The middle of nowhere

If you are a local news junkie like me, you’ve no doubt read Jeff Pelline’s blog, the Sierra Foothill Report. Jeff is a veteran journalist and a co-founder of CNET, so one would assume that he knows what he’s talking about. For the most part he talks about politics, and goes to great pains to assure us that he is politically “in the middle”.

We know that he doesn’t like right-wingers. Every other day, he admonishes the Tea Party, conservative bloggers, our Republican congressman, and the newspaper he used to edit, The Union. (Or as Jeff and his friends call it, The Tea Party Express.)

I used to comment over there, but the rhetoric was too one-sided for my tastes and the constant Union-bashing made it difficult, since I was expected to answer for the paper’s sins. (I am an independent contractor and have no say on the paper’s opinions or policies.) I also had the unmitigated gall to question Jeff’s claim to be “in the middle” since the only people he ever criticizes are Republicans. (Don’t take my word for it, go through his archives. The only post critical of a Dem I remember was a crotch shot of Anthony Weiner.) I was called a phony, a hypocrite, and a hitman for Jeff Ackerman, the Union’s publisher/editor.

You’d think as an honest-to-god-middle-of-the-road journalist, Jeff might be compelled to report on something other than the latest Tea Party supporter who stubbed his toe.  In his eagerness to tell us that GOP Assemblyman Donnelly forgot that he was packing heat in the airport, did he not notice that Democratic Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi “forgot” to pay for $2500 worth of clothing items at Neiman Marcus, pleaded guilty, and then went back to her job as Chair of the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee?

Did he somehow miss the ongoing scandal involving Treasurer Bill Lockyer and his adventurous wife? This is the kind of story journalists salivate over. One comment I read summed it up best…

…The State Treasurer is being blackmailed by an IV drug user who has a sex tape of him doing the deed with the Treasurer’s wife, an Alameda County Supervisor who is thirty years younger. And she won the job with $1 million hubbie dollars given to him for another purpose. The couple was successful in buying the election and keeping it a secret that she was in drug rehab.

Got all that? Then welcome to the train wreck known as California government. And all of it facilitated and made possible by one-party rule.

Now if Lockyer had been a Republican from some backwoods jurisdiction, JP would’ve posted it faster than you could say Mark Meckler. But no, the Big Story of the day is that Jeff saw George Rebane and Paul Emery having lunch. Obviously a conspiracy to destroy local media as we know it.

So the next time Jeff outs someone as being a phony and a hypocrite, it should be when he looks in the mirror.

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32 Responses to The middle of nowhere

  1. Wow! I had no idea that we have so riled his middle-of-the-roadness. This afternoon I got emailed his latest hit piece, and it seems that someone should be doing some fact checking for him. Accurate reporting would not make for as good of a read, but it might take him back to the days when he worked hard at playing a journalist. But I guess if you desperately need content, then whole cloth is a good starting point.

  2. Russ Steele says:


    Welcome to blogging. Look forward to your insightful analysis of the local political scene. You are perhaps more of a middle of the roader by taking both sides to task when they stray off the path to the truth. Keep up the good work!

  3. Todd juvinall says:

    I kinda knew you were on to Pelline when you and he and his sycophants were dukeing it out last year. I was moderated off his one sided blog right away. Yes we all have a bias and sometimes we bloviate past our own intelligence but at least we don’t claim time after time we are a “purple” and in the middle person. You have accurately portrayed him. Perhaps a “devil” pic?

  4. Michael Anderson says:


    Even though the devil pic was like asking a bishop to dispense condoms, it served a higher purpose that I hope you can appreciate. And you seem to have handled it well, akin to your striding confidently through the TSA body scanning machine knowing full well the gals monitoring the screens are getting the thrill of their lives.

    As long as you grace the blogs I’m sure RL’s crafty pen will be providing us with more quality comedy at your expense. You just can’t make this stuff up.


  5. rlcrabb says:

    In response to my post, Steve Frisch notes that “the middle is the new left”, and Jeff agrees. I guess that means we can expect that the Lockyers and Hayashis can run wild in the streets without fear of anything more than slap on the wrist. Welcome to “the new normal”.
    Meanwhile, you guys on the right will be too busy trying to sell chastity belts to make any kind of difference in state politics.

