Classless Warfare

                                                                 In a recent post on Jeff Pelline’s blog, he admonishes the city of Grass Valley for not having the foresight to enact a new ordinance designating the original township as an historical district. Jeff always likes to point out that GV is run by “the good ol’ boys” and their developer friends who see any kind of regulation as a plot to beat their hammers into plowshares and make them grow organic carrots and medical marijuana. 

Many residents of the Queen Mothership Nevada City share these views, despite the fact that The Cutest Little Town of the Northern Mines would never survive if it wasn’t for the services provided by the ugly stepchild town down the hill. Downtown Nevada City has no drug store, no grocery store and only one gas station within walking distance. The Bank of America sits empty, next to the  Albatross  Alpha Building, which holds the record as having the largest square footage of any billboard in the county. If you walk by, you can find out what’s going on everywhere but there.

But that never stops them from complaining about our ugly shopping centers and lack of “progressive” leadership. They bemoan the idea of a big box store, while millions of dollars go to Auburn and Roseville. Don’t these pawns of the corporate hegemony know the “shop local” mantra?

Well, yes, we neanderthals do understand it, but that doesn’t mean we can afford it. There are many people living close to the edge of poverty who would love to buy a five dollar heirloom tomato at the farmer’s market, but it’s not in the budget. It’s one thing to complain about buying shoddy products made in China, but quite another when you add up the cost of a pair of pants produced by an All-American-living-wage-and-benefits worker.

The obvious question here is; does Grass Valley need an ordinance? Is there a problem? ( I’m not aware of any plan to bulldoze any historic structure, but I’m all ears if there is. ) Could it be that this is regulation in search of a purpose? Something to raise the property value of one section of town and add a few dollars and inspectors to the planning process? If so, maybe this is an idea that could wait until the economy is on a little better footing. It’s not like GV doesn’t have any rules.

Was it the pro-development council that held up the four SDA’s until the Big Crash of ’08 snuffed them out for good? Was it the pro-development council that has ( with the help of citizens ) kept the Idaho Maryland Mine at bay for years? They’d be called socialists in Texas. ( Get a rope! )

Nobody’s perfect, and the reigning honchos of Grass Valley have run into the same headwinds that has municipalities all over the state teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. At least they’re not asking for sales tax increase to cover their ass.

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101 Responses to Classless Warfare

  1. Michael Anderson says:


    Like Rodney King I have to ask, “people, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”
    This GV hysterical ordinance is a tempest in a teapot. I am much more concerned about the alleged Agenda 21 infiltrations and creeping environmental communism at every level. I see a bad road, with the same hype of NH2020, which did this community great harm.
    I thought Jim Firth had a good comment at SFR that bears repeating:
    We all need to get our shit together and stop the infighting. I would like to see the BOS and the city councils of GV and NC take a leadership role on this important goal.

    Michael A.

    • RL Crabb says:

      Yes, the best way to avoid a fight is to not throw the first punch. Nevada City and Grass Valley have chosen different paths to meet the needs of its business community and residents. The fact that so much money goes downhill is evidence that there is a need. We are a community of aging boomers living on fixed incomes, and while I like to look at the nice clothes in the window of Novak’s, I do most of my buying at Penney’s or K-mart. When I used to shop at Costco, the locals I’d run into were buying in bulk, hundreds of $$$. I’m sure they would rather not run the 49 gauntlet, but they simply can’t afford not to.

      While the idea of local sustainability is a nice slogan, it doesn’t jive with reality. If you blew all the bridges between here and the outside world, the grocery stores would be empty in a matter of days. Reminds me of my days at Malakoff Diggins. We used to find a lot of oyster shells in the old dumps around the park. I’m betting they didn’t catch them in Humbug Creek.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Not long ago I ran into one of the Geezer Gig musicians at the Roseville Costco… I think he bought the excellent Costco Anejo Tequila on my advice. Really nice hooch, at $21 a liter, perhaps half the price of that pretentious brand owned by a pendejo hair care product mogul.

  2. Ben Emery says:

    Not supporting big box stores along with pushing for trade policies that promotes US manufacturing is the only way we are going to get out of this economic mess we find ourselves in our nation, state, and county. No society can thrive when we aren’t purchasing goods made by our own country. It’s not a surprise that China’s growth is around 10% since the entire world supports their economy by purchasing goods made in their oppressive communist country.
    This is not a knew idea but rather a very old idea put forth by a man named Henry Tudor during the 15th century and then adopted by George Washington in 1790’s. We followed Hamilton’s “Report on Manufacture’s” until the 1980’s and we have seen what has happened to our debt, infrastructure, and our willingness to work together since we entered into the “self interest” era. Before anyone says we have a global economy now and it would work, bs! It has been a global market/economy for many many centuries.
    We need to get out of this funk of a race to the bottom.

  3. Greg Goodknight says:

    You can save the price of the extra gas it takes to zip down to Costco with the price differential on one nice chunk of Jarlsberg cheese compared to the local markets that bother to carry it.

    Ben, your blind spot is showing… First, we do buy what we produce. We also make stuff that other countries want to buy. They buy it, we buy their stuff. Everyone wins. The problem with China trade has more to do with the artificial exchange rate they’ve fixed for a number of years to force an export driven economic boom, which appears to be turning to bust as I write. I tend to agree with Milton Friedman… if another country wants to sell you stuff at a loss, buy it while you can!

    Costco carries stuff made in China. They also carry stuff made in California. They don’t care where it’s made, as long as it sells, is a good value and customers are happy enough with it not to return it under the best return policy anywhere.

    • Ryan Mount says:

      I think you’re right Greg on a number of assertions here. Notably China’s current undervaluation of the Yuan. That the source of the lower prices for us. For the Chinese worker and growing middle class? Not so good.

      With regards to quality of the goods that come from there, I think that’s debatable. iPhone? (oh shucks! That’s good because Apple is involved!). My amateur observation over the past few years is that Chinese manufacturing quality has generally improved in response to market demands.

      Calling Chinese products “crap” or “cheap” smacks of bigotry to me, but I’m very sensitive in this issue, so please except my apologies as the Chinese laugh all the way to the bank. I would recommend that we simply invade China and take over to satisfy the American worker. We can also start by pulling any substantive aid from developing countries lest we’re worried that they might also compete for our jobs.

      I think Liberals/Progessives forget that the USA is the biggest economic bully on the block. Even with all of these “trade imbalances,” the scale is still tipped radically in our favor.

      • Ben Emery says:

        Out of the G-20 nations we are the only nation that doesn’t have some form of trade policies that protect our own industries, why? Because that is what big transnational companies want. I will post this link to for you as well

        US based transnationals like oppressive governments because it means more profit in their pockets. US based corporations are at record high profits for the last decade despite the US economy struggling, prices for goods aren’t down but profits are up. Doesn’t that tell you that trickle down/ free trade only benefits a small few?

