State Of The (Local) Union

Obama140After watching the President’s speech last night, I decided to present my own observations on the state of the economy, at the local level.

Over the weekend, I saw at least five individuals standing on the side of the road begging for money, and another standing next to his car with a cardboard sign that read, “out of gas”. We had our last supper at Villa Venezia (my fave restaurant) which is closing along with Trolley Junction and Cirino’s. I have heard that the pink slips are flying at Grass Valley Group. The Union police blotter has numerous instances of people arrested for shoplifting food from local markets, and reports that Grass Valley has seen a 62% increase in burglaries. Mental health services are being overwhelmed by depressed unemployed people.

I am reminded that our community is better off than many. Just down the road in the valley, things are much worse. So this is the economy wrecked under Bush and perpetuated by Obama. The Prez has all kinds of great programs in mind to fix things, if he can only find the money and get the Repubbys to go along. Fat chance of that happening any time soon.

In the meantime, the Dems think people should have to pay more money to insurance companies for gun liability, and they think we should all pay a lot more for energy. ( What would $5 per gallon gas do to a tourist economy?) Come the end of the year, everyone who still has an income will be forced into Obamacare, and companies are cutting employee hours to stay solvent. Look for more layoffs if the minimum wage goes up to $9. Fortunately, the state and federal governments are now flush with cash from the newly enacted tax hikes. Unfortunately, it will never be enough to satisfy their voracious appetite for spending.

Well, the Prez has his work cut out for him. If the local economy is any indication, it’s going to be a long four years.

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94 Responses to State Of The (Local) Union

  1. Don Baumgart says:

    You’re right RL, things don’t look good here or much of any place else. And, Villa Venesia will be missed. Contrary to local Chamber of Commerce propaganda most eateries up here are O M – Overpriced and Mediocre.

    • rl crabb says:

      It could be worse. You could be stuck on a dead cruise ship with overflowing toilets, eating onion sandwiches to stay alive. Carnival cruise lines, like our politicians, says the problems are “exaggerated” and help is on the way with rebates.

      • Judith Lowry says:


        Let’s count our blessings.

        First, we have lived to see a black president elected. He will make mistakes and do great things, like all of his predecessors. It is his turn to carry the most awesome weight a man (or woman) can. We have come a long way baby.

        Eating: Well, there will be new restaurants replacing the old ones that are leaving. The average life of a restaurant that makes it past the first year, where 90% fail, is under ten years so all the places you mentioned did very well and we can look forward to discovering new menus and atmospheres from fresh new dining spots (try the Crazy Horse). And the beat goes on.

        I just spent a week on the Central Coast and not once in Morro Bay or SLO did I encounter a single beggar. Everybody looked pretty functional. And they aren’t using plastic bags anywhere in that county, nice. So there are nicer places to live than here, and one can relocate to a preferable environment. It’s a free country.

        Crime is always on the rise and hereabouts the Meth culture is the worst thing we have to deal with, but there are many local agencies and organizations willing to help those who find the courage to get clean and stay clean. In some countries people are flogged or even hung for possession of cannabis, so even the worst tweaker here is a lucky man, when you think about it.

        Money and how to spend it, is something folks just love to argue about and everybody is an expert. Taxes are rising sure, but if you want a glass of water hereabouts, it just comes right out of your wall, clean and ready to drink. Many people in the world are dying for lack of safe clean water. They don’t have hot tubs either, can you believe it?
        If you need assistance from our local law enforcement, you have only to make a phone call and you will get help. If your house is burning, some brave young people in a well equipped fire engine may come and save it, and your cat too. You have only to place the call. Oh, and they all need roads to get to you.

        We take for granted much of what we have. Life is good in spite of your glum sounding post. Down in the dumps, Wubby?
        I suggest that whenever you are despondent about things out of your control, look around for the nearest cute little blonde you see , and thank you lucky stars for what you do have. You lucky bum.

  2. gregoryzaller says:

    I’ve always wondered what the motivation is to point out everything that is wrong without offering any constructive solution. All I can figure is that it might make the complainer feel that he isn’t part of the problem and is somewhere up on the mountain looking down. If so, it couldn’t be any further from the truth.

    Got any good ideas, RL?

    • rl crabb says:

      Yes. The government could actually do its job. Simplify the tax code and CEQA. Stop figuring out new ways to take money out of our pockets with vague promises to redistribute it to someone else. Americans are an innovative and adventurous lot, and will do a much better job of restoring the economy than govt. programs. How’s that for starters?

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        At least one California watcher thinks the current optimism in Sacramento will begin to disappear after the Ides of April passes, they actually see what the Franchise Tax Board was able to shake out of California taxpayers, and they will again be scrambling to find more revenues.

        In the meantime, CalPERS and STRS need billions more every year because they promised more than they can deliver.

        California needs adult supervision and I don’t see that being possible without more public bankruptcies, state and local. Yes, that *is* a positive thing. Forget “dead man walking”, think “broke state spending”. It can’t go on forever, and it won’t.

      • gregoryzaller says:

        For all I know, RL, you spend most of your time working on solutions and only briefly yield to the complaining urge. So my point is more general that people spend too much time complaining and not enough time fixing things.

        I agree with you about government wasting too much money with give away’s instead of encouraging folks to take care of themselves. Still, though, I think Obama had a lot of good ideas in his speech like raising the minimum wage, for example. Actually, I think I agree with all of his ideas in that speech. I’m wondering if there was something he said that you don’t agree with.

