Jeffie gets a letter from Kamala? Big whoop


By Greg Knightbridge, Special Correspondent

Regular readers of Jeff Pelline’s Sierra Foothills Report know a more accurate title would be “Jeff Pelline: The Saga Continues,” because the basic premise of the blog is the wonderful life he leads when he isn’t plugging advertisers in his “magazine.”

His latest effort to convince the foothills bumpkins that he’s a superior human being is the posting of a letter from Senator Kamala Harris in response to his comments on the Kavanaugh appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s difficult to know what Jeffie was complaining about because Harris’ reply touches on several aspects of the Kavanaugh controversy and was probably sent to thousands of people who expressed similar outrage. You will also note the letter is unsigned–apparently her staff couldn’t be bothered to affix a phony signature with an Autopen. Or maybe they didn’t think he was worth the trouble.

P.S.: Did you know that Jeffie also met Dianne Feinstein back in his reporting days? I’m sure Feinstein remembers the encounter well.

Posted in Jeff Pelline, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Kamala Harris, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

QUICK HITS: Women cheering for Trump

–A woman cheering for Trump makes as much sense as a Jew cheering for Hitler.

–After dominating the political coverage, Trump told AP it won’t be his fault if the Republicans do poorly in the mid-term elections. What a stand-up guy.

–Uber has managed to destroy the livelihood of taxi drivers with contract drivers who barely earn the minimum wage. That’s what I call spreading the misery.

–Have you ever noticed how many people who work in the medical field are overweight and smoke?

–Now Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is blaming the Republican-engineered deficit on Social Security and Medicare spending. Guess what’s going on the chopping block if the Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bear River figures to have its second close game tonight

Bear River’s football team did last week what good teams do when they face a weak opponent, jumping on Lindhurst early and then cruising to an easy 49-0 victory.

Things figure to get a little tougher tonight as the Bruins face Foothill (5-2) in their last home game of the regular season (but not their last home game of the season). BR is projected to win a close contest, but Foothill changed coaches a week ago (no explanation given) so it’s hard to judge the focus of the players. It could turn into a blowout.

Meanwhile, it’s easy to write-off Nevada Union’s chances of beating Ponderosa (5-2) this week because it is clear the Miners are not a good team. They gave their fans false hope after beating three cream puffs in non-league play, then things got serious–league play started.

NU left its old league because it was tired of being the doormat, losing 31 straight league games from 2012 to 2017. Things aren’t any better in the Foothill Valley League, where they are 0-2. Ponderosa’s 2 losses also came in league game.

          *          *         *

Bear River stayed atop the Foothill 4 with its easy win over Lindhurst as our top three teams remain undefeated. Things don’t figure to change much this week.

Here are the rankings:

  1. Bear River          7-0          137.9
  2. Colfax                  7-0          136.5
  3. Placer                  7-0          134.1
  4. Nevada Union   3-4            92.1

This week’s picks:

Ponderosa over Nevada Union by 25 points

Bear River over Foothill by 3.5 points

Placer over Oakmont by 18 points

Colfax over Lindhurst by 41 points

We went 3-1 on last week’s picks, bringing the season record to 5-2 (71 percent). It’s time for  4-0 week!

Posted in Bear River football, Colfax football, Nevada Union football, Placer football, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There’s a simple solution to Miners’ kicking problem: Don’t kick

When the other team scores on the first play from scrimmage and then ads two more touchdowns in the first quarter, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose the game.

That was certainly the experience of Nevada Union last week, when the Miners gave up three quick scores and eventually lost 29-20 to Oakmont High School.

What could go wrong?

But the one thing that really frustrated coach Brad Sparks was the team’s kicking–or rather, its inability to do it. The Miners missed the only extra point they attempted, and bad punts continually put them in bad field position.

“I’m over the top frustrated with the kicking game…,” he said after the game. “I’m getting to the point where I will never kick the ball again the rest of the year, except kickoffs.

“Shoot, I might not even kick the ball on kickoff. We might just stand there and throw the ball across the field, I don’t know.”

Actually, Sparks is onto something. Just ask Kevin Kelley, coach of highly successful Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark. Pulaski, currently 5-1 this season, never punts and always kicks off onside. Always.

Kelley, who has won two state championships in the almost 10 years he’s coached the team, is a stats nerd who developed his great insight after reading an analysis of 2,000 games played over a 3-year period by a Harvard professor.

Two things became really clear to Kelley: Field position, valued by every coach you’ve ever heard from, is overrated, and keeping possession of the ball is extremely important.

One way to increase your time of possession is to go for it on fourth down instead of punting. Kelley explains the proposition this way when its fourth down and you have the ball on your own 5-yard line:

If you go for the first down and don’t make it, the other team will score a touchdown 92 percent of the time. If you punt, the other team gets the ball around the 40-yard line and scores a TD 77 percent of the time.

That’s not a big difference in terms of scoring odds, and the odds get even better when you figure in the conversion rate. Kelley said his team converts on fourth down 50 percent of the time. That makes it worthwhile to forego the punt and go for it.

