Yubanet’s report on the most recent Board of Supervisor’s meeting shows once again why they are a unique and indispensable source of news in Nevada County. No other news source – neither the local hardcopy newspaper nor any of the local blogs — come close to the accuracy and depth and context of coverage of Yubanet, which no doubt explains their large readership.
Surprisingly enough, a contingent of Modesto residents had made the trip to attend this presentation, complete with a video camera operator and a photographer.
When Chair Weston opened the meeting up for public comment, the videographer left his post and lectured the BOS about county government actually being the highest authority in the land. He was followed by David Avila, another Modesto resident, who exhorted the BOS to nullify federal authority and take over the management of the national forest if needs be.
Their comments were met with applause from the audience and calls for the sheriff to do his duty as a “constitutional sheriff” and assert jurisdiction over federal lands.
Local resident Steve Willer disagreed with these proposals and invited the BOS to take a closer look at private properties that are actually within their jurisdiction. He suggested the BOS help property owners to reduce the fire danger on their properties instead of trying to circumvent laws and invite lawsuits.
CABPRO Executive Director Chuck Shea urged the BOS to pass an emergency ordinance similar to Apache County’s and start the process to assert authority over public lands.
Read the full article here.
If you believe Agenda 21 is a UN conspiracy, then you may also be at risk for drinking raw milk, since both subjects seem to be issues of “personal freedom” in some peoples’ minds.
Judging by the fact that vaccine compliance in Nevada County is the lowest among all the counties in California (another example of the “personal freedom” to be dangerously foolish) I have no doubt that the misguideed belief in the safety of raw milk is also thriving here.
Before you drink raw milk, though, you should read this article from Food Safety News:
Last April, she [a 2 year-old girl from Oregon] was 1 of 15 children who became ill from drinking raw milk (containing E. coli) that was obtained from a farm that provides herd shares near Portland. This young girl and three other children developed HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome) and acute kidney failure. She suffered a stroke and died, but was resuscitated. Almost a year later and she is not able to stand or walk on her own, she can’t speak, and she is fed through a feeding tube. Part of her colon has been removed, she has pancreatic problems and now her kidneys have shut down. As of last week, she is back on dialysis and has been placed on the list for a kidney transplant.
Many raw milk supporters and some legislators do not consider raw milk to be a food safety issue, but instead one of personal freedom. These supporters and a few legislators have stated that they “do not care about the facts or the science involved with raw milk. It is their right to drink whatever they want and it’s not the government’s job to protect a person from themselves.” However, this is where informed consent comes into play. Informed consent can only take place if a person is given all the facts including both risks and benefits. Since the organizations that promote raw milk market its unproven benefits and do not mention its risks, informed consent cannot possibly take place. Public Health is fighting to protect people from this scientifically unsupported data and not “protect people from themselves.” Public Health is also fighting to protect children from this misleading marketing campaign. Children are typically the ones who become seriously ill from drinking raw milk given to them by a parent who believed the unsubstantiated claims about its benefits. In these cases, the child did not have the freedom to choose and the parents did not have the information to make an informed decision.
Read full article from Food Safety News here: “The Raw Milk Battle in Iowa Continues“
In a press release dated today (February 1, 2013) Canadian penny-stock mining company, Emgold Mining Corporation, uses language more explicitly suggestive of closing-up shop in Grass Valley than any they have used before. They suggest they may drop the Idaho-Maryland Mine project altogether to focus their resources on “other assets the Company has in its portfolio.”
Further to the Company’s October 26, 2011 and September 7, 2012 press releases, permitting activities associated with the Idaho-Maryland Project (the “Project”) remain on hold pending the resurgence of the junior mining equity markets. Emgold reiterates what it stated in its past press releases that, despite the current price of gold, financing for projects in the junior mining sector is extremely difficult. In the event that insufficient funds can be raised to move the Project forward, Emgold will continue to delay the Project until market conditions improve or, as a worst case, drop it to focus on the other assets the Company currently has in its portfolio.