        • rlcrabb says:

          Well, Greg, I don’t know that I have to justify every complaint I have with government by countering with a solution. In my chosen profession, my goal is usually to generate some humor and insight into current events. Perhaps this is not as noble as washing the feet of the downtrodden, but I do what I can with my limited resources.
          As far as Obama’s speech, the cynic in me has to point out that he continually makes promises of vast new government assistance while claiming that he can do it without adding a dime to the national bill. It will be a neat trick if he can pull it off, but it seems more likely that someone will have to pay the piper.

          • gregoryzaller says:

            Fair enough on your speech concern. Time will tell.

            “Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will be among the stars”.

            I do think this recession is going to be an all hands on deck situation coming up and that we all will need to rethink our old assumptions to get past it. A good rule would be to require any criticism to come with an honest attempt on how to change it. Blaming government needs to become taking responsibility for all of the voting that got it this way. That said, I think there should always be a role in there for cartoonists to find the humor in the human drama..

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            “A good rule would be to require any criticism to come with an honest attempt on how to change it. ”

            What a lovely infringement of the 1st Amendment.

            A good rule is to have the courage to do nothing when none of the proposals are any good. “We got to do something” is a road to ruin, and FDR made a great recession into the Great Depression taking that road.

  3. Michael Anderson says:


    I think in the cases of the Trolly Junction, Cirino’s in Nevada City, and Villa Vinezia, these are places that just plain ran out of gas, for whatever reason. Which is totally OK. But not really an indicator of the health of the restaurant business in Nevada County.
    Grass Valley Group? A very old story. In 1988 there were 1,200 people employed by that company, in 5 separate campuses all over the county. Today they have somewhere in the ~200 range, scattered all across the globe. Here in Nevada County I think they are down to around half that, after the recent layoff of a good portion of the engineering team a couple of weeks ago.

    The good news is that many of these extremely talented video engineers have stuck around and now work for companies like AJA Video and Telestream, and a host of others, that were created by ex-GVG employees. The video industry is alive and well in Nevada County. It’s truly one of our economic gems.

    I too have seen the drastic increase in homelessness and unemployment in Nevada County. But as has been discussed quite openly since this all started in 2008, this last recession was totally unlike the last four economic downturns that have occurred since the Vietnam War. These are vast economic structural changes that we are experiencing, and personally I think we are only at the beginning of that process. We definitely need to find a better way to take care of the indigent who are being cast aside during this great restructuring.

    So, good news / bad news. I choose to walk on the sunny side of the street, whenever I can.

    Michael A.

    • rlcrabb says:

      While sunshine is generally a good thing, it also causes skin cancer. Be sure to wear protection.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      The restaurants “ran out of gas” because customers weren’t plentiful enough to make it worthwhile, and the local video industry is a shadow of its former self.

      “Keep on the Sunny Side” certainly helped keep the Carter Family in beans and tortillas during the depression. Here’s a bit of history with June Carter and Johnny Cash, a session from June’s last album:

      • Michael Anderson says:

        Greg incorrectly observed: “…the local video industry is a shadow of its former self.”

        Between AJA, Miranda, Telestream, CRS, Editware, Isis Group, SVS, Sierra Design Group, Ensemble Designs, and a host of others, the number of employees working for these video companies is at least 2/3 of those employed by GVG in it’s hay day. Hardly a shadow.

        And I’m not counting the other high-tech companies, like PACE and Automata, which have benefited over the years from the engineering talent that used to be employed by GVG.

        All in all, the high-tech business community is more diverse and resilient in Nevada County than it was 20 years ago when GVG was pretty much the only game in town.

  4. rl crabb says:

    Well, the consensus here is that I should shut up and get with the program. Okay. Forget everything I said. The Democrats will fix it. Republicans are stupid. Please pass the Kool-Aid.

  5. rl crabb says:

    But before I give up and put on my happy face, here’s something to chew on…

  6. steve cottrell says:


    The Libertarian Party would welcome you with open arms. It has its own extremist policy positions that I am unable to support, but on balance it offers an alternative worth considering.

    Most importantly, however, don’t stop doing what you do.

    • rl crabb says:

      Thanks, Steve. I agree that the Libertarian Party has some good ideas, but tend to go to extremes with the “freedom to do whatever I damn well please” schtick. I’m not opposed to government intervention when it is necessary. The threat I see is that we are becoming entitled to death. Hansen’s column speaks to that concern. The prevailing wisdom today is that “this time we’ll get it right” even though socialism, huge government bureaucracies and self-indulgence has failed over and over throughout history. Maybe it won’t happen in my lifetime, but it will happen eventually if the country stays on this path.
      And by the way, I voted for Gary Johnson.

  7. Greg Goodknight says:

    I’ve never read of a “freedom to do whatever I damn well please” shtick from any Libertarian, whose party message is generally more along the lines of ‘your right to swing your arm ends before your fist hits my nose’, and there is plenty lrft there for reasonable civil regulations and criminal law. Extreme libertarians (aka anarchists) are no nuttier (or just as nutty) as extreme left-liberals, extreme right-conservatives and totalitatians.

