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.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Iraqi death toll, Judy Fitanides in letters to the editor, October 30, 2004, is pushing more liberal drivel about the war.

“One hundred thousand Iraqi civilians killed since war began 18 months ago, as reported by Lancet, in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University. Most were women and children."

Fred Kaplan at Slate has a devistating analysis of this seriously flawed study.
“. . . the authors are 95 percent confident that the war-caused deaths totaled some number between 8,000 and 194,000. (The number cited in plain language—98,000—is roughly at the halfway point in this absurdly vast range.) This isn't an estimate. It's a dart board.”
Shannon Love, at the Command Post, also takes a serious look at the Lancet Study. Her conclusion:
“This ‘peer reviewed study’ is a piece of polemical garbage. Everybody is supposed to take away the bumper sticker summary, ‘Coalition kills 100,000 Iraqi civilians, half of them children,’ without reading the details. It tries to use crude epidemiological models like those used to study disease and applies them to the conscious infliction of violence by human beings. The result is statistical static.”

Read the full analysis at the Comand Post and you will see for your self, this a garbage study published by what use to be a credible medical journal.

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Friday, October 29, 2004

Tricky techniques, Marian V. Wyckoff, writes in Letters to the editor, October 29, 2004
"I hope the intelligent people of Nevada County will look beyond Ackerman's tricky journalism techniques to find the truth of this situation. Ackerman's techniques are an insult and embarrassment to this community."
When is telling the truth a journalistic trick? Show me where the Union did not present the facts about Conklin's effort to conceal his shady deals. They presented the facts as I know them, from my research for columns on the North Star House. The real insult and embarrassment would be a community newspaper that avoids the obvious and looks the other way, as it has in the past, when government officials deceive us. We should be proud of Jeff Ackerman, and the Union editors and writers, for publishing accounts of ongoing misdeeds by our government officials. We are finally getting beyond the "etch-i-sketch" level of government reporting foisted on us by past editors and publishers.
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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Battle over Paco's Tacos, By David Mirhadi, October 28, 2004
“Wambaugh's plan was initially proposed two years ago, complete with a fake chimney, decorative tower and mine shaft. The city Planning Commission rejected Wambaugh's design in November 2002, largely because residents worried the restaurant would create too much traffic in a gateway area of Grass Valley.

The following spring, the council approved the plans 4-1, with Enos casting the dissenting vote. The revised restaurant replaced three driveways with one off of French Avenue, to reduce traffic congestion along the largely residential street."
I was at the City Council meeting, and Mr. Wambaugh made an important point that did not come out in the article. The build parking lot layout and orientation was changed to meet Planning Commission demands. He complied with the rules. Now Mr. Enos wants to hassle him for the results of Planning Commission tinkering. Shame on you Mr. Enos.

UPDATE: Mr Enos responds:
"Hey Russ you might want to check your facts and make a few adjustments to your comments on your website. The Paco's Taco's project was denied by the Planning Commission. The applicant then appealed the Planning Commission denial to the City Council. Even Planning Commissioner Lisa Swarthout voted to deny the project. Fact is the design is not in compliance with city design guidelines, but was approved by the majority of the City Council under the applicants appeal.
I don't blame the applicant/owner for the traffic safety issues I raised at the recent City Council meeting, he built the project as approved, it's not his fault for following through with the project design that was approved. But the built project has a couple of traffic safety issues can be improved with some additional improvements to the built site. A number of residents in the area have contacted me and have similar concerns with the issues I raised at the Council meeting.

I really like a number of the design elements of the project. I think the building design was well done and well constructed. In fact as a professional Land Use Planner I use photos of the building in presentations as an example of good, non-traditional design for fast food restaurants. The building is nice, but the site plan is a bit flawed. The parking area and drive up stacking lane conflict with cars trying to enter and exit. Placing the drive up lane/window directly adjoining Mill Street was a mistake, but I don't hold the applicant/owner at fault for these design issues, he just built what was approved.

My desire is to have city staff review the issues raised. If determined to be an issue, work with the owner to develop and implement solutions. It's about public traffic safety, nothing more, nothing less.

And in closing, if anyone should be told "shame on you" it should be the applicant/owner for making his insulting and racist comment at the city council meeting about me and "Indians and Mexicans". I use the terms Native Americans and Hispanics and never lower myself to making personal attacks and name calling."

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Growth not necessary or inevitable, writes Terry Lamphier in an Other Voices, October 28, 2004. He is a candidate for Grass Valley City Council.
“As I write this, we are about to spend over 6 million dollars to "solve" one intersection problem while we have been cutting back on public transportation. This is wrong."
See my comments on public transportation: More Transit - Not Likley. Bottom line, most transit does not operate the way citizens choose to live their lives. Thus they buy cars, which more closely meet their life style needs.
“I believe growth is neither necessary or inevitable.”
Sorry, but Nevada County’s growth is driven by population growth in the state. In the past ten years, California grew by 17 percent. We add over 550,000 people annually, about the population of Vermont every year. California will reach 54 million residents by 2025. Grass Valley’s General Plan was developed to accommodate it’s share of this anticipated growth within it’s sphere of influence.

