see their contribution to community. I respect your commitment to the community in your own way. You should respect other peoples as well. That is the American Way!

          • Todd juvinall says:

            Just pointing out a liberal SOP hypocrisy. Hurts to be found out doesn’t it?

          • RL Crabb says:

            Enough of the insults, Todd, or go play in your own yard.

          • Todd juvinall says:

            Did I insult you Bob?

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Todd, once again kinda clueless. But there is hope, if you will only open up your ear flaps.

      • Michael Anderson says:

        Thanks Judith, this is a fairly accurate accounting of things.

  12. Steve Frisch says:

    Lets be clear, the issue being discussed here is the departure of Mr. Ackerman, but the bigger issue, and I think a far the more interesting one, is the role and quality of our community newspapers. I say newspapers, because not only is The Union part of the Swift chain of 20 community newspapers, I am a consumer of their product in Truckee, the Sierra Sun, although I must admit that I read The Union more frequently than the Sun before it went behind the pay wall.

    Community newspapers used play a critical role not only in making the public aware of local events, governance issues and people and their work, but also played the role of making the public aware of the importance of regional, state, national and inter-national issues to local communities. It was the small town newspaper (and churches) in American history that elevated Abolitionism to a national issue (slavery v. freedom), brought attention to the plight of farmers in the age of robber-baron railroads (the rise of the William Jennings Byrant), argued the role of the United States in international affairs as we became a global power (isolationism v. engagement) , argued trade policy and its effect on local agricultural producers and manufacturers (free trade v. tarrifs) and even the role of water infrastructure (southern California v. northern California).

    Lets be clear though, these community newspapers were NEVER free of bias, special interest influence, or the power to use their bully pulpit against iconoclastic forces in our communities. Just as The Union, under the particular editor/publisher being discussed here, had a reactionary bent, ALL newspapers have a bent, so this is nothing new, nor a special cause for critique of Mr. Ackerman. Sure, I have bitched about his opinions, and the point that he allowed his opinions to influence the quality of reporting, and that his associations with certain groups in the community has implied support; but that would be true of any editor/publisher (perhaps this is why newspapers usually separate the role of editor and publisher).

    The beginning of the end of newspapers was not the rise of the internet, it was the invention of radio and television, which made consumers of news used to the 30 second sound-bite, the rise of media companies and consolidation within the industry that homogenized the news, followed by the disruptive innovation of information technology that made the delivery of the sound bite free.

    So here we are now, with community newspapers that rarely report on anything but who got a DUI, where the flower show is going to be, and what local yokel showed up at the city counsel meeting to complain about radiation from radio antenna. As profitability shrank the ability to attract quality writers, advertisers, and READERS shank, leaving print news in a death spiral.

    So where do we go know? What is the social and community cost of losing a legitimate venue for discussion of community issues? Is the newspaper the place for that venue to be hosted or are other mediums inexorably taking its place?

    The experiments with community, non-profit owned, and small private on-line newspapers have had mixed success (although a special shout out here must go to YubaNet and Pasqual for their hard work, intrepid reporting, and willingness to report on issues The Union fails to cover, or if they cover are usually nothing but a craven rip-off of the issues that YubaNet has identified as important that The Union misses because they are too busy sipping Tea and sharpening their tomahawks). I am hopeful that these venues can add substantively to the debate and understanding of issues in the future.

    But what we have lost in our communities is thoughtful, topical, researched, data driven, legitimate debate of community issues in a respectful, safe, and relatively unbiased, or at least transparent forum.

    I would read a well researched article written by a local writer, quoting local and national sources, about economic development strategies that might work in our area; or a story about the role of non-profits in managing state lands and what the pitfalls and benefits might be; or a story about how historic downtowns across the country are managing to compete against adjacent Big Box development; or about how other jurisdictions are dealing with the implementation of California’s marijuana laws and what if any impact it has on land-use and crime; or a story about the need for affordable housing and whether it can be more efficiently provided by the free market or local, state and federal investment.

    The point is that we are not talking in a respectful way about any of these issues. And, to date, blogs have not helped improve the debate. Blogs have become yet another venue for throwing inane insult back and forth (which I am equally guilty of, but was raised not to bring a knife to a gunfight).

    The departure of Mr. Ackerman is only the tip of the story. I have felt no particular animus toward him, he is a product of his newspaper and community environment. He chose to lay down with the dogs he chose….the next one may chose different dogs.

    I am more concerned about the fact that we do not have any venue to really discuss legitimate community issues in a way that we can reach consensus on solutions. Hopefully the next editor and publisher will attempt to play a productive role in resolving this far deeper and more serious community issue.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Prophylactic response to Todd who is bound to complain about the length. The average American reads at 300 words per minute, so the above missive represents a 3 minute investment, less than the standard commercial break during Swamp People.

      • Todd juvinall says:

        You are right SteveF, you are a long winded bloviator aren’t you? Crabby said the same and better in his two or three para’s below. The trouble with the left is exhibited by your above post. Tedious and know-it-all and BORING! The reason Crabb is successful is he makes a one frame cartoon that gets to the point so quick a person is educated in a wisp!

        Newspapers did not start going south because of radio and TV as you have stated. The country liked their papers, breakfast doughnut, coffee and the paper. What has happened in my view is the internet has changed everything regarding ads and the money they brought in. That is the bottom line. Yubanet has others “private” funding that keeps it afloat.

        So, SteveF, your writings don’t really show us any smarts, they just show us you can “cut and paste” with the best of them.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          I think its obvious to everyone here Todd that you have a bit of a chip on your shoulder about anyone who might appear smarter than you in their everyday communications. I don’t really need to comment on your intellectual capacity, it is on display.

  13. RL Crabb says:

    Anyone who took the time to know Jeff Ackerman would know that he was not a hardcore right-winger. Was he any more biased in one direction than Jeff P. is in the other? I don’t think so. Was The Union a “Tea Party Gazette” any more than JP’s blog a platform for the county’s “purple progressives?” That’s debatable. Would a right-winger run a weekly column by avowed leftist social justice advocate like Amy Goodman? Even when JP half-heartedly endorses a Republican like Chuck Shea on his appointment to the CABPRO hotseat, almost every commenter on his site took the opportunity to trash the organization and their agenda. And as I have pointed out on occasion, there is never any critique of the Democrats in Sacramento. That’s hardly what I consider the middle. And I notice that Virginia Moran has a prominent place on today’s (6/23) opinion page in The Union, where she advocates destroying anything resembling property rights for the owners of undeveloped parcels in Nevada County.

