A Typical Night @ City Council

Nevada City City Council meetings are rarely boring, and Wednesday my “crabb sense” (which is like Spiderman’s spider sense) started tingling. I had to brave the elements to get to city hall for this week’s slugfest. I was not disappointed.

Just walking up to the entrance, I could see we were in for a contentious evening. The usual homeless persons advocates were lined up outside with “recall the city council” signs.  I stealthily skirted the protest, picked up a copy of the agenda, and found my usual seat in the back, where I could view the proceedings and have a quick exit to the street if a riot started.

Things started off well enough. The new Chief of Police was sworn in. A few proclamations were made. Then it was on to the public comments of items not on the agenda.

One of the homeless advocates launched into a tirade against Mayor McKay for attending the St. Piran’s Day festivities in Grass Valley. She had seen the mayor throwing pasties to dogs. It was a classic Marie Antoinette moment. Here, people were starving in Nevada City and McKay was callously feeding good food to fat little animals, and then eating one himself.

It was only after she finished her rant that the mayor pointed out that said pasties were filled with kibble. (I can confirm this, having been a participant myself. The kibble pasties were delicious, I might add.)

Moving past the tedious consent items and approval of minutes, the council tackled the ongoing dilemna of where’s the courthouse? This item has been festering for several years now, as preservationists and downtown business owners endlessly debate where the new state-mandated courthouse should be located. The faceless bureaucrats in Sacramento recently delivered an ultimatum to the city; decide or we will do what we want anyway.

During the public comment portion of the debate, there were several unique only-in-Nevada City solutions offered. One fellow wanted to channel the Mayans, who were known for their ability to retrofit pyramids without knocking them down. Of course, those of us who are enlightened know that this was done with the assistance of aliens, and as of yet they haven’t put in a construction bid here.

Another person noted that we really didn’t need to fix the old courthouse. She cited the example of Europe, where people have been occupying old buildings through centuries and two World Wars. Americans have never gone that route, being staunch capitalists we know that there is no profit in building anything permanent.

After much hand-wringing, the council decided to let the rabble fight it out in committees and probably more meetings. (Look for a joint city council/ board of supes extravaganza in the near future.) 

After all that, I was too exhausted to stay for the main event: a proposed resolution from the city council to support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Yeah, I know…This is a big issue. I remember years ago when a similar resolution was debated here to overturn the Patriot Act.

That turned out well, didn’t it?

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18 Responses to A Typical Night @ City Council

  1. Great image, great report! Your math problems are getting harder, 2 two digit numbers, is Greg making these up?

  2. Barry Pruett says:

    That was great! I actually laughed out loud a couple times! I too thought that the meeting would be interesting. The article in The Union stated that NC is experiencing budget overruns, but the council was going to vote against Citizens United. Sounded a little like fiddling and Rome, but probably makes for good theater. Maybe next month, I will join you.

  3. Michael Anderson says:

    These issue initiatives started back in the early 80s, with the nuclear free zones in cities like Berkeley. Some make more sense than others. Unless there are provisions in the Nevada City wording that prevent corporate “persons” from doing certain things (which would be impossible to enforce), I don’t really see the point to last night’s resolution.

    OTOH, the resolutions against the Patriot Act actually had some teeth to them. Provisions of the Patriot Act specifically require local law enforcement to perform certain functions, and these local resolutions were about those locals saying “we ain’t gonna do it.” I usually like it when the locals tell the fed that they’re not going to do their evil bidding.

    “Resolutions against the PATRIOT Act have been passed in 379 communities in forty-three states, six of which have been state-wide, which totals fifty-seven million people against some or all part of the USA PATRIOT Act.” http://www.law.duke.edu/publiclaw/civil/

  4. Greg Goodknight says:

    A suggested math problem designed to trip Keachie up, unless he’s learned hisself some ‘rithmetic in the last 10 years, would be 4 divided by one half.

    Back before my kid could drive, we attended a Nevada City planning commission meeting for a merit badge he was working on. One poor sod was trying to get permission to paint his building in the historic district. He took the trouble to pick his favorite color from the list of colors approved for the district, but one of the commissioners (Laurie Olberholzer?) made it clear that just because it’s an approved color it doesn’t mean they would approve the color. She didn’t like it, and wouldn’t approve it. I told the story to a group of Marching Presidents and, lo and behold, our host was the guy who had been jerked around. It took a few more meetings but he finally got to paint the place.

