Local News Stories and Opinions

Manny Montes: Progressives now stand before their abyss
December 20, 2016   Other Voices, The Union, Grass Valley, CA
In Victor Hugo’s novel, “Les Miserables,” he describes inspector Javert’s condition after experiencing firsthand Jean Valjean’s humanity; “Destiny has certain extremities precipitous upon the impossible, and beyond which life is no more than an abyss.”

After eight years of the Obama administration’s identity politics, and single-handily strong-arming our country further down the progressive’s road to perdition, I believe progressives now stand before their abyss. Progressives doubled down on their agenda, blinded by Obama’s popularity ratings, paying no mind to the high numbers stating the country is headed in the wrong direction.

In light of this, they may have just as well attempted to stand on the horns of a bull. Their extraordinary loss was just that, extraordinary; Democrats hold fewer elective offices than at any time since the 1920s. To quote Bill Clinton, “the era of big government is over.” The siren song of progressive ideology has hit a sour note with America at large.

The incipient tyrant in every progressive has gained maturity in today’s academic halls. It has become all too apparent. Dare not speak contrary to the existing progressive dogma. Bullying opponents, burning the American flag, closing doors to conservative speakers, and more characterizes academia at large. These mealy-mouthed students, our future leaders, need safe spaces with coloring books, Legos, Playdough, and hand holding in order to assuage their hurt feelings at Hillary’s loss. Coupled with the revelations during Hilary’s campaign, i.e., the underhandedness in support of Hillary vs. Bernie, the colluding with the press in order to give Hillary the advantage, Hillary’s email scandal and pay-to-play Clinton foundation shenanigans have clearly demonstrated their “ends justifies the means” mentality. This too has become abundantly clear. Their disdain for America’s founding principles is demonstrated by removing the American flag because it might be offensive to some, stomping on it, and burning it. How ironic that the invincible “blue wall” the Democrats had for so long enjoyed are now “racists, homophobes, and misogynists” because they voted for Trump. Incidentally, while we’ve known for some time that the press was biased, we didn’t know they were biased to the extent of actually colluding with the Democratic Party. These revelations spell doom for our mainstream media journalists; they too stand at the edge of their abyss.

The progressive’s rejection of America’s founding principles, and more broadly, Western civilization, explains the woefully inadequate history lessons, if they exist at all, of America and Western civilization; this deserves a column in itself.

The headlock the teachers’ unions have on the Democratic party has kept generations of children locked in schools that fail in their primary mission, education, and succeeded in the protection of administrators, incompetent teachers, and indoctrinating students. The teachers unions will now have Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education, to deal with. With her emphasis on school choice and charter schools, our children will now have opportunities to learn, opportunities they haven’t had in decades.

The Trump administration is quickly taking shape, and the historic highs in the Dow Jones average, the “Trump bump,” is a sign of things to come. Reduced corporate taxes, rolling back business strangling regulations, a move towards energy independence, and hopefully enacting the REINS act, will have a boost to our economy we haven’t seen in decades. The significance of the REINS (Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) act is that it would require any executive branch rule or regulation with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more — designated by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget as a “major rule” — to come before Congress for an up-or-down vote before being enacted. Not only will this have the impact of reigning in regulation zealots, but will restore in good measure congress’s constitutional duty to legislate.

I am optimistic our economy will once again become robust. A much needed circumstance for individuals to be self-sufficient, companies having to compete with better wages and benefits to get the employees they need to further expand, and less emphasis on the welfare state. Can any progressive disagree with this?

Manny Montes lives in Auburn

Todd Juvinall: I think I’ll gloat

December 2, 2016 -- in The Union, Grass Valley, CA

Here I sit a few weeks after the election and I am still a bit numb from the results. But numb in a good way.

Nationally, my party kicked Democrats from power. Across America we made them a regional party. Republicans have a nice majority in the U.S. House, a two vote margin in the U.S. Senate and the presidency! With Trump making the picks to the U.S. Supreme Court, the “right” may see a impact long after Trump leaves. Sweet!

Other than New Mexico and Colorado in the middle of America, most of the country went for Trump. And that is the beauty of the Electoral College. If it was missing, California, New York and Texas would always win the presidency. With the Electoral College in place, the founders let small states have a place in deciding the president. It sure worked this time. If California was not included in the popular vote, Trump would have won by a couple of million votes. Unfortunately, our state has gone dark as the left has succeeded in taking it over.

My fear was the country would go dark too. But the middle class, those forgotten people by the Democrats and Obama, rose up and said “no more.” Of course we had 18 months of back and forth in the election cycle and if you were like me, it could not end soon enough. I am all in for the United Kingdom’s five-week election cycle. Maybe we could fix that?

So Clinton and her allies and her billion dollars could not defeat the “change” candidate. She was all about keeping the failed Obama policies in place and trying to save his “legacy.” Well adios partner! Obama was a nice man and he sure could speak well, but his policies were oil to the water of our country. All those federal attempts to take over our state’s rights, the EPA especially, and our police departments were just too much for the folks. His “Justice” department has taken over 25 local police departments to enforce their view of “rights.” Well, when the police are being attacked across America and killed, I would suggest he should have his attorney general go after the thugs. Americans thought that, too.

As a result of Obama’s overreach since his election in 2008, the Republicans now control over 24 chambers of government in the states. That is Legislature and Executive. Over 1,000 legislators nationwide went from left to right. I think that is a huge message. Real Clear Politics is a great place to see the results.

