Thursday, October 07, 2004

Links to all parts of the Bruce Conklin /Nevada County Land Trust / North Star controversy

Nov. 22: additional articles are now linked to from The Union's "Series" page (as of Nov. 18); removed gratuitous commentary; added links to Wright letters

To recap: local, historically conservative newspaper (with right wing publisher and 'fair and balanced' editor) runs series attacking integrity of local former county supervisor (who subsequently lost), alleging shady dealings in his taking a job in the interim (2003) with local nonprofit - a position funded with money he helped to allocate before leaving office several months before. The evidence, sadly for The Union, does not appear to support the paper's view.

Bruce Conklin is the local former county supervisor.
The Nevada County Land Trust is the nonprofit.
The late Dryden Wilson bequeathed the money to the county, with a desire that it be spent on open space.
Incoming supervisors, not partial to open space, were looking at other ways to spend it
The Union is the local newspaper.
Yubanet is the understaffed online upstart, beholden to no one, AFAIK.

Recommended overviews:

Nov. 13, 2004: Excellent column by Jim Hurley:
...The accusation raised by Mr. Ackerman that 'Conklin traded integrity for money' has itself raised an issue of intent. Did [Ackerman] trade journalistic integrity to engineer a Board of Supervisors more to his political liking?"

Oct 7, 2004: YubaNet Editorial: Tempest-in-a-teapot Strikes Small Sierra Town.

The Union's Series (also has PDFs of relevant letters, etc). Fascinating...the Oct. 27 article, which reported that no wrongdoing was found, was not added to the "Series" page. (it is now; page just hadn't been updated, mea culpa for jumping to conclusion)

When scanning their page, don't be misled by the title ("Political naivete by Land Trust") given to Nevada County Land Trust President Andy Cassano's
September 30, 2004 response
; it's certainly not the thrust of its content (The NCFocus post Andy Cassano on Conklin - North Star - Land Trust prints excerpts from Cassano's response and provides context that will be helpful to readers unfamiliar with Cassano and the area.)

The Union's series is not complete without the letters to the editor written in response to its publication. To get them, you'll have to Search the archives for "Conklin" (which works sometimes, but not always), since the letters are interspersed with all the rest. Here are links to letters from Stephen Munkelt, Michelle Olsen, Bob Mora, and
David Wright (architect, "founding board member of the Nevada County Land Trust and is on the North Star House steering committee."; letters here and here)

Yubanet News, Oct 6, 2004: Nevada County Land Trust Speaks Out
Following two weeks of allegations regarding the hiring of former supervisor and now candidate Bruce Conklin by the Nevada County Land Trust as project manager for the North Star House, the directors of the Land Trust invited local media to attend a news conference on Tuesday to hear their side of the story and answer questions...

Oct 28 post on how results of Land Trust audit were reported.

See also (if you must) April 10 2003 post (second half) for your correspondent's judgement at the time.

From the PDF letters posted by The Union:
From May 2002 letter from [benefactor] Dryden Wilson's attorney
Mr. Wilson was a person who very much wanted to help in saving open space and allow for land to be used for the benefit and enjoyment of the public rather than allowing it all to turn into subdivisions or sprawling suburbs. Therefore, it is hopeful that the County of Nevada will give due and serious consideration toward using this legacy furtherance of preserving any open-space land programs.

(To reiterate: Incoming supervisors, not partial to open space, were looking at other ways to spend it)

From the March 2003 Bruce Ivy letter to Land Trust (PDF):
The Land Trust board can mitigate the damage that has been done to your image and standing in the community by returning the money to the Board of Supervisors and allow the current Board to distribute the money in a manner that would benefit the community more broadly.

but...the March 2003 Board was not a fan of open space; they gave every indication of wanting to fill it with subdivisions and sprawling suburbs. How would giving the money to them have been in accordance with Dryden Wilson's wishes?

No comments: