NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

M. W. Jim Jacobs writes in letters to the editor, August 30, 2004, Design for disaster, and gets a response from the Union editor.
Regarding the Grass Valley work-force housing design proposal: One single car garage for every three houses. What a joke! There will be two cars normally for each house. Drive through any low-cost housing tract, each house with two-car garages, and check out the cars on the lawns and driveways
Editor's note: The housing task force proposed three prototype home designs, one of which included a garage, not that there be one garage for every three homes.

Would you like to see more corrections by the editor?

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Sunday, August 29, 2004

Donna Saunders writes in letters to the editor and quotes Willam Rood, Chicago Tribune Editor in Whom to believe? , August 28, 2004
"Whom does it make sense to believe, the men who served and fought in close company with Kerry and who back his Navy-certified record?
Well, we might want to ask that question again, as the Swift Boat Vets were the one's who fought only yards from Kerry's boat and bunked in the same hooch. You get to know the people you eat and bunk with. Also, the Navy is taking a second look at Kerry's records. You cannot have V for valor on a Silver Star, they are not awarded. Navy Secretary John Lehman, under Reagan, is challenging citations under his signature posted to Kerry's campaign web site. So, who requested the records be forged in the 1980s? Clerical error? By whom?

More details here

UPDATE: Navy Launches Formal Kerry Medal Probe
The United States Navy has launched an official investigation into John Kerry's Vietnam War decorations, saying, "it's the responsibility of all personnel to correct errors in official records
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Friday, August 27, 2004

Eric Engles writes in an Other Voices, A community vision for Grass Valley, August 27, 2004
“At a recent meeting put on by the Nevada County Transportation Commission and the City of Grass Valley, residents of the Allison Ranch Road area were surprised to find out that proposed routes for a new four-lane road to Highway 49 would cut through their yards, and for one route, require the demolition of at least 10 homes. . . .

. . . If Grass Valley is going to grow in a way that reflects what residents actually want, there needs to be a community-based planning process, with serious workshops and citywide surveys." My ephasis added.
This meeting was a serious public workshop. A joint workshop sponsored by Caltrans, Grass Valley, NC Transportation Commission, and the developers of the Bear River Mill and North Star sites. A bit of information Dr. Engles failed to mention was the Crestview Interchange proposal was not a suprize to the land owners. They had been invited to review the eight possible routes under discussion at City Hall for two weeks before this public workshop was held. The NCTC recieved 55 letters, expressing property owner's views. No suprise!

I agree, we need a vison for Grass Valley. A vison that embraces, affordable housing, jobs, infrastructure, and the steps necessary to make that vision real. Honesty would be a good place to start. If Dr. Engles has proof of back room deals, as a Transportation Commissioner, I would like to hear the details.

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Jack L. Sanchez writes in the Union Letters Kerry to help business, August 26, 2004
“John Kerry says "the measure of a strong economy is a growing middle-class in which every American has a chance to work and an opportunity to succeed." The income gap has steadily widened so that under Bush the wealthiest 20 percent share of income has jumped to 50 percent, the largest ever.”
This bunkum, it was not just under Bush, it was over two decades according to the Census Bureau report. The total growth was only 6 percent, or about .3 percent per year.
The wealthiest 20 percent of households in 1973 accounted for 44 percent of total U.S. income. Their share jumped to 50 percent in 2002, while everyone else's fell. The bottom fifth, the share dropped from 4.2 percent to 3.5 percent.
When you look at the details of the report you find out that most of the growth took place in the 1990, under Clinton, not Bush.

Oh, by the way, the top 20 percent of income earners pays 78.4 percent of all federal income taxes. The bottom four-fifths of income earners pay just over one-fifth of all federal income taxes.

If you make the big bucks, your pay the taxes.


More from the Census Poverty Report:
Between 2000 and 2003, the share of total income going to the top quintile (20 percent of households) was exactly unchanged at 49.8 percent. The middle three quintiles -- the middle class -- were slightly better off, raising their share of aggregate income from 46.7 percent to 46.9 percent. The bottom quintile was slightly worse off, falling from 3.6 percent to 3.4 percent.
So, it was all Bush's fault? Not! It happended over two decades, mostly on Clinton's watch.

MORE UPDATE: Look at these charts in the Detroit News, they tell the real story of who pays taxes and who benefits from the Bush tax cut.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Becky Trout, reported in The Union, Ideas unveiled for affordable housing, August 25, 2004

The most important paragraphs came at the end of Becky's article, the density bugaboo.
"The consultants found housing developments need to have at least 10 houses per acre to pay for costs and a 10 percent profit. But getting public approval for dense projects is the real challenge of affordable housing and smart development, said Phil Carville, president of Carville Sierra Inc.

He cited the 'enormous ignorance' of the general public who oppose dense housing."
One of the downs sides of high density housing is increased traffic congestion. This increased traffic impacts the whole community. It should be planned for, and solutions built in parallel with the buildout of future high density housing projects.

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Listen to the SMART GROWTHERS, writes, Jeff Ackerman, Union Publisher, August 24, 2004
We are not born NIMBYS (Not In My Back Yard) or NO-GROWTHERS, or even BANANAS (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone). It takes time to develop those characteristics of paranoia. Years and years of watching neighborhoods spread, strip malls planted, charm turned to trash. And one day we wake up and shout, "That's it! Pack the van! We're moving to Oregon!" Where it starts all over again. . .

. . . There is an alternative to NIMBYS and SPRAWLERS. They're called SMART GROWTHERS. Fortunately for us, we have some pretty smart people in these parts, and it's time we started paying a little closer attention to their voices.

Jeff writes a very interesting column worth a second look. But, it is also worth your time to look at a Smart Growth second opinion. Smart growth is a term with a lot of negative political baggage. Please note in my article below that Nevada County is moving away from the term Smart Growth, using instead "Traditional Neighborhood Design." A term with less political baggage.

My smart growth article for the Capitol Journal, July 2003, "Smart Growth Reality Check.”

In addition, I am concerned that building high density houses, without building the village shops and stores, will force home owners with limited garage parking to park on the street, which will put more cars on the narrow walking friendly streets. Walking to Glenbrook for the necessities of life, in summer heat and winter rain is not an option for our growing senior population.

I also question if will local merchants in Grass Valley and Glenbrook, welcome new village shops in the project. Will they use their political power to short circuit the development of competing shops in this innovative development?

I think Loma Rica villages are a great concept if they are all built as planned, and include broadband fiber optic communication to every home and business in the villages. Fiber cables are installed just like water, power and sewer lines. Broadband is now essential infrastructure, an alternative to traveling by car.

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Monday, August 23, 2004

Dave Tavares writes in Union Letters to the Editor, Two-second rule protects already-bad intersections, August 23, 2004
“The claim is with a 2 percent annual increase in population, we can keep the improved areas above the D level for about 20 years. This assumes that Grass Valley has no annexations!”
The Grass Valley Street System Master Plan's levels of service are based on the Nevada County Transportation Commission's traffic model. This model is based on the Grass Valley General Plan, which considers the Special Development Areas, also know as "the annexations." When the SDAs are planned in more detail, the projected LOS will have to be adjusted, but a best efforts was made to consider these SDAs in the NCTC 2020 traffic projections.

More Street Systems Master Plan details here

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Sunday, August 22, 2004

Local growth is a major issue. It has always amazed me how little people understand the unintended consequences of not planning for this growth, regardless of the obstacles that local governments can place in its path. Now the California Public Policy Institute confirms how little citizens understand growth issues. See the excellent article by Dan Walters: Voters are ignorant about growth - but fear its impacts in the Sunday Bee.

“A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California finds that while the state's residents don't really know much about future population growth, they're worried about its effects, yet mistrust local and state officials to deal with those impacts.”

This mistrust results in endless public meetings and legal challenges, which are based on little knowledge, only vague feelings of mistrust. Just think, a little knowledge could could ease citizen fears and result in a some effective planning for the inevitable growth. Not likely!

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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Alice Munkelt makes a Book recommendation in the Union Letters to the Editor, August 21, 2004
“(Re Terrorism breeds terrorism," letter to the editor, Aug. 16): For information on U.S. actions that may have created the atmosphere we are now in, please read "Blowback" by Chalmers Johnson and/or other books by this author.”
Chalmers Johnson is a bitter lefty isolationist, a war protester, and university professor who blames the US military for all the worlds problems. A more forward looking view of world events, and workable solutions can be found in The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas P.M. Barnett More details here.

This is a book of complex ideas, which Barnett distills into four themes for defining global connectivity. A cutting edge vision of globalization that combines security, economics, politics and culture. All key to the nature of war and peace in the twenty-first century. See my complete book review in the July issue of The Republic. Or, send me an e-mail and I will send you a copy.

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Friday, August 20, 2004

David Briceno writes in an Other Voices Who can help uninsured the most? August 20, 2004.
“Which candidate will help the uninsured the most? Between President Bush and John Kerry, the one who is more believable in doing something substantial (besides lip service) to help our "national disgrace" - the plight of the uninsured - is John Kerry.”
Where is the substantiation for this conclusions? Because it appears in his campaign literature is not substantiation? What health care legislation did Candidate Kerry sponsor in his 20 years in the Senate?
"In the richest country on the face of the planet," his campaign literature reads, "no American ought to be struggling to find health care that's accessible and affordable."
“The basic right to health care should be a reality for all Americans. We're due for a health-care system that works for all - not for some”
Who is going to pay for this health care "right?" Are we willing to have health care systems administered by the government. Look north to Canada, where the waiting list for an MIR is four to six months according to a Ontario Public Service Employees Union study. Canada spends more on health care, on an age-adjusted basis, than any industrialized country, other than the U.S. and Switzerland. A Canadian earning $35,000 a year pays $7,350 for government health care that many regard as "free." Nothing is free, the cost of a national health care system will come out of your pay envelope. Are you ready?

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

David A. Price writes on transportation issues in Government incompetence in Union Letters to the Editor, August 19, 2004
“The $500,000 that the city has in its coffers earmarked for traffic improvement is not enough to even begin any type of improvement.”
David may want to check on the source his numbers. The total amount collected for traffic mitigation exceeds $1.3 million, including the regional mitigation fee program and those fees collected by Grass Valley from developers before the regional mitigation fee program was launched in the Spring of 2000. There is currently a plan in place to start fixing the Idaho Maryland / East Main/ Highway 49/20 off ramp intersection. However, the final solution is still several years away as we go through the Caltrans Planning Process. The Nevada County Transportation Commission is monitoring the progress and inturn is being monitored by community organizations to insure the process stays on track. There is growing concern that failure to fix local traffic congestion will strangle local business development.

You will find more information on local transportation and traffic issues at NC Transportation Infrastructure.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Randy Richey wrote of a Temper tantrum in the Union Letters on August 18, 2004
“Islamic Jihadists have declared war on the West, but this time they do not come bearing swords, but rather chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. They don't care what you think of corporations, global warming, or ecology and they most certainly are not interested in peace. It is your infidel soul they are after.
Right on Randy!

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Monday, August 16, 2004

Harold Blickenstaff asked several interesting questions in his
Letters to the Editor, Terrorism breeds terrorism, August 16, 2004

Harold’s point is that America is to blame for world wide terror? I agree with him, not not for the reasons he implies.
“1. What has the United States done and what are we now doing that makes potential terrorists want to kill Americans? Can we change?"
Yes, we are to blame. We have promoted personal freedom and free choice, allowing women to make choices and girls to go to school. We have promoted debauchery and homosexuality as normal. And, we are open to all religions, especially christianity. Can we change? Do we want to return to the 13th Century. Not likely!
“2. What is the situation in which a potential terrorist finds himself that makes him so desperate that he is eager and willing to commit suicide to kill Americans? Can this be changed?"
Civilized nations have dealt with religious fanaticism for thousands of years. In all that time the only solution that has worked is extermination. It is impossible to negotiate with a religious fanatic, when his only goal is to be served by 72 virgins in a dream land controlled by the Koran. A car bomb is his shortcut to those virgins.
“We must find a way to convince him that he can achieve his goals nonviolently and live in peace. How can we do this?”
See my answer to question two.

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UPDATE: James L. Butler has some answers in, Deport illegal aliens, August 17, 2004 Letters to Editor
Enough is enough! I just had to salute the letter “Long Live America” [June 7]. Al-Qaida are here by the millions. Know ye, these Islamic fanatics have no love for America and its open season for them to kill all “infidels.” That means you and me, Christian or atheist, straight or queer, who don’t covert to Islam.

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Saturday, August 14, 2004

Stephanie M. Carnes wrote in an Other Voices, Kerry is best choice, August 14, 2004
"Many are claiming Kerry is a flip-flopper and not supporting our troops. They should know the facts. He opposed the $87 billion that was supposedly for the troops because it would be unmonitored and there would be no guarantee that it would go to the troops. This is exactly what happened. When voted through, only $400,000 of it actually went to the troops."
In a search of the Internet, I could not find any mention by Kerry that he did not vote for the $87 Billion because it would be "unmonitored." I did find these reason in his own words complied from National Review Online.