        • Ryan Mount says:

          These transnationals exist because we allow and incent them. And by “we” I mean you and me. We put Chevron gas in our cars. If we remove the incentives (why is Accenture headquartered in Bermuda? It can’t be for the beaches, can it?), they’ll just go elsewhere.

          The multi-national cabal has been selling the USA short for years now. Our colonial century is over, just as the the British’s was over in the 19th Century and the Spanish before them.

          You have put me in the uncomfortable position of defending Exxon, et al. I am having trouble understanding exactly what this camp “wants?” Do you want CPU fabrication taken back from Malaysia? Do you want Accenture back in Delaware? How would we propose that?

          (lots of questions, I know)

          Do we want everyone to grow local and buy locally made toffee? I think we have the answer already for that: sorta, but mostly no. I haven’t seen a Sunbeam Blender made in Nevada City so far, but hope springs eternal.

          If we give them an offer they can’t refuse, heh, what are the solutions? Taxes? Tariffs?What is the proposal here? To return to 1900s where people did indeed buy more local and far less to choose from? You know, when people payed over 40% of their income for groceries instead of today’s 10%?

    • Ben Emery says:

      Greg G,
      You’re right about the devaluing of currency. The problem is the US economy is over a barrel when it comes to dealing with China devalued currency coupled with the WTO/ GATT agreements and the absolute greed of transnationals who own our government. This is only possible due to our shift in trade policies over the last 40 years. If we make a stand there is going to be a huge sting but the question is over the long term which would be better a slow tear off of the band aid or a quick pull? I believe the quick pull is the better option as does Eamonn Fingleton.
      Look into this book “In the Jaws of the Dragon” by Eamonn Fingleton.
      Excerpt from a review of the book
      “A key tactic of China’s “suppressed consumption” strategy is the “forced-savings system,” which encourages Chinese citizens to save money by making it difficult to spend lavishly. For instances, property prices are high and mortgages are difficult to obtain, making extensive savings necessary for those wishing to purchase homes. Furthermore, “credit cards [a]re denied to preserve cash-based traditions, and steep duties render[] foreign luxury items too dear for all but the wealthiest households.” High taxes and the mandatory purchase of government bonds by government organizations and officials also help keep the population from having excess wealth on hand. To enforce this forced-savings policy, the government maintains heavy control over China’s cartel of four main banks.

      Another component of suppressed consumption is a mercantilist approach to trade; i.e., exporting extensively while importing as little as possible. The imposition of high tariffs on foreign-made goods, as well as “manipulative standard-setting and product-testing regulations,” help “discriminate against imports,” which keeps most of the population’s money from leaving the country. The exception to this anti-import strategy has been the purchase of precious metals and gems (notably diamonds) and valuable antiques, which Beijing encourages.”

  4. Ben Emery says:

    Greg G,
    You’re missing the point. When our policies are to promote US made goods a vast majority of the goods will be made in the US, which supports your neighbors and possibly your own job/ business. It keeps our labor/ wages in the US instead of China.

    • Ryan Mount says:

      Ben, I appreciate your idealism, but I fail to understand what specific policies we might implement to keep commodity jobs here in the USA. Tariffs? More taxes on companies that outsource labor?

      In some ways, our Western Nevada county “shop down the hill” problem is a tidy metaphor for the global manufacturing stage and an informative Capitalism 101 course. The chief cost for production will always be labor. And because of that basic fact, the manufacturers will constantly be incented to move operations first to periphery countries, like Mexico, and then to even less expensive labor markets like China. That’s my Marxist analysis, BTW. And by the time the government gets around to doing anything, it’s way too late because let’s face it, business people are dramatically smarter than the government.

      If the government de-incentivizes manufactures to do this, via taxes regulations, tariffs or whatever, who suffers? The American Consumer. And the worker as we in effect will retard demand. And still the jobs don’t come back.

      But there is an implied snobbery and elitism that us Americans have. And as RL points out, I think there are some in the community that, as an overstated yet salient point, think that all of our problems can be solved by buying a locally grown $5 tomato. The thing is, it is the suspicion of some people of more moderate means, that people who proclaim such solutions are already speaking from a place of economic privilege.

      • Ben Emery says:

        I find it funny that you have described me over the last couple years as an academia yuppy snob. I have a high school diploma and can count on one hand how many years I have personally earned over $30k. I have worked in the dirt outdoors, served cooked food for others or served drinks from behind a bar, drove trucks, laid carpet, worked as a carpenter, painter, handyman, glazier, owner of business, manager of many, movie theater, and worked as a migrant worker in a Napa winery cellar. I would say 99% of my employers and fellow workers would rate me as an A level worker. Until getting married and having kids I lived within the poverty level by choice so my understanding of living in poverty is pretty high. I am 100% privileged just by being a white heterosexual American male. I get this fact and from reading your blog comments you don’t.

        Although I am not a pacifist this is my favorite Utah Philips story. I am anti-war and for non-violence civil disobedience but that should never be mistaken with being a pacifist, the toughest strongest human beings on the planet are pacifists, I am not strong enough (yet) to be one. Here is the story in a Q & A session between The Progressive Magazine and Bruce “Utah” Philips. Philips just got done talking about his time in Korea and how it made him so angry.

        Q: What effect did Ammon Hennacy have on you?

        Phillips: It was Ammon Hennacy who took over my life, told me that I really loved the country, that I couldn’t stand the government, taught me why I needed to be a pacifist and taught me why I needed to be an anarchist, and taught me what those things really mean.

        Ammon came up to me one day, and said, “You have a lot of anger in you, and you act out, you mouth off, and you wind up getting in fights, into brawls, here in the house, and you’re not any good at it. You’re the one who keeps getting pushed through the door, and I’m tired of fixing the damn thing. You’ve got to become a pacifist.” And I asked, “What is it?” He said, “Well, I could give you a book by Gandhi, but you wouldn’t understand it.” He said you got to look at it like alcohol. Alcohol will kill an alcoholic, unless he has the courage to sit in a circle of people like that, and say, “My name’s Utah and I am an alcoholic.” Then you can accept it, you can own it, have it defined for you by people whose lives have been ruined by it, and it’s never going to go away. You’re not going to sit in that circle sober for twenty years and have it not affect you. He said, “You have to look at your capacity for violence the same way. You are going to have to learn to confess it, and learn how to deal with it in every situation every day, for the rest of your life, because it is not going to go away.” And I was able to lay all of that down.