  8. Brad Croul says:

    Dang, it was a nice day today, but,… darkness looms…

    I heard an analogy today, comparing our government (and political winds) to a grandfather clock movement. Things go round and round, and back and forth, as the clock turns. As long as it all stays in the clock box, we will be all right.
    I guess you could also say that taxpayers are the key that winds the springs that keeps the pendulum swinging.
    That is the generous way of describing things.
    Some would probably say our government is more like one of those wind up toys that they sell at the Gray Goose that spin around and fly off the table. Lol

  9. Steve Frisch says:

    There are some who work on solutions:

    …..and I agree with Bob that the State of the Union address has become fantasyland. 90% of what is proposed in SOTU addresses never even makes it into legislation, let alone passes, which is probably a good thing.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      The usual suspects. I hope the meeting SBC hosted was less directed towards preconceived conclusions than some of their past forums:

      The 2013 California Economic Summit Steering Committee includes:

      Bill Allen, CEO, Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.
      Lucy Dunn, CEO, Orange County Business Council
      Steve Frisch, CEO, Sierra Business Council
      Paul Granillo, CEO, Inland Empire Economic Partnership
      Carl Guardino, CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
      Sunne McPeak, Emerging Technologies
      Lenny Mendonca, Director, McKinsey & Company
      Bill Mueller, CEO, Valley Vision (Sacramento)
      Deborah Nankivell, CEO, Fresno Business Council
      Sean Randolph, CEO, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
      Lauree Sahba, COO, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp.

      • Steve Frisch says:

        Yes Greg, clearly a rogues gallery of idiots, amateurs and leftists compared to the big brained sages of Cement Hill, You Bet and Alleghany.

        Perhaps you should have printed the full list from last year:

        George Shultz, Hoover Institution-Stanford University Laura Tyson, Haas School of Business-UC Berkeley Michael Rossi, Senior Advisor to the Governor on Jobs Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor, State of California Peter Ueberroth, Contrarian Group
        Felicia Marcus, former Regional Director, EPA Region IX

        Nathan Gardels, Think Long Committee
        Robert Hertzberg, Mayer Brown & Rowe, LLP Keith Kennedy, Con-way, Inc.
        Rebecca Q. Morgan, Morgan Family Foundation Eddie Northen, United Parcel Service
        Noel Perry, Next 10
        Dan Rendler, Southern California Gas Company Fred Ruiz, Ruiz Foods, Inc.
        Hank Nordhoff, Gen-Probe, Inc. (retired)

        Lenny Mendonca, McKinsey & Company (Chair)
        Orson Aguilar, The Greenlining Institute
        Bill Allen, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation
        Chris Benner, University of California Davis
        Oscar Chavez, Sonoma County Innovation Council
        Judy Corbett, Local Government Commission
        Lucy Dunn, Orange County Business Council
        Tim Frank, Center for Sustainable Neighborhoods
        Paul Granillo, Inland Empire Economic Partnership
        Carl Guardino, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
        Barbara Halsey, California Workforce Association
        Adele Hayutin, Global Aging Program, Stanford University
        Doug Hoffner, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
        Tim Kelley, Imperial County EDC and Team California
        Peter King, University of California – Office of the President
        Robert Lapsley, California Business Roundtable
        Stephen Levy, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy
        Bill Mueller, Valley Vision
        Manuel Pastor, Program for Environment and Regional Equity-University of Southern California Art Pulaski, California Federation of Labor
        Sean Randolph, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
        Lauree Sahba, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
        Wayne Schell, California Association for Local Economic Development
        Jack Stewart, California Manufacturers and Technology Association
        Brook Taylor, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
        Peter Weber, California Partnership of San Joaquin Valley

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          “Yes Greg, clearly a rogues gallery of idiots, amateurs and leftists”

          “Rent seekers” pretty much says it all, Steve.

          When throwing it out there you could have mentioned you were a principal, which would put your citation in perspective.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            My comments were directed to everyone here: that there are people out there working on solutions and the way to correct a perceived problem is to work on the solution. The collective brain power of the people listed above, and the point that they span the spectrum from conservative to liberal, trucking company owners to prize winning economists, government to private sector, and education to innovation, makes your paltry comments simply look uniformed and parochial.

            By the way, I happened to be in the office today, you know I kind of work like a business owner, and looking through our database I note that you have never attended any SBC event. Nor did you attend the CA Economic Summit, nor the regional forums. So lets put your comment in perspective, you are just some guy who sits on the couch and bitches who is too lazy to get off his butt and do anything.

  10. Greg Goodknight says:

    Frisch, not attending a Sierra Business Council event, including those of the umbrella organization, is one of the most productive actions anyone in the state can take.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      Yeah Greg, I guess it means you don’t know anything about “I hope the meeting SBC hosted was less directed towards preconceived conclusions than some of their past forums”.

      In short, you don’t know WTF you are talking about….again.

  11. Steve Frisch says:

    Bob, sorry to trash your forum up responding to Mr. Goodknaught here…but as long as he is on a one man jihad to trash me personally, I can’t unilaterally disarm. I would be much happier and would return the favor if he just never directed a comment at me ever again………I would make that deal, but I bet he wouldn’t.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Your snotty response to my 11:59 was completely unwarranted, Steve, and you have a history for diving for the snark early and hard.

      I went to your link and browsed for awhile, finally figured out what to click to find out about who was covering Nevada County for this group, and when it came up Steven Frisch and the so-called Sierra Business Council, thought a mention of that back here was worthwhile.

      “Yes Greg, clearly a rogues gallery of idiots, amateurs and leftists” was completely out of line and disproportionate. Something like, “Yes, I thought everyone knew that was [me and my cronies]” and some mention of actual positive results might have been something worthy of a local non-profit CEO pulling down a 6 figure salary.