  6. Todd juvinall says:

    I am thrilled my humor about the TSA X-ray has remained in the brain of MichaelA. The “under achievers” in that department still bring it up. The TSA has pictures in the ladies lounge! LOL!

    So if the left is the new middle then I now understand how Pelline and Michael A and Frisch think. Yes, California is probably as lost a cause as Massachusetts was before Scott Brown and yet, the good people decided to toss the democrat knuckleheads for a Republican. Coakley was the best they could come up with. The the Tea Party, those folks of the true middle, helped a lot.

  7. Michael Anderson says:

    “The TSA has pictures in the ladies lounge! LOL!”

    I feel a cartoon being born…

  8. Greg Goodknight says:

    RL, I’d no idea your blog was up and running. Congrats.

    If “the middle is the new left” then black is the new white, and wet is the new dry. While left might feel like the middle on Planet Frisco, it is still left.

  9. Judith Lowry says:

    It could be popular in the men’s lounge too.
    Ya never know, wink, wink.

  10. Todd juvinall says:

    It looks to me the leftwing extremist here in our blogs is Pelline. He thinks he is a soothsayer! What is fascinating to me with the left is everyone who doesn’t think or act like them is a “right-wing extremist”. Perhaps he can list the positions of Rebane or Steele or even little ol’ me, McClintock too, that he considers “extreme”? That would be contrary to his constant bloviation though. What a hoot! His view of the Constitution and its practioners seems to be limited to “abortion rights and same sex marriage.”

    The only thing I think Pelline has added to our county regarding his presence here is the purchase of a house in Nevada City. Well, maybe a yacht too, but that was probably bought out of the county. Same with Frisch. He lists a paycheck of $100,000 per year on the 990’s of SBC but we have no proof he actually supports any true job creation in Nevada County.

  11. Greg Goodknight says:

    Bob, unless you’ve moved to England, your time zone may be off. Your time tags seem to be on Universal Coordinated (aka Greenwich Mean) Time.

    • rl Crabb says:

      We’re still working out the bugs. We should be on Pacific time now. Once I get the feel for this system I’ll try to add more options and features. Thanks to all for your encouragement.

  12. Tony Waters says:

    Ok, I’ll stick my neck out–I think that Jeff Pelline is pretty middle-of-the road. My guess is that Jeff probably voted for both Arnold Schwarzengger (R) and Jerry Brown (D) which is about as middle of the road as you can get. He also has real milque toast banners on his blog (as opposed to Bastiat Triangles), plugs local businesses, the local high school football team, and horse racing. His two favorite local politicians seem to be Greg Diaz and Nate Beason, two of the most boring guys around; and one of his recent posts was about The Sound of Music.

    How did such positions every become radical left, right, or center? Sounds pretty middle-of-the-road to me!

    • rlcrabb says:

      Welcome, Tony! I always enjoy your comments on SFR, as they are usually are balanced and well thought out. Your perspective as an educator is invaluable also.

      In regards to my differences with Jeff’s reporting, it comes from my own experiences in dealing with the government and conservatives. I have been a vocal critic of some of the Tea Party’s agenda, and certainly don’t agree with George Rebane or Russ Steele on a variety of issues. But that doesn’t mean I can’t sit across the table from them and share a meal and a few laughs. It doesn’t mean I should avoid attending a Tea Party meeting and listening to their complaints rather than accepting the often one-sided caricature of them as nuts and kooks. They are real people, frustrated by a government that tends to ignore their voices. At the last meeting a few weeks ago, I was struck by how much I agreed with Mark Meckler on how both parties have lost their way.

      And how any middle-of-the-road reporter could ignore the corruption and waste perpetrated by the Democrats in Sacramento is beyond my understanding. Do you really think it will get any better if they have total control over every aspect of our lives? Perhaps you should talk to some of the people who are having to deal with the bureaucrats in charge of the courthouse project, or small business owners who are being constantly squeezed and regulated to death.

      So maybe I’m a little farther to the right than Jeff, but I’m certainly not the idealogue he tries to make me out to be. Just sayin’.