    I don’t envy our new publisher. No matter where he stands, I’m sure that he will be a target for the slings and arrows coming from all directions in our contenious little community.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Regarding JP being almost nice to Chuck Shea… I believe Chuck pays for his own business to be in Peline’s glossy advertiser.

  14. Greg Goodknight says:

    “… The Union, under the particular editor/publisher being discussed here, had a reactionary bent…”

    A casual reader might not know some of the background here. Ackerman’s choice was to grant a voice to folks who were opposing what Frisch’s horribly misnamed Sierra Business Council was trying to push through, the divisive NH2020 initiative. SBC, provided 2/3rds the funding and was training leaders and “facilitating” community meetings that were designed to manufacture a consensus in favor of NH2020 that didn’t exist.

    Ultimately it was the tactics of the NH2020 proponents that did it in. With a news monopoly turning their back on opponents, it might have turned out differently.

    Jeff A. did a mostly admirable job in a can’t win game.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      In the reverse GregG, back in the late 80’s the newspaper and KNCO did not like the fact the Grass Valley City Council fired the police chief. We readers were subjected to daily trashing of the Council by both. Then under different Publishers of course. They whipped up so much community discontent the folks recalled four of the five. It was as biased as I have ever seen a newspaper or a radio station. Turned out kind of funny though because many of those people went down the road not long after too.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Well Greg, lets set the record straight a little here.

      First, NH2020 was an initiative of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, elected by the people, and in charge of the effort from the onset, based on a vote of the peoples representatives, not the Sierra Business Council. We acted as a partner on the program, and brought private sector resources to the table, to reduce the cost to the taxpayers, which in any other community would be considered a pretty good thing to do.

      Second, at no time in the process did the Sierra Business Council seek to impede, or divert The Union from reporting on the initiative. We were always 100% cooperative with the local press and its representatives, because we believe in a free and independent press. We believed in giving everyone a voice. What I objected to as an observer of the process, Nevada County resident, and consumer of the paper–but our organization never objected to as a participant in the process–was the inaccurate and slanted reporting on the process, which consistently granted a greater voice to opponents than was warranted based on either their numbers, the data, or the relevancy of their arguments, whipped up hysteria over what the initiative would do without any basis in fact, and failed to vet the accuracy of comments from spokespeople.

      NH 2020 was a long time ago, and believe it or not, I rarely think about it. Sure it has some bearing on my opinion, but believe me I am involved in way too many things to be spending much time reliving The Union’s role in NH 2020.

      Placer County has moved forward with a natural resources plan that will allow them to preserve 50% of the western county, develop 50% of the western county and dramatically decrease the cost, time, risk of litigation, and uncertainty associated with private development, while creating a system that assures local residents that the most important environmental assets will be protected while conservation will be achieved based on the principle of willing sellers and almost entirely private financing. This solution is simultaneously supported by the Sierra Club and the Building Industry Association. Don’t you wish we had that in Nevada County?

      My personal fear, as a Nevada County resident, is that in the future, Placer will be charging ahead economically with a system in place to achieve consensus around land use issues, while the residents of Nevada County will still be arguing and litigating over whether or not a 5 unit subdivision needs sidewalks. Frankly, in my eyes, that serves nobodies purposes.

      What The Union failed to understand, and the property rights organizations failed to understand, is that, in the long run, such a system actually increases economic development, reduces costs to landowners, and provides a more stable and predictable tax base for the county over time. Perhaps leaders in the property rights movement should have spent their time trying find common ground instead of trying to hire hit men to kill their neighbors.

      Third, I find it ironic that every comment I make in public must be accompanied by an attack from you on the efficacy of the organization I work for. SBC has more than 700 business members, and a network of more than 8000 businesses/local governments/community leaders/and stakeholders who we communicate with on a regular basis, a disproportionate number of them in Nevada and Placer Counties. You may not agree with some of the positions the organization takes, but that does not make us, and by extension them, any less a legitimate voice of the business community in the Sierra Nevada. Business is not a monolithic entity, there are many small and medium sized businesses that truly appreciate our services and our voice, just as there are some who prefer Chambers, manufacturing associations, or even CAPRO.

      Finally, it seems like every comment here creates a personal attack in response, or some twisted an inaccurate vision of who I am, and by extension who our organization is. These merely serve to demonstrate to the rational reader, who is much more moderate than those who get their ya-ya’s out fighting here, the shallowness of your position. To rational readers this is simply an example of how you would rather attack the messenger than discuss, rationally and respectfully the key point of my original post, which was to ask the question what institutions will act as conveners of a respectful dialogue in the future.

      Some people tell me you are capable of respectful dialogue–from the tone on these blogs over the years I have not seen it–but I am much more interested in how our friends and neighbors are going to find the opportunity for respectful dialogue than whether you can contibute.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        “Finally, it seems like every comment here creates a personal attack in response, or some twisted an inaccurate vision of who I am, and by extension who our organization is. These merely serve to demonstrate to the rational reader, who is much more moderate than those who get their ya-ya’s out fighting here, the shallowness of your position. To rational readers this is simply an example of how you would rather attack the messenger than discuss, rationally and respectfully the key point of my original post, which was to ask the question what institutions will act as conveners of a respectful dialogue in the future.”

        This really is classic Delphi. Alinsky, too. “Facilitators are trained to recognize potential opponents and how to make such people appear aggressive, foolish, extremist, etc.”

        In your case, Steve, you have come to the blogs of your opposition with olive branch in hand, pretending to be the model of propriety while at the same time making your usual ugly caricatures of those very same people. This is how you seem to operate.

        If you want an open, rational and respectful debate, try turning a new leaf and becoming open, rational and respectful for a change. Not just in a venue where you are trying to curry favor with folks who don’t know you very well. Wear the same face everywhere you go.

        Personally, I doubt you can do it.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          That’s right Greg, I was secretly trained in the Delphi Method by a group of Brazilian Rio Summit graduates who are acolytes of Agenda 21 so I can come back to Nevada County and turn the locals into green pod people.

          One of the things that really endears my adopted home county to me is the fact that it is absolutely….LOONEY TUNES.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Yes, Steve, you are great at nonresponsive replies.

            Delphi is a well known technique, there’s no global conspiracy pushing it, and it’s great at convincing a group of rubes that they actually had a say in the public meeting when it just ended up where management wanted it to.