      I’m happy for the attendees that a balance was had among the speakers at at some point, but even if I was impressed by George Schultz’s appearance a year ago, some actual news of more than the usual SBC cronies being active in 2013 might have been more useful.

    • rl crabb says:

      Okay, fellas, I’ve been out of the loop for most of the day, so I’m just getting caught up. Greg- Methinks you are too harsh in your judgement of Steve’s efforts. I applaud anyone who has the energy to delve into the many problems that confront us.
      Steve- I know everyone likes to whup on me for complaining, but I see things from a different perspective than most who post here. I live in the lower middle class, and I can only say that by virtue of being a homeowner. There are many who are worse off than I am. But I do know how difficult it is to survive, and it gets harder day by day. The nickel and dime stuff that govt. heaps upon us may not affect you much. If you’re living on the edge, it’s more than a minor annoyance. I see the boys and girls in Sacramento are gearing up for another shot at the vehicle license fee. Great. Make it as hard on working folks as possible. And as for your list of luminaries, it was people with degrees and titles that got us into this mess in the first place. I’ll believe your “reforms” when they actually do anyone any good. Until then, I’m gonna keep bitching.

      • Tony Waters says:

        “And as for your list of luminaries, it was people with degrees and titles that got us into this mess in the first place. ”

        Earl has a good point here which could perhaps be expanded on. There is a growing divide between people with degrees, titles, and salaries, and the other 70% or so who do not have fancy BA degrees (and who include some really smart people, including some who post here regularly). In a surprisingly populist editorial, The Economist wrote about this a couple weeks ago:

        • Steve Frisch says:

          Tony, I am wondering if you saw my acknowledgement that it will take more than ‘fancy’ degrees and experts to fix our problems? But at the same time I find it ironic that on the one hand Greg Goodknight claims a superior education that makes him somehow more qualified to comment on certain topics, while simultaneously dismissing the education of others. Seems like pretty selective anti-intellectualism to me.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            People who spend years studying and working in the physical sciences tend to understand physical science better than political scientists and sociologists do. Or do we have a disagreement on that, too?

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Well then Greg, I should think that you would then agree that people who spend their careers working on social science and economic development might understand it better than Harvey Mudd physical science grads…..and that you might them treat them with a little more respect than calling them all the ‘rent seeking…usual suspects’. Since you are the one who seems to be contrarian on anything certain people say based on personal antipathy rather than issues, I suspect we will have a disagreement on that too.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Steve, I completely agree that, if it’s rent-seeking that is the issue, a first or second rate education is political science is very apropos. Overall economic development is held back by rent seeking and Nevada County, from Penn Valley to Truckee, is also damaged by the demonizing of carbon fuels you’ve been cheering.

            Regarding where I’ve attended college, I doubt you’ve ever seen me be the one bringing it up. Including now.

          • Tony Waters says:

            Steve, I was actually trying to help Earl change the subject to a more general problem of the growing isolation between those with degrees, and those without. I saw this in Nevada County, and I see it in other parts of the country. Guess it didn’t work this time. Maybe next time?


  12. Steve Frisch says:

    I was actually talking about Greg bitching, not you Bob. If you took, “there are some who are working on solutions” as a whump it sincerely was not meant as that. It was meant as a testament to people who work on solutions, big and small, and my link was an example. I completely agree with you that working class people are getting the shaft. The question is how do we turn that around. I think we turn it around with jobs and quality of life.

  13. Steve Frisch says:

    And a final note, it will take people of all pedigrees to turn that around.

  14. Steve Frisch says:

    Greg, I must note, that as always, you cast the fist stone here.

  15. Steve Frisch says:

    Greg, there were more than 60 people from the Sierra Nevada who had input into the forum that was held last year. I hope to double that this year. And clearly you did not go to the Action Agenda portion of the web page that tracks progress on the initiatives coming out of last years forum. Once agin, you don’t know WTF you are talking about.

  16. Greg Goodknight says:

    “Greg, I must note, that as always, you cast the fist [sic] stone here.”

    If “The usual suspects. I hope the meeting SBC hosted was less directed towards preconceived conclusions than some of their past forums” feels like a stone, your skin is far too thin and we have wildly differing understandings of basic geology.

    An interesting concept, this “as always” of yours, Steve.

  17. Steve Frisch says:

    Yeah Greg, I guess I was just incensed by the idea that you could project an idea of what occurs at an SBC forum, when I have never met you. Which led me to the database, that confirmed you have never attended an SBC forum, thus there is no way you could know what occurs at one. Consequently you are speaking out of your a$$.

    Plus, I find it kind of interesting that I never address you in person, yet you seem to want to address me. And you seem to have quite a bit of envy and irrational anger in your attacks on me. I mean really, who gives a sh*# what I make besides you? When people bitch about what Mitt Romney makes all your cronies call it class envy….. which makes it pretty obvious that you are a bored, bitter, lonely, man with nothing better to do than harass people for kicks. Pretty friggin’ sicko if you ask me.

  18. Greg Goodknight says:

    A whole 60 people representing all of the Sierra Nevada attended your forum? Less than some PTA meetings I’ve been to. 9% of your membership?

    Your thin skin is showing… What name calling, which is what you often end up with. It’s also often what you start with. I’ve been reading your BS for years, iirc even our host here has reported your NH2020 facilitations were leading attendees to preconceived conclusions, and I don’t recall you denying it.

    BTW, RL, I realize it’s not fashionable to not give an A for effort, but lots of effort in the wrong direction isn’t better than nothing.