      • Tony Waters says:

        Hi Bob:
        I always enjoyed your comments on SFR too. As well as your cartoons!

        I agree fully that the Democrats need to be taken to task for their shoplifting and other similar habits, too. Indeed, you did this in this space already! Should Jeff do this too? Probably–but he is not a reporter, but a blogger at SFR.

        I’ll let him manage his blog the way he sees fit. I just appreciate that he is able to get up 2-3 stories day after day, and (usually) keep the “conversation” civil. When it gets over-the-top I usually respond by–not responding.

        I also find somethings that I agree with the Tea Partiers about–who could be against government accountability? But I do find this approach to be simplistic, as it focuses primarily on preserving the liberties of the citizens, while saying little about how we need to step up to the plate as citizens and take some responsibility for kith and kin. But that’s a long story, probably not best addressed here.

        As for over-regulation, I am well-aware of it–hey after all I work for the government. But I’m always impressed that its the “other guys” regulations that are at fault. Thus there is little criticism of the professional monopolies of the contractors, stock brokers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc. while the unions are constantly criticized. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways…

        Anyway, I really agree with Michael Anderson’s point below that we don’t need to classify each other to have a good discussion. Blogging is fun as long as it deals with issues. See John Stoos’ contributions to Jeff’s blog for excellent contributions to civil discussion from the right, and Steve Frisch’s contributions from what I would define as the center (ok, I get it that some people don’t think Steve is the center–but whatever). Your own contributions often came from neither right or left, which is what made them insightful!


        • rl Crabb says:

          Whatever happened to Stoos? Haven’t heard from him in awhile.

          • rl Crabb says:

            Hey Tony, I’m back. I had to cut my last reply off to take care of some business, but I want to respond to your reply in more detail.

            First of all, I have lived around and worked with conservatives most of my life, so I prefer to take the measure of them as individuals rather than box them into a neat little package. After reading Jeff’s rants I decided to get to know Rebane personally and make up my own mind. We have many differences of opinion, but I’ve found him to be an interesting and engaging personality. Reading his blog gives me a greater insight to the man, and I’ve learned a lot of things I hadn’t ever considered before, in politics, science and human nature. Paul Emery and Michael Anderson have followed this route as well.

            I believe if we are to survive as one nation, it’s important to find where we have common ground. Sure, I do caricatures of the left and right, but I try to spread the blame evenly and fairly. It takes two to tango, and both parties have brought us to this precipice. It will take an effort from both to keep from going over.

          • Tony Waters says:

            I had an email from John last month–at that time he was having some problems with being able to post to SFR. Last I heard Jeff was trying to fix it. Perhaps I will email John and see what is up with him. He’s probably just busy down at his church.

            I’ve really enjoyed George Rebane’s writing about his family’s experiences during WWII and after, and I’ve always wanted to hear more about Barry Pruett’s experiences during the fall of the Soviet Union. Such posts don’t get the most back and forth in the comment sections, but are among the most interesting. Same goes for a lot of Jeff’s goofy local history/pop culture stuff!

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Tony, the Rev. Stoos seems a civil rightwinger only because the good Reverend doesn’t hit back, and he is hit, over and over, by Jeff & Company. Not everyone feels like turning the other cheek to Pelline, and folks that hit back, especially when then win the argument, are persona non grata over at Jeff’s.

          This is a center right country, and Jeff is moderate left, not to mention a partisan Democrat. Even the local “Occupy Nevada County” people see his as the local leftist blog.

          • Tony Waters says:

            Yes, this Nevada County is center-right. But California is center-left, and the country is by definition center. Stoos’ turning the other cheek and ignoring sometimes over-the-top barbs actually go him a long way, at least in my view. Certainly it raised the respect I have for him.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            I wrote it’s a center-right *country*, not county, but thanks for making my point for me. Yes, California is firmly in Democratic Party hands, with some crediting the power wielded by public employee unions since handed their collective bargaining rights by Jerry Brown the first time around… how’s that working out? California’s schools were among the best in the country, the roads were smooth, the economy was humming. A great place to raise a family.

            Moderate isn’t left, and it isn’t partisan Democrat.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          “professional monopolies of the contractors, stock brokers, lawyers, doctors, engineers”


          Engineers have professional monopolies? What country are we talking about?

