Where is Royal’s candidate for sheriff?

Sheriff’s Capt. Shannan Moon earlier this week joined former Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster in a historic bid to succeed Keith Royal as sheriff of Nevada County.

Now all we need is Royal’s preferred successor to announce his candidacy.

Who’s his favorite?

When Foster announced in December he was entering the race to succeed Royal, who will retire after 20 years in office, the sheriff said he’ll support a different candidate to replace him. Since he hasn’t endorsed Moon, we have to assume Royal’s candidate will declare in the future if he hasn’t decided to back-out.

Anybody endorsed by Royal would attract the support of the law-and-order types in the county, particularly those residents who are bitterly opposed to the cultivation and sale of marijuana.

Foster and Moon have expressed a willingness to accept the will of the people and live with pot, something Royal’s supporters don’t want to hear. Moon is promoting the concept of a more modern and transparent sheriff’s office, and even wants to start using body cameras, something Royal has already rejected. This is not music to the ears of law-and-order types.

Moon points to her experience running the jail, an operation that has had its problems in the recent past.  The county was sued recently over the death of inmate Joshua Hightower, alleging jail personnel didn’t do enough to ensure his safety or properly investigate his death. The suit claims drugs were allowed into the jail.

Then there was the ruling of the state Court of Appeals in 2015, upholding a claim that the sheriff’s office violated the constitutional rights of inmates by severely restricting their access to counsel. “The jail restriction is an exaggerated response ” to security concerns, the court ruled.

Moon is a lesbian, something she doesn’t attempt to hide. While this doesn’t affect her ability to do the job (heck, she’s been a deputy for 27 years), we know it will influence the decision of some voters. The LGBTQ community will largely support her, but we also know there are social conservatives in the community who will vote against her precisely because she is a lesbian.

Moon and Foster represent a break from the past, unless Royal’s candidate surfaces. Then we can have a real debate about the future of law enforcement in this county.

MEDIA SPOTLIGHT: The local media pretty much ignored Moon’s sexual orientation, letting people figure it out after reading the following sentence from her press release: “She lives in Grass Valley with her wife Amy and three daughters.”

But you can bet the media outside Nevada County won’t be so circumspect when the campaign season heats up next year. A lesbian seeking to become a sheriff in the nation’s most populous state will be big news in California’s major media, and eventually a national story. It will be interesting to see how the locals react to the coverage we’re going to get.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

And I thought it was a joke

I thought it was a joke when I first saw a passing reference to the nomination of Callista Gingrinch as the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. Somebody’s employing fake news to have some fun, I said to myself.

It turns out the story is true.

Callista Gingrich


Newt’s third wife is a Catholic, but that’s about the only qualification Callista has for the job. The most important job she ever had was chief clerk for the House Agriculture Committee. She never worked for the State Department, and has no formal experience in diplomacy.

Then there’s the little matter of her six-year affair with a married man, the aforementioned Newt Gringrich. When the story first broke, it was reported that Newt would frequently pick up Callista at the end of choir practice at the Basilica of the National Shrine in D.C., but I doubt they headed off to a Bible study class.

It’s hard to know what Donald Trump is thinking here (heck, the people who work for him don’t know what he’s thinking), but there are three obvious explanations for this appointment:

–Trump doesn’t like Pope Francis, and this is one way to stick it to him;

–Trump wants to get Newt Gingrich out of his hair, and he figures Newt will spend a lot of time in Rome if his wife’s there;

–Trump is truly clueless. After all, he’s also been married three times and cheated on at least two of his wives, so Newt’s behavior is perfectly normal by The Donald’s standards.

There’s been no comment yet from the leaders of the American Catholic church, who were quick to criticize Barack Obama on several policy issues that clashed with church doctrine. EWTN, the church’s TV network, had a straight-down-the-middle report on the nomination, and outfits like the Catholic League, never bashful about responding to real and imagined insults to the church, hasn’t made a peep.