  19. rl crabb says:

    It’s more than a fashion statement, Greg. I read Steve’s posts on this and other blogs and there are some things he advocates that I agree with and others I don’t. There is no “one true path” to solutions. We are in a unique position at this juncture in history with the Democrat’s unrestrained majority. I’ll give Jerry B. some credit for being able to accomplish some degree of cat-herding with the legislature, even as he tries to massage the public sector unions that really run California.
    The Dems have the spotlight all to themselves. Steve and his cohorts will have their chance to show us how the “grand realignment” will work, or they’ll be toast by the end of the decade.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      RL, you forgot about the sky high electric bills slated to keep climbing as the forced march towards ‘clean, renewable energy’ keeps forcing power companies in California, and only in California, to buy the most expensive energy on the market. That’s also one of Frisch’s, who fought tirelessly to keep AB32 on the books as is by defeating Prop 32, which would have suspended AB32 until California’s economy recovered.

      Kids who work really hard on failing work don’t deserve A’s.

  20. Greg Goodknight says:

    Damn the dyslexia. Prop 23, AB32.

  21. Steve Frisch says:

    Tell that to the one in six kids in Bakersfield with asthma, the one in three with the precursors to asthma, and the tens of thousands who loose property, their livelihoods, or lives due to climate change, Greg. SBC’s core message is that we can have vibrant communities, strong economies and a clean environment at the same time, and trading one off against the other for the gain of a few is a quality of life we will not accept any more. We will stand by that philosophy at SBC, and in the end, we will prevail.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Ask the kids shivering at night because their parents can’t afford to turn on their only source of heat.

      If you really want to make a difference with airborne particulates in Bakersfield, shut down agriculture (oh, and you want to eat?) or push for more fracking; cheap fuel will drive the changeover for trucks away from diesel towards clean burning natural gas even faster.

      Steve, there’s been no measurable “Climate Change” in Bakersfield, and, after decades of all that warming the total world sea ice coverage is right at its average of the past four decades. Not to mention the measured surface temperatures being below *all* of the IPCC AR4 projections, as released in a graph from the leaked AR5 draft.

      It’s winter, it’s cold and snowy in many parts of the northern hemisphere, and the severity of the last big storm in the northeast, the fifth strongest blizzard in Boston’s history, is due to climate change. But, apparently, not the four stronger ones.

      There’s been no significant warming for nearly two decades. It was a few years ago that senior IPCC climate scientists declared that it would take 15 years of a cessation of observed warming to call the models into question, but that was increased to twenty years after it hit the 16 year mark. The models overestimate the impact of CO2. There is no catastrophic warming in the pipeline. The sky is not falling; ALL of the observed climate change to date is well within historic (and prehistoric) natural variations.

      • Steve Frisch says:

        I direct you to this interesting video de-bunking the ‘no climate change in 16 years’ claim of many skeptics.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Skeptics? I’m not sure how much time needs to be spent to debunk the anonymous debunker linked above, but here are a couple of the principals in climate circles:

          “Some climate scientists, such as Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, last week dismissed the significance of the plateau, saying that 15 or 16 years is too short a period from which to draw conclusions… The data does suggest a plateau, he admitted, and without a major El Nino event – the sudden, dramatic warming of the southern Pacific which takes place unpredictably and always has a huge effect on global weather – ‘it could go on for a while’. Like Prof Curry, Prof Jones also admitted that the climate models were imperfect: ‘We don’t fully understand how to input things like changes in the oceans, and because we don’t fully understand it you could say that natural variability is now working to suppress the warming. We don’t know what natural variability is doing.’ ”

          There’s a nicely garish graph, of the sort preferred by British color supplements, of the HadCRUt data at the story above. Jones, a senior IPCC scientist, is *the* CRU keeper of the HadCRUt dataset, accepts his data as representing a 15 or 16 year plateau, and yes, he had previously suggested the IPCC’s models might be in trouble if HadCRUt went 15 years without statistically significant warming.

          Also from the DailyMail story:
          ” ‘The new data confirms the existence of a pause in global warming,’ Professor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science at America’s Georgia Tech university, told me yesterday…

          ‘It is becoming increasingly apparent that our attribution of warming since 1980 and future projections of climate change needs to consider natural internal variability as a factor of fundamental importance.’ ”

          See also Dr.Curry’s blog here

          This is a local issue. We pay more for gas and electricity in California, including Nevada County, because AB32, “The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006”, mandates it, and the squeeze is on with no relief in sight even as the leaked draft IPCC Assessment Report #5 walks back the AR4 effort that inspired AB32 in the first place.

  22. Michael Anderson says:

    I’ll join Steve F. in asking which gov’t or private meetings GG’s been to in the past decade where he spoke out, one way or another, so as to be someone who is “in the mix.” Or has even just warmed a seat to find out what his fellow citizens have to say about a huge variety of subjects.

    • Tony Waters says:

      In the world of the internet, I think that participating on blogs counts on “going to local meetings.” Agree with him or not, Greg has been a pretty consistent attendee at this an other blogs–I would count that as being “in the mix.”

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Tony, thanks for noticing, although I do appear in public more often than the usual suspects are aware of. I can’t imagine showing up at a one of Steve’s shindigs; he depends on the sort of rent-seeking the state desperately needs to stop.

        Wir sollten die globale Erwärmung gespräch, wenn Sie zurück zu Nevada County bekommen.