        I didn’t know what exhausted me emotionally until that moment, and I realized that the experience of being a soldier, with unlimited license for excess, excessive violence, excessive sex, was a blueprint for self-destruction. Because then I began to wake up to the idea that manhood, as passed onto me by my father, my scoutmaster, my gym instructor, my army sergeant, that vision of manhood was a blueprint for self-destruction and a lie, and that was a burden that I was no longer able to carry. It was too difficult for me to be that hard. I said, “OK, Ammon, I will try that.” He said, “You came into the world armed to the teeth. With an arsenal of weapons, weapons of privilege, economic privilege, sexual privilege, racial privilege. You want to be a pacifist, you’re not just going to have to give up guns, knives, clubs, hard, angry words, you are going to have lay down the weapons of privilege and go into the world completely disarmed.”

      • Ben Emery says:

        Yes, selective import tariffs and taxation. You are repeating the mantra of the powers that be, it will be the consumer that will pay the price.

        I don’t know how old you are but my guess you were or know someone who was an adult in the late 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. I have researched and talked extensively with my parents and relatives who were adults in the decades mentioned above. Average workers did fine and could afford many things we cannot today. Some people became millionaires but not billionaires. Single income households could afford- housing, higher education/ vocational school, health care, vacations, and have a pension. Today two income households have less spending power than a single income household did in the era I mentioned above. America Without A Middle Class kind of lays it all out with graphs and explanation of how the economy has shifted.

        • Ryan Mount says:

          My standard of living is significantly higher than my folks despite my exponential expenses. Actually relative to the rest of the world, all Americans are in the real 1%. I certainly see myself as a titan relative to the other 99% of the globe. For the record, so are you Ben and everyone else on this blog.

          We can tax and tariff our way to increased revenues in the short term (Keynesians are right here), but business are dramatically smarter than the government. And over time they’ll just seek shelter elsewhere (The Austrians are right here). I’m not implying that we *shouldn’t* incent better behavior from our business giants, I’m asking a very direct question that I have no satisfactory answer to.

          There is an immutable FACT that I feel people are avoiding: any form of levy on a service or product is passed on as a cost to the consumer. And that additional cost, speaking as someone who used to have to meet a payroll, makes people who create things less competitive for reasons I mention above which triggers all kinds of nasty unintended outcomes. (those are not talking points, those are basic business facts)

          Questions: How would you propose we mitigate these two risks:

          1) Essentially government created inflation on goods and services via taxes and tariffs? Traditionally this has been done with price controls, which results in shortages.

          2) The exodus of company operations and manufacturing and their jobs to more tax-friendly places? For example, a US business can open up shop in India (I have intimate knowledge of this) tax-free in both countries. Do we tax emails and Internet Packets? (don’t laugh, some States are already doing this)

          I have mentioned this admitted folly several times, but I’m in good company with people like Alexander Hamilton. A Consumption Tax, with obvious exemptions, fixes this almost instantaneously. Tax people and businesses on their consumption, not their productivity.

          • Tony Waters says:

            Here is a recent study about the effects of taxation on state productivity/gnp per capita
            Admittedly, I found it linked to a Paul Krugman article (I do indeed like his analyses, but I know that some do not). But the point I think is still relevant; it is not the state taxation rates that drive increases in income per capita. Nevertheless this is a thoughtful article worth a second look.


          • Tony Waters says:

            P.S. I don’t quite buy your assertion that businesses are “smarter” than governments. Rather businesses do some tasks more efficiently and effectively than government, and vice versa. It depends on the task at hand, not the inherent “smartness” of either entity.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Tony, I recall Milton Friedman making three different classifications of spending…

            Money spent by an individual A to satisfy their own needs;

            Money spent by an individual A to satisfy the needs of individual A;

            Money taken from individual A and spent by person B to benefit person C.

            Most government programs resemble the last one, which does the worst job of meeting the needs of the person needing the good or service. Government isn’t “dumber”, rather, just unable to do as good a job spending your money as you are.

          • Ryan Mount says:

            Fair enough Tony. My point about smartness is overstated and requires some clarification.

            Business folk are driven by incentive to maximize their profits. Perhaps smarter isn’t the right word? How about sneakier and more clever, that is, the business that survive.

            With regards to the article, thanks for that. The findings are mixed, but are very specific on two taxation issues: property taxes and taxes spent on education seem to have a significant return on investment. I happen to agree with that and the study’s implications around that.

            With regards to corporate (business) taxes, their conclusion from my first pass read are more ambigious. I would propose that the function and operation of such taxes is fundamentally broken. In a realtive Democracy such as ours, certain factions will lobby for Progressive tax policies that benefit them. Plug one hole, two more open up…by design. We’re(all of us) voting GE and countless multinationals who have “development centers” overseas, for example to pay no taxes.

            So it seems to me that we need to tax people, businesses and organizations when they consume, not their income which is a measure(of many) of their productivity.

          • Ryan Mount says:

            My apologies for the typos. I composed the last bit on my Blackberry.

          • Tony Waters says:

            Mr. Friedman’s formula is too neat by half. The bigger question is when Person A has a responsibility to spend money on Vulnerable Person B, but that will bankrupt Person A, what do we do? Or for that matter what do we do when Person A is just plain greedy, and does not live up to their responsibilities.

            Note in such vulnerables include the catastrophically sick, the elderly, uneducated children, the homeless, mentally ill, and a host of others unable to be rational actors in the labor market.


          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Tony, I think you may have misinterpreted both me and Uncle Milty. He was not saying the government option, person A being forced to give money to bureaucrat B to spend on the behalf of person C, should never be allowed; the message was that it was never spent as wisely as person C (or someone who loves them making choices on their behalf) would manage when making the choice for themselves,

            And just allowing person C to spend person A’s money leads to the problem Phil Gramm described for healthcare… (I quote from memory), ‘If we shopped at the supermarket they way we get healthcare [with ‘insurance’ that is more prepaid healthcare], I would be eating different food, and so would my dog’.

        • Tony Waters says:

          I’m not sure whether the quote is attributable to Phil Gramm, or Greg Goodknight. Still, I got chuckle out of it. It makes a good point–but I’m still not sure how to solve the dilemma of health care using such principles.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            The actual Phil G. quote,
            “If I bought groceries the way I buy health insurance, I’d eat a lot better – and so would my dog”

            It was the money quote in a long opinion on the distorted health care market, but there are so many copies of the money quote on the net the entire piece is hard to find.

            He described the entire process of going to the store with employer paid food insurance. No prices on the shelves; you’d just pick out what you want, and the bill would be paid for by the 3rd party. Very entertaining and on the mark.

      • Installed solar electric panel arrays are 80% cost of panels and 20% cost of install, according to Plan-It Solar.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Costco has reputedly the best pay, benefits and employee retention rates in retailing. Selection sucks

      Ben, you’ve completely misundstood basic economics, and trade with other peoples near and far has been the driver of human progress for thousands of years. If folks in western Nevada County want things they will never efficiently make for themselves, like cars, trucks, gasoline, textiles, tools, semiconductors, plastics, movies, pianos, lightbulbs, ladders (thanks, Todd) refrigeration units, chemical products, rare earth magnets (yada yada you get the idea), folks in Nevada County need to figure out what to trade for all those exotic goodies. Barter works, but actually selling what you produce for some freely traded currencies (the US Dollar comes to mind before the yuan or euro at this point, imagine that) and then buying what you need with the currency is lots more efficient.

