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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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October 6, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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October 6, 2010
 

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EDITORIAL and OPINION Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter lOB Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010 4 EDITORIAL ngl When Plumas County launched an updat- ed website this summer, it set off enough drama to fill a Shakespearean play. Not long thereafter, Barry Gossett of Plumas iCam, which live streams Board of Supervisors meetings, wPote a letter to Dis- trict Attorney Jeff Cunan questioning whether the link on the county website to plumasnews.com, Feather Publishing's web- site, violated government code. Did it violate the prohibition against using public re- sources for private gain or advantage? Cunan turned around and sent a letter to County Administrative Officer Jack Ingstad, who is in charge of the county website, in- forming him of Gossett's concern and point- ing out that the civil penalty for such a gov- ernment code violation was as much as $1,000 a day. Although he said he thought the plumas- news.corn link was important and legal, In- gstad erred on the side of caution and re- moved the link, pending the outcome of Cu- nan's investigation. Now here is where things get really tan- gled. Gossett uses a publicly accessible coun- ty wireless Internet connection to live' stream the board meetings. Was this a use of public resources for private gain or advan- tage? Ingstad wasn't sure, so he modified the county's wireless connection in such as way as to deny Gossett's ability to live stream broadcasts. Gossett cried foul, saying the act was retaliation for his original complaint. Meanwhile, a trip to the website for the district attorney's office revealed a link to... yes, plumasnews.com. The site also included links to a strange amalgamation of groups with no immediate connection to the busi- ness of the office: the Feather River Land Trust, the Plumas Ski Club, the Town Hall Theatre and a private jujitsu operation. While Cunan completed his investigation, Ingstad convened a group to draft some guidelines for website content posting that could be submitted to the supervisors for ap- proval. After researching the issue, Cunan con- cluded there was likely no violation either in the case of the link to plumasnews.com or -in Gossett's use of the county's wireless connec- tion. "Plumas County is one of the very few rur- al places in California to possess a high-qual- ity, local news gathering organ ation. Feather Publishing's website is a valuable resource to the county by providing free news coverage of county-related events, en- hancing transparency of county government proceedings, questioning government ac- tions when necessary, and otherwise satisfy- ing its function as the fourth estate," wrote Cunan. Aw shucks. Cunan recommended the supervisors cre- ate a policy for the proper inclusion of news links on the county website and facilitate the inclusion of a live web feed of board meet- ings for the purpose of increasing open pub- lic access, particularly for the elderly, infirm and disabled. (Apparently, the WiFi link be- ing used for the live streaming belongs to the law library, which has its own board of trustees who will have to deal with that por- tion of Cunan's recommendation.) The link from the county website to plumasnews.com is back up, and Ingstad plans to take recommended guidelines to the supervisors this month. Dare we say it? All's well that ends well. A paper / Breaking News__ I go to plumasnews.com I Michael C. Ta Dorski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Delaine Fragnoli ........ Managing Editor Diana Jorgenson .......... Portola Editor Alicia Knadler ........ Indian Valley Editor Kate West ............... Chester Editor Shannon Morrow .......... Sports Editor Mona Hill .................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Joshua Sebold Cheryl Frei Will Farris Ruth Ellis Sam Williams Brian Taylor Barbara France Pat Shillito Susan Cort Johnson Linda Satchwell Wild & Scenic Film Festival thought-provoking EDITOR'S NOTES DELAINE FRAGNOLI Managing Editor dfragnoli@plumasnews.com What a pleasure it was to attend the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Town Hall The- atre last week. The 11 short films screened did just what you would expect them to do. Some, like "Flathead Wild," which docu- mented the threat of mountaintop removal coal mining in the Canadian Rockies, en- raged. Others motivated: "The Secret Life of Paper" educated about paper consumption and encouraged reduction. "Signatures," which followed a Japanese surfer and snowboarder (he called snow- boarding "snow surfing"), was simply