Trouble In Terazzo Town

Looks like the gloves have come off in our little burg’s battle over Terazzo lighting. Former mayor Reinette Senum publicly called out former mayor/planning commissioner Laurie Oberholtzer on Facebook last night, accusing her of pulling strings to bring the lights down.

It brought tears to the eyes of this old cartoonist. I spent many an evening at Nevada City Planning Commission meetings chronicling the abuses of that body on the fair citizens of Nevada City. While my cartoons shed some light on the torture chamber, it did little to actually change the policies that governed the hysterical district.

How to be a Plan Com754Twelve years later, it appears that Ms. Oberholzter still has her fingers in the pie, despite being officially “retired” from municipal politics. The lights, and especially the boardwalk, have been burrs under the saddle of the Good Old Persons for the last few years. They see it as an erosion of the standards set by the original ordinance back in the nineteen sixties, which they claim can result in the town losing its favored status.

Planning Com755

Yeah, well, life goes on, and change happens. Nevada City was never meant to be a museum. The challenges of the young new century demand new ideas if we want to keep the tourists coming. No one wants to see the town turned into a glorified mall, and everyone appreciates the efforts of Laurie, Conley Weaver and others to keep the gaslights burning, but we could really use an infusion of creativity. There are too many empty storefronts on Broad Street these days.

I wouldn’t put all of the blame on city policies, though. I still maintain that Sacramento is the biggest culprit holding us back. But one battle at a time…

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18 Responses to Trouble In Terazzo Town

  1. I suppose it matters on what the definition of progress is. Or how loud one is. If one is louder, does that make one more “righter?”

  2. steve cottrell says:

    What the….???

    Something must have happened since I last walked down Broad Street, because it was the Oberholtzer/Matson machine that busted their asses to get Reinette elected in the first place.

  3. fish says:

    First rate RL!

  4. Chris Peterson says:

    Well, from the perspective of someone who grew up there and returned for their first visit in 25 years, last year; my greatest impression was how many vacant stores there were, and how the vibrant community I had left felt so desolate, in comparison.
    I’m sure NC still has it’s hay day celebrations, but the feeling was more like the town in the late fifties than in the exuberant seventies, eighties and nineties.

    Simply a view from someone who hasn’t been there to watch the frog slowly boil. And Bob’s right: you can be on the right track, but if you don’t keep moving, you get run over.

  5. San Fench says:

    I remember one horrible afternoon on Commercial St…it was around ’71-’72. Some woolmanites had rented a flat above the old Rainbow Mtn Inn and mistakenly (?) given a cat a small bit of LSD. The cat went outside and climbed the power pole (yes there were poles in NC then) and despite much cooing and pleading for along time…it leaped to its demise. Acid cat suicide. No one was not sad at this event. It was taken up Sugar Loaf and given a proper send off.
    Those were unruly times in NC. Most of then was a beautiful thing. Some, like the above, not so much. I’ve publically apologized to Ms. Senum on her FB page. I was wrong and simply being codgerish. She has surprised many with her hook-up w/ Meckler and that’s really what community is all about.
    I think we all want peace and love in the end and this is such a swell place to work it out and have it happen. Carry on.

  6. george rebane says:

    And here I was told that Nevada City is the only burg in California the entire downtown of which is declared to be a historical district (i.e. a “museum”) – don’t tell me that’s not true either. Is nothing sacred any more?

    • steve cottrell says:


      You’re flat-out wrong –– Nevada City has a living, breathing business core. It is not a museum. Your sarcasm is misplaced.

  7. Don Baumgart says:

    Reinette’s rant is no longer. Gone from Facebook. So much for “nothing ever dies on the Internet.”

    • rlcrabb says:

      It’s still there, as of 8:50am 10/24. It may be harder to access if you’re not plugged into In-Your-Facebook. You can be sure it’s been shared all over town.