      My last great local job entailed thinking about how to make stuff and on a semi-regular basis, emailing and sometimes Fedexing the details to the factory near Chicago. In trade, they sent us a heap of money every two weeks.

      Everyone selling each other their own locally grown organic produce means 1) hunger 2) poverty 3) no avocados 4) no MIB3. Sorry, that won’t fly.

      • Ben Emery says:

        Greg G,
        Every single one of those things used to be made in America, if there is a great demand we cannot make ourselves then we lower import tariffs making the incentive to import such goods. I have never said our local economy can provide everything we need or want. What I have said is don’t support big box stores that will take the wealth out of our community and invest it in oppressive nations. How do justify supporting companies that moved to the overwhelmingly brutal government of China to exploit workers that are forced to work in 19th US conditions? Why is it if a country like Iraq gases 3,000 of its own citizens (who were encouraged by US to stand up to brutal leader) with helicopters and toxic gas from the US we punish them with sanctions for over a decade directly affecting millions of average people negatively and eventually illegally invading? Yet, with a country who routinely makes the top violators of human rights and is one of the most oppressive nations on the planet we bend over backwards to create normal trade relations? It is called private profiteering or American Interests. It is you who doesn’t understand macro economics or the history of how US policies promoted made in America goods in selective industries. For nearly 200 years the US had import tariffs and policies that promoted American manufacturing until the Reagan/ Bush/ Clinton administrations came in and changed those policies and the Bush/ Obama administrations have expanded them even more. Over the last 30 years please show me how we are better off with low top marginal and capital gain tax rates, free trade agreements, and allowing corporations to have more and more influence over our government? Please I want to understand how someone can support such policies when it is so obvious they have been absolute failures.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Ben, you misread. None of those things were ever made in quantity in Nevada County, and virtually all are still made in the US. If you want those things in Nevada County, folks in Nevada County have to do something other than subsistence farming or shoveling out the stables.

          However, mining of rare earth minerals in the US has been effectively shut down by the Feds. If China ever completely shuts us down, it will take years to ramp up production

          • In a country that built the Golden Gate Bridge in 4 years with 75 year old technology? Could it be we’ve short changed our voc-ed schools? Along with the rest of K-12? 1/3rd of USA schools have toxic gas problems, due to deteriorating infrastructure, according to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on CNN, today.

  5. Don Baumgart says:

    A while back, when K-Mart was closing down stores, I seemed to detect a lul in the anti-box-stores rhetoric. Then a sigh of relief when we learned our K-Mart wasn’t on the hit list. Close to a hundred locals work at our K-Mart, take their paychecks and shop at SPD, go to movies at our locally-owned theaters. No town is an island.

    • Ben Emery says:

      15 small local business’s would have filled that vacuum meeting the demand created, probably paying better wages so all those people could enjoy more movies and shopping at SPD.

      • RL Crabb says:

        Power to the people, Ben. You are most welcome to live your highly-principled life without K-mart. I’ll be going there tomorrow morning to load up on catfood that’s twenty to thirty cents cheaper per can than the other stores in the area.

        • Ben Emery says:

          Go ahead and save a couple bucks. I don’t boycott those stores but will only support them when I have exhausted other options. I would rather support KMART in Grass Valley than a Target in Auburn. I will continue to support Independent Grocers Alliance SPD Markets when ever I can. Just this year a got a group I am associated with to switch their account from Safeway to SPD. It costs a bit more but we are talking a less than a $100 bucks a year and yet at the same time we supported a local store and workers who are paid well and have benefits.

          • Judith Lowry says:

            We were never going to get away with this:


          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Judith, that could work! Just about the only jobs that are unionized anymore are gov’t jobs, as collective bargaining works best when you can get the bosses you want elected, and when wages are forced up, they just get someone else to pay the bill… getting them to shut down more often would be a real wealth saver for the rest of us.

          • Ben Emery says:

            Don’t you find it ironic as corporate sector unions were destroyed executive compensation has gone from 40 to 1 over the average worker to 500 to 1. That free trade agreements happened with little fight. That American worker wages have remained stagnant for 30 years. That 50,000 factories have shut down and moved out of the country in the last decade. That over 80% of economic gains in US have gone to the top 1% since 1980. That in 2010 over 90% of economic gains went to the top 1% and US based corporate profits are at record highs while the rest of America sits in a depression. Do you not see a correlation between the shift in policies and the dismal outlook for the average American?

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Not ironic, Ben. Unrelated.

            Executive Compensation Gone Wild has more to do with the fact that, by law, stockholders (i.e. the owners) are forbidden to meddle in executive compensation issues.

          • Just be careful in the paper goods aisle at SPD, tons of Koch products, know your brands and shop accordingly.

  6. Brad Croul says:

    Since I am a more recent transplant and did not attend local schools, I have never felt any rivalry with Grass Valley although I live in Nevada City. I have opinions about the whole of western Nevada County.

    I want to see Grass Valley historic homes maintained and protected as much as I want to see Nevada City homes protected. Grass Valley just had more flatter, more buildable area so it grew the way it did. Both towns bulldozed historic buildings in the name of progress. The freeway cut a swath through both towns.

    We are all connected and losing that provincial mindset via freeways and the internet. We don’t shop local anymore unless it is convient and the price is right.

    I have not seen the GV historic preservation ordinance meeting in its entirety yet, but what I did hear of it made me think that the ordinance would be helpful in protecting the historic buildings from absentee owner/investors who might be tempted to repair the buildings with the cheapest materials without regard to the historic nature of the buildings, and that only major remodels could trigger a more in-depth (more costly) look at the project plans.

    Of course, more government usually means more cost to residents. That is probably the worst thing about more regulation.

    • RL Crabb says:

      The rivalry between the two “sister cities” has probably gone on since the gold rush. A lot of it disappeared when the two high schools merged into Nevada Union. The snobbery cuts both ways, as well. I’ll always remember my father telling me about his teenage years during the depression when the family moved to GV. He told me that he had problems trying to get onto the basketball team because of the tight-knit “Cousin Jacks” that dominated the population. He ended up playing with the NC kids who didn’t have those prejudices.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Brad, I commend your belief in the value of preserving buildings in the town you don’t live in. How many have you bought?