1. Kerry Had Characterized A Vote Against The Funding As "Irresponsible." Doyle McManus (LA Times): "If that amendment does not pass, will you then vote against the $87 billion?" Kerry: "I don't think any United States senator is going to abandon our troops and recklessly leave Iraq to -- to whatever follows as a result of simply cutting and running. That's irresponsible." (CBS, "Face the Nation," 9/14/03)

2. Kerry Voted Against $87 Billion War Supplemental. (S. 1689, CQ Vote #400: Passed 87-12: R 50-0; D 37-11; I 0-1, 10/17/03, Kerry Voted Nay)

3. Kerry Offered A Tortured Explanation Of His Vote Against The $87 Billion To Support Troops In Iraq. "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." (Richard W. Stevenson and Adam Nagourney, "Bush's Campaign Emphasizes Role Of Leader In War," The New York Times, 3/17/04)

4. Kerry Said He's "Proud" That He And Edwards Voted Against $87 Billion In Funding For U.S. Soldiers. "Here is the value that John Edwards and I will put in place. I'm proud to say that John joined me in voting against that $87 billion when we knew the policy had to be changed." (John Kerry, Remarks at "Women's Voices: A Luncheon with John Kerry," Boston, MA, 7/12/04)

5. Kerry Says His Vote Against Body Armor And Supplies For Troops Was "Complicated." Don Imus: "That's probably a longer answer than I would be able to give to, say, Senator Miller or Senator Hatch, but ..." Sen. Kerry: "Well, you know, that's a problem. Some of these things are a little complicated. They like to simplify them and pretend to America. The pretending time is over." (MSNBC's "Imus in the Morning," 7/15/04

The Iraq/Afghanistan Supplemental Funding bill provided approximately $65.6 billion for military operations and maintenance and $1.3 billion for veterans' medical care. The bill provided $10.3 billion as a grant to rebuild Iraq, including $5.1 billion for security and $5.2 billion for reconstruction costs. The bill also provided extra money for body armor for soldiers.

Now tell me again who short changed our vets? Ms Carnes stated the troops only received $400,000. Perhaps she can tell us where she gets her information?

Ms Carnes also wrote:
"Bush's administration is in charge of that money - the same Bush who slashed veterans benefits and the soldiers' pay. Which candidate is not supporting our troops?"
According to

In Bush's first three years funding for the Veterans Administration increased 27%. And if Bush's 2005 budget is approved, funding for his full four-year term will amount to an increase of 37.6%.

In the eight years of the Clinton administration the increase was 31.7%

Those figures include mandatory spending for such things as payments to veterans for service-connected disabilities, over which Congress and presidents have little control. But Bush has increased the discretionary portion of veterans funding even more than the mandatory portion has increased. Discretionary funding under Bush is up 30.2%.

By any measure, veterans funding is going up faster under Bush than under Clinton.

To read the full analysis with charts and graphs

I am a vet and served from 1960 to 1980. My veteran benefits have not been cut.

I apologize for the length of this post, but it is clear that Ms Carnes needs to spend more time doing some fact checking.

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

More on Al Gore's global warming hoax at Tech Central Station: Settling Global Warming Science

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Chuck Idler wrote a critique on August 12, 2004 of Sarah Palmer's Other Voices, but went on to present his own views in: Serving our county

“Unlike President Clinton, who had the support of our NATO allies and the U.N. when he committed troops to stop the bloodbaths in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bush unilaterally conducted a pre-empted strike against a defenseless Iraq.”

Really? Unilateral means: “Obligating only one of two nations.” Bush was supported by Britain, Australia, Poland, Spain, the Arab States, and are currently supported by 30 nations, including many NATO States. That is a lot more than one nation. Perhaps Chuck thinks that "unilaterally" really means without France and Germany.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Don Jones wrote in the Union Letters on August 11, 2004: More than emotion

"World War II was a survival war; killing innocent Iraqis in order to get an unjust dictator has apparently had no influence on stopping terrorism and is certainly not a survival war. To say that those who support Bush and his unjust war are better than those opposing it is a very sad thing for a 21-year-old to even think."

Don was responding to a well written and well thoughout August 5, 2004, Other Voices, by Sarah Palmer a 21 year old college student. The better among us fight for peace. While Don gives Sarah's analysis a C- because of her opinions are not supported. Wrong! All the while, Don fails to supporting his own opinions that the Iraq war was unjust.

"Not a survival war."
Really ? Consider this from the United Kingdom.