Similar thinking goes into the onside kick. On an average high school kickoff, the receiving team gets the ball on its 33. If Pulaski tries an onside kick and fails, the receiving team gets the ball on its 47–not a huge difference in field position.

But Pulaski recovers the onside kick 20 percent of the time (and the other team knows they’re going to do it!) and that makes a huge difference in turnovers. As every football fans knows, the team that wins the turnover battle wins the game 80 percent of the time.

This is just another example of how analytics is changing sports: Baseball teams now employ shifts that shouldn’t work but do, basketball teams know that shooting a lot of 3-point shots can cover up a lot of weaknesses, and football teams know that passing is a lot more effective than running the ball.

So Sparks should follow Pulaski’s lead and quit kicking the football. He’ll be less frustrated and the Miners might actually win a few league games.

Posted in Nevada Union football, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ignoring the 800-pound gorilla over there in the corner

Alison Lehman has been on the job as county CEO for a little over a month now, and she is already getting plenty of advice on how to do the job.

CEO Alison Lehman Leading from behind

A chunk of it came recently from Terry McAteer, former county superintendent of schools and now a member of The Union’s editorial board. Writing in the paper, he urged Lehman to become a bold leader.

The county “has just been ‘bobbing along'” since the recession, in need of a “grand vision from (Lehman) which outlines where we as a community are headed. We are currently in a leadership void,” he wrote.

McAteer’s advice to Lehman: “We want you to lead! We want you to be bold!”

If she takes McAteer’s advice, Lehman will probably be unemployed.

We have been “bobbing along” for the last decade because the 800-pound gorilla in the corner–that would be the county Board of Supervisors–doesn’t seem to feel a sense of urgency when it comes to solving the county’s core problems.

Lehman’s predecessor, Rick Haffey, got the job after his predecessor got caught in the NH2020 controversy and couldn’t survive a shift of the board from a 4-1 liberal majority to a 3-2 conservative majority.

Haffey learned from that experience, and managed to last 15 years in the job by, as he put it, “flying under the radar,” expressing his opinions in private and letting the supervisors take the lead.

In an exit interview with The Union, Haffey recalled how he spoke with at least one member of the board every day. “On occasion, I’d talk to all five multiple times,” he said. “They come in and express their opinions on a wide variety of subjects.”

You can bet they just weren’t bouncing ideas off Haffey. Many of those calls involved complaints from constituents or pet peeves of the supes that required action from various county departments.

And we know of at least a couple of instances when the supes took direct action. Ed Scofield short circuited the process when the county planning department was dealing with the proposal to build a Dollar General store in Alta Sierra, and Dan Miller got the ball moving on a proposal that had been laying around a year to grant special concessions to River Valley Community Bank.

Then there were the times Haffey fell on his sword, writing letters to The Union when the supes were feeling the heat from critics. And who can forget the art display controversy at the Rood Center, when well-known art critic Supervisor Sue Horne said some–shall we say–family unfriendly items were on display. Haffey took the blame for that.

Lehman worked for Haffey for several years and knows all this. She also knows that if she wants to keep her job, it’s best to let her bosses take the lead and do what she’s told.

Posted in County CEO Alison Lehman, Nevada County Board of Supervisors, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This guy makes Trump sound wishy-washy

Conservative candidate Jair Bolsonaro was the leading vote getter in the first round of voting to elect Brazil’s next president, and is expected to win the October 28 runoff.

Bolsonaro’s main attraction to voters is that he has managed to avoid being implicated in any of the political scandals that have engulfed the country’s political elite in recent years.

Voters are clearly fed up with corruption and crime, and are looking to Bolsonaro to get both under control. Like most populists elected in the last 2 years, he is viewed as the anti-establishment candidate who will overturn the established order. Voters may be getting more than they bargained for.

His plan to get crime under control includes the loosening of gun laws for self-defense and giving police “carte blanche” to kill suspected criminals. Due process? What do you expect from an ex-army officer was staunchly defends Brazil’s past dictatorship.

But there’s more. Balsonaro has defended torture, advocated beating children to stop them from turning gay, argued that women deserve lower pay than men, and said minorities must “bow to the majority or simply disappear.”

Finally, in a country that has endured a massive recession, Bolsonaro proudly states he knows nothing about economics. God help the world’s fourth largest democracy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

No wonder conservatives love Brett Kavanaugh

“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled by apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election…Revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars of money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”

–Brett Cavanaugh, responding to charges of sexual harassment and other unjudicial behavior

There’s nothing conservatives like better than a good conspiracy theory: It makes it so easy to understand the complex world we live in and the unwillingness of many Americans to roll over for Donald Trump.

He didn’t go into detail about “outside left-wing opposition groups,” but Kavanaugh was probably referring to billionaire investor George Soros, who is apparently the source of every anti-Trump demonstration launched in the last two years.

Conservatives want to believe that only people paid by the likes of Soros would oppose the president. I can’t wait to see this kind of thinking applied to the issues the Supreme Court has to deal with.

Posted in Donald Trump, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment