Wednesday June 26, 2013

I am sorry ….trying a new system with the scp website somehow I sent a plethora of notifications one for each article…. won’t happen again…..

This spectacular picture of Pauley Creek Falls was taken recently by David Marshall.

Gosh, all kinds of things happening this week. The Supreme Court is making decisions, some good, some hmmm… Congress is acting it’s usual uncooperative self and not getting much done…. and Texas? welll….. things could be so much better for everyone if personal feelings and vendettas were put aside. I cannot understand why people object to the equality issue. It just doesn’t make sense. If you are happy and secure in your own life, why would you not want someone else to experience the same. Marriage and partnership are good for everyone. Just forget about the sex element, who gives a rip what anyone else does in their bedroom anyhow, it is none of your business.

But this week we have lots of information about what’s going on in our county and surrounding areas. I have expanded the Guest Columnists to add names as we have some who write often and requests to find their articles easily, so hope this helps.

Check out the Nevada County Fair article with information and editorial comments. Of course there is Carol, Gabby, Carrie, Fringe, The Cats, and Cooter…. be sure to read the Editor’s Special written by Paul Guffin.

Oh just one last thing. The Fringe wrote his column and thought I might have high blood pressure or heartburn after reading it…. however I have to say, I agree with him, almost completely, I might not have used some of the same language but I’m totally on board with his ideas here….

Lassen Co Missing Vehicle Located 6/26/13

Missing Cal-Trans Worker’s Vehicle Located in Eastern Sierra County

 

On Tuesday June 25, 2013 at about 0630 hours the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office received information of a suspicious vehicle located near the Treasure Mountain Loop Road just northwest of the Little Truckee Summit in Eastern Sierra County. Deputies met with the reporting party, a local resident who located the vehicle in the remote area of the Tahoe National Forest while horse back riding. At about 0900 hours deputies arrived at the vehicle and discovered the sole male occupant was deceased.

The vehicle, a maroon 2004 extended cab Ford Ranger was identified as belonging to Patrick McCarthy of Doyle, California. Patrick McCarthy, a Susanville Cal-Trans employee, was reported missing on June 3, 2013 to the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office. Although the occupant of the vehicle has not been positively identified, the remains are believed to be that of Patrick McCarthy.

McCarthy’s family members have been notified, and deputies are working to positively identify the remains. Although the cause of death is still under investigation, deputies do not suspect foul play

For more information, contact:

Sheriff John Evans  (530) 289-3700

sheriffadmin@sierracounty.ws

The Fringe’s Law 6/26/13

Rage against the Chickenshit

A Fringe Frustranation fringe logo

There ought to be a law!

Your Fringe Editor doesn’t call for a law very often, as free and brave readers know; it’s very clear that tons of problems could be solved by simply un-passing many of the crappy laws we already have.  Even so, I’m calling for a new law.

My new law is a blatant attack on the 1st Amendment.  At one time that would have been untenable to me, but the 1st Amendment has taken a severe bashing in my lifetime, everything from “free speech zones” which restrict protestors from free speech anywhere else, to the attacks on free speech made by the Department of Homeland Security, who told people that the DHS regards protests against government actions as “terrorism”.  My law would dramatically change the language of politicians and government bureaucrats, but will hardly effect two groups of people, as I will explain.

My law is simply this: No one who champions a position which would rob citizens of the right to self-determination may use the words “freedom” or “liberty”.  It’s that simple.  Those words would be reserved for people who property understand the nature of freedom.

My law would deny the use of those words to anyone who makes the remark “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”  Likewise, the phrase “obedience to the law is freedom.”  The reason is simple: these perspectives set the idea of freedom on its ass, a rude and undignified position for such a noble idea.

“If you haven’t done anything wrong you have nothing to worry about.”  This witless mantra, most often used to explain the most recent rape of our rights by one or another government talking head, is the perfect opposite of freedom.  It creates the illusion that the government, the “authorities” are the source of freedom, it ignores the fact that “nothing wrong” is a very subjective clause, implying that the government has the power and right to weigh citizens, to determine for them what is “wrong”.  It sets the government bureaucrat up as the arbitrator of what constitutes freedom.

