Living La Vida Local

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39 Responses to Living La Vida Local

  1. Russ Steele says:

    I was borne in Nevada City and lived in the white house now surrounded by Pioneer Park. Mother’s family came in the late 1800s. Does this make me a local?

  2. rl crabb says:

    You become a local when there isn’t anyone older than you to tell you you’re not.

    • Tom Odachi says:

      That’s funny RL! I was just thinking the same thing!
      I have met people here (like in your cartoon) that maintain their “localness” as a source of pride, especially the older ones!

      It’s curious because the only other place I’ve been, where I heard the term “local” used similarly, was in Hawaii, where I believe it was inclusive of being from anywhere in the State.

      • rl crabb says:

        Part of the inspiration for this strip came from the late Ernie Bierwagon. Many moons ago, Ernie was running for re-election on the NID Board of Directors, and took part in a debate at the Miner’s Foundry. The opposition was complaining about NID’s reserves, which seemed excessive to some newcomers. There were proposals to spend some of the money on improving Chalk Bluff Road to lessen the impact of the water agency’s construction projects on city streets.
        Ernie was somewhat put out by what he saw as a short-sighted and expensive solution to a problem he didn’t believe to exist. He noted that before the miners and NID built and maintained the ditches and reservoirs, Nevada County was “nothing but dirt.”

  3. Judith Lowry says:

    Thanks Pete,

    When I saw this at 6 am I typed a response and erased it, then another and deleted it as well.
    I am a broken record on some subjects, I know.
    But in your post you invoked my name, and like the “bat signal”, it requires a response.
    In a nutshell, you are a “local” if you reside and pay your taxes here, you are a “native” if you were born here. But, if you are “indigenous”, you are Nisenan and have about nine thousand years on everyone else in these parts.
    In mid-October their descendants will be at the Miner’s Foundry, joined by the Nevada County Historical Society and a great line-up of distinguished guests for a day of celebrating Nevada City’s First Peoples. Look for the flyers.

    • PeteK says:

      Good Morning Judith!
      I enjoy giving you a poke in the ribs once in a while either here or on SFR but rest assured, I always enjoy your insights.

    • gregoryzaller says:

      You describe this as a celebration, Judith, and what comes to with that word falls short of what I would hope for and what I believe we need.

      I hope that that the distinguished guests of the ancient and successful original civilization you refer to use their voice to share a sustainable vision for living happily in and with nature. It is a discussion we need to have. I believe that modern civilization has lost its way and that the decedents of the original civilization might still carry some views we would all profit from hearing.

    • Tom Odachi says:

      Hi Judith!
      Thanks for that explanation! Growing up in the City of Angels, I used to hear that there were few “native” Angelenos left, because most of the people who lived there came from somewhere else (gee, doesn’t that have a familiar theme?). As a kid, however, the word “native” had different connotations.
      As a globe trotting member of the military, we would call all the civilians, “locals”.

    • Robert Lovejoy says:

      What about the people who reside here and choose not to pay their taxes? Are they vagabonds, hobos, or mistrels?

  4. Ken Jones says:

    I moved here in 1978. I was a “flat-lander” to the locals. Many of the locals called other locals “goat-ropers”. I have a good friend that told me I will always be a flat-lander. So be it. My daughters are natives so I guess they can call me a flat-lander as well. Most of the time they call me Bank o’ Dad.

  5. TD Pittsford says:

    I had been here about 10 years when I was introduced to one of the “I was born here” elitists. The first question she asked me was, how long had I lived here? When I told her the response was, “You’ve got at least three more generations before you can be considered a local.” Somehow I felt I had just moved to Boston where you can’t even get a post office box if your people didn’t come over on the Mayflower. I believe this is called “ethnocentrism” but in all truth, my contact with that old lady was the only time I was ever put on the spot because of my lack of proper longevity in Nevada County. Of course Nevada City is a bit more tolerant than some of her neighbors. I’m glad I landed here instead of there.

  6. Steve Enos says:

    In 2000 I ran for Grass Valley City Council and was elected. The late Mayor Bill Hullender ran for re-election and he lost to me. One of Bill’s key issues during the campaign was the issue of how long I had lived (or had not lived) in Grass Valley.

    At that time I had lived in Grass Valley for “only” 12 years. Bill keep saying and campaigning on the issue I had not lived in Grass Valley long enough, that I knew nothing about Grass Valley and thus should not be elected. Bill kept saying I wasn’t a “local”.

    I remember well the candidate debate we had with the local women’s business group. Bill started off with his rants about me not living in Grass Valley “long enough”.

    When it was my turn to respond to Bill I asked all those that had lived in the area for 2 years or less to raise their hands. I then asked those that had lived in the area for 5 years to raise their hands too. The vast majority of the group’s hands were up.

    I then asked how many of them were involved in the community with groups and volunteer efforts like Scouts, PTA, Little League, Rotary, their church, etc. All kept their hands up.