            OpenSpace. Are you still using it? I did find the link on the document at your website:
            Open Space World (New Meeting Techniques)
            http://www.openspaceworld.org
            http://www.sbcouncil.org/pdf/ParticipationToolkit.pdf

          • Todd juvinall says:

            SteveF, what exactly was the trip to China about? Was it paid for by the feds? Were you there as a SBC rep? I seem to recall asking you this and you said you would be listing it on you tax form for SBC.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Hey Todd, how about this…..you will get the same information, at the same time everyone else does, and it will be exactly what I am required to disclose, and if any more, what I decide I wish to. In other words, I owe you nothing, and it is none of your darn business.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          RL, Frisch knows I’ve argued against the loca conservatives when they’ve gotten excited, and can’t remember ever signing onto any conspiracy theory. Ever.

          Frisch’s last post is purely defamatory with no basis in fact. Please remove it.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            RL, Frisch knows I’ve argued against the local conservatives when they’ve gotten excited about Agenda 21, and can’t remember ever signing onto any conspiracy theory. Ever.

            Frisch’s last post is purely defamatory with no basis in fact. Please remove it.

            [sorry about the duplication… phone phumbles]

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Hey Greg, read this great article in Atlantic that just came out. If you can say I am using the Delphi Method and impune my character, why can’t I have a little fun and make a joke of it.

            http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/06/inside-agenda-21-international-tyranny-bike-lanes/53844/

          • Steve Frisch says:

            By the way, It does not take an evil genius trained in Delphi to recognize people who are, “aggressive, foolish, extremists…”

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            More innuendo from the usual source. Frisch, I’ve never made an argument for Agenda 21 being anything but a sideshow, and you’ve been part of those threads. You know I’ve never been excited by it. I’ve also ignored Rio.

            Nor is there anything remotely requiring “evil genius” to run a Delphi session… in fact, they were pretty common in school systems trying to convince parents that their latest curriculum fads fulfilled their dreams. Even the Grass Valley School District’s Linda Brown tried to facilitate me into a corner.

            It’s easy, Steve. Simple question: Are you guys still promoting OpenSpace and facilitated public meetings?

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Hey Bob,

            I don’t think you should remove Steve F.’s anything. Gregory is always looking for an editor to cover his silly ass, but the bottom line is that he is nowhere except here, or some other blog with his deprecating verbiage.

            Upon which committees does he serve? How has the Almighty Gregory helped the Common Good? It it very difficult to find a record of value.

            He doesn’t even make comments about baseball. He must be a communist. I rest my case.

            M.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            There is a comment awaiting moderation, as well as a post below, that may help answer that question, not that I actually owe you an answer in any way. But to others, my answer would be that I have never actually used the Open Space Technology method, although I have been in meetings hosted by others that have used it. But, so what if I have? There is absolutely nothing wrong with facilitating public meetings.

            But more, I am sure, when the moderated portion is posted.

            But in the mean time I have a question for you Greg…..you have said that Delphi and Open Space are functionally the same, left people with the impression that Delphi is bad, and you have asked me if I now advocate or have ever advocated Open Space, as though there is something wrong with that…..so my question to you is when did you stop selling heroin?

            Now you may deny that you now sell heroin…or you may say that there is nothing wrong with selling heroin, or you may even deny that you ever sold heroin in the past….but in the mean time anyone looking in would simply hear one thing….Greg Goodknight sells heroin.

            Now I want to be clear to all dear readers, I do not THINK that Greg sells heroin, this is merely an illustration.

            Now you see how Greg manipulates information to try to imply that others are doing something wrong. Its really quite a 1950’s tactic Greg. And I thought you were a much more modern man.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            By the way, clearly Greg did not read the article from Atlantic, since he missed the comments about the Delphi Method and the link to A 21.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Gregory is not a modern man. And will never be…

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Ahh, the Frisch logic seems to be:

            ‘Greg thinks the Delphi technique is misused
            Folks worried about an alleged Agenda 21 conspiracy also think Delphi is also being used by Agenda 21 proponents.

            Therefore, Greg can be tarred as an Agenda 21 nutcase.’

            Anderson is still ticked off The Union took down his screeds directed towards me from their blog, at about the same time Pelline was canned. A mutual friend of Jeff Ackerman and I broke through the stonewall I was getting.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Greg, you didn’t answer the question. You attack people like Steve who are actively working on projects to make things better in Nevada County, and yet you don’t tell us what you are doing instead.

            It’s kind of like voting, i.e. if you don’t vote you don’t get to complain. Likewise, if you aren’t doing anything besides being a pain in the neck on blogs, you probably aren’t qualified to be a part of the dialog.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Let’s revisit part of the ugly rhetoric that Jeff A. had removed from The Union blog:

            “Let it be known that people like you pose the greatest danger to life on earth, and we are cataloging your behavior in real time.

            People like you–educated, but toadies for the evil life killers of the planet for whatever reason–are high on the target list.

            Dumping carbon is evil, just like dumping sewage into a river is evil. If you can’t agree to that, we have a major problem.”

            Yes, that was Michael Anderson, posting as “mandersonation”.

            Sorry Mike, but your ideas regarding the limits of the rights of the folks you disagree with just are not supported by law. Frisch and the SBC have caused much more harm than good to Nevada County and the state, and besides, standing up to him (and you) are a public good.

            You and Frisch apparently remain birds of a feather on CO2 alarmism, which is slowly being abandoned with only the true believers and the heavily invested still trying to ring the bell.

            Sorry you can’t find much about what I am doing online. How sad for you.

  15. Greg Goodknight says:

    “Well Greg, lets set the record straight a little here.

    First, NH2020 was an initiative of the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, elected by the people, and in charge of the effort from the onset, based on a vote of the peoples representatives, not the Sierra Business Council. We acted as a partner on the program, and brought private sector resources to the table, to reduce the cost to the taxpayers, which in any other community would be considered a pretty good thing to do.”

    The lefty rag from Sacramento said you provided 2/3rds of the funding and provided much of the push.
    http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/rural-revolt/content?oid=4203

    The “people’s representatives” didn’t last long, and probably wouldn’t have been voted into office in the first place had their plans been clearer.

    You mention “the inaccurate and slanted reporting [by The Union] on the process, which consistently granted a greater voice to opponents than was warranted based on either their numbers, the data, or the relevancy of their arguments, whipped up hysteria over what the initiative would do without any basis in fact, and failed to vet the accuracy of comments from spokespeople. ” What a shame you just couldn’t get everyone to see it the way you still do. Personally, I’m quite happy the so-called Sierra Business Council didn’t manage to get their way and weren’t consistently given the last word on the reporting of opinions by the paper.