It also serves to make the populous meek: if we think you’ve done something wrong, you have a great deal to worry about, so better play it safe and be as good like a slave or servant is good, and please your betters.

“Obedience to the law is freedom”.  If it doesn’t anger you, you aren’t reading it correctly.  You are only free as long as you obey every bureaucrat that feeds at the government trough.  Freedom doesn’t arise from the individual, a birthright, instead it springs from total obedience.

Both of these sayings diminish the individual, strip her of his own counsel, degrade the freedom that we are born with.

To be clear, your Fringe Editor is no anarchist.  I’m a strong believer in law, a firm believer in the role of government to organize human effort.  The process of elected officials who are expected to act in the best interest of all citizens is about as good as governance can become.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, keep the baby and change the shitty water; the water is there to serve the baby, and government is in place to serve all the citizens, not just the 52% of the 60% of people who voted for them.

But, part of the process requires honesty on the part of the candidates, and a meaningful difference in candidates.  A good first step toward regaining that ideal is to force paid government bullshitters to tell the truth, or at least forbid them the use of those two priceless words.  When a gas bag running for office uses the word “freedom” it has to actually refer to the right of people to govern themselves.

I considered adding the word “patriot” to the list, but the word itself sucks, referring as it does to a child’s dedication to her or his father.  The word implies allegiance to the power structure, the administration, rather than implying the responsibility of every citizen to protect the liberty of other citizens.   It simply means “loyalist”.  It doesn’t mean “defender of fellow citizens.”  It is our responsibility to each other and to others like us which forms the living heart of our nation.  When the government is an efficient servant to those ends, it is backbone of our effort.  When it becomes a task master, rigid, myopic, arbitrary, it is no longer our ideal of government.

Simple enough law: don’t bullshit the people; when you’re pooping in the stew call it that, don’t misuse the sacred ideas of freedom and liberty to excuse actions that diminish the dignity and self-determination of citizens.

The two groups the law won’t effect much?  Those who understand how precious freedom is and who work relentlessly to preserve America the people; and those who never think about freedom, what it is, how fragile it is, and how it is easily pissed away through inaction.

Good freaking luck with that!

Gabby Fringette 6/26/13

X; a mystery

By Gabby Fringette

X over x-1 + 2/3 = 2 over x-1

I know I had a quest not to learn anything over the summer, but then my report card came, now I have a quest to learn algebra.

The equation is simple enough, you just have to add 2 over X-1 to both sides, then subtract it twice, then invert and multiply 2/3 and X over x-1, then invert and divide the sums, to get 74/0 on the left side, and 3X on the right.

Now, so far the problem is going well, not so much of a problem as an annoyance, but one thing nagged at me.  What is up with X?

X always wants to be alone; does X have a secret?

Why do the other numbers keep getting knocked off? Is that X’s secret?

And why are there more Xses? Is X multiplying?  Are the number slashings crimes of passion?

I guess I won’t know ‘till the end of the math annoyance, when X’s true identity is revealed

Back to the math annoyance, now I have

3X =74/0

Next we multiply 3X by –3X, then divide that sum by –74, then we add –3 to 74/0 then multiply by 36 (exactly half of 74 in algebra), and that leaves us with 

900,000,000,000,000X= -π

Whoa! Did you see that? 3X just 9 trilionthed*

Now I’m thinking that maybe X is just unlucky.  Maybe in the beginning X over X-1 was walking across the road with 2/3 to get to 2 over X-1, when a car came and killed 2/3, and disfigured X over X-1 turning him into 3x, then a small bomb went off disfiguring 2 over X-1.  Like the beginning of a French movie.  Maybe X is sad and that’s why he wants to be alone.

Now to solve the mystery, I must solve the problem.  Now I divide 900,000,000,000,000 by 1/8 of zero, to get – π, which I multiply by 69, to get 1!

