For the man who must remind you he’s an ex-big time journalist

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline feels the need to constantly remind the local bumpkins that he used to work for the San Francisco Chronicle, the former “Voice of the West” that is now owned by Hearst, renowned for the mediocre newspapers it publishes.

It could be an ego boosting maneuver–an ego as big as Pelline’s requires a lot of maintenance–or an attempt to establish gravitas with the local yokels so they’ll pay attention when he offers advice on how things should be done around here. After all, Podunk has interviewed important people and used to wear a tie when doing so.


But constantly reminding people of your former greatness can become off-putting, and even Pelline probably hesitates occasionally before raising the subject. Fortunately for him, there is now a way to prompt others to bring up the subject. Ironically, the solution is offered by his former employer, the Chronicle.

The Chronicle is now offering for sale sweat shirts, hats, coffee mugs and other items emblazoned with the Chronicle’s distinctive script “C,” or its online address, (Why anybody who never worked for the paper would want any of this stuff is beyond me, but if people wear hats with the logo of a farm equipment manufacturer, they’ll wear anything.)

I picked three items for Jeffy that I think would work well here in the foothills. They are in no particular order:

–A genuine Chronicle sweat shirt: Appropriate for those chilly fall evenings, it would work well for his walks through town when he’s looking for places to dispense his advice. When people glance at the C and say nothing, that will give Jeffy an opening to say, “You’re probably wondering what the C stands for…” Given his girth, the Chronicle “C ” would take on the appearance of a billboard. But it might be a stretch to get Jeffy into one because the biggest size available is extra large.

–A Chronicle scarf: Jeffy fashions himself a bon vivant and man-about-town, and the scarf would be an appropriate fashion accessory during those chilling winter days at his mountain retreat. The scarf would also work well in town, particularly when the flatlanders–some of them Chronicle subscribers–visit the area to check out the fall colors.

–A Chronicle wine cooler: Podunk’s all about the local wine industry, particularly those vintners who advertise in his “magazine.” The cooler would work particularly well at the outdoor concerts put on by Music in the Mountains, an outfit he professes to support even though local conservative  blogger George Rebane is on the board of directors.

There you have it: Three ways for Jeffy to prompt other people to ask him to tell his favorite story. Personally, I’ll stick to my old coffee mug from The Union, given to employees for putting up with a major remodeling of the building. It is still quite serviceable and–unlike Jeffy–there’s nothing pretentious about it.

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Podunk Pelline: Boy toy for Hilary Hodge’s campaign?

Now that local lefty Hilary Hodge has entered the race to unseat local righty Dan Miller in the 3rd Supervisorial district, expect the campaign to get down and dirty, even nasty at times.

Podunk Pelline Boy toy?

I’m referring, of course, to campaign coverage by self-proclaimed seasoned journalist Jeff “Podunk” Pelline, who is still smarting from Miller’s defeat of Podunk fav Terry Lamphier in the 2014 contest for the same seat.

Podunk was particularly incensed when local construction big wig Keoni Allen hoisted a banner proclaiming “Miller Time” on a building he owns on Main Street in Grass Valley. The  building also houses the office of the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Pelline demanded chamber officials force Allen to remove the banner. The banner stayed put.

What did this have to do with the issues residents considered when deciding who to vote for? Nothing, of course. It was just Pelline’s way of trying to torpedo Miller’s campaign. It didn’t work as Dandy Dan won handily.

Hodge became Podunk’s favorite columnist in The Union after she started writing for paper, lunching with her at least once and defending her against the slings and arrows tossed her way by local conservatives. (Conservatives seemed to be particularly annoyed that she used her column to keep reminding people she’s a lesbian.)

Podunk’s been convinced for several weeks that Hodge was going to run for supervisor (seasoned journalists “know” these things) and I’m sure it was just a coincidence that he was one of the first to get her announcement. He yearns to see Hodge join Heidi Hall and alleged liberal Richard Anderson on the Board of Supervisors to create a new progressive majority.

He has predicted an “ugly, polarizing” race for Miller’s seat, just like four years ago (“here we go again”). Now that we know where Pelline stands, we’ll see how much of this Miller has to absorb.

Posted in Hilary Hodge, Jeff Pelline, Nevada County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Dan Miller, Uncategorized | 28 Comments

Miller makes elegant pivot on recreational marijuana issue

Supervisor Dan Miller, who is currently seeking reelection to his third district seat, has been a staunch opponent of marijuana in our community.

Dan Miller Compassionate?

Miller was a big supporter of Measure W, reportedly telling at least one group of citizens they would be stupid not to support the measure. He was silent when the Nevada County Republican Party claimed a young boy who needs pot to control his seizures was being exploited to promote medical marijuana.

But as Miller proved in an “Other Voices” column in today’s edition of The Union, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

“Realistically, the cannabis industry is here to stay, and they have expressed their desire to be recognized as part of our community,” he wrote in The Union. “…their sincerity could be demonstrated by financially supporting one of our most pressing needs, which is the homeless.”

In just two sentences, Miller pivoted from opposition to acceptance and placed the onus of being responsible members of the community on the pot people. Such a sophisticated move suggests Miller had outside help in coming up with the idea, but no matter: The ball is squarely in the pot people’s court now.

Of course, Miller’s sudden concern for the homeless will surprise close observers of the local political scene. He writes farther down in the article that “Even though the county currently allocates more than $12 million of taxpayer funds toward homeless and low-income programs, it is clearly not adequate.”

I don’t recall Miller expressing such concerns when the budget for the currently fiscal year was before the Board of Supervisors. Maybe he can form an alliance with Supervisor Heidi Hall and the other alleged liberal on the board, Richard Anderson, to do more to address the problem.