    “Some people tell me you are capable of respectful dialogue–from the tone on these blogs over the years I have not seen it…”

    You see what you want to see, Steve, and you’re getting every measure of respect your past actions warrant.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Since Steve Frisch buggered out rather than answer this one on another blog, I’ll repeat it here:

      What the SBC links [not any more, I can no longer find it mentioned on sbcouncil.org] to is a packaging of Delphi [a technique for controlling public meetings] called Open Space. Compare this to the Delphi piece I linked to [in the thread I’m quoting from]:
      “Open Space works best when the work to be done is complex, the people and ideas involved are diverse, the passion for resolution (and potential for conflict) are high, and the time to get it done was yesterday … a simple, powerful way to get people and organizations moving — when and where it’s needed most.

      And, while Open Space is known for its apparent lack of structure and welcoming of surprises, it turns out that the Open Space meeting or organization is actually very structured — but that structure is so perfectly fit to the people and the work at hand, that it goes unnoticed in its proper role of supporting (not blocking) best work. In fact, the stories and workplans woven in Open Space are generally more complex, more robust, more durable — and can move a great deal faster than expert- or management-driven designs.”
      http://www.openspaceworld.org/cgi/wiki.cgi?AboutOpenSpace

      This is indistinguishable from “Delphi”.

      If Frisch thinks the SBC way is different, please, give examples.

      (06 November 2011 at 03:44 PM at Rebane’s blog)

      Still using OpenSpace, Steve?

      • Steve Frisch says:

        Greg, the SBC web site has never linked to the “Delphi Technique” that I am aware of. What we did link to on our web site is a method of group discussion and decision-making called “Open Space Technology” based on the book by Owen Harrison.

        http://www.amazon.com/Open-Space-Technology-Harrison-Owen/dp/1442966424

        By the way, I don’t think the first book on Open Space Technology came out until about 2002, so it was not even published while we were working on NH 2020, so unless you think we were in secret communication with Owen Harrison, it kind of blows your theory.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          Having to go multiple posts here–please read and respond as one…..

          I am proud of the point that SBC plays a role bringing new resources and ideas to the community. It is kind of up to you whether you want to use them or not. I am disappointed that I can’t find a link to Open Space Technology on our web site today, but our site is so full of useful ideas and information that I might just be missing it. We also link to the Consensus Building Handbook and numerous examples of consensus building techniques to help communities make decisions. What is wrong with that? What would you have us do, fight it out with meat axes?

          Personally I had never heard of the “the Delphi Method” until it came up during the NH 2020 era, and some people connected it in the community with some conspiratorial attempt to control the outcome of meetings. I guess anyone can be suspicious of anything anyone wants. Most facilitation in meetings is really nothing more than a way to structure an agenda for a meeting, and the conversation resulting, to reach a coordinated record of results on a set of questions being posed. The delphi method is no different–a method of narrowing in on the most important decisions–created by the US military, used widely in business in the 60’s and 70’s, and largely out of favor later. Now you can see that as some big conspiracy, that SBC adopted delphi to control peoples minds–in which case I would say the New England Town Hall Meeting, most corporate business and strategic planning, most crowd-sourcing of information and modern technology driven on-line open source collaboration, and just about any organization that meets with an agenda in advance, is part of the big global conspiracy–or you can see it as a way to not waste a lot of time discussing baseball when the question is sewers. I don’t know about the rest of the readers here but I hate wasting time in meetings that don’t result in any results.

          I think the whole delphi canard is just more tin foil hat nonsense.

          Here are two competing views of delphi:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_method

          http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/delphi_technique.htm

          I will let the readers decide which one to consider.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Steve, just because the conspiracy types are crazy doesn’t mean they really didn’t see facilitators at public meetings acting more like Border Collies moving the sheep towards the shearers.

            “Facilitators” being honest actors in an open and honest process helping attendees to come to conclusions is the Delphi method as it was meant to be. Insuring the ideas that are contrary to the host organization get buried is where the problems lie. Even worse than failure of a public meeting to come to a conclusion for folks with an agenda, like the SBC, is the public meeting they’re paying for coming to conclusions contrary to what the host organization wants.

            That isn’t conspiratorial, and I can tell you just have a near pathological need to link me to conspiracy nutcases. No, you and SBC are just doing what special interests have always done… try to move others in the direction you want them to go, and directed facilitation of group meetings is one way to manufacture a false consensus.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Steve, this isn’t that hard to keep straight.

          Harrison’s Open Space is apparently just a repackaging of a technique that goes back to the ’70’s, and has a number of valid uses. It can also be used to drive a group to a predetermined conclusion. I first learned about that misuse of Dephi in the mid ’90’s as it was being used by whole math and whole language proponents to drive parent meetings towards what management wanted in the first place.

          I didn’t ask you if you were using Open Space brand facilitation in the NH2020 meetings in Nevada County, I asked if Open Space is still being touted by SBC now (apparently so), and I still want to know that differed from what SBC was doing during NH2020.

          As The Union reported at the time, “County supervisors launched NH 2020 in May 2000 when they signed a memorandum of understanding with the nonprofit Sierra Business Council. The council, hired to facilitate public meetings, agreed to pay two-thirds of the cost of the program, with the county paying the remainder. ”

          I didn’t manage to go to the meetings SBC facilitated (my wife was slowly dying of cancer at the time), but from all reports it sure sounded like Dephi, no matter what you called it.

          So what training materials were you guys using in 2000?

  16. Steve Frisch says:

    Dr. Laurence Susskind’s (et.al.) The Consensus Building Handbook, plus about 2 weeks of training from a professional practitioner, coupled with the professional experience and training of the Nevada County planning staff.

    But this is all still absolutely irrelevant and derivative, which is you tactic here. The key question I asked was “how do we create institutions to build consensus in our communities, and create respectful civic dialogue.”

    I think every reader sees the answer. From the beginning I should have just ignored you, because really you are irrelevant. I should have focused on the people in the community who actually want to get something done; who want to work together; who really don’t give a hoot about all this ideologically driven nonsense; who do not hate and attack their neighbors; who are motivated by positive motion rather than bitterness in life; who have already spoken loud and clear that you and your clique on the blogosphere don’t amount to a leaders in this community.

    I think you would be happiest talking to yourself in a dark room.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      “From the beginning I should have just ignored you, because really you are irrelevant. I should have focused on the people in the community who actually want to get something done; who want to work together; who really don’t give a hoot about all this ideologically driven nonsense”

      But Steve, all you do is spout ideologically driven nonsense. SBC is founded on a particular ideological slant. You are as free of ideology as a native of Alabama is free of an accent.

      Besides, since you again say you should just ignore me while ignoring your own advice, it would appear you’re either lying to yourself and everyone else, are hopelessly stuck in an obsessive-compulsive loop or are an idiot. Or some combination of the above.