X is one! He cleverly disguised himself by subtracting him self in the beginning, and when his cover was blown when he was disfigured, he needed to be alone so he could disguise him self- oh! No! My dyseksia-dislexia-diyslecia- dyslexia acted up, so I forgot I was supposed to multiply – π by positive 98g instead of negative 98g! So the real answer to the problem is 8/5! Oh, well, so much for my theory.

* Between 8 trilionthed and 10 trilionthed.

The Cats 6/26/13

6/26/13

I am the nicest cat and the best cat I know that because Tom tells me that... it doesn't matter what you think...

6/26/13  I am the nicest cat and the best cat I know that because Tom tells me that… it doesn’t matter what you think…

Fireworks for Downieville 6/26/13

Fireless Fireworks Forever!

The Downieville 4th of July Parade is next week.  Help support  our unique tradition at the end of the parade: the famous “Downieville Fireless Fireworks”?  Donation bins are at the following local businesses:  Sierra Hardware; Downieville Grocery; 49er Wines; Vintage Gal; and The Shack.  Or, mail a check to:  Downieville Improvement Group, c/o Ingrid Larson, P.O. Box 564, Downieville, CA 95936.  Let’s make this the best parade ever!  Thanks again.

The Downieville Improvement Group

Elephant Letter 6/26/13

6/26/13
Dear Editor,As others who spoke at the June 20 meeting, I have enjoyed and had pride in the Nevada County Board’s running of this community fair.  The board members can be proud of their past accomplishments.Now I am really distressed. I have learned from your article that the business Have Trunk Will Travel will not only endanger the fair goers and surrounding community and high way but it will do so with all the profit going to this business. There is NOTHING going to the Nevada County Fair. I attended the meeting. The overwhelming number (40) who spoke against this “attraction” were made up of a  cross section of people. Some were actual neighbors of the fair.  Many spoke of attending the fair for decades. Now, they sadly note, they will not be there if HTWT will be an attraction.  Speaking to a woman from Sacramento who did not go to the microphone, I learned that she had attended many an event at the Nevada County Fair grounds but she and the group of ladies who she came with every year (again for many decades) would not only not attend the fair but they would also not attend the other events held at the fair grounds. This woman had come with draft horses in previous years.  It is a very sad day when an outside business wields the kind of influence that HTWT has done with the board over the desires of the community. What goes on here? Why were there hugs for K. Johnson, who is a founder of  HTWT and makes her living off of transporting these animals hundreds of miles to their shows.  They will do a wedding for you or maybe a birthday party. This is no life for an elephant. What has happened between the owners of HTWT and the Nevada County Fair Board to  come to the point of not one member dissenting the decision to allow a business to make its profits, exposing a large number of people to the harm that would come from an elephant not in control of its handler?  I guess the Nevada County Fair has coverage by their insurance for such an outcome?

I have learned from your article that the business Have Trunk Will Travel will not only endanger the fair goers and surrounding community and high way but it will do so with all the profit going to this business. There is NOTHING going to the Nevada County Fair. I attended the meeting.  Most of those who spoke for HTWT had a vested interest. There were only a couple from the community and one was speaking on behalf of the veterinarians who work for HTWT. There were others from outside the Nevada County area who spoke as advocates for the elephants. They had studied elephants and some had degrees in the field and as many decades as Karey claims in working with elephants but in a much more natural setting for elephants.

The overwhelming number (40) who spoke against this “attraction” were made up of a  cross section of people from the community. Some were actual neighbors of the fair.  Many spoke of attending the fair for decades. Now, they sadly note, they will not be there if HTWT will be an attraction.  Speaking to a woman from Sacramento who did not go to the microphone, I learned that she had attended many an event at the Nevada County Fair grounds, but she and the group of ladies who she came with every year (again for many decades) would not only not attend the fair, but they would also not attend the other events held at the fair grounds. This woman had come with draft horses in previous years.  It is a very sad day when an outside business wields the kind of influence that HTWT has done with the board over the desires of the community.

