Local Democratic Political Incest ?

Russ Steele

This appeared in the Union,  Firth outpaces opponents in campaign funding:

In the race for three open seats on the Grass Valley City Council, challenger Jim Firth is leading the pack in campaign funds. Firth, chairman of the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee with three decades of experience as a union negotiator, has brought in $5,529 over the course of the election thus far — $4,000 more than any other candidate, according to campaign finance disclosure documents filed Thursday.

What was WAS  in the Union is that according to Frith’s Form 460, filed on October 25, it lists a $1,000 contribution to his campaign from the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee (NCDCC) made on October 19, 2012.

(Editors note:  I did not read the whole article careful enough before posting  the above paragraph and Brian Hamilton, the Editor has as me to make a correction. The Union did report the contribution from the Democratic Party. My error.)

 Chairman Firth endorses himself and contributes money to his campaign from a committee which he chairs….?  Political incest? 

 Also, Firth’s Form 460, filed on October 5, 2012, lists a $1,000 contribution to his campaign from the Laborers Local 185 PAC.  Who is this PAC? It is the  Construction and General Laborers Local 185, located at 1320 National Drive, Sacramento, CA, 95834. Union owned? 

His Purpleness recently made a big fuss about Measure N having literature printed and mail by firms out side of Nevada County. I wonder if he will make a big deal about Firth spending $1,448.61 at Auburn Printers, 13020 Earhart Avenue, Auburn, CA.  While this is a company owned by Nevada County residence, the tax money on these expenditures went “down the hill” to Placer County. Economically insensitive? 

Frith does not look like the kind of  Councilman the Grass Valley needs.


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.

8 Responses to Local Democratic Political Incest ?

  1. Arthur M. Day. says:

    The Devout Democrats have searchingly examined themselves and find themselves to be perfect, without sin or error. Therefore, anything they do is far above criticism.

  2. Mark Johnson says:

    Hi Russ,

    Steve Reynolds is the Nevada County rep for Auburn Printers, in fact he was highlighted as a GV chamber ambassador last month(see below)

    Ambassador Spotlight
    By Beverly Morrow
    Steve Reynolds
    Auburn Printers & Integrated Marketing
    Steve Reynolds handles sales and customer relations for Auburn Printers & Integrated Marketing, which is located in Auburn and owned by Brad Weston and Merrill Kagan-Weston of southern Nevada Co. Steve has been with Auburn Printers for the last 5 years.
    Steve started his career in printing at the age of 14 working for a newspaper and commercial printing shop. He earned degrees in printing and business at Cal Poly and went on to work as a printer in the Army, in Germany, and later for 16 years in the Bay Area. He has lived in Nevada County for 24 years. When he is not working, Steve enjoys organic gardening and being part of the local food movement, which complements his interest in cooking (and food!). His specialty is making fermented drinks.
    As a Chamber Ambassador for the last 3 years, Steve has participated in as many Chamber events as possible given that his shop is in Auburn. He became an Ambassador so that he could be involved and “give back” as an active member of his community. He enjoys connecting with people and as an Ambassador, has definitely found that, over time, his efforts to build relationships have also helped him to develop new clients.

    Auburn Printers also has a link to GV & NC chambers on their website.

    Russ – A question for you: If you lived in GV – would you support Measure N?

    • Russ says:


      If I was a voter in Grass Valley I would not vote for the Measure N tax increase. Creating more jobs and more tax revenue should be the focus of the City Council, not raising taxes. Raising taxes are always the easy solution.

      Grass Valley has made it very difficult for name band stores to come to the city. These are the stores that citizens drive to Auburn to shop in, thus the tax revenue goes to Auburn and Placer County.