      Please, take your own advice.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      OK, now, after years, we have just where the SBC and Steve Frisch got their mechanism for creating “institutions to build consensus in our communities, and create respectful civic dialogue.”

      It’s “The Consensus Building Handbook, plus about 2 weeks of training from a professional practitioner, coupled with the professional experience and training of the Nevada County planning staff”.

      Along with rhetoric from Frisch like “the whole delphi canard is just more tin foil hat nonsense” and “One of the things that really endears my adopted home county to me is the fact that it is absolutely….LOONEY TUNES”.

      Great respectful dialog there, Steve. And it’s nothing new; your modus operandi at the blogs you love to hate generally ends with just such a loss of control when you don’t get your way.

      I see no upside to someone so incapable of respectful dialog be in any way, shape or form responsible for creating “institutions to build consensus in our communities, and create respectful civic dialogue”. I personally think that, warts and all, the state, Federal, and local elected bodies and the open debate that shape them is where our energy should be poured. SBC-trained facilitators shaping public opinion on public policies are anathema to the democratic process.

  17. Steve Frisch says:

    Really, Greg, why didn’t you just say that to begin with instead of leaving everyone feeling like they just spent the night with Roseanne Roseannadana?

    You are the one who brought up all this extraneous nonsense!

    Why don’t you just say, “nevermind” and give it up?

  18. Greg Goodknight says:

    Frisch, I could have gotten to that many moons ago, but you’d ignored my question. Because I was unable to see your people in action during your divisive NH2020 failures, I wanted to hear from you just where the SBC got their procedures, and thanks also for the fact that you’d heard cries of Dephi at the time; so it was identified as such by observers.

    What others have described at the time, and what you agree you’d heard from others at the time, the directed facilitation that some call “Delphi”, was probably an inherent conflict of interest. Your membership and donors were paying for most of the effort, and also ran the meetings to document public input. You wanted a given result, your facilitators knew what the desired results were and arguably did their best to get it.

    Now, my understanding is only about 70 of your 700 members are from Nevada County, despite the SBC being headquartered in Nevada County. If true, why are there so few locals in the “Sierra Business Council”?

    Of course, you can choose to start ignoring me at any time.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Greg, 70 is actually a dis-proportionately high number. We cover a 20 county region, including portions of three counties in Nevada.

      There was no Delphi, no hidden agenda, no manipulation, and no sinister intent on the part of SBC or the County. These were good people, doing what the elected representatives of the people asked them to do. For you to paint well meaning public employees, and an organization like mine that saved the taxpayers the expense of providing these services as villains, especially without actually being there to see it, is despicable.

      And of course the professional training the people involved in the process had was much more than I listed here…..I only listed the special training.

      The training I received came in very handy when I arrived at one of the community workshops early, and saw members of the esteemed property rights community (including Drew and Bill Weismann) training groups of people in the parking lot in how to disrupt a public meeting. I was able to hang on the back of the group and listen as Drew coached them in chanting, and the organized signals that would start the chanting; how to stand close to facilitators in order to make them nervous and shout while they were facilitating, in larger and smaller groups; how to time interruptions to ensure that content was difficult to understand; how to block peoples faces and graphics on the walls with signs; and how to interrupt the proceedings of the public agenda in order to ensure that outcomes could not be reached. Very respectful of their fellow citizens who had actually showed up to participate.

      This was the meeting where I had to facilitate a sub-group of about 25 people while two people stood, one on either side of me, and shouted into my ear, as I asked members of the community, who had come to participate in good faith, a set of questions. This is also the meeting that was interrupted by the need for a heavy presence of police, and a bomb threat that quietly cleared the hall 2/3 rds of the way through the agenda.

      With all due respect to the people who told you about the process while you were attending to more important family matters, they did you a disservice, because you really don’t know your a** from a hole in the ground.

      I received more than a dozen profane and threatening crank phone calls at home and at my office during the process, and I was not even the project manager, I was in Placer County doing Placer Legacy. The project manager for SBC, and the planner for the county, received profane and threatening phone calls. The SBC project manager was placed under so much community pressure that her health suffered.

      In short, the anti-NH2020 activists acted like bullies and hooligans.

      But it is 12 years later, and you, without being involved in any way, are an expert.

      And all this without ever addressing the key question I posed; which was how do we create institutions to build consensus in our communities, and create respectful civic dialogue.

      You can lie down with the dogs. I prefer the good, hard working, families, community volunteers, and small and medium sized businesses in the county who do most of the things most important to the people who live here.

      Frankly, you would have been in the shouting, irrational, mob.

      • RL Crabb says:

        Well, fellas, this has been quite an exchange. If anything, it reinforces my “mushy middle” stance in the ongoing feud between the left and right. I was at most of the NH2020 meetings and I can say without reservation that the points expressed by Steve and Greg are, for the most part, true. I attended the facillitated meetings and I did feel that they were aimed at reaching a preconceived conclusion. In fact, when I was sitting in the crowd and someone from the opposition would bring up a question about property rights, there was a lot of mumbling about how stupid or ignorant the person was. The majority of those attending were activists who knew exactly what they wanted. Now I’m not going to tie it to any agenda or subversive mind control techniques, I just saw it as a group of people that passionately believe they need to control what others do with their land. Anyone who doesn’t believe that property rights are being eroded in California is kidding themselves.
        On the other hand, I also witnessed a good deal of thuggery from the right. There was a meeting held in Spenceville hosted by Izzy Martin and Sue Levitz that resembled something you might have seen in a Munich beer hall in the thirties. Sue and Izzy were continually shouted down by angry protestors with waving fists wearing yellow armbands. And I’ve also seen those with a total disregard for protecting the environment or the property rights of their neighbors.
        I could go on with dozens more examples, but I think you get the picture. There is so little trust between the opposing factions that it is near to impossible to find common ground, and I would have to say both sides have legitimate gripes. That’s why I did the cartoon “The Haunting Question” that I posted here a few weeks ago.
        And I know that both sides will claim I’m wrong about THEIR particular point of view, but that’s how it was. How do we bridge the trust gap? You got me, but one thing you can do is start to have a little more respect for each other. With the history of insults, I know that’s a tall order, but you have to start somewhere.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          The difference Bob is that it was not the FACILITATORS that were implying the public was stupid or ignorant, it was other members of the public. Which is precisely why we need institutions both inside and outside of government to build community and civic respect and participation.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Other members of the public who agreed with what the “facilitators” were doing.