What goes on here? What has this board so tied to HTWT and not the community in which they live? Do they think that the community at the meeting only represented organizations such as PETA? (That name was brought forth by one of the drivers for HTWT.) Why were there hugs from board members for K. Johnson, who is a founder of  HTWT and makes her living off of transporting these animals hundreds of miles to their shows? It will be over 500 miles and eight hours for the elephants to ride to Nevada County. There must have been some advance planning for this to make them a profit. They will do a wedding for you or maybe a birthday party. This is no life for an elephant. What has happened between the owners of HTWT and the Nevada County Fair Board to  come to the point of not one member dissenting the decision to allow a business to  make its profits, exposing a large number of people to the harm that would come from an elephant not in control of its handler?  I guess the Nevada County Fair has really good coverage by their insurance for such an outcome?  Obviously, I think the Nevada County Fair Board made a decision not in the best interests of the community, the fair or the elephants. I do not know what was in the contract . There must be something that is more important to the Board members than the desires of the community. The bottom line is usually the driving force. If this was to increase the number at the gate and therefore Fair income, it may have done the opposite. There are other values than money at stake here.

Sincerely,
Linda Guffin

Downieville

Carrie’s Corner 6/26/13

Carrie’s Corner
By: Carrie A. Blakley
It is time once again for the whole of the area to prepare for the onset of Summer activities and festivities. It is also time, once again, for me to remind our dear readers of a few things that can help make everyone’s Summer much more enjoyable, and safe. For our lovely travelers that enjoy our area for their Summer vacations, I’d like to take a moment to brief you on some items that are well….safety related. First of all, I’d like to send a big thank you to both our local law enforcement officers and our local CFS workers, that go out of their way every day to help make this area as safe for us as they possibly can. Having said that, keep in mind that this particular area is already on a high alert for fires. Mother Nature does quite a good job of making sure that our fire fighters, law enforcement officers and CFS workers are kept on their toes. These men and women do not need any help from the humans in the area. So, please be sure to follow all of the fire safety regulations, right down to the last ‘T’.
Yes, we have cell phone service. Yes, we have television. Yes, we have computers. However, we also have 500 foot mountains, high winds and other such natural conditions that can, at times, make the use of these items a bit challenging. You’ll also notice that there are garbage bins located strategically around the area. Please use them. This not only helps keep the garbage from flying all over the area, but it also helps keep the bears at bay. You read that correctly….we also have bears. As much as we love our bicyclists that visit our dear area, please keep in mind that if you are riding your bike, you are also expected to adhere to the rules and regulations of the road, just as those of us who use cars and trucks. The speed limit is 15 mph, we have red zones (no parking/standing zones), stop signs and yield areas. Local, or not, bike, or not, you are expected to follow the rules of the road. Again, this area is not protected by Officer Barney Fife, and even our locals that have no badges, are more than willing to help remind you of our road safety rules and regulations. Or, you can just do an Internet check on the DMV web site.
If you are using a cell phone, and decide that you would like to continue using the cell phone while you are gassing up your vehicle, please do not be offended if one of the workers comes out of the gas station and politely asks you to stop using your cell phone. It’s a safety request. Quite frankly, we need our gas station as much as you do.  When using the restrooms at our Visitor’s Center, please remember that in order for us to be sure that you remember that the public restrooms are not designed to be showers, mud collectors, canvases for graffiti…or all of these at the same time. In order for these restrooms to be kept up to par for all of you, they have to be cleaned. Please try to be understanding about this. We are fully aware that when you gotta go, you gotta go….none the less, it’s much nicer to ‘go’ in a clean environment, than it is having to wade through bits of paper and mud all over the floor, and walls. The restrooms have garbage bins, please use them accordingly.
I wish everyone a wonderful, safe and happy Summer break, and may Mother Nature always be in your favor.