          From what I can see in California, those who want to register as professional engineers have as the only barrier to entry training in the engineering specialty involved, an exam open to all and appropriate experience. There’s no barrier to entry erected by any guild or union wishing to limit competition that I can see.


          • Tony Waters says:

            Most professions seek the protection of the state when it comes to regulating entry–that is what makes it a profession in the first place. Sometimes it is done by guild or union. But another form is as you put it for engineers “training in the engineering specialty involved, an exam open to all and appropriate experience. ” Engineers of course do not have a monpoly on such professionalization–barbers, hairdressers, professors and a multitude of others do it to0. It is indeed normal in modern society, but they are also professional monopolies.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Tony, you can work as an engineer without any training whatsoever, and I know a few who have; there is no barrier to entry except in some narrow categories. I never bothered with professional registration because the only thing of value it would have bought me is certification as an expert witness in legal proceedings. Shading the truth for the highest bidder was not my idea of a way to make a living.

          • Tony Waters says:

            Greg, funny, but the County insisted that I have a certified civil engineer put a stamp on the plans for my septic field. $100+ later and 15 minutes later, I was good to go. Why should engineers be different than any other profession in seeking to limit access to outsiders via certification requirements enforced by law and tradition?

  13. Todd juvinall says:

    I am still confused as to why Pelline constantly bashes George and Russ and I suppose, any veteran of the armed services as extremists? I still am looking for his top ten list of extremist positions taken by them. Is someone an extremist who shoots the intruder trying to attack you in your own home as that 18 year old mom did in Oklahoma? I don’t think I saw a post from any person from the Pelline five supporting that girl.

    In my political life, I noticed early on the liberals don’t discuss the things they are uncomfortable with, such as self defense or even the topic of late term abortion. The press usually puts a conservatives paragraphs under the fold and on the back page. The liberals get above the fold and always the first paragraphs.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      OK Todd, I’ll bite. I’m a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and believe that home defense is not only a right but also good common sense. And all abortions are undesirable, though I would also agree that late-term abortions should probably not be allowed unless the health of the mother is at stake; but I still defend a woman’s right to choose.

      The best way to prevent gun violence is to promote a healthy civic society, attacking corruption and criminal opportunity. And the best way to prevent abortion is for society to educate women about birth control and family planning, promote healthy families by building healthy economies, and stop pretending that hormone-addled teenagers aren’t going to have sex.

    • TD Pittsford says:

      It’s too bad that you and millions of others are so stuck on the Liberal vs. Conservative merry-go-round. When are we going to drop the labels and start thinking as Americans first and of political ideologies second? As long as we keep sniping at “the other side” we are falling right into the diabolical plans of the abusive, self-serving, criminals who have finagled their way into positions of power in this country. After 9/11 our citizens forgot their differences…for about twenty minutes. Can’t we forget the pettiness and nit-picking and agree that it’s far more productive to attempt to arrive at solutions without rancor and dissent? Sadly it’s nearly impossible to get any three people to agree on anything much less an entire community and ultimately a nation that has become wounded by greed and corruption.

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        TDP, the political divisions are real differences reflected in both the perception of what is wrong and what should be done. It is unavoidable.

  14. Todd Juvinall says:

    Bite what MichaelA? I was discussing liberals and you have told us all you are a Republican. See if you can get Pellne to list his ten reasons why he thinks Russ and George are extremeists, you seem to defend him a whole lot.

  15. Michael Anderson says:

    Todd, thanks for making my point. You continue to try to categorize and compartmentalize people on the blogs, and all you do is make yourself look either confused or silly.

    I don’t defend people, just ideas. That drumbeat you’re hearing is everyone telling you to knock it off with the name calling and get with the program–these blogs are a place to discuss issues, not the people who bring them up.

    If you can get past this very simple concept the local blog space will become a much nicer place to post and comment. And don’t give me that “but he’s doing it too!” baloney, unless you want to continue to avoid the point I’m trying to make.

    Please lead by example, Todd. Some of your posts at the CABPRO blog have done just that. Others have just been tiresome finger-pointing exercises.

  16. Todd Juvinall says:


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