            Which is precisely why “facilitators” working for private companies with a dog in the hunt have no business whatsoever running “public meetings”.

            A valid Delphi, which is what your source materials try to describe, requires the facilitator to be an honest and impartial broker of ideas. Yours, apparently, were not.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          “I attended the facillitated meetings and I did feel that they were aimed at reaching a preconceived conclusion. In fact, when I was sitting in the crowd and someone from the opposition would bring up a question about property rights, there was a lot of mumbling about how stupid or ignorant the person was.”

          Pure Delphi with a dollop of the Alinsky persuasion on the side. No wonder Steve started hearing Delphi in the pushbacks.

          Bob, thanks for chiming in. I’d heard some of the same things but not from a bona fide honest (if sometimes wrong ) broker.

          And I’m not even on the right!

          You don’t bridge the trust gap with something like NH2020. You back off; it was a bridge too far. There was no mandate, and in retrospect, the threat of Nevada County turning into Roseville seems to have been exaggerated. A countywide survey to make it easier to crank out all those future environmental impact reports for all that development we’re not having would have been real overkill.

    • “Frisch, I could have gotten to that many moons ago, but you’d ignored my question.”

      Greg regularly ignores all question that might show deficiencies in his arguments.

  19. Greg Goodknight says:

    You just can’t resist, can you?

    The only interaction I ever had with Bedwell was offering him air transportation to KPAO/Palo Alto for cancer treatments if he got into a bleeding edge trial. He apparently didn’t.

    I had donated a number of flights through my volunteer command pilot status with Angel Flight, including another local who needed a pickup from KPAO after a Stanford treatment that had been keeping him alive.

    Sorry, Frisch, but a fair and open process would not have been a candidate for disruption. You guys were paying for the process and it was obvious you didn’t want your vision to fail, but fail it did. Democracy is a bitch.

  20. Greg Goodknight says:

    That wasn’t mob rule, that was the disenfranchised that SBC, a private “company” organized to perform governmental functions but without pesky restrictions like the Brown Act, did their best to ignore.

    You just refuse to take any responsibility for the results. Par for the course, I suppose.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Bomb threats, threatening phone calls, and shouting people down in public meetings is mob rule.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Let’s clean up this stub left by RL’s pruning:

        These public meetings were to be gathering public input, not echo chambers for the opinions of the “Sierra Business Council” facilitators. As such, it wasn’t a public meeting or a democratic process, it was a fraud.

        • Michael Anderson says:

          Let’s just make sure we all agree that this is only your opinion, Greg. Not a fact.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Let’s first agree that your attempted slapdown is only your opinion and not a fact.

            Let’s go further and agree it’s likely that most of the rabble that was making it difficult for the SBC-facilitated “public meetings” to proceed as planned also thought the exercise was a fraud.

            Now what?

          • Michael Anderson says:

            “Now what?”

            I guess we just agree that we have difference of opinion on whether or not those meetings were a fraud, and we move on.

            I don’t really know where else to go with it.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Greg, the training I received came in very handy when I arrived at one of the community workshops early, and saw members of the esteemed property rights community training groups of people in the parking lot in how to disrupt a public meeting. I was able to hang on the back of the group and listen as Drew coached them in chanting, and the organized signals that would start the chanting; how to stand close to facilitators in order to make them nervous and shout while they were facilitating, in larger and smaller groups; how to time interruptions to ensure that content was difficult to understand; how to block peoples faces and graphics on the walls with signs; and how to interrupt the proceedings of the public agenda in order to ensure that outcomes could not be reached.

            This was the meeting where I had to facilitate a sub-group of about 25 people while two people stood, one on either side of me, and shouted in my ear, as I asked members of the community, who had come to participate in good faith, a set of questions. This is also the meeting that was interrupted by the need for a heavy presence of police, and a bomb threat that quietly cleared the hall 2/3 rds of the way through the agenda.

            With all due respect to the people who told you about the process while you were attending to more important family matters, they did you a disservice, because you really don’t know your a** from a hole in the ground.

            I received more than a dozen profane and threatening crank phone calls at home and at my office during the process, and I was not even the project manager, I was in Placer County doing Placer Legacy. The project manager for SBC, and the planner for the county, received profane and threatening phone calls. The SBC project manager was placed under so much community pressure that her health suffered.

            In short, the anti-NH2020 activists acted like bullies and hooligans.

            But it is 12 years later, and you, without being involved in any way, are an expert.

          • Todd juvinall says:

            Yeah SteveF, those against NH2020 and your ilk, those people trying to protect their private property rights were just bullies. But they kicked your ass at the ballot box didn’t they? Yep, you were the perpetrator of a property taking fraud exposed by Drew Bedwell and he beat you. Get over it.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Nice to know that you condone this sort of behavior Todd. That is why you could not get elected dogcatcher today. Every one knows you now, and what they see is a bully.

        • Todd juvinall says:

          SteveF, is that the best you can come up with? Old hat to me by lefty nuts. Using your logic for fortune telling, you might be talking about yourself now that you are exposed. Liens are not fun. What a hoot!

  21. Todd juvinall says:

    Just talked to someone in Yuba County who said the new guy is a lefty. I said how could a fellow who likes Two and a Half Men be a lefty?

    • Todd juvinall says:

      I talked with another person today I respect and he says the new guy is not a lefty but a good guy with a sense of humor. I am not going to make any opinions until I meet him and read some of his stuff. Hope springs eternal.

    • Judith Lowry says:

      That’s pretty good Bob, another way of looking at the Troll problem.
      The systematic part is most concerning.
      There’s a youtube video that Don Pelton posted on Jeff Pelline’s blog.
      “Tea Party harasses MoveOn.org members”. Some very aggressive Tea Partiers moved on these people as they were trying to have a peaceful meeting in a park. Then followed them to a private home to further intimidate them.
      This is ugly criminal disruption for which TP members receive special training?
      Wow.
      Watch “Schindler’s List”, and you will see the same kind of systemic bullying directed at Jews.
      Maybe fighting fire with fire is the right thing to do sometimes.
      What is mightier today, the pen, the sword, or the cellphone camera?

  22. Todd juvinall says:

    Ya, those little gray haired ladies really remind us all of the SS. Yep, right. What a hoot!

  23. RL Crabb says:

    I,ve removed the last few posts from Michael and Greg. Personal problems between those who comment here should be settled somewhere…anywhere…but on my site. If the nasty remarks continue I’ll have to block them. Maybe I’ll institute a new rule where you must address others as ‘my esteemed adversary’ or ‘my worthy opponent.’ I could always re-write the comments to reflect those terms. Remember, I’m God here, and I can do anything I please. Neener neener.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      No personal problems, Bob, just public ones. I’ve never met the guy, before or after The Union blog posts that caused my wife to literally tremble with fear. You don’t forget something like that.