Carol’s Movie 6/26/13

Netflix says:

Now You See Me

2013PG-13Brainy magicians Atlas and Henley lead a troupe of illusionists who specialize in robbing from the rich, in the form of banks, and giving to the poor, their audiences, all while trying to outwit a team of FBI agents determined to bring them down.

Cast:
Morgan FreemanIsla FisherMark RuffaloDave FrancoWoody HarrelsonMichael CaineJesse EisenbergMélanie LaurentCommonElias KoteasDavid WarshofskyJ. LaRoseCaitriona Balfe
Director:
Louis Leterrier
Carol Says:
Now You See Me
If Morgan Freeman’s character didn’t explain to the detective what was going on, about every 15 minutes, we would not have had a clue!!  It was rainy yesterday and so off to the movie we took!    My friend Betty really liked this movie.  Now this is the story line, basically.  A mysterious person hires 3 magicians and a mentalist to become entertainers and during their magic performance, they rob a bank in France while performing in Las Vegas.  They transport a person from the audience to France, steal the money and then the money is transported through space into the theatre.  All in about 3 minutes, or something like that.  Of Course!!
Well, the police is trying to figure out how that was done (enter Morgan Freeman) and to catch the thieves.  Then another performance happens.  And a woman from Interpol arrives from France to help out the local police (or, is she really from Interpol??).  It goes on and on with the obligatory car chase, and a twist at the end.
This is like a big persons child’s cartoon.  With inconsistentcies in  the story.  I had to keep reminding myself that this is just a movie where we are supposed to use our imagination, but all the way home we kept going over how we could not follow it and the story didn’t line up correctly.  Well, not all the way home.

Calpine Marketplace September 7

As most of you know, our 3rd ANNUAL CALPINE

MARKETPLACE will be taking place on

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2013.

 

Our committee had our first meeting last week and

we are very excited about the early interest shown

for this event.  We already have vendors paid and

registered!

Calpine Marketplace FLYER 2013

Just wanted to let you know a couple of things:  

– the food and beverage hours will be expanded and

we will not fun out of food!

– Live music will be all day

– The Classic Car ‘Mini Show & Shine’ is expanded and

we are allowing up to 20 cars!

– the very popular CIA BAKE SALE will be back!

– and the popular RAFFLE will again have great prizes

Those of you who would like to support this event

and help out either before or during the event, please

let CHRIS LINDBERG KNOW!   Chris has kindly volunteered

to co-ordinate volunteers.

Here are some of the areas where we need and/or will need

help:

 – food servers in the SNACK SHACK (menu is hamburgers/

hot dogs and other popular food items!)

– Adult wine/beers sellers

 – Welcome/Information Desk – will need two ppl in shifts

all day

– Raffle Ticket sellers on the day

– SET-UP HELP ON FRIDAY – SEPTEMBER 6 – food and layout

–  8a.m. – 10:30 – parking help (giving directions)

– SIGNAGE  – help to put up signs/flyers on THURS/FRI

– SUNDAY A.M. clean up

 

Anyone who can spare one or two (or more!) hours will be

very much appreciated.

PLEASE CALL CHRIS AT  530-994-3323 OR EMAIL HER AT

lafollevac@hotmail.com

WORKING VOLUNTEERS WILL BE GIVEN A COMPLIMENTARY

LUNCH!

I am attaching a copy of the Flyer along with a registration

form for vendors  – please share with family/friends and anyone

else whom you think would be interested!

 

Thank you in advance for anyone who would like to join

the fun in helping to plan and execute a FUN DAY! and a

day that really helps to support our Community!

 

Paula

….on behalf of the Calpine Improvement Association

530-994-3610

 

Auditon for Dracula 6/26/13

  • Auditions continue for Gary Wright’s wonderful original script of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA!! Presented by LeGacy Productions at the Nevada Theatre the month of September!! Multiple parts still available for men and women…directed by Sue LeGate…call Sue at (530) 913 2826 for more info!!