      At the October ERC Board Meeting the Union editor was asked about why they did not focus more on South County shoppers. He said they would be giving more focus to the area in an attempt to get more shopper to turn north, rather than south to Auburn. That is going to much harder to accomplish with the Auburn Sales tax at 7.25 and Grass Valley at 7.875. While the difference is not that much on a $50.00, it is a mental impression that GV and NC have higher taxes than Auburn. And, this disparity will not be lost on Auburn merchants, we will all see more ads making a marketing case for the difference if the tax measures pass.

      Grass Valley has chosen to pick and choose the business it will allow in town and shoppers are not that interested in many of the choices. The City Council has created the negative business environment for name brand stores, now they need to live with the consequences. The citizens of Nevada County will continue to shop where they can buy the products they want in Auburn, especially with the Target becoming a One Stop Supper Store and Wall Mart opening real soon now. That is not going to help the situation with a growing tax differential.

      I would vote NO on Measure N.

  3. Steve Enos says:

    A few more pieces to this puzzle…

    In addition to the curent businesses in Auburn and the soon to be built Super Walmart add in an Auburn Costco that is very likely to pop it’s head into public view in the near future. Western Nevada County will draw hard to an Auburn Costco.

    Also there’s the two new, twin, major retail power centers under construction at Highway 80 and Sierra College Blvd. Super Walmart to anchor the north side center and a Target Super Store to anchor the south side. Consider how many from western Nevada County go to Sierra College as students, teachers and employees daily. It will be real easy to stop and shop and fill up with lower cost gas on your way back up the hill. We lose more sales tax and transportation/road/fuel tax money.

    It would be valuable to pull together projected sales numbers on all this to add to the “puzzle”.

  4. Steve,

    We had wondered what the anchor stores at Sierra College were going to be, there was a lot of money was being spent on preparing the land. Thanks for the information.

    Looking at the commuting figures there are 7,342 commuters from Nevada County down the I-80 corridor every work day.

    Placer: 5,215
    Sacramento: 2,053
    Solano: 26
    Contra Costa: 49

    There are 750 who work in the bay area Counties, but may not be daily commuters. I worked in San Mateo County for a year commuting home on weekends.

    All of the 7,342 daily I-80 commuters can stop on the way home to Nevada County to shop at the Sierra College Malls, with few of the parking and traffic hassles of shopping at the Galleria on SR-65. This will put even more pressure on local government to make ends meet with declining tax revenue.

    Just think, we could of had some of those big box stores here in Nevada County.

  5. Steve Enos says:

    Russ, thanks for the info, it’s useful and telling.

    Prop 13 should also be added into the mix of how we got here and what is still going on. One result of Prop 13 was cities and counties chasing after and fighting each other for retail and auto malls.

    Much of this was and still is supported by taxpayer funded “incentives”, reduced impact fees, reduced and deferred taxes, taxpayer funded roads, sewer and water infrastructure.

    The government has picked winners and losers by selecting and supporting specific developers and specific development projects they desire. Many of these type of projects received a lot of public funds and “incentives” in support and still do, like the millions Roseville recently spent “upgrading” the entry points of the Roseville Auto Mall.

    Then some folks counter this is an “investment” of public finds that returns, jobs, property taxes and sales tax. It’s still picking winners and losers.

    All this is complex and simple at the same time. I just know we need to keep as much of our spending and our money local as possible. We also need to be supporting and expanding primary jobs here.

  6. Mark Johnson says:

    Location of a large retail center in GV is the challenge. Most traffic models would “blow up” if the location was in or near the Brunswick basin. The Dorsey Drive(once completed!) interchange may change the models. The other issue is the community support for a large/big box center. I think the declining sales tax revenue over the last 4 years, and the subsequent reduction of City services may move the needle for supporting a large retail center. Another issue is the City-County tax sharing agreement signed(October 2001) by then Mayor Linda Stevens was not very balanced. I think GV got the short end of the stick. GV will be motivated to place a new retail center outside the Brunswick Basin.

  7. Mark Johnson says:

    LA is looking to the March ballot for a possible sales tax increase.
    What California city will be the first to have a 10% sales tax?


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