    • Reinette says:

      No, Don. It’s not dead. I saved it. Here it is for posterity:

      So, seems Laurie Oberholtzer doesn’t like to be called out. She can only defend herself by branding the person who is calling her on her continued shenanigans, a cyber bully.
      So, let’s talk about bullying, Laurie O, because you have been giving me a whole lot of it over the last few years now. Except it’s not so upfront and open. You have been nefarious, sneaky, and underhanded.
      Let’s talk about your two puppets at the city council table that you write their decisions for… ALWAYS opposing anything I put forward or anything you personally deem not of your liking.
      Unfortunately for you, the two council members never have the foresight to erase your name at the bottom of your finely crafted decision(s) that they read. This is beyond bullying. This is a complete misuse of power.
      Let’s talk about the fact that you are the one behind the anti-boardwalk campaign and won’t let it rest, Laurie. That’s why you went after the terrazzo lights, because, god forbid, it actually was good for Commercial Street and that damn boardwalk.
      Now, your personal vendetta against me is spilling into the decorative lighting of storefronts and is hurting bottom lines.
      Does this make you feel good when you go to bed at night?
      Let’s talk about the fact, Laurie, that you tried to get someone to run for Nevada City city council this last election on an’ anti-boardwalk campaign.’ Wow. How visionary of you. Thinking of the city’s best interest, are you? But you couldn’t get anyone because people thought it was pitiful. Having only two seats on the council isn’t enough for you… you really need three so you can have complete control the city.
      Let’s talk about your Friends of Sugar Loaf… all the members you supposedly represent and yet you won’t say who they are. Really, Laurie, you are the bully. You have been bullying this town for years and now you are hurting businesses. If you don’t like what you see in the streets then maybe you need to get into them and put some skin in the game like everyone else whose struggling — doing their best to survive. You sit in your white house on the hilltop pointing to the little people — demanding and angry that you are losing power.
      If you think your opinion represents Nevada City then YOU need to run for city council and stop pulling the strings like you have been doing for so long. No. I’m not a bully. I’m calling YOU out.
      You want to get this out of cyberspace and take this out into the public? Let’s do it. Let’s have a debate. Let’s go onto the radio together. I’m more than happy to have a very public discussion about this. Let’s get down to it because I’m sick of it.
      LikeLike · · Share
      • Karen Beghetti Van Amerongen, Jacqueline Janssen, Jeremy Thompson and 56 others like this.

      Carolynn Bristow Curry Where’s the share button, that was outright worth sharing…
      19 hrs · Like

      Ryan Bradford Aye You tell LAURIE SHE IN A TON OF TROUBLE CAUSE I SAW YOU ON MY WAY TO WORK BABE! and if blasphemy thinks it has any future in this lovely world of ours they best start running and hey.. lets face it We cool.. we will give em a head start… ps. the funny thing is they gonna get destroyed by they own for being such haters whatup! rnb out!
      17 hrs · Like · 1

      Melissa Ann Seibold Go Reinette Go!
      16 hrs · Like · 2

      Julie Dennis Is this what the restrictions on holiday lighting is all about? That’s ridiculous and it will hurt business during a crucial time of year.
      16 hrs · Like · 2

      Donna Graham I’ve watched this woman for years. I don’t know why she hasn’t been tarred and feathered or run out of town.
      15 hrs · Like · 3

      RL Crabb

      Trouble In Terazzo Town | RLCRABB
      Looks like the gloves have come off in our little burg’s battle over Terazzo lighting. Former mayor Reinette…
      14 hrs · Like · 3 · Remove Preview

      Pauli Halstead The battle over lighting isn’t the only one. The Nevada City Council and Planning Commission have been ignoring Senate Bill 2 for 6 years, which would allow a year round shelter for our local homeless and also supportive and transitional housing that w…See More
      14 hrs · Like · 5

      Paul Hubbard Get ’em Reinette! We love you.See Translation
      11 hrs · Edited · Like

      Paul McGillicuddy We need outdoor lighting in downtown Nevada City. It’s s safety issue.
      12 hrs · Like · 3

      Ben Emery Reinette,
      I know exactly the two council members you are talking about. I sat in the front room at Laurie O’s house when they both said they would vote however she told them to since she understood the issues much better than they did. All nice people but this good old boy network creates a very dysfunctional city council that stifles new ideas and innovation instead of promoting it.
      12 hrs · Unlike · 3

      Katherine Doolittle Thanks Reinette for being a true leader for this town with love and compassion. We have heard about this woman since we moved here. It’s pathetic and sad. Keep up the great work. You are adored!!!!
      11 hrs · Like · 2