Armed Forces & Rape 6/26/13

Are the Armed Forces a Rape Culture?

by John LaForge

John LaForge

John LaForge

US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have produced quagmires of crime, corruption and abuse, beginning with the torture of prisoners, the creation of offshore penal colonies, and repeated airborne attacks on shepherd boys, wedding parties, TV crews and allied troops — and ending with atrocity-producing chauvinism, bigotry, night-time home invasions and indefinite detention without charges. We don’t so much spread democracy as shred a mockery.

This war system has produced epidemic suicide rates, boot camp fatalities, plane and copter crash losses, friendly fire deaths, “green-on-blue insider” attacks by Afghan trainees, combat wounds and amputations, PTSD and several unknown or undiagnosed syndromes many of which are permanently debilitating. The abuse and even murder of spouses are on the rise among returning vets while sexual battery, assault and rape have reached staggering rates.

The Department of Defense’s 2012 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military estimates there were 26,000 sexual assaults in the military last year, up 35 percent from 19,000 in 2011. You know that sexual predators are rampaging through the services when the president calls the rape statistics “shameful” and “disgraceful,” when Pentagon Chief Chuck Hagel calls the chronic outrages a “betrayal” and a “scourge that must be stamped out,” and when the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey says, “We’re losing the confidence of the women who serve.”

Why would Dempsey admit such a thing? Because, according to Kirby Dick, director of the film “The Invisible War,” less than one percent of the 26,000 cases resulted in a court-martial conviction. Kirby’s documentary reviews the scandal of military commanders — not prosecutors and judges — deciding whether to prosecute “embedded serial sexual predators.”  In a recent editorial, Dick writes, “500,000 uniformed men and women have been assaulted since 1991” (the year of the Navy’s Tailhook sexual assaults in Las Vegas), and fewer than 15 percent were ever reported. In 1996, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland was the site of infamous sexual assaults on female recruits. In 2003, it was the Air Force Academy in Colorado that represented the military’s rape scene.

The problem of unreported and unprosecuted sexual assaults in the military is notorious. Of the estimated 26,000 cases last year, the Department of Defense claims only 3,374 were reported. Tens of thousands of victims keep quiet out of fear of retribution by superior officers and a distrust of the military court system.

One such case came to light June 1, 2013 as the Naval Academy announced that three of its football players were under investigation for the serial rape of a female midshipman in 2012. The victim’s lawyer, Susan Burke, has said that after reporting her attack the sophomore was harassed and taunted by other midshipmen and ostracized and retaliated against by the Naval Academy community. While still under investigation, the three perpetrators were allowed to play football while the victim was disciplined for underage drinking. They were formally charged June 19, 2013. In a second case, on May 1, 2013, the Air Force said it disciplined five former commanders for not reporting sexual assault allegations at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland in Texas — where 18 sexual assault trials have taken place and 32 basic training instructors are under investigation for assaulting recruits. In addition, on May 14, 2013 Sgt. Michael McClendon at West Point was charged with secretly videotaping a dozen women, sometimes in the shower. In December 2012, a Pentagon report warned that sexual assaults reported by students at its three prestigious military academies jumped 23 percent in one year.

Three more current cases — beyond being too ironic for words — telegraph just how pervasive the culture of male sexual violence is in the military and how unlikely it is to be abolished by committee. First, Army Lt. Col. Darin Haas, sexual assault prevention officer at Fort Campbell in Ky., was removed from his position after being charged with and arrested for stalking and violating a restraining order procured by his ex-wife. Second, an Army sergeant first class that served as a sexual assault prevention and response coordinator at Fort Hood, Texas, is now accused of abusive sexual contact, assault, pandering and maltreatment of subordinates. Third, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski — who until May 7, 2013 was in charge of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention and response branch — was arrested on a charge of sexual battery for allegedly groping a women after midnight in a parking lot.

The case of Virginia Messick, who was raped at basic training in Texas, is grimly representative, although her assailant, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, went to prison last July for raping 10 trainees. Messick didn’t initially report being raped. She was staggered by the dilemma that the rapist was the same officer she was supposed to inform.