      • Brad Croul says:

        Not quite sure what you are saying here, Greg. My point is that I see the two developed areas known as NC/GV more as one entity than two. I think we need to collaborate more, and compete less, between our respective communities. The issue of things like “shopping down the hill” affect GV/NC equally. When tourists come up here, I don’t think they say, “Let’s go to Nevada City – but, we are not going to go to Grass Valley” -or visa versa.
        When Brunswick was in the county it acted like buffer, or, as some seem to think, a DMZ between the towns. Now that Brunswick is part of GV, it is so close as to blur the distinction between the two municipalities.
        I don’t see a big distinction between NC/GV when I drive down Ridge Rd.

        NC has a population of, like 3,000 vs. 13,000 for GV. GV is obviously going to have more development. As has been said before, NC would not be a “real” town anymore without Seven Hills providing a supermarket, pharmacy, brewery, auto parts, mechanics, etc.
        I don’t live in Seven Hills and I also have opinions on that neighborhood. But, hey, they are just my humble opinions.

        • Todd juvinall says:

          Yep, a recent arrival and no history. BC etal, regulate etal attitude.

          • RL Crabb says:

            Actually, Toddy, Mr. Croul took it upon himself to rescue the Powell house on S. Pine street, an albatross that was half-remodeled and sitting idle. No one else would touch it, but Brad used his own time and money to make it into a showplace that will take twenty years to ever see a profit. I’d say he’s given something to our little community in his short time here. As I always say, it ain’t the years, it’s the mileage.

          • Todd juvinall says:

            Well Crabby, one act makes everything else OK? I know many people who are negatively affected by a myriad of those regulations and many have exited. I appreciate the hard work it takes to remodel a Queen Anne but when you have a fool and money to spend anything is possible.

            I walked Broad Street to Cirino;s for my favorite Alfredo an was struck by the number of empty store fronts. Even Tanglwood is gone. But we have a “frozen in time” attitude in Nevada City which is now proving to be something else.

      • Todd juvinall says:

        That was a great comment Greg!

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Brad, you can have all the opinions you want, but when you start using politics to decide how other people paint their homes, you’re stepping over a line

      You may not have read this little story of mine… my son needed to attend a local government meeting for a scout merit badge, and he chose to go to a Nevada City planning commission meeting and since Dad was the chauffeur, dad also attended. A better choice could not have been made; he got to see what happens when busybodies get to meddle. The best was one poor schmuck who had been to several meetings to get approved various portions of his renovations, and this time it was the color he wanted to paint it.

      He had chosen from the short list of approved colors in the historic district, which, funny thing, didn’t include the white siding and black trim that was actually most common in our not too distant past. However, one of the folks running the meeting, in fact the loudest, made it clear that ‘just because it’s an approved color doesn’t mean we’ll approve the color’. You see, she drives past that building on a regular basis and she doesn’t like the color, and didn’t want to see that building painted that color.

      If you want to decide what color a house is painted, buy it, don’t put a petty bureaucrat in charge of deciding for the one who has to live there.

      • Brad Croul says:

        Yes, that does sound over-the-top and arbitrary. You did not say when you saw that particular meeting. I have also heard some commissioners voice their personal attitudes and I don’t think they have any right to try to intimidate or force someone to their way of thinking. This is one of the issues that the current NC commission is addressing. People need to know what is expected, beforehand, so they can plan their projects accordingly.

        I was able to paint my property in the NC historic district in a color different than the pre-existing color. I also added several other, complementary, colors which were all approved. I did not get much flack from the commission because I tried to make it look nice and complement the neighborhood.

        Regarding your statement, “but when you start using politics to decide how other people paint their homes, you’re stepping over a line”; is that a collective “you”, or do you think that is what I advocate?
        Many developments have covenants and restrictions. While it will never be “fair” to some to create, after-the-fact, covenants or restrictions on a town; it should be acceptable if the majority is on board.

        I did not say how I would like to see historic buildings preserved or protected. I think the owner should be the one who protects or preserves their own home.

        Going forward, realtors should supply prospective clients with historic commission guidelines, and the city should supply the same info with the water bills, or tax statements, so owners and residents might better understand that the community-at-large wants to protect the unique character of town – or, at least, the facades facing the street.
        I think that is all the proposed ordinance was trying to do. And I don’t think it was proposed by Nevada City agents provocateurs.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          “I have also heard some commissioners voice their personal attitudes and I don’t think they have any right to try to intimidate or force someone to their way of thinking.”

          They may not have the right, but they have the power, as do all petty bureaucrats, to make life miserable. Most won’t fight. Any system that requires the right person in the right job making decisions based only on the law is doomed to failure.

          Expect the folks who want to boss others around to gravitate to positions of power that allow them to boss others around.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          “Many developments have covenants and restrictions. While it will never be “fair” to some to create, after-the-fact, covenants or restrictions on a town; it should be acceptable if the majority is on board. ”

          Brad, this is both insanely majoritarian and unconstitutional. You can’t just take property rights away with a majority vote, which gets back to the old example of pure democracy being three lions and two zebras deciding what to have for lunch.

          • Brad Croul says:

            If majority votes are “majoritarian and unconstitutional”, why do we have so many laws and ordinances?
            Seems that most all of them must have passed some sort of sniff test.

          • Brad Croul says:

            Rezoning would be a good example of taking someone’s rights away/ or giving someone more rights. I don’t even know if folks get to vote on rezoning issues.
            Oregon did a lot of rezoning, and probably pissed a lot of folks off when they created Urban Growth Boundaries.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Brad, you’re reading skills are lacking. I was specific that it was “property rights” that can’t be taken by majority vote.

            Zoning may be a necessary gray area, as zoning laws are a way to keep properties from being used in ways that are incompatible with the uses of other properties in the area, but deciding what color your neighbor can paint their house isn’t the same as forbidding heavy manufacturing at the top of Broad street.

          • Brad Croul says:

            Yep, I think it is kind of gray, maybe a slightly different shade of gray than you were imagining, lol!
            I think the latest countywide MMJ ordinance will be another example of an unconstitutional property rights ordinance.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Nope, not necessary, just one way to deal with the problem, Brad. But even with zoning, one can’t after the fact destroy all or part of a property’s value with a majority vote without compensation, and that seems to be the idea you don’t understand. Just because zoning is in effect doesn’t mean any ordinance dreamed up and put in place will stand legal challenge. They get overturned when they go too far, so the majority really doesn’t rule by whim. Sorry.

            I’ve been in favor of relegalization of virtually all drugs for nearly four decades… I don’t need a law to keep myself from shooting up, and neither does the rest of my family. That said, having property rights confers no right to violate criminal law on the property, and the problem with medical mota is not primarily a property right issue.