    I would like to thank the commissioner in question for the education she gave my son that evening. Giving some people power is equivalent to giving whiskey and car keys to teenaged boys.

  5. Douglas Keachie says:

    One, two ……. three, four , separated into two parts, would have each part consisting of 2 units. 4/.5 has always equaled 8. So Greg, as indicated so long ago, which of the two possible meanings are you referring two?

    “would be 4 divided by one half. ”

    Is that exactly what you wrote, or approximately? By now you should have realized that if I can do conditional statements various other stunts in Excel, I most likely was reading quickly and late at night. Now try something a little harder, like George’s train/walking/taxi/Mensa challenge.

  6. Greg Goodknight says:

    LOL, Keach, no credit for having to convert to floating point first.

    It was a decade ago, on an nccn email list, where Keachie responded to a note of mine how many elementary teachers couldn’t divide 1 3/4 by 1/2 by getting it entirely wrong. Proudly so. Then declared how tricky word problems were, missing entirely that it wasn’t a word problem. I think he also questioned the validity of dividing something by one half.

    Keach, now try your counting on fingers method on dividing 22/7 by 44/14.

    I’m sure the city elders voting to overturn the Citizens United case got the same satisfaction as they get when they piss in their dark suit. In fact, they might have been doing that during the vote and no one noticed.

  7. Now Greg, you bragged a while back about having everything recorded all the way back. Why not post my full response from then, instead of paraphrasing it, and why not post your whole initial post?

    Seems to me that there was some mention of dividing up a pizza? As soon as I find the manual for my slide rule, I’ll answer your question.

  8. PeteK says:

    Nevada City council meetings are entertaining to say the least. Sometimes I would rather go there than the movies. Oh yeah I sneek in my own snacks there too. I stop short of calling it a “freak show”, but at times the circus is definately in town.

    • rlcrabb says:

      There are some nights that are just tedious, then others like this one where there is a “perfect storm” so to speak. You have to admire the people who voluntarily take the council job. You get all the responsibility and all of the blame for whatever bur is in the public’s bonnet. And yes, Pete, snacks are a good idea. If they sold popcorn they could probably balance the budget.

      • Lyn Dominguez says:

        For mature audiences I have suggested a mini bar and snacks, This has not been implemented yet although I think it would make local government meetings the new “in” place to be as well as help fund the city from the sales. Every little bit helps.

  9. Jeff Ackerman says:

    I got a Facebook “Friend” invite from Reinette Senum to put May 1 on my calendar. That’s when she is hoping to see everyone go on strike as a way to “stick it to the man.”
    She suggests we “Occupy A Bank,” or “Occupy A School” or to “Occupy A Public Place” in order to create “Economic Havoc.”
    If I want to see “economic havoc” I’ll grab a copy of Nevada City’s financials. The good news is that most city employees won’t have to strike because they are on furlough. The epitome of leadership. I can’t think of anyone better suited than Senum to create economic havoc.

    • rl Crabb says:

      Some people complained that my report was too negative, but compared to Thomas Streicher’s recent opinion piece in The Union, I’m a regular Pollyanna. Maybe Thomas should attend Reinette’s Happiness Initiative for an attitude adjustment.

  10. reinette senum says:

    Here’s Jeff’s FB comment on my post: “How will striking at a sandwhich shop stop the “corporate machine” exactly? And is the councilwoman supporting a strike of city workers as well?

    Here’s my response that Jeff seems to have ignored.

    “Jeff, I think it would be a shockingly powerful statement of solidarity actually. It’s not about hitting the mom and pop shops, it’s about becoming a collective voice of resistance. I’ll make you a P&J sandwich for lunch so you don’t have to go out to eat.”

    I’m creating economic havoc? Hasn’t that already been taken care of by the powers that be?

  11. Judith Lowry says:

    Remember this ad from the 70’s?
    Looks like we ultimately opted for cheaper goods and didn’t factor in the real cost, our jobs.
    Americans would do well to gain a better grasp of cause and effect.


  12. Judith Lowry says:

    Another funny one from 1987.
    It’s amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same.


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