      The problem with “trolls” is that there generally isn’t any possibility of getting a consensus on just who the trolls are. Personally, I see one former teacher as being on top of the list, but also Judith L and Steve F. And just accept that they probably view me in a similar light.

      • RL Crabb says:

        There’s a fine line here. A little sarcasm is not a bad thing, and with me being a political cartoonist it would be hypocritical for me to try and ban it. The difference is when it keeps building and building into outright hate and contempt. I’d like this to be a place where people feel they can comment and offer an opinion without fear of undue ridicule and personal attacks. Focus on the issue and not the person. Where do you think you are, Congress?

  24. Robert Lovejoy says:

    What turns me off is that some of the posters here feel a need to put down Roseburg, Ore as a way to0 keep the myth alive that this is God’s Country and we are so friggin special. I have not been to Roseburg in years, not since I helped a friend start a nursery after Nam. Reminiscent of when the man from KNCO took a job in Montana and all the posters commenting on him moving to hick town in Bum, Egypt. Especially a retired teacher from the Bay who has never set foot in Montana. I pointed out that the town had just under 100,000 in population with a very low unemployment rate and a larger audience. Some people here are just arrogant horses asses. In Roseburg , in Montana, in Nebraska, in South Carolina, in Atlanta, in Nevada, in Utah, in Kansas, In Ohio, in Delaware, in Indiana, in Hawaii, from Sea to Shining Sea private property rights are of utmost importance. That is why there are more hunters in Wisconsin alone that all the guns in the French and German armies. Michigan is the same. 2020 is on the wrong side of history. Ackerman was fair. Ackerman never told me what I should think or ever told me that what I considered important was to be pooh-poohed and really was not important like the left does. In fact, the left tries to tell me what I do not consider paramount is indeed very important . No, Ackerman never told me what I should think like the Bloody Vaginal Monologues of the purple people eaters.

  25. Judith Lowry says:

    Bob,
    When we moved here in the mid 90’s the NC2020 controversy was in full swing.
    It was like walking into one of those old Western movie saloon fights, rip-roaring
    With the cacophony of vehement rhetoric drowning everything out, the definition of NC2020, and the precise reasons for its opposition still evade me.
    What is/was it?
    I did see that on both sides of the issue there was plenty of, hubris, authoritarian arrogance and agenda pushing.
    There never seemed to be a middle ground.
    Obviously the wounds of the NC2020 battle are still tender on both sides of the moat.
    This obvious in all of the blogs.
    I had hoped the blogosphere would be a dynamic way for people to come together and solve problems.
    Instead there is a lot of bullying and going on and although it’s entertaining to sharpen one’s verbal skills in defending one’s position, there is little constructive debate occurring, and that’s too bad.
    Because at the end of the day we need to find that middle ground and craft a better language and a better way to hang together or we will certainly hang separately in the uncertain days ahead.

    • RL Crabb says:

      Judith, that was the biggest hurdle that NH2020 proponents faced. Most of the public could never quite get what changes the plan would involve around land use issues. Of course, that’s what the public hearings were supposed to accomplish, but in most cases they became a platform for the opposition to vent. There were several papers written on the subject, and the chapter of my book “Once Upon a Village” which just scratches the surface.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Judith, I thought Bob did a fine job of summarizing NH2020: “Now I’m not going to tie it to any agenda or subversive mind control techniques, I just saw it as a group of people that passionately believe they need to control what others do with their land. Anyone who doesn’t believe that property rights are being eroded in California is kidding themselves.”

      Imagine how you might feel if a slim majority of right wing county supervisors subsidized CABPRO to run a bunch of public meetings that would determine how the county would be developed, and what you found when you walked in the door was Todd Juvinal, Martin Light and Chuck Shea (apologies to the named, nothing personal) guiding everyone to the right decision.

      That’s not the way to run a county.

      • Michael Anderson says:

        Greg wrote: “Imagine how you might feel if a slim majority of right wing county supervisors subsidized CABPRO to run a bunch of public meetings that would determine how the county would be developed, and what you found when you walked in the door was Todd Juvinal, Martin Light and Chuck Shea (snip) guiding everyone to the right decision.”

        I imagine I would feel just fine with that, if at first I ignored the personalities and looked closely at the plan, studying carefully the goals and the processes involved before casting judgement. Which is exactly what I did with NH2020.

        The opponents of NH2020 mostly didn’t do that. It was about getting back at the green Gang of Four, right from the get-go. The liberals followed suit by demonizing the right.

        Steve F. is correct in describing NH2020 as a hugely missed opportunity. We could have an economy-driving Placer Legacy in place right now, but instead we have nothing. If anything, we have a county Planning Department that’s harder to work with than ever before, if you listen to the anecdotal evidence from the local contractors.

        And the damage continues, as long as personalities are the first order of business in evaluating local politics.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          “I imagine I would feel just fine with that, if at first I ignored the personalities and looked closely at the plan”

          That’s an awfully big IF.

      • Todd juvinall says:

        What is not being remembered here is the longest General Plan “update” in California history. The RQC and their pals were doing their best to take over the GP and they created so mush anger with the landowners it was not funny. No, the left overreached way to soon after all the GP and zoning got finalized and even then the left was very vocal about their discontent with that. We on the rightt were doing our best to protect property rights, we were not the ones pushing any agenda at all regarding the landuse laws. So, as we can read here trying to maintain the freedom of a landowner is in some way a bad thing when a liberal doesn’t get to tell you how to use your property as you see fit.

  26. Judith Lowry says:

    Esteemed Messrs. Juvinal and Goodnight,

    I think I get it, but here’s a little story.
    Before we came here my husband worked for an engineering company, doing site assessments. He liked the job because he loves local history. He got to go around and interview old-timers about their land and how they developed it and in the process heard stories of the good old days.
    I remember he came home one day after interviewing an old gentleman who had operated a auto repair shop on his property for more than thirty years.
    For those years he disposed of all his dead car batteries down an old well, a common practice back in the day.
    Old wells that get used like that contaminate the groundwater.
    Who wants battery acid in their water?