It’s always possible the church is working behind the scenes to torpedo the nomination without publicly confronting Trump. If the church elders let this nomination go through without protest, they will forfeit the last of the little credibility they have left.

Posted in Donald Trump, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

The facts they are a changin’

Just the facts

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline, the self-styled ethical compass of the foothills, likes to keep reminding us about his high-minded departure from his position as editor of The Union. The problem here is that the facts keep changing.

Pelline first wrote a couple of years ago that he turned down a severance offer of $40,000 when he left the paper so that he would be free to speak his mind. That story changed in December, when he wrote that he received $60,000 in severance.

He writes again this week that he turned down $40,000. Does that mean he can  be bought for $60,000, but not $40,000? What’s the truth, Jeffie? Don’t expect to get it from a man who would rather fast for 72 hours than admit he screwed up.

Posted in Jeff Pelline, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Conservatives create jobs too

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline, the self-proclaimed economic development guru of Nevada County, has complained for years that the presence of knuckle-dragging conservatives is retarding growth in our fair community.

In Podunk’s telling, these people discourage young entrepreneurs from moving or establishing businesses here, making it difficult to create an economy that will keep young adults in the community.

Pelline has included many people in his dragnet, among them Aaron Klein, a former trustee of the Sierra Community College District who has been active in local conservative causes. Pelline has found nothing to like about Klein’s politics.

(A little background here: When Pelline was editor of The Union, he wrote a column mentioning Klein, Reinette Senum and some other people I can’t remember as the community’s leaders of tomorrow. He has since soured on Klein, but apparently not Senum.)

Among other things, Pelline has mocked Klein for endorsing the losing candidacy of attorney Barry Pruett for the county clerk-recorder’s office–this from the biggest fanboy of ex-county Supervisor Terry Lamphier!

Klein has moved onto other things and is now CEO of Riskalyze, which has developed a risk-alignment platform for financial advisors to quantify how much risk an investor wants to take.

The company is apparently catching on in the financial community. Riskalyze has grown from four employees in 2011 to over 100 today and recently announced that it has leased an additional 13,000 square feet of space in Auburn and expanded its Atlanta operation.

This is the kind of company the Nevada County Economic Resource Council has been trying to attract: High tech, bright future, environmentally friendly,  well-paying jobs for young professionals. So far, the ERC has little luck in attracting more than mom-and-pop operations.

It would be a stretch to suggest that Klein and his associates chose Auburn over Grass Valley because of Pelline’s past criticism, but there’s a lesson here for Jeffy to learn (I know, I know, you can’t tell him anything).

The lesson comes from basketball great Michael Jordan, who got rich promoting Air Jordan basketball shoes but was criticized during his playing days for remaining silent on the major social issues of the day.

Jordan’s rationale: “Republicans buy sneakers too.”

Posted in Economy, Jeff Pelline, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Don’t let the stars get in your eyes

I generally don’t comment on the work of my  fellow columnists at The Union–heck, we get enough comments from the readers–but I can’t resist replying to Hilary Hodge’s column in today’s edition about the California Democratic Party convention.

Hodge, a first-time participant, recounted that she was impressed with the activity and energy she encountered, but found fault with some aspects of the media’s coverage of the event. Specifically, she wrote that:

“The big news out of the convention was the chair’s race.  Mainstream media reported the big story, framing the narrative with the tired idea that the race was about tradition vs. progress. From my experience, the division narrative is a lie.”

The race for state chairman pitted Eric Bauman, the candidate of establishment Democrats, against Kimberly Ellis, a relative unknown who was considered an outsider. Ellis lost the race by 62 votes, a result that didn’t set well with her or her supporters. Maybe that’s why they booed Bauman when he gave his acceptance speech.

Backers of Bernie Sanders felt they were mistreated during last year’s primary race by a party establishment that had already anointed Hillary Clinton as the party’s candidate (they were right) and that resentment is still evident today.

RoseAnn DeMoro, head of the California Nurses Association and a long-time Sanders backer, said before the start of the state convention that the party establishment is in “absolute crisis and denial” for refusing to move farther to the left.