  23. rlcrabb says:

    Greg and Mike – Enough of your private pissing match. If you can’t stick to issues without threatening each other, don’t bother posting here.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Both Mike and Steve demanding to know what groups I might belong to isn’t exactly on topic, RL

      • rl crabb says:

        I don’t mind a bit of snark, but it usually degenerates into one-liners that remind me of the third grade. I may be the Village Idiot, but even I have my standards. Now everybody take a deep breath and count to ten…

      • Michael Anderson says:

        I wasn’t demanding anything of the sort. The subject of participation in the body politic (both public and private) began when you once again denigrated Steve F. and the SBC, specifically the meetings and forums they hold and participate in to discuss various issues of the day.

        I think it’s fair to respond by bringing up your own participation in the body politic. GG, I know that you have been active in improving school performance and accountability here in Nevada County, and I thank you for that good work. But other than that single subject I haven’t experienced your voice in any other public forum. And I should know, because I go to a lot of meetings.

        Unfortunately, I disagree with you, Tony, that the Internets are an analog to butts in the seats. They both have value, but I truly believe they work in conjunction with one another. If you just do one, your chance at affecting change is severely limited. And I would argue that a physical presence at a meeting is much more effective than a Letter to the Editor, or a blog comment.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          I don’t do “just one”, Mike, I just feel no need to justify what I do by answering my inquisitors here. Especially to you and Frisch, or by giving the occasional obsessive loon with a camera a mission to harass.

        • Judith Lowry says:

          I can refute the business about “physical presence” meetings having any real effect.
          The blogs are the last resort for some of us who find that to be true.
          The blogs are slow, but effective in the long run.
          “The wheels of the Gods grind slow, but they grind exceeding small.”
          Communication modes are shifting and changing.
          If you can’t keep up, keep on it.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Judith, perhaps we can agree to this: they are on two separate tracks.

            The blogger track is iconoclastic, and throws rocks at the Inner Sanctum. And that is a good thing.

            But the Inner Sanctum is not intrinsically evil, and you can have iconoclasts sitting in those seats, but it is a lot of hard work.

            I totally respect the amount of work that is involved in being a member of the board of supervisors, for example, or sitting on the Grass Valley or Nevada City city councils, or the local fire board. Thankless glory, that’s for sure. That’s what I mean by “butts in the seats.”

            The number of non-profits in Nevada County is staggering, way off the charts. The volunteers here, who put their butts in the seats all day every day, are the oil that keeps the Nevada County engine from seizing up.

            Some are more effective and helpful than others, but these are the people I am talking about.

        • Tony Waters says:

          I don’t go to many meetings–I don’t find I have the patience for the give and take that is necessary in such contexts, and admire those who do. This goes particularly particularly goes for those who are willing to put themselves out there and stand for public office. This takes guts, and a thick skin.
          Having said that, I also know that those who do such service are also prone to the corruption and hubris that goes particularly with the power of public office. I think that blogs are a new and important way to engage with them for people (like me) who would otherwise be silent and just stew in their frustration and become more disengaged. Not everyone needs to go to every meeting to participate. And I indeed find blogging here and at Pellines a way to engage with people I would not otherwise.

          Does it get out of hand sometimes? Sure, it does. But so do public meetings. When this happens, I usually choose not to respond–let it go. One thing about the blogs in Nevada County is that they move fairly quickly. Flame wars usually don’t last more than a week, and are often shut down by the moderation process.

          The funny thing about Nevada County blogs as an “art form” is that I get a sense of who people are, and how they think in ways that I don’t get in person. This is partly why I return to the Nevada County blogs, even though I haven’t lived there for almost two years. Still it would be nice to meet some of my “blog friends” in person someday! There is still a lot to be said for beers, coffee, whiskey, or whatever your preference might be!

  24. rl crabb says:

    The thing about blogs is you never know what kind of response you’ll get from a particular post, this entry being a case in point. It’s been the same with cartoons I’ve published over the years. Sometimes, I do one that I expect to be controversial and nothing happens. Sometimes, I do one that I think is totally innocent and get tons of flak. One thing is for sure: the folks who comment here have strong opinions and prejudices. It’s a 24/7 townhall meeting, and the natives are always restless.
    So let’s get back to the main point I was getting at. Michael, I’m glad that the local tech industry is alive and well, and I’m glad that millionaires in Tahoe are lighting their bongs with hundred dollar bills, but do you really believe that a 62% rise in local burglaries is not significant? We tend to be insulated from the “other” California between the coast and the mountains, but it has a way of sneaking up on us. Same with the number of homeless folks wandering the streets. It’s the canary in the coal mine.

    • Gerry Fedor says:

      Charlie and crowd – I have a question for all of you then when.

      What are your point of view on Property Rights? Should a group be able to par-take activities that are legal (within State rights) on their property without interference from governmental agencies, or should we let the NH2020 type crowd tell you what you can and cannot do on your property.

      Take for example you can only have a specific number of fowl, and they will have to be housed in a specially designed, limited space, where your neighbors will not have to be exposed to them, or the smell of their manure. It this reasonable?

      I’d like to hear your answer this question as this is a multi-phase question and once I have some type of indication I will move onto the next phase as this property rights question affects us all.

      • rlcrabb says:

        Gary – Since your other comment is in a language I can’t decipher, I won’t print it. And who is Charlie?

