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The Mountain Messenger | What's the problem?


By: Nuke Brunswick, The Mountain Messenger

NEVADA CITY February 1, 2013 - As we wade into this sparkling new year some old problems remain in this historic Gold Rush town. We asked a few residents to comment on what they feel is Nevada City's most pressing issue in 2013.

Not surprisingly "jobs" topped the list of responses.

R L Crabb, editorial cartoonist and blogger, had this to say: "Number One Problemo? JOBS...the four letter word. Economic news in Nevada County usually amounts to new restaurant offerings and which non-governmental organization got a grant to contemplate sustainable worm farms. Look around at the empty storefronts. I haven't seen this many since the early seventies."

A recent county Statistical Profile lists the top three employers in Nevada County, as of 2011. They were two supermarkets and a food bank for the needy. The Service Providing sector leads in the number of people employed, the profile says, followed by Government

"Jobs," agrees Tom Durkin. "We need jobs. Real jobs. Everybody has their own perspective. Mine comes from working in a homeless shelter. I see able-bodied, skilled men and women walking the streets every day looking for work -- or working at jobs that pay so little they can't afford a place to rent.

"I think if we can provide people with jobs -- especially young adults and senior citizens -- we'll see a ripple effect across the whole community in all aspects of life," Durkin continues. "If the private sector can't/won't do it, then we need government-sponsored jobs. This is why I pay my taxes. FDR was right."

"I think it is economics," Marge Kaiser said. "Too many stores are closing. Too many houses going into foreclosure. Too many people struggling to make ends meet - regardless of their economic bracket. Folks on the bottom struggle to pay rent and buy food. Folks that used to be upper middle class are losing their homes, jobs etc. I realize this is nationwide, but what can our community do to improve the situation here at home?"

What ails the country ails the community.

Local resident and attorney Stephen Greenberg responded, saying, "From my perspective, 2013 is no different than any of the past 20+ years I've lived in Nevada City: the most important issue is how we — residents (both homeful and homeless), workers, merchants, visitors — tolerate/accept/respect each other, especially downtown."

And finally, retired bartender and writer Joe Harrington had this to say: "The most important issue for me is more reasonable cocktails in town. Maybe the city could subsidize us locals, but allow the pubs to really stick it to the tourists. Have a Nevada City address -- just flash your driver's license and wow two-for-one 24/7." Harrington winters in Mexico where drinks cost less than parking meter change.

Editor's note: The Mountain Messenger, California's oldest weekly newspaper since 1853, is published on Thursdays from Downieville, California.

The Mountain Messenger can be purchased for half a buck at the National Hotel (sidewalk), Nevada City Post Office (sidewalk), Nevada City SPD (outside) and Nevada City Express Mart (outside.)


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