            The biggest property right problem with the Federal drug laws… for years, there have been Federal cases with names like, The People of the United States vs. a Cessna Citation. You see, if someone in the business of renting aircraft, including jets, rent an airplane to someone who then uses it to smuggle drugs, or one of their passengers is carrying unbeknownst to the renter, the government can charge the property, and the case is stacked against the owner of the plane. Look it up. When I was subscribing to The Union I’d get a kick out of the legal notices, such things were common. “The People of California vs. a paper bag containing $8,155”. If the owner of the bag wants it, they’ll have to prove it wasn’t drug related, even if they have already been found not guilty in a criminal court. *That’s* a property right being violated.

          • Brad Croul says:

            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If the county thinks they can legislate the sense of smell (as in skunk weed), they can legislate the sense of color – or, at least, they can try.
            If it is a nuisance to someone to smell skunk weed, or second hand smoke; it might also be a nuisance to someone to have to drive by, or live next to, at a hot pink house, or someone who likes to landscape with old washing machines and automobile engine blocks.

  7. Todd juvinall says:

    I guess it boils down to money doesn’t it? BenE wants everyone to shop at Williams Sonoma and his friend BradC wants everyone to live in a 400 dollar per square foot remodeled Queen Anne home downtown. The rest of us are “attention K-Mart shoppers” kind of folks. Why? Money, or the lack of it I suppose. I once was in a relationship with a babe who refused to shop at K-Mart. I dumped her after I found that out. Snooty seems to be ensconced in Nevada City and blue collar in GV. I appreciate the GV council booting additional regulations, they are true capitalists (well except for big now stores). NC is manned by people who tell you what color to paint your house and if you don’t like it will fine your ass of your money.

    The reason America has problems is because we have a huge number of whiny people who sue at any slight or accident. Look at your ladder hanging in the garage. There will be quite a few disclaimers pasted on it because some fool fell off the top rung and sued and won. The ladder would probably cost ten bucks but with the stickers is 40 bucks. So, Chinese capitalist/entrepreneurs build the ladder and ship it 7 thousand miles and sell it for 20 bucks. Then the elite from Nevada City travel down to COSTCO and buy it.

    BenE just hates corporations and has said so many times. I think he should hate special interest groups like the “anti cocnut oil police” who got their way so I can’t sell the products in my theaters any more. Or the John Edwards (Democrat candiate) who sued and won for “second hand” smoke and won. So a pack f smokes which is produced for twenty cents costs six bucks. We are our own worst enemies regarding the free market. When BenE learns the truth about the benefits of trus capitalism and turns away from his nany state beliefs, then there may be hope for a future American renissance of capitalism and freedom.

  8. John Dough says:

    I would like to add my two cents to what is becoming a very stimulating conversation.
    RL, thanks for the venue here. Your comments and history are great. The beauty of our political system is that we get to choose to live in the political environment that best suits us. Don’t quite connect with the progressive mindset and micromanagement of life in Nevada City, go to Grass Valley. Don’t like California, we are free to move to Texas. These ideological differences are precious and we should not head towards one size fits all politically.
    Ryan, your above comments have succinctly captured the issue of global economics and labor markets better than I have ever read in so few words. I really enjoy your comments and perspective.
    Ben, while I also appreciate your idealism, and am sometimes dismayed by your views, I am encouraged to read that you believe that if K Mart closed it would be replaced by 15 small local businesses that would have filled the vacume created by the now unmet need. That is the essence of capitalism, and of our entire economic system. Just because some companies become very good at filling the need and beating their competition, doesn’t mean we should throw out our entire system. That is simply capitalism gone awry, and we should work to tweak our system to limit their competitive advantages as we have done in the past with AT&T, Microsoft and others. Business, particularly small business, is the heart and soul of who we are, and why most of us get up and go to work every day. The possibility of success and the fear of failure is crucial to our entire way of life. We cannot lose those components by over regulating. The delicate balance is key to success.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      “Don’t quite connect with the progressive mindset and micromanagement of life in Nevada City, go to Grass Valley.”

      Or stay in Nevada City and fight the BS. There’s nothing in the city charter that cedes authority to Nirvana Silly crowd.

      • John Dough says:

        Absolutely correct Greg, we do have a choice to conform, fight, or relocate to an area with a political climate more to our liking.

  9. Brad Croul says:

    Todd, thanks for including me in your latest spew.

    It is good to hear that the historic preservation NO voters on the GV council are all capitalists.

    Here’s what you do. Go down to the hardware store, get yourself some 2x4s and some deck screws and make yourself a ladder with no stickers on it. It might even cost you less than $20.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      No, the 2×4’s come from Canada since we don’t log here anymore. The screws are made by the German’s since the CARB has closed down all our nail factories for CO2 and gas is too expensive since you and Obama are A.P.P.L.E. fanatics. Besides, if I went to the store I open myself up to a lawsuit by the NOW dang for being a male in search of a ladder without a glass ceiling.

      My “spew” did contain you, and it wasn’t tasty.

  10. Brad Croul says:

    Buy local! Bamboo is in season and you could weave yourself some MMJ twine and save even more money by building your own bamboo ladder!

  11. Judith Lowry says:

    Here’s something from another great cartoonist.

  12. RL Crabb says:

    Well, well, well…It seems this post has ignited another firestorm of conflicting opinions, illustrating the Great Divide that threatens to sink this once-impervious nation. As usual, I see some truth in both arguments, and there are solutions to the problems if only the opposing sides could overcome their superiority complex and talk to each other rather than at each other.
    In the case of Grass Valley’s historical designation, I’m sure it will happen in due time. Hopefully, GV will address the concerns of citizens who have seen the NC version hijacked by radical purists, and as Brad has pointed out, even NC is reworking theirs to make life simpler for the person who just wants a fresh coat of paint without the politics.
    The economic questions are more difficult to forecast. Our little corner of the world is not immune to the slings and arrows of international fortune. We can not wall ourselves off from decisions made in Sacramento, Washington, or even the Hague. We are cursed to live in interesting times.

  13. We are suffering from “shrunken planet” syndrome.

  14. Ryan Mount says:

    There’s too many [smart, smarter than your average American] people on planet Earth who all want to live like Americans do. That’s the real problem. Something’s gotta give.

    • Like Americans DID, not do, except the 1%’ers.

      • Ryan Mount says:

        Even people on public assistance have a higher standard of living than the majority of most people on Planet Earth. We have, as has been pointed out elsewhere, the largest population over overweight poor people with televisions and mobile phones.

        Is that a good life? Hardly. But relatively to someone who doesn’t have access to clean drinking water? We’re titans.

        The middle income jobs have been scooped out by people who have either shorted the USA, or frankly are willing to work cheaper somewhere else. And like those manufacturing jobs Bruce Springsteen laments in 1984’s “My Hometown,” those middle income jobs ain’t coming back until international wages level-out.