    I explained that under Bill’s “local” test they were not members of our community, under Bill’s standards they too were not worthy to hold public office.

    I then turned to Bill and asked… So Bill, under your standards how many years DOES someone have to live in Grass Valley before they can get involved in the community? Is it 15 years? Is it 20 years?… how many years Bill? Bill refused to reply.

    I told the group that I wanted to live in a community where folks got involved from day one and I thanked them for their community involvement. Judging from the reactions of those in crowd I’m sure Mayor Bill Hullender lost most every vote in that room and he lost his effort to be re-elected to me.

    I want to live in a community where folks get involved from day one to make our community a better place. This “locals” only, “I was born here” club is insulting and just plain wrong.

    The only real “locals” are the Nisenan and they were almost wiped out by those that came here seeking gold, land and power. Sadly the same story is true across North and South America and around the world too. The indigenous, First People have been systematically wiped out in many places. Those that endured and remain are the only real “locals”.

  7. Michael says:

    Another good one, Bob…thanks!

    I sure wish I was around back in the 50s or 60s to see what this place looked like then. However I worry that if given the (impossible) chance, that I might not like our little corner of the world as much. I imagine a lot of long timers probably feel that way. For example, it would be interesting to see what it looked like before the freeway went in.

    The other Bob (Mr. Wyckoff) gives me some insight through his “TimeLines!” and its always fun to try and pick out the still-existing landmarks in old photos.

    I see this as not much more than maybe some pride for the hometown and probably a little “one-upsmanship” (maybe a little much at times??). I certainly think that you being here for a long time is what gives your cartoons so much local flavor and insight.

    Mr. Purple, on the other hand, seems disappointed that NevCo is not more like the rest of CA….and I wonder “why does it have to be?”

    As much as I see some merit in the “close the gates” mentality, I myself would not qualify, and I’m guessing I’d be in good company.

    I remember some comment a few years back on The Union’s pages, it went something like, “install machine gun towers at all borders. Shoot to kill if occupants of vehicle have been here less than 30 years.”

    Extreme, yeah, but kinda funny too.

    Yeah I guess I have a pretty warped sense of humor. Thanks for allowing my 2 cents.

  8. I attended Sierra College with Dan O’Neill. Seems to me he sang folk songs with Jeannie MacDonald, whom I’d love to see again, and one other person. When we learned the folks from Nevada City were commuting one hour each way each day, we thought they were nuts. I was born in Baghdad by the Bay, raised on Herb Caen and sour dough bread, camped out in Big Sur, Shasta, Mendocino, Clear Lake, Tahoe, Yosemite, and even here, don’t need nobody to tell me I’m not a native Northern Californian.

  9. Robert Lovejoy says:

    I recall a time a few decades ago when I was drinking at a watering hole in Cedar Ridge. Some old geezers were there and the topic turned to Nevada City. The old farts got in an uproar and were rather animated how they don’t step foot in Nevada City. Upon further listening, the bad blood traced its roots back to a football game between the Cedar Ridge boys and the Nevada City boys many moons ago. Apparently Nevada City cheated and claimed victory, which is still a hotly disputed outcome to this day. I tell our new friends to say they are from Kansas or Vermont, anywhere but the big BA, aka, the dreaded Bay Area. If asked I reply I was born in the back of a Greyhound Bus rolling down highway 41.

    • rl crabb says:

      It was much the same when I moved to Washington. Californians are about as popular as measles in some places. They immediately nicked me $100 for not re-registering my car two weeks after my arrival. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a place to live, or an address. They see a CA license plate and you’re automatically guilty of something.

      • Robert Lovejoy says:

        True words Mr. Crabb. In the 70’s a friend took me up in an old 1948 crop duster in SE Washington state. He was buzzing a barn which was he found quite humorous. I asked him why he keep diving over that particular barn and scattering all the chickens. He answered that he does that to the new neighbors. I asked when did the newbies moved in here these parts. He replied “1955.” As far as us locals are concerned, I suspect we would have a lot more true locals here if our forefathers did not picnic on each other up on Donner Pass and munch on a couple Truckee Indians for dessert.

        • Judith Lowry says:

          Salvador and Luis were Miwok Indians. They were murdered and cannibalized by starving members of the stranded Donner Party, during the second “Forlorn Hope” rescue attempt.
          They were already considered less than human by whites. But as I read about the incident, I am certain that their refusal to take part in the cannibalism is what sealed their fate. How could the whites return to civilization and explain how they themselves had deteriorated into barbarism and the eating of human flesh, while the supposedly lesser beings exhibited a higher moral standard. This probably fueled more hatred toward them, although one good man did try to warn them of the rising plot to kill them for their flesh, so they fled.
          Nevertheless they were chased down and killed.
          CHIRP and the Nevada City Rancheria honor the lives of Luis and Salvadore and seek more of their history. They were young Miwok men who could very well have been fathers. They surely had extended family and friends. Finding their home and possibly some descendants is a mystery we have yet to solve.