Then there’s ex-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who told the convention, “There are some who have never been in the trenches, in the fight for social and economic justice. These Davos Democrats fly over the homes of Californians left behind–have never been in their living rooms.”

Perhaps alluding to the state’s limousine liberals who bankrolled Clinton’s campaign, Villaraigosa said the party needs to prioritize the needs of bus riders over Tesla drivers. (Ouch!)

It is true that the media is always looking for a good fight and there are always dissidents to be found in anything as diverse as a political party, but the tension at the Democratic convention was real and shows the party still hasn’t figured out how to regroup in time for the mid-term elections.

If I was a Republican, I’d feel better about my chances in the mid-terms. If I was a delegate to the convention, I’d get the stars out of my eyes and focus on the real need for the party to come up with a united approach that resonates with blue-collar workers who abandoned the party last November.


Posted in Bernie Sanders, Democratic Party, Media, Politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wonders will never cease

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline, who has had nothing nice to say about The Union since management showed him the door several years ago, actually gave the newspaper credit for beating YubaNet with the story that ex-Supervisor Terry Lamphier’s no-contest plea to porn charges has been dismissed by a judge.

Why didn’t YubaNet have the story? Because nobody sent them a press release! LOL.

Posted in Jeff Pelline, Media, The Union newspaper, YubaNet | 3 Comments

Conspiracy theories are alive and thriving at Ruminations

The boys over at Rebane’s Ruminations are all excited over the possibility that a murdered member of the staff of the Democratic National Committee may have leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks, and was killed in retaliation. Even the good doctor is apparently buying into this.

Seth Rich, who had worked for the DNC for about a year, was killed while on a late night walk in Washington, D.C., last summer. The investigation is still open, but DC police suspect it was a botched robbery. But the alt right drum beaters ascribe a more sinister motive to his death.

The speculation started last August when Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks who is well-known for his probity and honesty, said whistle blowers who supply information to Wikileaks take significant risks, and pointed to Rich’s death as an example. But when pressed by an interviewer, he wouldn’t say whether Rich was Wikileak’s source of the DNC emails.

Then came Rod Wheeler, a private detective whose a regular on Fox News, who told Fox’s D.C. affiliate there was “tangible evidence” Rich communicated with Wikileaks before his death. When pressed by CNN the next day, Wheeler said he had “no evidence” about such contact and “only learned about the possible existence of such evidence” through a reporter from Fox News.

Now we have Kim Dotcom, a fugitive from justice, claiming he hooked up with Rich to leak the emails to Wikileaks. In case you’re not familiar with Mr. Dotcom, he was the operator of the Megaupload pirating site before he was busted a couple of years ago in New Zealand. He is currently fighting extradition to the U.S., where he faces 13 charges of racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud that could get him 20 years in prison.

So there you have it: Two fugitives from justice and a detective who can’t get his story straight, but none of that bothers the conspiracy buffs over at Ruminations, where they know a cover-up when they see one.

Don Bessee, who is expected to provide a level-headed approach to the cultivation of marijuana in this county (wink, wink), is on-board with the latest revelations and local conspiracy enthusiast Russ Steele seems particularly excited over Dotcom’s claims, but then we’ve heard this before.

Steele was all over the claims that Hillary Clinton suffered from Parkinson’s disease (apparently not true), that Obama wiretapped Trump (Trump’s Justice Department can’t find the evidence Steele has), and now he’s willing to believe a fugitive from justice.

Steele claims to be a big booster of STEM education and concerned about the intellectual rot in our institutions of higher learning. If he wants an example of intellectual rot, all Steele has to do is read his own comments and those of his fellow conspirators.

THIS JUST IN: The zaniness never stops at Ruminations. Todd Juvinall is claiming that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by his own supporters. I’ll bet he also thinks Watergate was a hoax. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Todd inhaled way too much sawdust for his own good.

Posted in George Rebane, Todd Juvinall, Uncategorized | Tagged | 6 Comments