Under pressure from Pentagon brass, Congress rejected a bill by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of N.Y. that would have given military prosecutors, not commanding officers, the power to decide which sexual assault cases to try. Without fear of retaliation, the law would have increased the number of reported crimes, but the generals objected, saying it would negatively affect “good order and discipline.” Gillibrand didn’t buy the cliché. She told the generals at a senate hearing in March 2012, “I don’t know how you can say having 19,000 sexual assaults and rapes a year is discipline and order.”

John LaForge is a co-director of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, edits its Quarterly, and writes for PeaceVoice.

 

Flimflammery Exercise 6/26/13

On Thursday, June 20, I witnessed an exercise in either political flimflammery or political cowardice.  The occasion was the regular meeting of the Board of Directors of the 17th District Agricultural Association (introduced as the Nevada County Fair Board), and more specifically, the public hearing in regard to the contract with “Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc.”.

Board President Tom Browning began the public hearing by saying that, since there had been so much controversy around the already-signed contract, the Board wanted to give everyone a chance to be heard.  I must admit, he never did say that the Board members would really listen to what was being said.

And, quite a bit was said.  There were 41 speakers in all, out of a much larger gathering of people.  Ten of those speakers, including an owner and another spokesperson for “Have Trunk Will Travel”, advocated in favor of maintaining the contract.  The other 31 speakers, including persons of expertise in the subject area, animal rights advocates, community members, concerned parents and children, all advocated in favor of cancelling the contract.   The response to each speaker ranged from tepid applause for those who wanted to keep the contract, to wildly enthusiastic applause for those who wanted the contract cancelled.  And, when one speaker asked those who favored cancellation to stand, the vast majority of people present rose to their feet.

The arguments and concerns presented to support cancellation of the contract should have been sufficient to give an open-minded person pause — and should have been sufficent to cause the Board to at least have further discussion, before making a final decision.  Those arguments and concerns included safety issues (one speaker specifically directed a question to the Board asking what measures were in place, in the event of a runaway elephant — a question the Board left unanswered), elephant training methods, cruelty toward the elephants, endangered species issues, the fact (stated by persons on both sides of the issue) that “Have Trunk Will Travel” is first of all a business, not a charity or an educational organization, and the fact that numerous other counties and cities have been either cancelling their contracts with “Have Trunk Will Travel” or refusing to sign them in the first place.  Add to that the overwhelming presence in the room of a desire to see the contract cancelled, and one would have thought that some discussion in that direction would have been warranted.

However, once the President closed the public hearing, not a word was heard from any Board member, and the President declared that the contract would stand.  It was interesting, at that point, to watch the close interaction between the Board members and persons who had advocated in favor of the contract.  It appeared to this observer that the members of the Board had a much more intimate relationship with the company people than with the members of their own community.

Which brings me back to my earlier statement about flimflammery or cowardice.  Having watched the whole proceedings, I do not find it difficult to believe that, despite the Board President’s opening statement of wanting to hear all concerns, the Board had its mind firmly made up, and had no intention of changing it:  thus, the flimflammery.  It is possible, of course, that, in the face of commitments already made (both contractual and otherwise?), the Board members could not find within themselves the courage necessary to make an honest response to what the majority present was advocating.

That said, let me add a couple of thoughts of my own to the discussion.

Back in 1865, the United States outlawed slavery.  At the time that slavery was legal, some said that it benefitted those who were enslaved — it brought them “out of darkness” and into civilization and into Christianity, and that they were better off than had they stayed in their own countries.  Somewhat the same arguments are used now in relation to wild animals brought to this country from their own homes.  However, slavery is not limited to human beings.  Other creatures, including elephants, can be — and are — enslaved, as well.

I live in Sierra County, and know that many people from here have attended the Nevada County Fair.  Due to the actions of the Fair Board of Directors, I will be using whatever influence I have to encourage them not to do so this year.  If the Board will not stand up for the elephants, then others must.

Paul Guffin,  Downieville

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