        Meanwhile, we have a class of people who actually want to make things worse for the poor and under-employed by removing an economy of scale savings created by mass farming which would dramatically drive prices up. Perhaps the marching orders should be “by more localer[sic], if you can, but you probably won’t find the selection, service or price you’re looking for.” (you can only have two of those three: price, quality/selection, and service.)

  15. Ben Emery says:

    Don’t have time to read through the entire thread and respond but here is a link to more about consuming with a conscience. I mentioned about natural law and how many conservatives/ libertarians like to talk about it but their belief generally is trumped by business/ bottom lines and ends at our borders. The closer we purchase our goods to our homes the more accountable the business/ farming/ ranching practices become. If we stopped big agriculture subsides along with the increases on energy return on investment of fossil fuels the so called cheap tomato’s will be 10x the $5 heirloom everyone keeps mentioning.,9171,1917726,00.html#ixzz1wBZ8vyZd
    Horror stories about the food industry have long been with us — ever since 1906, when Upton Sinclair’s landmark novel The Jungle told some ugly truths about how America produces its meat. In the century that followed, things got much better, and in some ways much worse. The U.S. agricultural industry can now produce unlimited quantities of meat and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals and humans. Those hidden prices are the creeping erosion of our fertile farmland, cages for egg-laying chickens so packed that the birds can’t even raise their wings and the scary rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals. Add to the price tag the acceleration of global warming — our energy-intensive food system uses 19% of U.S. fossil fuels, more than any other sector of the economy.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      I recall reading that Upton Sinclair, expecting the book to ignite leftist passions, was dismayed The Jungle mostly just spawned a crackdown on the meatpacking industry; as he put it, “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”

      There is no acceleration of “global warming”, no danger from non-existent “tipping points” as evidence for the climate being dominated by stable negative feedbacks rather than the theorized positive feedbacks the IPCC’s computer models have assumend, and there’s no danger we’ll run out of fossil fuels this century, or the next. The great liberator of mankind from burning things (in the redox sense) will probably be a form of fusion, but a safe and economical fission process shouldn’t be bet against.

  16. John Dough says:

    To the basic point of this thread, about the difference in administrative styles between Nevada City and Grass Valley, at least in regard to historic buildings and growth in general. Is it possible that it is as simple as Nevada City chooses to regulate, fearing that people will not do the right thing, while Grass Valley chooses to incent, believing that they will?

    • Judith Lowry says:

      My feelings were a bit stung by the cartoon with Nevada City personified as a spoiled princess. I guess it seems that way to some folks.
      There is a lot of heavy lifting going on in the city by workers young and old. The real issue is the infrastructure and the efficiency of the buildings. Decorating the facades and storefronts, is simply putting lipstick on a pig and doesn’t do much for the business owners and employees who must struggle to perform and produce under difficult circumstances in buildings with decades of deferred maintenance.
      I don’t know much about tax laws or historic ordinances, but I do know that it is morally wrong to essentially enslave your fellow citizens in appalling working conditions because as a building owner, you don’t make the efficiency, comfort and safety of the working environment a top priority.
      As energy costs rise and those smart meters sniff out the energy hogs, the comparison between properly maintained buildings and those that are not will be painfully obvious. When that happens, owners of historic buildings will likely be wanting energy subsidies. Better to improve their properties sooner than later maybe?
      Property owners in Nevada City and Grass Valley ought to be thinking about more than mere appearance and do the right thing by the folks who work so hard to pay them rent.
      In the end, it may prove more profitable, as happy employees generally translate to happy customers.

      • RL Crabb says:

        The historic buildings in both towns are feeling their age, and as we learned from the Friar Tuck’s/Elks fire, a century of history can disappear in a few minutes. A strong earthshaker could level half the town, like Pasa Robles a few years ago. There is much responsibility in owning a senior structure and much risk.
        As for the propensity of one town to tell the other how to run their business, I can only go by my own experiences. Over the years I have not seen many GV residents attending NC planning commission meetings, but there have been quite a few opinionated NC citizens front row center at GV city hall.
        And Greg’s story about the hapless resident who couldn’t even choose the color of his own house is sadly true. I
        once saw a “citizen activist” bully a man who just wanted to have a deck like his neighbors to the point of where she submitted illustrations of how he could rearrange his furniture to make his 400 sq. ft. cabin roomier so he wouldn’t need a deck. The planning commissioners were sympathetic to the protests, and delayed their decision for months before finally granting the variance.
        I have no problem squewering people with that kind of attitude. I’d like to think that some of those cartoons made a few folks look in the mirror. The present commission is much more user-friendly, and Nevada City hasn’t suffered for it.

        • Judith Lowry says:

          Yes, I hear you. For years it has been interesting to watch the proceedings in City Hall on NCTV. (Yes, I am among its handful of viewers.) All kinds of personalities emerged, very often authoritarian and not always pretty. That’s small town U.S.A. for you.
          But the rules only pertains to the outside of the buildings. What you do inside is your own business. Allowing buildings that have been “grandfathered in”, to skirt the safety codes year after year, to which new construction and remodels must comply, is flat irresponsible and potentially disastrous.
          That said, the Friar Tuck’s fire didn’t burn down the town and the new building is up to date, very attractive and gets better rent.
          What’s not to love about that?

        • Doug says:

          I recall in Sausalito once, Zack’s was not allowed to repaint its sign the same color it had always been.

  17. Ben Emery says:

    I know this thread has been on many topics but I would like to address the gaping chasm in the dialogue with my comments.

    I believe we are continuously talking about different issues. I will almost always stick to the structure of the economy not the economy itself. The actual economy is a product of the structure it is set up to function within. My position is that our tax/ trade/ regulatory policies are all part of the structure that shapes the kind of economy and society we want to create. For the last 30-40 years the structure has shifted towards trickle down or top down economy. It doesn’t work and has never worked in any economy of moderate to large size. Workers (90% plus of population) that do not have the spending power cannot create the demand needed to sustain any economy. As the structure shifted towards money going to and staying at the top we have seen our economy shift from a wage based bottom up economy with thousands of mom and pop shops with local/ regional economies working together with large national companies to form our national economy to a top down economy/ government/ society where individuals have to depend on large international companies to fuel our local economies. This is why when the Todd J’s grew up in Nevada County there was many many more individual business owners instead of McDonald’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, Round Table, KFC, Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, Panda Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, BP/ Arco, and 76 station all on one exit.

    I need to get back to work but wanted to plant the seed I am talking the entire structure creates the incentives not one or two policies.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      I don’t think BenE knows much about the economy based on this last post. When I grew up I worked in a little grocery store at the corner of Race and Henderson in Grass Valley. I did all the chores from stocking shelves to delivering to people driving an old International van. When Safeway cam into GV things started to change. They hired quite a few local people and my goodness, they paid good wages and had benefits I heard! Then over time I saw thee Humpty Dumpty grow and become wildly successful even though McD’s and Perkos and Denny’s were competing with them. Heck, Dennys was open 2 hours! No BenE, you just don’t understand the economy you have some kind of chip on your shoulder about big business.