          • Robert Lovejoy says:

            Thanks for the clarification Judith. My Mother always said a stranger is just a friend you haven’t et yet. Often wondered if she meant ate or met. Another unsolved mystery.

  10. My wife’s ancestors were in Grass Valley during the Gold Rush, but decamped to the Bay Area when the bloom went off the rush. Nobody in her family lived here until we moved here 12 years ago.

    Does that make my wife a returnee?

  11. Brad Croul says:

    I don’t remember hearing people brag about how long they have been (a resident of someplace) until I moved here in the mid 90s (and I was in my 40s, so it might be age related). The first time I heard it, I thought someone was just being conversational in letting me know how long they lived here.
    After a while, I realized that people often used the “long-time-local” card in an attempt to add some special gravitas to discussions that included their opinions regarding the local geography.
    I remember one person at a local city council meeting prefacing his comments before the council with, “I am a sixth generation Nevada City resident, etc., etc., etc.”, as if he expected some special dispensation because he had some relatives who lived here.
    More often, though, the “local” card seems to be used by transplants desiring to lose their flatlander, Big City, stripes.
    I think the local card might be trumped by transplants from higher elevations or more northerly, or more remote locations, or those who had a parent involved in mining or logging. These folks would be grandfathered in, since they would have dropped into the area, instead of dropping out of the big cities.
    A rule of thumb should be that former flatlanders gain 100 feet of elevation towards local acclimation and assimilation for every year they live up here. So, if you moved from the beach to Nevada City at 2600 ft., you would become local in 26 years. Extra elevation points would be given to flatlanders with mining claims, gold dredges, and those who are growing their own Christmas trees, or cutting their own firewood.

    • It’s supposed to be a harsh winter this year, so we will all be cutting our own firewood, and we do own a mine or two and part of the NSJ Diggings, and our own propane tank (thanks Greg, everybody who doesn’t should check out the Ace Propane page, buck a gallon cheaper).

      • TD Pittsford says:

        …and speaking of winter: There’s an old urban legend floating around about an Indian who used to live in Truckee and held court at the old “Bar of America”. As the story goes he once claimed that it was going to be a particularly harsh winter. A suitably impressed flatlander remarked something like, “Wow. How do you Indians KNOW all that stuff? Are the squirrels gathering more nuts; are the pinecones dropping earlier? How do you know it’s going to be a bad winter?” The Indian took a sip of his whiskey and said, “It’s easy. White men stack much wood.”

        And now we know.

        • Judith Lowry says:

          That could have been my cousin Fred Aguilar (Mountain Miadu, Pit-river and Cauhuilla). He was a regular there for years.
          He passed away fairly young, but they held one of his three memorials at the Bar of America.
          For years they had a photo on their wall of Fred holding his baby boy aloft, in his cradleboard, under the B of A sign.

    • Ben Emery says:

      Since I moved here from 9,000ft does that give me any extra points.

      • PeteK says:

        By Brads calculation that gives you a 6400 or 64 year credit. However since you moved from outside of California that number is taxed by both California and the Federal Government leaving you with an elevation of 1400 thus giving you a credit of 14 years Local status. Oh crap, I forgot about the county tax, that leaves you with 8 years. Hope this helps you with the “locals” mate

      • rlcrabb says:

        We could call it the “mile-higher than you” club.

  12. BTW, I notice that Gold Country Stage had a minivan in town the other day. For NSJ and Truckee areas, why is it not possible to sell seats on line in advance, non refundable except for cancel, for one run a day in the morning and one run at night, and if not enough people subscribe, then cancel the run and refund the money. Let the people vote on the departure time, and then possibly have two vehicles or more for the returns, early, medium, later, and late. Bike racks, ski or board racks, or trailer, yes!

  13. I patronize a barber shop in Grass Valley where I am apparently the only regular who wasn’t born and raised here. All of the patrons–including the ones that aren’t old enough for Social Security–talk constantly about the past, never the future. Evidently this area doesn’t have a future worth talking about.

    • rl crabb says:

      More likely, George, is that the old timers don’t have much future to look forward to. Their glory days are behind them, and they tend to look on those times with rose colored tri-focals.

  14. TD Pittsford says:

    Thinking about this “locals vs. flatlanders” issue inspired by RL Crabb (trouble-maker that he is) I was reminded of a trip to Moab, Utah several years ago, before the spot in the road grew to the proportions of a city. I was impressed by the area and when I got back to Nevada City, looked up their local newspaper. Much to my everlasting amazement, there was an Op-Ed piece which actually outlined “instructions” on how visitors should behave. Among other “guidelines” tourists were exhorted to refrain from being too obnoxious. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and wondered if their local Chamber of Commerce was aware of this writer’s audacity. Gee. Come to think of it, maybe The Union would consider a set of rules for its visitors.

  15. Douglas Keachie says:

    12, I feel more secure now.

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