      Barbara Mark Nevada City was one of the first cities West of the Mississippi River to have electric street lighting (1890’s). So, what did we do? We ripped out those ugly poles (yes, they were) and put in gas lights. They are beautiful…but dim!!! It is so dark d…See More
      11 hrs · Like · 1

      Ae Stewart Maybe you should have a flashlight-lit parade to illustrate the issue & the efficacy of outdoor lighting…
      9 hrs · Edited · Like

      Tony Lauria R, your commitment to the people, businesses, atmosphere and economy of Nevada City over the years is beyond commendable. Thank you for fighting the fair fight for all of us so as to improve on and preserve our precious downtown atmosphere for the good of all concerned.
      8 hrs · Like · 1

      Nicole Raglin

      7 hrs · Like · 2

      Sarah Azura Belou…/

      The Nevada County Scooper Celebrates: The Best of Nevada County | Nevada…|By Loretta Splittair
      7 hrs · Like · 1 · Remove Preview

      Horace Georgeman Merchants should hand out flashlights.
      7 hrs · Like · 2

      Arlene Butler Typical narcissit..she sounds awful.
      6 hrs · Like

      Kimberley Gonzales Carville Reinette Senum is my girl!!!
      4 hrs · Like · 1

  8. Chris Peterson says:

    Like most of our other social issues here in the good ol’ US of A, sounds like a compromise is in order.
    How about a trial period of limited illumination? Give it a six month try-out. Document the effect on downtown businesses. Sales up? Revenue up? Sales steady? Revenue unchanged? Blackout periods for events like Victorian Christmas could be arranged at the flick of a switch. Make limited lighting legal in general, and reserve periods of old-days ambiance for special events.
    Then, at the end of the trial period, bring it up for a vote BY THE PEOPLE, who should ultimately decide the direction of the town. No one person has ever been the voice of Nevada City, although many have tried.
    And I do agree with Reinette: if you’re working through back channels to achieve your vision of your community, you’re usually not voicing the opinion of the people who live there.
    If Ms. Oberholtzer wants to live in darkness, that’s her personal choice; nobody’s stopping her. Some people are better at operating in the dark.

  9. John Dough says:

    I like the idea posted above of a tar and feathers party! Is it too late for that? I will donate two really old “historic” feather pillows. JD

  10. Greg Goodknight says:

    Rearranging the Terrazzo lights over the Titanic, are we? The empty storefronts are growing, and Nevada City does not look like a vibrant community by day. Terrazo lighting at night might help; the lights certainly makes Las Vegas and Los Angeles look nicer in the evening than by the light of day, but Terrazzo lighting is a bad idea just for the light pollution aspect. From my experience, one of the real draws of the area is the Milky Way being visible with the naked eye, rather than akin to the citified view immortalized in Dragnet, the Movie: ‘Joe, just look at all the stars, dozens of them’.

    Lots of Terrazzo lights means the night sky will be that much more obscured to those living nearby. This is a good enough place to start:

    Light the ground, not the sky.

    Regarding Ms. Olberholzer; she figures into a formative episode in my son’s political education which started in utero when his mom and I met Dr. Ron Paul at Dr. Timothy Leary’s house during Paul’s presidential campaign in ’88. A decade or so ago, my son needed to attend a government meeting for a scouting merit badge, a Nevada City planning meeting at City Hall fit the bill, so we drove into town. He got a real earful of Ms. Olberholzer dressing down an applicant for a permit to paint his building, a color dutifully chosen from the Approved Color list. L.O. lectured said applicant as to the reality that just because it was an Approved Color there was no guarantee they would approve the color, that she didn’t like the idea of that building being painted that color, and she’d have to look at it every day. It was one of the more interesting rants under color of authority I’ve ever witnessed.

    I later heard the applicant managed to get a permit to paint his building a few months later.

    Thank you, Laurie Olberholzer, for showing my son how in even small towns petty tyrants can misuse power, and for helping Nevada City become the boarded up town it is today!

  11. Greetings, The recent Union newspaper survey with 85% voting for the
    building trim lighting speaks for itself. Hard for me to understand why
    such a minority has any control of the majority. Those in the, ” Bully Pulpit ”
    need to reconsider the true future of Historic Downtown Nevada City
    We have given out over 150 flashlights..

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