      American jobs for the most part, something like 80 to 90 percent, are created by small businesses not the big corporations. Your premise is totally bogus and perhaps a refresher course on American capitalism would do you some good.

      • PeteK says:

        I remember walking home from the memorial park pool as a kid and stopping at James’ Market to buy a pack of Ding Dongs. The shelf was empty, so I told the stock clerk (a wirely young fellow) that they were out of Ding Dongs. He looked me right in the eye and said “No we’re not, I’m lookin at one right now”. Could that have been you by any chance?…lol

        • Todd juvinall says:

          PeterK, no that would have probably been Hooper. He was there before me. James Market was gone and it was Martins Market when I started. I would have been to nice to say such a rude thing to you even if you truly were a ding-dong. LOL!

        • Tony Waters says:

          Sounds to me like it must have been Henry Hackett picking on some poor lad who only wanted a ding-dong! Even Henry must have been a young (and grouchy) that long long ago.

      • Ben Emery says:

        What years are you talking about as a youngster, 50/60’s/ 70’s?
        You are proving my point, the structure of the economy was to keep the wealth in America. Where ever and what ever you purchased a vast majority of the time it was supporting a US company and workers with good wages/ benefits. We had 30% unionized workforce, 25-30% import tariffs, 74% top marginal tax rates, strict banking reform, less loopholes, less debt, and whole lot more income equality throughout the 40’s- 70’s. The incentives were to reinvest money where the wealth/ demand was created, the labor. When did the shift happen, 80’s? Since the 80’s we have seen a shift to keep the money at the top and we have seen wages remain stagnant creating a credit based economy/ society .
        This graph doesn’t mean much without a detailed explanation but just look at the decade when the gigantic shift happened. That is when the entire shift of the structure of our economy happened. Wage based (bottom up) to a credit based (top down).

        • Todd juvinall says:

          BenE, the economic world is limitless. How do you think a country gets rich and the people in it improve their lives? By trading widgets amongst themselves? The country has passed you by.

          I watched a documentary the other day about Tupperware. A small time factory owned by a little known fellow in the east made some little plastic thingies and had a few sales. Then a woman from the south teamed up with him and started having house parties to show soccer moms (well maybe baseball moms in those days) what Tupperware was and how they need it. The process was to also bring on women as sales people and have more parties. Well, the little business Mr. Tupper started took off and became huge. It also went international and brought in millions from other countries. You might want to seek out the documentary because it appears you have a basic lack of understanding about the business world. So, today Tupperware is a household brand and all Americans know about it and probably own some. Millions were paid in taxes and many people gained employment and wealth from the little man and the little woman. That is capitalism and how humans in our system succeed. I doubt a union rep for GM or for some government bureaucracy would make a minute into the Tupperware way of life.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Ben reveals his ignorance once again… most of his list are in fact franchises, with individual owners who are likely locals.

      Perhaps Ben and others would benefit from perhaps the clearest economics in one lesson ever devised; the Gnomes episode from South Park’s second season.

      No economy has ever been “trickle down”. It’s mostly “trickle up”. The Heinz fortune was made one bottle of catsup at a time. The Hearst fortune was made one nickle newspaper at a time. Make a buck a year from 250 million different people, and you’re on easy street.

  18. When I interviewed for the job of assistant city editor at The Union back in ’01, the process included a meeting with the reporting staff. One of them asked me to name one thing I’d do to improve the paper. “Get Crabb in the paper more than once a week,” said I. It took a change of the publisher and editor, but it finally happened.

    If I was still working at The Union, I would tell management that it needs a regular columnist who knows this area well and can write thoughtfully about the issues we face. The response to this piece–and the writing I’ve seen since I started reading your blog–tells me that you’re the man.

    Of course, that would mean less time to blog.

    • RL Crabb says:

      Thank you, George. Having the blog has been a place to unleash my “inner writer” and I’m still somewhat rusty. The nicest part is being able to tell a story without having to draw every detail. Some of the posts here would take me a week to draw, but only an hour or so at the keyboard. The old hands aren’t as nimble as they used to be.

  19. Ben Emery says:

    I have a longer version of this post explaining my experience with franchise/ chain stores and everything I am mentioning here has been tried before and worked extremely well. The policies I am advocating on trade/ tariffs were done for nearly done for 200 years in this country making the statement that I need to go read US economics 101 a joke. My exit question was

    What would be the position of Hills Flat, B and C, and A to Z if Home Depot tried moving into Grass Valley?

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      You can lead the ideologue to ideas but you can’t make them think.

      No, Ben, punitive tariffs were not the law of this land for 200 years. What you are cheering for is Smoot-Hawley part deux. Or maybe part Doh!.

      • Judith Lowry says:

        Dorothy Parker’s ghost sez:
        “You can lead a ‘horticulture’ but you can’t make her think.”

        Greg, what you say is non-sequitur and makes no sense.

    • If the three of them had any sense, they’d have bought up Meeks and made it into a park.

      • And charter school site, indoor tennis, etc.

        • Judith Lowry says:

          I agree. One can envision quite a lovely housing development there. Mixed midsize to micro housing, perhaps charming live work lofts, over looking a darling little Mid-20th Century city. Sidewalks and trails down to neon lights, dining, shopping and lodging with a nostalgic flair. Stainless steel diner and all.
          Won’t happen in my life time, but it’s nice to dream.
          I love both GV and NC and couldn’t imagine one without the other. The basin is largely an inhuman mess but nonetheless loaded with possibilities and in the future could be the bridge between the two cities, rather than the border.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Judith, WalMart wanted to build there but we showed them. Now it’s just another former business, boarded up.

            Keachie, some mules and Scots just need a good 2×2 to the head when they’re going in the wrong direction.

    • A substantial portion of a local writer’s commentary consists of telling others how stupid they are, what a poor job they do at their chosen profession, and how they need to get educated, his way.

      “Very repetitious, his writings on the wall…”

      • Judith Lowry says:

        Yes Keachie, so true.
        It’s like ripping off a pun by a famous humorist, then altering the words thereby eradicating the pun, and then tossing it off as some kind of political wit or wisdom.
        That kind of tragically conceived cheese is the result of election fever syndrome, which is now perpetual.
        But hey, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Judith Lowry-Croul, I presume, and her buddy, Keach, ganging up. Par for the course.

          Variations on “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink” date back nine centuries or so. Shame on Parker for being derivative. Google reports about 2.9 million hits for “, but you can’t make them think”, the vast majority not being Dorothy Parker’s version. Feel free to pester every one of those 3E06 miscreants who you think have impinged on Parker’s legacy, such as it is.

  20. Judith Lowry says:

    Thanks GG : )

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