When new people move into Southern California and the Bay Area, those already living there move to the foothills. To stop Nevada County’s growth, Mr. Lamphier would have to stop California’s growth. I wonder how he plans to do that from his seat on the City Council?

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Conklin traded integrity for money, Jeff Ackerman, Union Publisher, October 26, 2004
“In a 14-month period from April 2003 through June of 2004, Bruce Conklin was paid more than $82,000 by the Nevada County Land Trust from the same money he voted to transfer to the Trust during his last official act as a Nevada County supervisor.”
Jeff does a great job explaining why you should not vote for Bruce Conklin. My choice would be John Spencer. He has worked both sides of the counter at the County, as a service provider and service consumer. He know how the County works. A man of integrity, he will not bend the rules for his own benefit, like Conklin.

The most bothersome aspect of this whole tragedy it that Mr. Wilson gave the money to the community for open space and parks, so future generations of children could have a place to play. Now the money is gone, and the children have no new ball field, picnic areas or hiking trails to use. Only a broken down house, with a new roof, where they cannot even plan in the yard.

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Sunday, October 24, 2004

Smart growth, environment lead concerns, writes Olivia Diaz, in a Special Sunday Edition of the Union, October 24, 2004.

Reviewing her vision, I found one significant error, which makes me wonder about the rest of her smart growth vision. See my smart growth update for the Capitol Journal here.
"Nevada County has the highest proportion of residents over 65 in the state of California."
For the Record:

State percentage: 10.6

Nevada County: 17.4

Tuolomne County: 18.5

Lake County: 19.5

Amador County: 18.0

It would appear that Nevada County is bested by at least three Counties, which have higher proportion of over 65 citizens. Nevada County does not "have the highest proportion of residence over 65."

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Check out my comments on Nevada County's transit decline at Transportation Infrastructure

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Friday, October 22, 2004

Ken Croker is a local blogger at A Black and White World. Check it out.

Jim Hightower: columnist writes on Yubanet, Wal-Mart Milks Taxpayers, published, Published: Oct 21, 2004
“Wal-Mart, we're told, is the epitome of free-enterprise in America – work hard, be innovative, achieve efficiencies, and your company will be rewarded with riches! Oh, yes, one more thing, be sure to load up on government subsidies along the way.

Good Jobs First, a research center that studies the doling out of public money to corporations, reports that the sprawling of Wal-Mart's empire has been fueled by the steady injection of more than a billion dollars from the pockets of us taxpayers – including taxes paid by local businesses that subsequently have been squeezed out of existence by Wal-Mart's subsidized muscle.”
Interesting that Hightower does not give us the name of the research center so we can check his facts. When no sources are given, you should be a bit skeptical. What did the study really say? .

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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Deconstruction? If you are looking for a deconstruction theory primer after reading Richard Somerville's Column in the Union, Saturday, Octorber 16, 2004, click here

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Friday, October 15, 2004

Jim Hansen asks a interesting question in Money for terror, October 15, 2004, Letters to the Editor
“The terrorists most likely receive money from all over the world. My question is, who supplies the guns and ammo? U.S. black market, France, who?:”
I am reading Bill Gertz’s Treachery, How America’s Friends and Foes are Secretly Arming our Enemies. Gertz’s makes the case France, Germany and Russia were Saddam’s main weapon providers. France provided anti aircraft missiles and rocket propelled grenades with French serial numbers and 2002 manufacturing dates. The French were trading with Iraq right up to the start of the war. No wonder France would not giving the US a positive vote in the U.N. They were arming Saddam with Oil-for-Food money. Not our friend!

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More posts on the November election over at All Politics is Local

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GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE. We have discussed Global Warming letters here in the past. Here is an update from the MIT Technology Review, Global Warming Bombshell

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Friday, October 08, 2004

Wanted Community Vision, Excellent Benefits

Larry Burkhardt over at the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, has an interesting column, Wanted Community Vision, Excellent Benefits, in the Nevada County Business News. [scroll down, it is a PDF] He brings up a point I have written about for years. We need a vision of what we want our community to become. If we do not have a destination in mind, we cannot get there from here. Do we want to be become a retirement community, with no jobs for our young people and few entry level jobs? That is where we are headed with the cost of housing driving our young people to move away, as they seek a place where they can live the American dream -- a home and yard for the children.
". . . [W]e need to clearly articulate a community vision of balance and opportunity. . . . Without such a vision and goals, we will continue to inch closer toward becoming a community none of us would have deliberately chosen for us to become."
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UPDATE: Larry is getting a lot of feedback on his article. If you would like to comment, his e-mail address is

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

When you read Jeff Ackerman's column on 5 October, 2004, and all those letters crying the Union is conducting a "smear campaign" against Conklin on the same page, remember that the Union is reporting the FACTS of the case. Reporting the FACTS is not a smear!

When Conklin was hired by the Land Trust, I wrote an Other Voices or Business to Business Column. In writing that column I did a lot of research, including interviews. Nothing the Union wrote was in conflict with what I learned about this blatant act of chronisim by Conklin and the other board members who attended the Northridge Inn lunch. I had to laugh, when Van Zant sat at the next table to avoid a Brown act violation. Do they really think we are that stupid. If he was in voice range of the discussion, they were all in violation!

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