The current extension of the Lease and Option to Purchase Agreement (the “BET Agreement”) expires today. The BET Agreement, signed in 2002, originally had a five year term. It has been extended three times to date, in two year increments, with the last extension taking effect on February 1, 2011. Emgold is currently in negotiations with the BET Trust to extend the agreement, which covers the lease and option to purchase of approximately 2,750 acres of mineral rights and 91 acres of surface rights associated with the Project. If negotiations to extend the BET Agreement are unsuccessful, Emgold will terminate the Project and focus on the other assets the Company currently has in its portfolio.
The City of Grass Valley cancelled Emgold’s IMM Project application after it failed to meet a city-imposed deadline of September 10, 2012 for submitting the necessary funds to the City of Grass Valley for independent consultants to begin preparation of a revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the proposed mine and ceramics factory.
For more information, see CLAIM-GV.org.
Check out this article from the San Francisco Bay Guardian on the delights of living the good life in the vicinity of Grass Valley and Nevada City (and make sure to read through the reader comments for some additional delights the author missed):
“Appetite: 12 reasons to love Nevada City and Grass Valley”
By Virginia Miller
Here in part is how Heidi explains her decision to enter the race:
In 2005, after spending many happy childhood summers and vacations in the Sierra Nevada foothills, I moved permanently to Grass Valley where I finished raising my boys. I have spent my life working to keep our water and air clean, and to create a healthy world for my children and their generation, volunteering in various organizations along the way.
I grew up with enough. Not wealth and privilege, but enough. Fortunately, I was able to fill my thirst for education about our world with an excellent education at a top rate college and university, thanks to both my own hard work and the generosity of low-interest government loans. As I built a career, got married and raised two sons, I also paid back every dime of those loans, making the last payment ten years after I graduated. This was a winning situation for me, my family, my community and our country. My oldest son chose to join the Army after he graduated from high school, and today is back in civilian life working 6 days a week to support his loved ones. My youngest son is a senior in high school. It is not easier for my children to step out into the world today; it is harder. That is not how it is supposed to be.
As my children are grown, I have watched this country veer from a land of opportunity towards a country of greed, inequality and dysfunction, leaving women, children, local communities, and our own environment last on a long list of items to be protected. We have engaged in binge spending on the military, corporate handouts, and bank rescues. The 2012 election has shown that there are a great deal of ordinary Americans who do not care for this change and want economic stability, equality of opportunity, and an ethic of helping the disadvantaged to be restored. We also want a well-run, right-sized government, and we do not want it involved in the personal health and relationship choices we make as adults.
I am stepping into the arena today, as a working woman and mother, to stand up and use my voice to move this country forward, not backward.
See Heidi’s campaign website here: “Heidi Hall for US Congress” (in progress, check back soon for donate function).
In Nevada County, California, my wife and I are glad to have the option of receiving our ballot by mail, having about a month to study it and fill it out, then hand-delivering it ourselves directly to Clerk-Recorder Greg Diaz’s office at the Rood Center in Nevada City.
We delivered ours about a week ago.
We’ve had the impression that this is the most secure method of voting in this county.
But according to the information I found this morning on the Verified Voter website, our votes are still vulnerable in several serious ways, mostly related to the technology in use at the polling places and at the clerk-recorder’s office itself.
The technologies in use in California vary from county to county, with about a dozen counties using paper-only ballots, as the following map illustrates:
According to the California Secretary of State’s webpage, the technology in use in Nevada County is called the Hart Intercivic, and it is used statewide in only three other counties (Humboldt, San Mateo and Yolo). The Intercivic belongs to the class of voting technologies called “DREs” (Direct-Recording Electronic).
The Secretary of State’s webpage explains DREs this way:
All direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines used after January 1, 2006, must have an accessible voter-verified paper audit trail, pursuant to California Elections Code Section 19250. All voters voting on an electronic voting machine should review and verify their ballot choices on this printed paper record, prior to finalizing and casting their ballot. Once the ballot is cast, this paper record of the ballot is retained inside the voting machine as part of the election audit trail to verify the accuracy of the votes recorded. In accordance with California law, voters do not get a printed paper record of their vote choices.
So, what’s the problem?