      • Steve Frisch says:

        I believe that property rights are a vital part of the foundation of American democracy. Property rights laws are designed to balance the rights of the property owner with the rights of adjacent property owners and the community. As such, reasonable restrictions on property rights through general plans, zoning ordinances, design guidelines and other mechanisms are acceptable, as long as they do not reduce the value of property to the point that the owner cannot get a reasonable return on investment. Owners should be made away of the restrictions on property rights, of potential changes to property rights, before purchasing property. In general people should be able to take part in any legal activity on their property as long as it does not affect the rights of others, and have a right to do so (such as growing marijuana for medicinal purposes) without state interference. Individuals also have a right to privacy, meaning taking part in an activity on your property should be assumed to be legal, unless there is probable cause to think otherwise.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          That should read, “Owners should be made aware of the restrictions on property rights, of potential for changes to property rights, before purchasing property.”

        • Judith Lowry says:

          Jeez Steve,

          If only the Nisenan had had that kind of deal in the 1800’s.
          But their “property rights” were summarily blown off, and what do we have to show for it now?

          • Steve Frisch says:

            I wish the Nisenan had had those property rights respected…by law they should have. But we all know that law and practice are two different things, unfortunately. That’s why I support reparations.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Judith, though it’s better than what the Nisenan got, there’s less there than meets the eye. The devil is in the details: “… as long as they do not reduce the value of property to the point that the owner cannot get a reasonable return on investment”. Regulatory takings can be a death of 1000 cuts, and can be very difficult for all but the wealthiest property owners willing to take it to court to show enough of the legal uses of their property have been taken for eminent domain to be triggered.

            It was the prospect of regulatory takings run amok that killed NH2020, and for good reason.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      Bob asked: “Michael, I’m glad that the local tech industry is alive and well, and I’m glad that millionaires in Tahoe are lighting their bongs with hundred dollar bills, but do you really believe that a 62% rise in local burglaries is not significant?”

      Bob, I think it’s very significant, and scary. But I think this has as much to do with the burgeoning meth culture in Nevada County as it does the poverty rate. Talk about the need for some creative thinking! How we are currently handling our meth problem is totally not working, and that failure directly results in high crime rates, especially residential burglary.

      I’m not a big fan of rose-colored glasses, but our local economy is finally starting to turn around and it needs all the encouragement it can get. And some of the economic negativity I read from various locals is just not accurate, IMHO.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Ran into an old friend on Friday who had landed at Grass Valley (Group) a year or two ago, and he unfortunately was one of the ~25 recently let go from engineering. Perhaps a quarter of the staff, he said the totals were not clear.

        Checking, Miranda, a Canadian company which used to be a local company, NVision, apparently has one opening but the careers page has it listed as being in “Grass Valley, Canada”. Wrong CA, I guess HR hasn’t figured it out yet. AJA has a few openings listed, but the engineering slots don’t seem to be all that much different than the very specialized openings they’ve had in the past, and one friend of mine who works there told me not long ago they’ve not seen anyone hired in awhile.

        In short, tech is not at all well in Nevada County, either.

        Storefronts are going dark, more begging on the street. Gun shops and The Range seem to be busy.

  25. Steve Frisch says:

    Hey. lets be absolutely 100% clear about why this little locale spun out of control, “got out of hand” or created a ‘ton of flak”. It was because one person, Greg Goodknight, doesn’t understand how to behave when interacting with other people. Bob, you may want to pretend this is some sort of two way street but this is regular behavior by Greg and it is not moderated.

    • rlcrabb says:

      Right. And so the merry-go-round continues. If I had a nickel for every insult uttered here by some (not all), I could retire. I suppose I should just start blocking comments, but I’d like to believe that college-educated adults could manage to police themselves and quit this “he said it first” mentality. Call me naive.
      Various responsibilities keep me from monitoring this site every minute of the day, so I’ll ask one more time…Please quit baiting each other. The alternative is banishment to the Phantom Zone.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Steve, with your penchant for blaming others, you should be a politician…

        Bob, as long as Steve’s little character assassination is left standing, let me document where it went off the rails:

        This is where Steve identified an organization that is working to make a difference:

        I followed that with a post that identified his SBC as being an integral part of it and hoping they weren’t driving the meeting they hosted to a preconceived result. The snark flowed downhill from there.

      • RL, I think it’s time for a blogosphere steel-cage smack-down featuring Greg Goodknight and Big Boy. They have two things in common that would make this a verbal match worth following:

        –Each just HAS to get in the last word;

        –Each knows everything, and has never been wrong.

        Fun for most of the family! It could last for weeks.

        • rlcrabb says:

          Well, he has been saying we need more entertainment around these parts. But would anyone pay to see such a spectacle?

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          We had that already. Jeff punted.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Pelline started chasing me off his blog when an argument of mine against one of his posts had both Steven Frisch and Michael Anderson agreeing with me. Losing control is anathema to control freaks, and someone had to go.

          George, checking your letters to The Union, I can see why you’re cheering for Frisch. Blogging at TheUnion a few years ago I picked up Frisch, Anderson and another guy (who also has a hard time not diving towards snide sarcasm) as adversaries, mostly over anthropogenic climate change but over a number of other topics.

          I’d suggest if you don’t believe the data produced by even the Climategate crowd shows no warming over the past 16 years, and look for the dailymail link in a comment above. Dr. Phil Jones is a key IPCC scientist and even he agrees there’s a 16 year pause of warming in the data.

          George, feel free to have the last word, assuming it is snark free. “Steel-cage smack-down” doesn’t qualify.