"LONDON (Talon News) -- Five hundred metric tons (1,100,000 lbs) of milled uranium oxide (yellowcake, U3O8) stored at Saddam Hussein's al Tuwaitha nuclear weapons research laboratory near Baghdad could have been converted to enriched gaseous uranium hexafluoride, UF6. This amount of yellowcake could produce up to 142 nuclear weapons, prominent British physicist Norman Dombey has determined."

Should we have waited until Saddam had the bombs and used them, before taking action?

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Monday, August 09, 2004

Shane Valdez wrote in an Other Voices on 7 August 2004 : Knowledge is the power to be free

With knowledge, we may discover that "The Clear Skies Act" has little to do with clearing our skies of pollution. Instead it uses tax breaks as an incentive for companies to voluntarily reduce pollution. Under this system, Texas has become one of the most-polluted states in the union.

Shane suggested that we can find knowledge and power by doing our own research. It appears that he needs to get off the liberal websites quoting a fake Bush resume, and look for the facts. Not liberal propaganda facts, but the real facts. According to the American Lung Association State of the Air 2003 Report. 6 of the top 10 most polluted areas are in California and only 1 is in Texas. Of the top 25 only 2 are in Texas. So, it looks like California is the most polluted, not Texas.

It makes me wonder if Shane's other research is of the same quality?

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Richard Oberleitner writes in the August 4, 2004 Union letters The American Way

"I'm sure right, left, and the middle can all agree that truth and justice is the American way. The points made in the movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" need to be challenged, debated, and exposed for the benefit of all:"

It would take a book to list all of Moore's lies, distortions and misleading statements. Well one is available at: has just developed a new booklet, "Michael Moore's Misleads," that exposes 21 fallacies of Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. This informative booklet also explains the driving forces behind the left's passionate hatred for our President, and how they are leveraging their animosity in this Election year. It's must reading for any conservative who is concerned about this year's Election.

Liberal or Conservative, after reading the book, let's see if you agree. My guess is most Liberals already know about the Moore's "misleads", but refuse to acknowledge them.

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Regular readers of the Union Letters know I have some strong views on global warming and the junk science it is based on.

Iain Murray at National Review online has some excellent points in: No-Second-Thoughts "Science" A noticeable difference. When models do not fit the facts, some scientist adjust the model, but not global warming modelers. They change the facts to fit their model. The result, junk science.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Union Publisher Jeff Ackerman provides readers some more insight into the affordable housing issues in his 3 August 2004 weekly column: Housing prices cause loss of diversity

See our discussion on affordable housing below. The real question is why does it take so long for a project to get through the government process, why do we let public meetings after public meetings hold these projects hostage. Even if we had a Nick Lombardos in the community, the no-growthers would hold the project hostage with excessive requirements and public meetings.

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Ron Lowe wrote in the Union Letters on 3 August, 2004: Incongruities abound

"President Bush keeps talking about values. Are his four years of lies, deception and secrecy, the values he is heralding?"

It sure would be helpful if Ron would share some examples of the lies and deceptions he accuses President Bush of promoting, then we could see if his accusations are true. Just making empty claims is not very helpful.

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Chuck Carlson wrote in the 2 August, 2004 Union Letters that he is worried about the 49 Corridor and why it is at the top of Caltran's list.

Dick Phillips provdes us the answer in Solutions for housing inequity. We need to upgrade highway 49 to safely bring in all the service workers who cannot afford a home in the County.

"The NCESI report generally uses March 2003 numbers. It tells us that of the 28,900 people living and working in Nevada County, 23,900 are "service providing." (This includes teachers, waiters, retail clerks, entertainers, government employees, nurses and more.) That's an astonishing 83 percent of Nevada County's work force. The average wage for "services" in 2002 (NCESIR's latest number) was only $26,834. In contrast, the average price for a home in western Nevada County in March '03 was $355,034."

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Dick Phillips wrote in the Union Letters on 2 August, 2004: Solutions for housing inequity?

"The lack of housing for service-providing people - the overwhelming majority of the workers in our county - should be an embarrassment to those of us who own our own homes."

Why should I be embarrassed? Because government failed to provide adequate infrastructure? Because government fees are so high that local contractors can no longer build affordable housing? Because the no-growther's have bottled up any housing development with punitive regulations, preventing affordable housing developments? It is supply and demand baby. The only way to produce affordable housing is to build more houses.

I am not embarrassed we are on our way to becoming an elite bedroom community. We deserve what we get -- a community of old farts with a crumbling infrastructure, without enough nurses, ambulances drivers, firemen and EMTs to keep us alive in a medical emergency.
Is this the kind of community you want to live in? Think about it, the next time the no-growthers start howling about limiting growth.

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