Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Andy Cassano on Conklin - North Star - Land Trust

Updated with 1997 Cassano articles - I had blamed The Union's 2002+ Search Engine (wrongly this time; sorry) for not bringing them up.

Almost missed this piece - which is why the Nevada County Land Trust should get a blog.

Andy Cassano is president of the Land Trust Board. He's been in the community for almost all his life. If we were asked to name one person in the county whose integrity all could agree on, I expect he'd be at the top of the list. The Union did an article on him (see end of this post), basically on what an amazing person he is - his integrity, his fairness, how people on all sides of all issues hold him in high esteem.

The Union may have gone too far this time. People know Andy.

Andy Cassano, Sept. 30 2004: (emphases mine)
As a longtime [Land Trust] board member, I know that my colleagues are extremely ethical, and I know that we have a paper trail to back every one of our statements: that there have been no conspiracies, that there was no "prior deal" with Conklin, that he was selected through a competitive process, and that we can properly account for all spending on the project.

It was clear, of course, that The Union had mounted a serious concentrated attack on Conklin and that the Land Trust was the most convenient vehicle available to reach him. The publisher of The Union was unwilling to meet with me to discuss the facts, although he did meet with one of my board members. ...[The Union] suggested that the Land Trust just admit that it made a mistake and go on.

...it is clear now that our organization, which prides itself on political neutrality, was guilty of serious political naivete in choosing Conklin. The highly ethical board members who made the selection were focused strictly on his nonpolitical qualifications, including his volunteer following, his relationship with the landowners and his passion for historical building conservation....

Update: The Union did a feature (Mar 1, 1997) and an editorial (Mar 6, 1997) on Cassano - both 1997 pieces are now pay-per-view, but fortunately reprinted on Cassano's aged website.

Feature: A well-respected man: Integrity and professional skills lauded

Editorial: Cassano: Conscientious worker worthy of our respect (emphasis mine)
Andy Cassano has been involved, in one way or another, with almost every contentious land-use and planning issue in Nevada County during the past two decades, and yet the planner is almost universally respected in the community. How can this be possible?

...Because Cassano respects those with whom he works, he seeks to find consensus that will meet the desires of as many people as possible. He is adept at identifying the many attributes of Nevada County that we all value and focusing on them rather than drawing attention to the much smaller number of issues that divide us.

Those who seek to polarize and divide the community into warring camps may win the applause of zealots such as themselves. But those who seek consensus on our future are the people who are truly valuable to a community. Andy Cassano is a valuable member of the community, and we are fortunate that he is among us.

From the tone of the pieces, it must have been during the publishing reign of Margaret Wade...from an editorial (11/19/94) during her era:
The staff and editorial board of The Union will never conduct itself in any self-serving, self-aggrandizing manner, as we would consider it a betrayal of our policy of fairness and of our ethical standards.
...[our] Endorsements are not intended to coerce or manipulate the electorate...

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