mes- merizing, as he arced gracefully down slope after slope, a tail of powder fanning out be- hind him. Other films made their point with humor. "Drying for Freedom" chronicled efforts to make clotheslines acceptable. Some 50 mil- lion clotheslines are banned in the US, most- ly through homeowners associations and the like. "Don't you have the right to dry?" the f'tim asks. The average household spends 6 percent of its energy bill on clothes dryers -- for a total cost of $5 billion annually. You can save money and help the environment by line drying, says the film-- "Our future is hanging on the line." But the most impressive parts of the festi- val were the f-Rms that featured young peo- ple. From teens to 20-somethings, these folks were simply amazing-- informed, engaged, committed and articulate-- in short, wise beyond their years. One film features Diana Lopez of San An- This hardy foursome climbed Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous U.S. at 14,505 feet. From left: Christina Kimmel, Joan Woods-Gately, Nina Harris and tonio, Texas. It was hard to believe this young woman was only 20. She has helped create an organic food source for her under- privileged neighborhood, among other envi- ronmental justice initiatives. "Greenhorns" traveled the country, from California to New York City to the South, to profile a number of young farmers, folks in their 20s and 30s who have embraced organ- ic practices and, in several cases, turned down more lucrative work to follow their love for the land. One man gave up a career as a product designer to grow wheat using elf-made tools. A woman morphed from art student to cheesemonger and now runs her own cheese shop in a NYC market. The average age of the U.S. farmer contin- ues to creep upward. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 40 percent of American farmers are 55 years old or older. This is a topic that hits close to home here in Plumas County, which has the oldest population in the state. As we struggle to offer our kids reasons to stay, it was refreshing to see so many young people at the film fest. A good-sized contingent from Feather Riv- er College attended. The primary organizer of the event, Kara Rockett of Feather River Coordinated Resource Management, falls in- to the younger demographic. (I should note that Plumas Arts and Trout Unlimited also sponsored the event.), Indeed, some of the most exciting things happening in agriculture in Plumas County seem to emanate from a group of younger folks. I'm thinking of people like Elizabeth Powell, who organized the High Sierra Har- vest communitY-SUpported agriculture this year and who works on food security issues in Plumas and Lassen counties. Or someone like Gabe Miller, one of the prime movers and shakers behind the up- coming Sustainable Agriculture workshop this Friday out at the fairgrounds. (Visit frlt.org or call 283-5758 for more information; also see the related story elsewhere in this paper.) Or young rancher Lacy Maddalena, who was one of the women featured in our "Liv- ing the Ranching Life" story a couple of weeks ago. These "youngsters" are charting a new course for Plumas County agricfllture, I think, one that works with the land and the people. Equally important, we're finding ways to pass our knowledge along to our youngest citizens, thanks to initiatives like the Feath- er River Land Trust's Learning Landscapes program and the school distr, i6~ outdoor ed- r i ] E~ != i ucation curriculum. Unlike a nqIBber of Dale Harris. Next time you travel, share where you went by taking your local news- folks interviewed in some of festival films paper along and including it in a photo. Then e-mail the photo to smor- who didn't know what a watershed was or row@plumasnews.com, where their water came f~om, our kids do. , And that's priceless. T., ~,~T Green Fountain Golf Course, opposite School District board position. Life-long t _EMEMBER WHEN Hotel Quincy. Portola resident Bob Marshall will chal- lenge four term incumbent Jack Bridge. KERI TABORSKI Historian 80 YEARS AGO ..... 1930 Advertisement: Play Golfl You would have to go a long way to find a more inter- esting golf course than this---18 cleverly planned holes. Bring your own sticks or use ours. Playing fee: 25 cents per round. 50 YEARS AGO .... 1960 There are 6502 Plumas County registered voters eligible to vote in the November election. Democrats total 4363 or 67.1 per cent. 1916 or 29.5 per cent are Republicans. The balance are other parties or those who declined to state a party affiliation. 30 YEARS AGO ...... 