California and New York are now the “outliers” regarding politics. And those two states may get a wake-up call when they confront a Trump Administration. I was quite surprised though at the angst and gnashing of teeth by the left in the country. Wailing that somehow there will be a diminution of their rights under our Constitution was laughable. We are a nation of laws and if anyone overreaches I would be a person in line to fight that. But these “snowflakes,” as they are now called, want their safe spaces to escape to when they hear words that scare them. What have we done to them? And the professors and those so-called educated folks with a college degree seem to be unable to cope as well.

I am looking forward to some changes in America. We need to overhaul the “civil service” and treat them just like those in private industry. Public unions should be banned. Loser pays in a court case. This is a biggee, as in my opinion American productivity and success are so negatively impacted by frivolous lawsuits. The “elite” of America should be held to the same standards as you and me. And the politicians should be required to live under the same laws as us.

We, on the right, did not riot when we lost the presidency in 2008 and 2012. We did not need safe spaces. We bucked up and moved on. We organized over the years to take back the posts of power. The Tea Party was one of the biggest winners in all this. All those veterans and little old ladies did a heck of a job, didn’t they?

So let’s get America back on track. Jobs, business and security for our people no matter who they are or where they live. America is such a great place. Thank goodness.

Todd Juvinall, who lives in Nevada City, is a former Nevada County supervisor.

Jo Ann Rebane: Road trip reveals a warning tale

My husband and I recently took a winter road trip with friends to the little high desert town of Lakeview (pop. 2,294; elevation 4800 feet) in south central Oregon’s Lake County.

Lakeview is located on US 395 about 45 minutes north of Alturas, Calif. We stayed in its tidy Best Western motel, ate in local restaurants, shopped, enjoyed long conversations with merchants, and toured sights, which were still open in winter.

Mid-January isn’t the preferred time of year to visit Lake County as the weather is harsh; it’s bleak and cold. The sky was grey and threatened rain. Nothing is green. Deciduous trees are bare. People are hunkered down. Our goal was to figure out what the 7,770 people of Lake County do in their 8,358 square miles and to answer the question — what drives the economy in this sparsely populated, rural county?

As happened in California, the 1990 listing of the spotted owl as an endangered species began restrictions on logging in Oregon. Where logging and forest products along with ranching had been economic mainstays, by 1995 four of the five lumber mills in Lakeview had closed and those good jobs disappeared. Prominent citizens, stakeholders, and government officials formed study groups and coalitions in the early 2000’s with the goal of finding some way to revive the economy. With leadership training grants and financial help from The Ford Family Foundation (Roseburg, Ore. philanthropists aiming to benefit rural communities) and regulatory and political nudging from Oregon Solutions (action arm of the 2001 Oregon Sustainability Act), in 2007, community leaders settled on a renewable energy implementation plan to make “Lakeview a net exporter of renewable energy by the end of 2012.”

Since 1999, both Lake County and the town of Lakeview had offered tax incentives to encourage renewable energy companies to relocate there. And the town’s mission statement concurred: The mission of the Town of Lakeview is to provide citizens with a safe, family-oriented community while promoting sustainable development of our human, economic and natural resources. We progressively seek a positive future while honoring our heritage.

Forced loss of the timber industry, hostility to ranching, grasping at a sustainable/renewable non-market based economy has had the effect of impoverishing and depopulating Lake County, Ore. I have seen a future which could also be ours in Nevada County.

By the winter of 2011, all that progressive collaboration looked like it had succeeded. Iberdrola Renewables committed to build a 26.8 megawatt biomass facility using sawmill waste and forest slash to generate power. Nevada Geothermal Power began drilling test wells for a 30 megawatt geothermal power plant to provide future jobs. However, by the end of 2011, Iberdrola halted construction on the biomass plant for lack of a power purchase agreement, due to the economy and lower energy prices nationwide. And Nevada Geothermal faced bankruptcy having replicated the Solyndra model relying entirely on federal grants and federal loan guarantees for funding.

Today, Lakeview presents a sorry face. Businesses along Hwy. 395 and “E” Street are boarded up or empty. Merchants blame town “leadership” for buying into the sustainable economic hope and for also accepting dependence on government agencies and government jobs to round out the economy. Even the prison built in 2005 hasn’t helped. There’s now an effort to attract outdoor enthusiasts and tourists.

In a coffee shop, we heard that day three restaurants had closed and terminated all of their employees. A disgruntled merchant told of watching the population continuing to shrink as there are no jobs or future opportunities for the youth. Two of the three motels along Hwy. 395 show no signs of life.

We were told that the county recently adopted tighter building codes requiring anyone wanting to sell their home to bring it up to the new, current code, which has stifled home sales. A quick check of real estate websites confirms that most properties have been on the market for a very long time.

Finally, we wondered what role Agenda 21 played in Lakeview’s woes. Our coffee shop source was surprised we knew of it and stated emphatically that implementing Agenda 21 goals was responsible for Lakeview’s overall decline. We saw it with our own eyes. Forced loss of the timber industry, hostility to ranching, grasping at a sustainable/renewable non-market based economy has had the effect of impoverishing and depopulating Lake County, Ore.

I have seen a future that could also be ours in Nevada County.

Jo Ann Rebane, who lives in Nevada City, is second vice president of the Nevada County Republican Women Federated.