Here’s what Verified Voter has to say about the Hart Intercivic eScan in use in Nevada County:
Unsecured network interfaces Network interfaces in the Hart system are not secured against direct attack. Poll workers can connect to JBCs or eScans over the management interfaces and perform back-ofﬁce functions such as modifying the device software. The impact of this is that a malicious voter could potentially take over one or more units in a precinct and a malicious poll worker could potentially take over all the devices in a precinct. The subverted machines could then be used to produce any results of the attacker’s choice, regardless of voter input. We emphasize that these are not bugs in the Hart software, but rather features intentionally designed into the system which can be used in a fashion for which they were never intended.
Vulnerability to malicious inputs Because networked devices may be connected to other, potentially malicious devices, they must be prepared to accept robustly any input provided by such devices. The Hart software routinely fails to check the correctness of inputs from other components, and then proceeds to use those inputs in unsafe ways. The most damaging example of this is that SERVO, which is used to back up and verify the correctness of polling place devices can itself be compromised from those same devices. This implies that an attacker could subvert a single polling place device, through it subvert SERVO, and then use SERVO to reprogram every polling place device in the county. Although we have tested some individual components of this attack, we did not have time to conﬁrm it in an end-to-end test.
No or insecure use of cryptography The standard method for securing network communication of the type in use in the Hart system is to use a cryptographic security protocol. However, we iound a notable lack of such techniques in Hart’s system. Instead, communications between devices generally happen in the clear, making attack far easier. Cryptography is used for MBBs, but the key management involves a single county-wide symmetric key that, if revealed, would allow an attacker to forge ballot information and election results. This key is stored insecurely in vulnerable polling-place devices, with the result that compromise of a single polling place device enables an attacker to forge election MBBs carrying election results for any device in the county.
Failure to protect ballot secrecy Hart’s system fails to adequately protect ballot secrecy. A poll worker or election ofﬁcial with access to the raw ballot records can reconstruct the order in which those votes were cast. Combined with information about the order in which voters cast their votes, this can be used to reconstruct how each voter voted.
All electronic voting technologies statewide and nationwide share one pernicious feature: they are all proprietary.
How has it come to pass that our vote — what Thom Hartmann calls “the beating heart of democracy” — has been privatized?
A national DRE standard should be implemented and include the requirement that all electronic voting machines will be open-source (the internal hardware design and software program should be freely available for public inspection and review).
In truth, voting technology nationwide should be part of the publicly-owned and regulated commons.
- “How IHacked an Electronic Voting Machine“
- “Argonne National Lab Vulnerability Assessment Team“
- How Hart Intercivic is Connected to Bain Capital:
Fall River Mills, CA – Doug LaMalfa has backed a plan that would bankrupt Medicare in four years, put millions of seniors at risk of losing their health care and return billions in waste, fraud and abuse back into the health care system. And it’s all in order to give subsidies to the insurance companies and hospitals that are contributing thousands to his campaign. LaMalfa’s stance puts him out of step not only with Congressional Republicans who voted for these long-term savings in Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan, but also the White House. (1) (2)
“Doug LaMalfa’s plan endangers the lives of our seniors, who could be forced to choose between feeding themselves and their health care if his plan to bankrupt Medicare goes through,” said LaMalfa’s opponent, Democrat Jim Reed. “Anyone voting on Tuesday should know that LaMalfa won’t stand up for our seniors. We simply can’t let this happen.”
Until just three weeks ago, LaMalfa’s only campaign position on his website was an erroneous argument to repeal the Affordable Care Act. LaMalfa said the act would cut $716 billion from Medicare, thus hurting seniors. Every non-partisan analyst who has studied the act has confirmed differently. Instead of LaMalfa’s lie, the act would save Medicare $700 by eliminating waste and inefficiencies within the insurance bureaucracy. Every guaranteed benefit would remain in place under the current act, and many would be added like free preventative care. (3)
But LaMalfa favors bureaucracy at the expense of saving Medicare. LaMalfa’s plan, what he calls a “market-oriented approach,” would kill the program by the year 2016.
“Doug wants to privatize Medicare and switch to a voucher system that would throw the health care system into the hands of insurance companies that are funding his campaign,” Reed said. “We absolutely can’t do this. Doug’s plan is a threat to this beloved program and a threat to the health of our older Americans.”
