Ghosts Of Halloween Past

This cartoon ran in The Union ten years ago, in October, 2002. It was a contentious election year, mostly due to the controversial land use initiative, NH2020. Two supervisors (Izzy Martin and Bruce Conklin) were supporters of NH2020 and were up for reelection. They were opposed by Robin Sutherland and Drew Bedwell, who were running on the promise to dump the initiative.

It was the nastiest election I’ve ever seen in Nevada County, highlighted by wild accusations, anonymous mailers, and stolen campaign signs. Town hall meetings were yelling matches, and at one point sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to keep the peace. When the voting was over, Martin was defeated by a wide margin in District Four and Conklin lost by a handful of votes in the Third.

The new majority wasted no time keeping their promise. NH2020 was the first item on the agenda and as Bedwell put it, “It’s time to shoot this puppy.” There was much bitterness for years afterward between the competing factions.

Things have changed since then. Bedwell and Sutherland are gone, and the current board, although still dominated by conservatives,  has done much to heal the wounds and find some common ground with the left. This election year, Nevada County is relatively quiet, even with questions about Nevada City and Grass Valley’s sales tax initiatives. Some of the local progressives have even endorsed the Republican candidate for assembly, although with the new “top two” rule their choices were limited.

Not so on the national scene. All the sniping and bitterness reminds me of those angry days in October, 2002, only on steroids. The difference is that when this election is over and the smoke has cleared, I don’t think anyone believes that anything will be settled. We do live in interesting times.

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18 Responses to Ghosts Of Halloween Past

  1. Steve Frisch says:

    Just another example of the triumph of local ignorance over advance planning. Ironically the tools developed by NH 2020, namely the Natural Resources Report, lives on, and is used as a base of information for making planning decisions to this day. All the antis avoided was a clear community discussion about what those tools are and how to use them. In short, they blocked participation in sharing information, while claiming they were protecting the ‘rights’ of the citizens. But I think you nailed it Bob, it was a classic example of fear of science and information being twisted to reduce trust and transparency in decision-making. I mean really, what did the anti’s gain? Is planning and development any better? is it better informed? do the people have access to information to judge the consequences for themselves? did killing NH 2020 lead to a streamlined process? NO.

    It was a dry run for their current position–that the earth is 6000 years old, the climate is not changing, that we can continue to develop without impact, and that the people can be bullied into submission.

    In short, the anti’s protected a narrow special interest of local developers, many of whom are now in jail.

    Nice to see we have made progress in the last 10 years!

    • Steve Frisch says:

      oh yeah…and one more thing….they also managed to ignore the fact that all local planning is conducted under state and federal rules as embodied by CEQA and NEPA, and that NH 2020 was actually our best opportunity to bring more of the decision-making home to our local citizens rather than being decided by CEQA lawyers and courts.

      Big victory….

      Just goes to show you what they really feared…local control…because they know that they may control the political process but they do not control the hearts and minds of the people.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      We’ve established in a previous thread here that the grossly misnamed Sierra Business Council, including the facilitator Steve Frisch, was streamlining the public meetings to steer them to the conclusions the SBC and NH2020 proponents wanted.

      Streamlining isn’t always good. Democracy is a messy process, and should be.

      “It was a dry run for their current position–that the earth is 6000 years old, the climate is not changing, that we can continue to develop without impact, and that the people can be bullied into submission.”

      Thank goodness your bullying didn’t work.

      • Ken Jones says:

        Just who is this we’ve you refer to Greg? Certainly not myself or several others that comment. Instead of complaining about bullying look instead at the comments you make, you will see hypocrisy and rudeness. Many of us appreciate the SBC and the work towards sustainable forestry and biomass reduction.

  2. Todd Juvinall says:

    If anyone had any doubt that a liberal (as represented by Frisch) and a conservative (by me) are on different planets then Frisch’s comments above prove it. While the left finds no problems in the government traipsing across your property and inventorying every little plant and animal for a “master” database, we on the right oppose this. Then the liberals want to be allowed to grow MJ and the cops are to leave them alone and stay off their property. The left is a bunch of schizophrenic nuts and Frisch proves it.

    • Tom Odachi says:

      “If anyone had any doubt that a liberal (as represented by Frisch) and a conservative (by me) are on different planets then Frisch’s comments above prove it.”

      No doubt… There was never a danger of that.

    • Bjorn V says:

      So now we’re into personal smears? OK, how about this Juvenile, the fascist right are anal-retentive troglodytes who are in touch with only their own self-serving agendas. Of course this is America and if you chose to identify with that faction, you are perfectly welcome to do so. (Notice please, that I did not specifically allude to you or your convictions.) Now, can we get on with the intelligent part of this discussion? Thank you.

      • Todd Juvinall says:


      • Michael Anderson says:

        Bjorn V,

        The only thing Todd is in touch with are his enormous resources, which apparently have the Filipino-American ladies swooning at their TSA screens (at least that’s what Todd endlessly claims). But I can understand why he likes it so much, since it keeps him in touch with someone he loves.

        Michael A.

  3. Todd Juvinall says:


  4. When it comes to sex, those who talk about it the most generally get the least.

  5. Steve Frisch says:

    Conservative County……programmatic conservation program that streamlines permitting and development on more than 70,000 acres of land…..while simultaneously protecting more than 65,000 acres of open space….all using voluntary and market mechanisms….entirely consistent with protecting private property rights while simultaneously protecting the public interest in the health of habitats, species, clean water and recreation.

    Now tell me again that I am some radical liberal? Nevada County could benefit from exactly the same approach…but our politics and the power of a few radicals like Todd will keep Nevada County property owners from ever benefitting from such a rational approach.

  6. Steve Frisch says:

    In stead they will be diverted contemplating the size and activity of their naughty bits!

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