  26. gregoryzaller says:

    I agree with you, RL, that we are likely in a tailspin. The only way to turn it around is to do something different. More of the same is more of the same. To say something like “noble as washing the feet of the downtrodden” , even facetiously, obfuscates the fact that there are constructive ways to deal with the downtrodden problem that are not being done.

    Your blog would have a lot more value if it stimulated constructive discourse, and that would require for you to be leading in that direction.

  27. Don Baumgart says:

    We’ve come a long way from Kansas…over on the Big Boy Blog they’re talking about wrongs done to movies by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Real Life!

  28. Gerry Fedor says:

    The second part of my multi-question inquiry question concerns the ability of our Sheriff to fabricate whatever stories are necessary to get a ordinance passed thru the Board of Supervisors.

    If the Nevada County Sheriff fabricates such a story, to restrict property rights, would you support this elimination of your property rights, or would you fight this with the same intensity as many of us did with the NH2020 proposal?

  29. Gerry Fedor says:

    Sorry for the second posting as I hit the send button a little too early…

    My question is specially about the recently passed Medical Marijuana ordinance.

    Our Sheriff claimed that his office was receiving 30-50 calls per day starting the 1st of June and going thru the end of November (which is 214 days) and based upon these numbers that would mean that his office received 6,500-10,400 calls.

    When the Americans for Safe Access filed a freedom of information request for a copy of these complaints they were told that the Sheriff’s office did not “write them down”….. Now have worked for year as a Police Cadet (just out of High School) I know that this is not accurate as we spent @2 hours every day documenting everything that happened.

    This is also illegal as there are laws requiring documentation of all complaints and calls to the Police Department, so again I wonder about the accuracy of our Sheriff?

    I went to a local town hall meeting and our Sheriff reported that his office typically receives @102,000 call per year so based upon his information I was in favor of handling this issue as it seemed to be a real problem with it being @7-10% of the total complaints.

    This past year the Sheriff reported that his office received 300 complaints, and my reaction was what happened to the thousands of complaints that he was receiving?

    The ASA group filed a second Freedom of Information request and received 157 total redacted complaints. Again what happened to the thousands of complaints that we’re supposed to be called in, as this is less than 1 per day? The Sheriff’s office receives more complaints about barking dogs than they do about the whole MMJ issue, and if you consider that the County has supposedly spent $1,000,000 on this issue so far (which is both your and my money) with no end insight.

    The courts have already issued a ruling on this urgency ordinance stating that you cannot file a urgency measure on a state granted right, and even Allison Barret-Green, county counsel (from what I heard) wants this gone as Nevada County has lost the basis for this ordinance, but Sheriff Royal insists that it needs to continue moving forward thru the court system.

    I could never support our Sheriff on this issue as he seems to be the problem and not the solution to this issue.

    I have now heard that the Sheriff is preventing any type of medication (which could easily handle this issue, much like what was done in Yuba County saving them millions of dollars), so again when I look at his actions I have to wonder when the re-election comes up, will I be able to support the Leader of the California Sheriff’s Association, when it’s pretty obvious that he fabricated the information to eliminate patients rights as granted by a voter pasted law.

    I’m saying that I could never support his re-election as would you support a police official that fabricates information to get what he wants?

    I would be scared this this is not the first time that this type of fabrication has happened with our Sheriff, and it will not be the last time either. When he get caught doing this, it will be the county residents who will end up holding the financial bag for his actions.

    Let’s settle this now and medicate a reasonable solution, saving us all lots of money and insuring that the people who were granted this right move on with their lives.

    • Gerry Fedor says:

      Instead of 7-10% of the total calls it’s actually .0015% of the total calls that the Sheriff’s office received….

      A million dollars to answer .0015% of the complaints…….

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Gerry, I’d suggest a complaint to the county Civil Grand Jury if you can’t get the DA interested. Given I’ve only your say on this, I’m not incensed but my eyes are open.

        BTW I think you wrote “medicate/medication” a few times when you might have been referring to a *mediation*.

    • Steve Frisch says:

      I agree with Greg, I think you should take it up with the Grand Jury. While you are at it you might want to ask them if it is legal for the Sheriff to state that he will not enforce laws passed by the state and federal government if he deems them to be unconstitutional.

      • Tony Waters says:

        Wow, Steve agreeing with Greg! Anyway, I hope that someone from the Sheriff’s office comes on here to provide their side.

        At this point, it sounds like The Sheriff has a habit of habitually exaggerating statistics–something that politicians are wont to do. But it is also good to call them on this. Perhaps he can nip this impression now, in the bud, so to speak.

        I think The Sheriff is up for re-election in 2014. But someone (i.e. another sworn officer) has to run against him for their to be a real election.

  30. Don Baumgart says:

    Ninety-one comments! RL, you may break 100 on this one. No one has yet commented on the First Lady’s new hair style.

  31. Greg Goodknight says:

    The “State of The (Local) Union” news today is that Sierra Video Systems, mentioned in passing above as one of the apparently healthy heirs to the shrinking GVG legacy, is itself being “consolidated” by it’s parent, Kramer Electronics, with the office reportedly cleared out last Friday.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      I merely added them to the list in order to express diversity. I knew about this impending downsizing back in January (and of course not in a position to disclose it on a blog), but chose to to include them in my list anyway because the larger point is that Nevada County tech is no longer tied just to GVG, and that SVS employ(s)(ed) many ex-GVGers. That this one (small) video company is making local changes is just part of the flux, not a trend…cum se cum sa.

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