It’s not surprising that LaMalfa would support such a dubious plan forseniors. He has taken more than $34,000 from health care and insurance companies for his campaign and has a terrible voting record in Sacramento. (4) In 10 years of state government, he has consistently opposed measures to lower the cost of prescription drugs, expand senior-targeted health insurance coverage and improve quality of life for nursing home patients. He opposed SB 1248, a law upgrading California standards for nursing homes and other intermediate care facilities. (5)
“The senior citizens of our district deserve a moderate Congressman who looks out for them – not an ideologue who wants to shred government programs at the expense of properly honoring and caring for our elderly residents,” Reed said. “Putting seniors at the mercy of insurance companies trying to profit off their backs isn’t what America needs. We need to strengthen Medicare, not send it to insolvency for the extremists to earn political points.”
(1) “Those Medicare savings -achieved through reduced provider
reimbursements and curbed waste, fraud and abuse, not benefit cuts –
appear in the House Republicans’ FY 2013 budget, which Ryan authored.”
[ABC News, 8/14/12]
(2) CNN Fact Check: Would Romney bankrupt Medicare by 2016? 9/7/2012.
(3) Annenberg Public Policy Center/FactCheck.org: Misleading onslaught
by 60 Plus, 9/17/2010.
(4) [Federal Elections Commission, Accessed 11/3/12]
(5) [SB 1248, AB 813, AB 2747]
Thanks to the Jim Reed campaign for posting these debate videos online:
“On october 19, 2012, KIXE hosted a debate between Jim and LaMalfa, moderated by KRCR news anchor Mike Mangas. The candidates shared their views on Obamacare, the economy, water rights, abortion and yes, even the possible de-funding of PBS among others.”
“On October 25th, candidates Jim Reed and Doug LaMalfa met for a debate at Chico City Hall. The debate was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Chico Enterprise-Record.”
Contact: Jim Dyar, Communications Director
LaMalfa has said that regulations must be cut across the board, which includes regulations on the financial sector that prevent unscrupulous lenders from taking advantage of every-day Americans. The deregulated environment of Wall Street helped trigger the economic collapse that left thousands without jobs in our district.
“Companies like Bain are the worst of the Wall Street vultures,” Reed said. “It’s no surprise that they’re giving their money to Doug LaMalfa. It is time to ask Doug. ‘Will you repeal regulations passed over the last four years to stop the excesses of Wall Street from hurting every day Americans?’ ”
STATEMENT REGARDING NEVADA COUNTY APPROVAL OF EIR CONSULTANT FOR PROPOSED RE-OPENING OF SAN JUAN RIDGE MINE
Today, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved a contract for $179,811 with consultants PMC to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed re-opening of the San Juan Ridge Mine. The San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association (SJRTA) commends Nevada County’s decision to prepare a full EIR for the project in light of the possibility of significant negative impacts to the water supply, environment and local economy.
Because the applicant promised no impacts to water when the mine originally opened in 1993, the SJRTA was willing to accept the project with mitigations. But the applicant was wrong, and the mine caused dewatering of 12 wells in the surrounding community, including the well for our local elementary school. Some wells were contaminated with a variety of metals and minerals. To this day, the school’s water must be treated at the school district’s expense to meet drinking water quality standards.
The proposed San Juan Ridge Mine would operate in close proximity to our public elementary school, our only medical clinic, our community cultural center, and businesses that employ more than 200 people. Says SJRTA president Gary Parsons, “The mine could devastate our water supply and our community, further poison the water that we provide for our school children, and damage our economy and our natural environment.”
While we commend the County for requiring an EIR for the project, the SJRTA has concerns that the EIR be fully funded. Given the broad range of potential environmental impacts and magnitude of potential effects, and the difficulty of understanding underground water supplies, there is a need for special analytical tools that may be costly. Costs for the recently proposed Idaho-Maryland Mine’s Environmental Impact Report were estimated to be $440,000. Impacts at the San Juan Ridge Mine site would also include potential dumping into sensitive creeks and habitat for rare wildlife species, as well as a more complex hydrologic system, and thus EIR costs may be higher.
The San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association will provide more information as to our concerns when a formal Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is made available by Nevada County in the coming weeks.
The San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association (SJRTA) is a membership organization representing taxpayer interests on the San Juan Ridge of Nevada County, CA since 1974. The SJRTA membership includes taxpaying residents and non-resident landowners of the San Juan Ridge and other local concerned citizens.