    The nearby Yurok tribe had to deal with a strip mining company that operated, on leased land, for years on their reservation. When the mining company left, the place was so polluted it qualified for the Superfund.
    I have cousins married into that tribe who have affected children.
    I can tell you about the birth defects firsthand and they are heartbreaking.
    I thought maybe that NH2020 was the kind of survey that would address those kinds of problems before they affect the health of the community.
    I still think something like that is a good idea, especially given the mining history hereabouts and our area’s vulnerability to forest fires.
    But yeah, the community has to reach consensus organically, from the ground up.
    I think the folks that tried to push this past the public were also seeking power and position beyond the good they wanted to do, which is why they failed.
    Is that about right?

  27. Greg Goodknight says:

    Judith, first, while I don’t dislike him at all, I really have little in common with Todd. He does seem to get some of his good ideas from me though so he isn’t all bad. ;)

    If I am reading your intent correctly, yes, as far as I remember NH2020 had nothing to do with ferreting out of old pollution sites.

    “I think the folks that tried to push this past the public were also seeking power and position beyond the good they wanted to do, which is why they failed.
    Is that about right?”

    I think they failed because they were ignoring private property rights in an open ended process and that got the locals, um, cranky. It really doesn’t matter how much good the proponents thought they would do once they took control. I know Russ Steele has written that he thinks a Placer-like program probably could be done now, with a balanced oversight committee unlike the stacked deck in the NH2020 debacle, but I tend to get the willies when the right people have to be in the right jobs in order for rights not to get violated.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      One of my last public hearings and I think I was the Chairman, was in 1992 and it was about the General Plan “update”. Somehow a eco from the ridge got clandestinely hired by the planning department and he was told to develop a overall GIS type map for the county lands. He was also instructed by some person(s) (some say the RQC) there to use what he and they called, balloons (or clouds if you will) to divide the county properties into 40 acre minimums (thereby for all practical purposes disallowing any splits or subdivisions under zoning laws for the life of the plan, 30 years or so). Well, there was a spy who told me this shenanigan was going on and I was able to expose it. But, before I could it was leaked to the press and when the meeting began at the Rood Center it was obvious we had two or three times the people we could accommodate there. We mover it to the Vets in GV and the place was packed. It was packed by the land owners of the county. They were livid the boneheads in the planning department were trying to wreck them and their ability to use their land, Anyway, the eco’s were spanked real good that day but like all good liberals they sneaked back in later and started the NH2020 which set off another war.

      Also, the NH2020 would allow government agents to come onto your land without a warrant to inventory all the little critters and plants in order to put together a bio plan. The war was the use of the results of those inventories. People were not accepting the eco’s words about how benign the use of the information was. They said it would be used to stop them from using their land. War was on.

      • Michael Anderson says:

        Todd, both sides were to blame. You are not taking any personal responsibility for the war. Par for the course.

        • Todd juvinall says:

          You don’t know squat MichaelA. You just bloviate. People like you are why there are wars, not me.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Todd, actually I do know squat. And I’m a lover, not a fighter. Let’s have coffee sometime.

  28. Judith Lowry says:

    Okay so far, I think.
    So, if NH2020 wasn’t about environmental assessment, in what way were private property rights ignored?
    I am still a little confused.
    What is the “Placer” program you mentioned?
    Is that something that is working?

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Environment as in flora and fauna that exist on the property, not evidence of past criminal dumping.

      It may surprise you, but if some company sends folks who come onto my property and starts poking around without my consent, that’s tresspass. Even if they think their curiosity is a good thing.

      Any entirely voluntary system could probably have been supported but the principals were not exactly patient.

      In 2001 I had a real eye opener from the actions of one of them. Just a couple of days after my wife’s funeral, a friend of mine from the airport (a friend of half of Nevada County), John Bauer, had his mass of Christian burial at St.Canice in Nevada City. He’d been killed in a headon collision from a kid driving his dad’s new pickup truck recklessly and at a very high speed on a local 2 lane road, with a loss of control that sent him into John’s car. He didn’t last long. My 12 year old son’s best friend in preschool was the son of John’s girlfriend, and, though we were in a very deep grief ourselves, we decided at the last minute to go pay our last respects.

      St.Canice was far too small for the number, but just about everyone managed to behave. We got as close as maybe 20′ from the door, and stood quietly in place, as did just about everyone, and people kept coming. There were a LOT of people behind us, and virtually all stood silently. My son and I greeted a funeral director in our viicinity who was surprised to see us, having helped us just a couple days earlier. However, one person didn’t want to stand outside. Over the space of 10 minutes they slowly pushed past their neighbors who had gotten there first, and they eventually made it to the church door and inside.

      That day in May, 2001 was the day I formed my most lasting impression of Izzy Martin. And I was later assured that no, she didn’t have any special relationship with the family.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      And that was it, his mind closed like a steel trap. That’s all he needed to know.

      Did you ever ask her why she did that? Do you have any other personal experiences with her that might add to your understanding of her as a person?

      For the record, I got to know Izzy a little bit several years after she was a supe, and I say hello to her when I see her on the street, but we travel in different circles so I’d describe her mostly as an acquaintance.

      But I just get very disturbed by these one-off personal judgements from Greg, especially when they come from non-sourced anecdotes that can neither be confirmed nor denied.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        It was confirmed by her friend Anna Haynes who, on a thread not that long ago, said she talked to Izzywho verified it but there wasa great reason that just couldn’t be shared.

        I don’t lie, Mike, but thanks for sharing your opinion that I do.

        • Michael Anderson says:

          I never said that you lied, Greg. Just that you were maybe making a hasty judgement w/o having all the facts.

          Perhaps you should find out what that “great reason” was before you repost your St. Canice story for the upteenth time (I’ve read your account in the blogs over the past 3 years at least twice before today, and possibly more).

          Just a helpful thought.

          • Judith Lowry says:

            Michael,

            Sometimes people repeat stories because they see something significant in them. Greg obviously saw Mrs. Martin’s funeral manners as emblematic of her leadership style.
            Politicians are often pushy and inconsiderate while they are attempting to gain visibility by attending certain events.
            I have some differences of my own with Mrs. Martin which cause me to question her integrity and abilities. Political ramrods tend to be myopic and self-serving.
            I read the Martin piece in the Union about how her non-profit was practically born out the smoking twin towers of the 911 attacks. Shameful hubris, and an exploitation of the victims of that horrible day.
            In other words, lots of room for improvement there.
            I did have some words for her recently over her treatment of the Nisenan People of Nevada County and she assured me that she is now working with the Tsi Akim Corporation in Plumas County.
            In that case, I don’t expect to be further troubled by her activities here. We have no longer have issues between us and I wish her well going forward.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Thanks for the new information, Judith.

  29. RL Crabb says:

    Michael and Greg – We’re starting to veer off subject again. Just a helpful reminder :)

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