1980 Note: items included in the weekly Remem- ber When column are taken from our bound newspaper archives and r. epresent writing styles of that particular period. The spelling and grammar are not edited, so the copy is presented as it actually appeared in the original newspaper. Two will vie for one Plumas Unified tuck in the center with lesser of two weevils ~~ their political parties than they are with failed to vote most of her adult life. Now she solving the problems that beset us from all wants to be governor. Yikes. sides. Fiorina has accused Boxer of supporting I" I believe government hacks operate on the environmentalist groups. Boxer's challenge [ principle that if there are still checks in the to name the groups -- delivered in icy tones checkbook, there must be money to pay for during their second debate was met with ~iii,, all that we want. silence from Fiorina until she could weakly While the state withholds payments to pro- answer, "I can only assume..." Well, we MY TURN MONA HILL Staff Writer mhill@plumasnews.com Election day is just around the corner and I haven'ta clue how to vote for governor. The candidates themselves are of no help: Each is busily explaining why her opponent is a ne'er do well scoundrel without explain- ing why she is not. Comparing the various position papers of the leading gubernatorial candidates is an exercise in distinguishing the sex of turtles -- incomprehensible to all non-turtle species. Although... I suppose it helps to know gender in turtles is determined by tem- perature during incubation. Do you suppose politicians rely instead on wind direction? I would describe myself as a centrist, fiscal conservative. I've never voted a straight par- ty ticket and I frequently cross party lines to vote in the most interesting primary. I vote for presidential candidates of one party and congressional representatives of another my private set of checks and balances. I am more concerned with a candidate's perceived character than I am with his party afffRiation. I hasten to emphasize perceived; you never really know what any politician is thinking or is motivated by -- it may be a job requirement to be a prevaricator. As November approaches, I've decided mp representatives in Sacramento are more con- cerned with maintaining the positions of grams, furloughs its workers and the state's economy wobbles, Republicans and Democ- rats ---carpetbaggers all play Mexican Standoff with the budget. Our representa- tives are more concerned with holding the party line than producing a budget. These same representatives collect big bucks to make the hard choices -- and they are refusing to make them until they see how it all shakes out in November:. They seem to think election to political of- fice is a guaranteed job that doesn't require them to actually work for our money. Incum- bent or challenger, no candidate is sticking her neck out to say, "This is what I want to do and how I will achieve it." It's enough to foment rebellion. I wonder that Californians don't march on Sacramen- to and demand a constitutional convention Oh! That would require negotiation, com- promise and decision-making. It's easy to vote the bums out. But, as I heard one pundit remark, it's harder to de- cide which bum to vote in. I listened to the Meg and Jerry Show on NPR the other day. As I've said before, if we elect Gov. Moonbeam again, we deserve what we get. My daughter, at school in Chico, was telling me many students were upporting Brown. Hannah, who has seen my T-shirt, asked them if they knew he'd been governor before. Nope, too young to know or apparent- ly care to find out. The response to Hannah's inquiry was generally "I don't really follow that stuff." By her own admission, Ms. Whitman know what assume does, don't we? I've faced this situation before and re- solved it by answering the negative ques- tion, "Whom can I absolutely not vote for?." In short, I know o1' Jer is a disaster wait- ing to happen, whgman says all the right things: business-friendly politics and control of illegal immigration will save us. But at what cost to compassion and humanity? "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right: Here I am, stuck in the middle again." It's a tricky business to be a responsible voter. Before you vote, take the time to study the questions and the candidates. Learn as much as you can about their records, proposals and character. Think about what you read and hear and ask yourself about the reasons the writers and speakers say what they are saying. Cuo bono - who profits? Sarah Palin, god bless her pointy head, is a cheerleader, which is being polite. Republi- cans with any ability for critical analysis shun her support. She can see Russia from her front porch but not the need for negotia- tion and compromise. Nancy Pelosi, god bless her pointy head, is equally dogmatic. She's so busy being in charge that she's lost sight of ordinary Americans' needs and effects as little con- structive dialog as Ms. Palin. when you vote, please, please, please, please, PLEASE do not vote on the basis of who you like. Elections are not popularity contests. Do not be driven by fear or hysteria, only by careful consideration of which candidate is the lesser of two weevils. 4 ~] L