No Purple Man, Retired Activists are Not Responsible for Nevada County’s Economic Decline.

Russ Steele

The Purple Man writes at his blog about Stan Meckler seeking a position on The Union Editorial Board. In a comment Ben Emory introduces the idea of a “retired activist brigade” that is attempting to control the public attitudes about local growth and the economy.  The Purple Man responds in this comment:

If the “retired activist brigade” brings down our public schools’ reputation in their zeal, we won’t have to worry about those pesky Bay Area transplants (and the growth they bring) anymore! In fact, the real estate community tells me the Bay Area transplants (once a steady source of income) already are going elsewhere. Check out the MLS listings. In case you hadn’t noticed, our local economy is just dragging along. Both the city of Grass Valley and Nevada City reminded us of that this week during their budget hearings. Our politics is intertwined with our economy, not just our culture. Other than parroting the “fiscal conservative” mantra and other one liners, this group is not concerned with the nuances of our economic development and the “unintended consequences” of their political agenda. In most cases, their kids live elsewhere. “We reap what we sow.”

His message appears to be that conservative attitudes are keeping potential businesses and home buyers from the Bay Area moving to Nevada County.  Let’s examine that for a few minutes.

According to the ERC Business Plan and Economic Development Scorecard there are five impediments to economic development in Nevada County.

  1.   Lack of pervasive high speed Internet Service
  2.   Under developed skilled, technical workforce
  3.   Lack of available land
  4.   Lack of spousal employment opportunities
  5.   Under developed entrepreneurship programs

Now which are these five are the result of a “retired activist brigade”?

The lack of pervasive high speed Internet Service, is result of community priorities and local leaders waiting from someone else to solve the problem. For example the City of Davis has issued a Request for Interest to build ultra-high speed broadband throughout the City of Davis.

The City of Davis is requesting “expressions of interest” from parties interested in utilizing existing City infrastructure to install a communications network that will offer ultra-high speed broadband (gigabit and above), and other “next generation” communications services to households, businesses, institutions and public facilities throughout the City of Davis. Counties in Colorado, Oklahoma, Ohio and Minnesota are issuing bonds to fund the development of broadband for businesses, institutions and households.

An Under developed skilled, technical workforce is an education issue.  Our schools are firmly controlled by the liberals in the community. These liberal run schools do not even teach the basic business skills: money management, spreadsheets and computer programing. 

Some of the “retired activist brigade”, the Sierra Economics and Science Foundation, are taking action by sponsoring the TechTest merit scholarship program for seniors seeking STEM careers and TechTest Jr. to encourage 8th graders to take the hard math and science classes in high school. SESF has contributed over $125,000 over the last eight years. I am not aware of any similar programs sponsored by liberals and progressives in the community. 

The Lack of available land can be traced back to the General Plan and Zoning Regulations put in place by the Green Gang of Four, liberals through and through.  The “retired activist brigade’ fought this action tooth and nail, but lost. 

I am not sure how the Lack of spousal employment opportunities is the result a “retired activist brigade”? The solution to spousal employment is growth. Growth has been stifled by General Plan and Zoning sponsored by the liberals in the community.  The “retired activist brigade” fought these changes, knowing that growth was essential to a strong economy and job for all citizens. Now we are living with the results of previous no growth actions of our political leaders, which at the time were liberal/progressives. 

Under developed entrepreneurship programs are also tied to education.  Students in High school are not taught any business skills, nor do they build stuff. One of the keys to entrepreneurship is building things, hardware and software. This year a group of the “retired activist brigade” from the Sierra Economics and Science Foundation sponsored the Nevada Union Summer Camp, where students build rockets and did some Python programing.  I am not aware of any similar sponsored liberal or progressive programs to encourage entrepreneur development. I am not saying there are none, I am  just not aware of them.  Please comment if you know of similar programs.   

Now, lets look at the over all economic condition of the whole state, which may have an impact on the lack of folks moving to Nevada County.  California is rich in many things,  from oil and food to international trade and technology, but is still skimming along the bottom of the national economy.  

The state’s ultra-aggressive greenhouse gas laws continue to stoke the industrial exodus out of the state and further impoverish all Californians.  Increasing the percentage of renewable energy in the state from the current unworkable 20% to 33% by 2020 will boost the California’s electricity costs even higher than they are now,  already among the highest in the nation. These greenhouse gas regulations could push the average Californian’s bill up a additional 20%.  When a family has had enough of California’s high energy prices, a growing regulatory juggernaut, increasing neighborhood crime, and declining schools many families are forced to consider moving, but they will most likely to move out of the state, rather than to Nevada County. 

Business faced with rising energy costs and more regulatory friction are moving out of the state, not to another county within the state. Other states have low crime rates and better schools, one of the few advantages that Nevada County has over some Bay Area communities.  But, the bottom line is, if businesses and families are going to make a move, it is more likely they will move out of the state.  

According to the DOF, California’s domestic migration has been negative in 18 of the past 20 years.  This is less dismal than the U.S. Census’ estimate that California’s domestic migration has been negative for 20 consecutive years.  This is the longest sustained period of negative domestic migration in California’s history. 


The evidence does not support the Purple Man’s hypothesis that conservatives and a “retired activist brigade” are inhibiting Nevada County’s economy. Rather than moving to Nevada County, businesses and people are leaving the state according to the data. 

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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2 Responses to No Purple Man, Retired Activists are Not Responsible for Nevada County’s Economic Decline.

  1. Todd Juvinall says:

    Good points Russ. The people like the “purple man” bring nothing to the local economy except turmoil. The activists on the left are the responsible parties to the decline of our county. They are represented by people like Ben Emery and Steve Frisch and that Curtis Walker character. Also, Izzy and the “gang” did a good job of wrecking the future for the young and graduating here by forcing out the real jobs and replacing them with “non-profits” and “grants” to lock up the lands and resources (replacing them with marijuana grows). They also turn out their minions en masse to fight every proposal for new business and jobs. Look at the San Juan Mine for instance (and their fight against re licensing our dams). Also, their attitudes permeate so much it overflows outward to the rest of the state and we see the results in places like our county and now El Dorado County. It will only get worse.

    We have let them direct the county and we see the results in the types of jobs. Service jobs that pay little and those employees commute into the county from other, cheaper places. I say good luck to those younger peopole wishing to live and prosper here. We should erect some monuments to the “Pellines etals” for preserving the County for failure to pass on the place as a success. Monuments to failure? Maybe right there in Memorial Park next to the Veterans Monument. People can see the sacrifices made by those trying to preserve freedom were defeated by their own “progressives” like Ben Emery. What does he bring to the table anyway? Yapping.


  2. gjrebane says:

    Good post Russ. Your post points exactly in the opposite direction when it comes to the county’s economic development. Their politics prevent initiative outside their narrow channels of political correctness, and promote the constructive takings of private property and dumbth in our schools. And they are ignorant of what is going on outside the narrow confines of these foothills and MSNBC.


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