Or maybe Miller just wants to look like a compassionate conservative. In a county that is more pink than red and voted for Obama and Clinton, you’re going to lose votes if you come across as a hard-line Trump supporter.

Posted in Nevada County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Dan Miller | 7 Comments

Take it from a seasoned journalist: The campaign can get ugly when you run against yourself

Jeff  “Podunk” Pelline, proclaiming himself a seasoned journalist, predicts an “ugly, polarizing” race for the third supervisorial district next year. Of course, incumbent Supervisor Dan Miller is the only candidate to actually enter the race, but that doesn’t stop the seasoned journalist from proclaiming “here we go again.”

If this sounds like a familiar refrain from the seasoned journalist, you have a long memory. Apparently having nothing better to do on Christmas Day of 2013, Podunk wrote he was going to “peel the onion off the skin” in the 2014 political races.

The nose knows, or not

“I smell another contentious year of elections with unqualified albeit ideologically-minded people jumping into the race to ‘save us’; a ‘secret state’ if you will. Nasty personal attacks will surface too.”

“The real target for the hard right in this instance is Greg Diaz,” then seeking reelection as county clerk/recorder. Apparently the seasoned journalist’s nose betrayed him in this instance because Diaz ran unopposed in the June primary and waltzed to victory.

Undaunted, the seasoned journalist is putting his nose to work again, this time over my speculation that Hilary Hodge will run for a seat on the Grass Valley City Council. “Hmm. This doesn’t pass the smell test, at least to this seasoned journalist,” Podunk wrote.

When I first wrote that Hodge would pass up the supervisors’ race and run for the council, Podunk said I was dead wrong. Does he know something we don’t know? If he does, he should report it on his blog, like any first-class journalist would.

Or maybe the seasoned journalist is a ally of Hodge, waiting for a prearranged date to declare her candidacy. In other words, a stooge for Hodge. This is what can happen to seasoned journalists when they are reduced to making their living in the sub-basement of journalism.


Posted in Hilary Hodge, Jeff Pelline, Nevada County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Dan Miller, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

What office is Hodge seeking? How about GV Council?

Hilary Hodge, The Union’s featured columnist on Tuesday, announced in today’s column that she’s going to drop the column and run for public office. (Maybe that’s why they put a new mug shot on her column a couple of months ago.) She’ll announce what office she’s seeking at a later date.

That leads to the obvious question: What office will she seek? (Before I go any farther, let me state that I have no inside knowledge. All I know is what I read in today’s edition of The Union. I have never met or talked to her, although we do have a tenuous connection: Two of my nieces graduated from the same high school she did, but that’s a subject for another day.)

New mug, what job?

Her column didn’t provide many clues that would indicate what office she will seek. She cited the call of The Union’s publisher for more people to run for office, and griped about the lack of respect non-profits get from the powers that be. That’s a pretty slim platform for seeking office.

Hodge resides in Grass Valley, and that gives her two opportunities to seek office next year. Dan Miller has said he will seek reelection as supervisor, and the seats of Jason Fouyer and Ben Aguilar on the Grass Valley City Council will be on the ballot.

Taking on Miller would be a tough mountain to climb. He is well entrenched with the local power structure, isn’t the kind of guy who goes out of his way to annoy people, and will have plenty of money to seek reelection if he is challenged.

On the other hand, he hasn’t done much since getting elected to office. In a review of a his year as chairman of the supes, he took credit for the tax increase to fund library services–something the voters actually approved. Miller also backed Measure W, reportedly saying at least once that you have to be stupid not to vote for it. Apparently there are a lot of stupid people in the county.

Hodge has a better shot at getting elected to the Grass Valley council, particularly to Aguilar’s seat. He’s never been tested by the voters because he was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Terry Lamphier resigned less than a week after being sworn it. Based on the accounts of council meeting in The Union, he doesn’t say much and hasn’t shown much inclination to lead.

City council is also a good entry point for somebody seeking office for the first time, and it wouldn’t hurt to get a genuine lefty on the council (although she would probably be as effective as Heidi Hall is on the Board of Supervisors).

Run Hilary, run.

Posted in Grass Valley City Council, Hilary Hodge, Nevada County Board of Supervisors, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

They may vote for Trump, but they’re not his kind of people

Charles Pecker, owner of the National Enquirer, is a long-time buddy of Donald Trump, and that bias is reflected in his supermarket tabloid known for its shaky relationship to the facts.

The bias was certainly obvious during last year’s election campaign–the publication pilloried Hillary while singing the praises of the Republican candidate. Pecker said his readers hated Hillary and loved The Donald, so he was just giving them what wanted.

Then Pecker told The New Yorker magazine the following about readers of the Enquirer: “These are people who lead their life failing, so they want to read negative things about people who have gone up and then come down.”

Doesn’t sound like you’ll run into any of them at Mar-a-Lago.

Posted in Donald Trump, Uncategorized | Tagged | 5 Comments

Memo to Podunk: Silicon Valley ain’t what it used to be

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline says I’m wrong when I include Uber, a San Francisco company, in Silicon Valley. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about that:

“As more high-tech companies were established across the Santa Clara Valley, and then north toward the Bay Area’s two other major cities, San Francisco and Oakland, the ‘Silicon Valley’ name eventually came to refer to all high-tech businesses in the region. The term is now generally used as a synecdoche for the American high-technology economic sector.”

The entry also includes a map that includes the entire Bay Area in the big valley. More can be found here:

I knew Don Hoefler, the reporter for Electronic News who first used the term in the media and helped popularize it. I even got him a cup of coffee once. LOL, as they say.


Posted in Jeff Pelline, Uncategorized | 8 Comments