NEVADA CITY, Calif. December 10, 2019 – Two hours of public comment apparently swayed Nevada City council members and Reinette Senum remains Mayor of Nevada City. A possible motion to censure Senum or removal of the ceremonial title did not see the light of day in the end.
Vice Mayor Erin Minett listed a series of code of conduct points she felt the current mayor had violated. Adding to the three points she made when asking to have the censure or possible removal of the mayoral title from Senum agendized, the list was quite longer. Since it was not included in the city council’s packet, the recital took many by surprise.
Public comment was passionate, not unusual for Nevada City. What was unusual were public comments by three former mayors, Evans Phelps, Sally Harris and Paul Matson. All three professed to admire Senum’s passion but chided her for professing her personal opinions and not controlling the public during meetings. While all three had contentious meetings during their tenure, they took exception with the public’s behavior and Senum’s laissez-faire attitude.
The vast majority of comments from the public were in Reinette Senum’s favor and urged the council members to set aside their differences and work for the city and its residents.
When the discussion returned to the council table, Senum stated she wanted to apologize to her fellow council members and the staff for, among other things, “coloring outside the lines.” She said she had not heard of threats made towards council members or that staff felt uncomfortable working with her.
Council member David Parker said he could not support censure and removing the mayoral title from Senum was never an option for him. Council member Valerie Moberg, who is not running for re-election said she felt the first three years went well but the last six months were difficult as far as working with Senum went. Council member Duane Strawser said that it wasn’t just Minett who felt the need to bring a censure motion, “this was a group of us.” When asked to clarify who “the group” was, Strawser told YubaNet it was council members who felt that way, not outside people. Strawser also said that he came fully prepared to make a removal motion but that after hearing the comments he felt there was no support for such an action.
Lastly, Vice Mayor Erin Minett began her remarks by telling Senum she had voted for her [Senum replied she had voted for Minnett] but she was concerned the city had come to a complete standstill [because of the 5G decision made by a 4-1 vote with Senum being the opposing vote] Minett said she feels the job of council members is to take care of the city and its residents. “Make sure we have clean water, sewer, our parks, support our police and fire and get some business done. Yes, we have a lot of serious issues, fire, blackouts, insurance issues. 5G is not the only issue.”
To close out the item, Senum asked if there was a motion or if anyone wanted to second a motion, to which Strawser replied “The way this is going I’m sensing that a motion is not gonna happen. It is what it is, I guess we’ll have to see what happens. You’ve apologized, that’s huge. At this point, I’m not seeing it unless we have somebody else here.” Minnett then added, “I’m fine with that. I just hope that things will change a little.” Senum replied, “I think they will.”
Video of the meeting with all the public testimony will be added to this story as soon as available.