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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Barry Shoenborn We Miss You!

Back in the 90's we had quite a wild ride here in Nevada County.  For me it was an amazing one.  I retired from the Board of Supervisors, ran for the Assembly, started  CABPRO and SESF and was elected Chairman of the NCRCC twice.  I was busy going to many hearings speaking up for property owners during the General Plan and zoning hearing both at the County and Grass Valley.  I started a radio program at KNCO called Republican Policy Friday and had a great co-host. Peter Hughes ( a computer engineer, SAS retired, fought the commies in Malaysia and escaped British Socialism and their health care), a great fellow, now deceased.  I created a TV show on our local channel during the 1996 election year to inform the people about the propositions.  I had a great co-host, Cassandra Gagnon, from the Republican Women Group. Why talk about this?

Well I was in the paper a lot and during that time I developed a friendship with a fellow named Barry Schoenborn, a manual writer for HP who dabbled in voter stats.  We became real chatty and when he got a gig doing satire and Dave Barry kind of columns in the Union, he used me a lot as a foil.  We had so many laughs!  I came across one he did from1998 about his 10 year predictions for the county.  I am in the column and because he knew I never created a new lot or subdivision in my life he thought it would be funny.  It is.  Here is the story Barry wrote.  Still pretty funny, but actually prophetic as well.

"Liberal Nevada County in the Year 2008
Published Saturday, June 13, 1998 Judging from the June election, the voters want new elected officials who confront and solve problems instead of posturing and whining about them. Good! The liberal perspective is that government is the best mechanism for solving problems private enterprise can’t or won’t handle. Conservatives want to reduce the size of government, but they are solving the wrong problem. It’s not too much government – it’s bad government.
Last night I dreamed I saw a copy of The Union, dated 6/14/08, ten years in the future. I was amazed at the progress we had made by combining liberal thinking with government involvement. Here are a few of the items that appeared:
Note: all of the newsmakers in my dream are imaginary. Any resemblance to anyone we currently know would be purely, absolutely, impossibly coincidental.
General Plan. The new General Plan has met with widespread approval. It allows the creation of 20 "enclaves," Nevada City-sized towns, each with no more than 3000 people. These villages are a little like the gold mining camps of the 1800’s. The plan calls for low traffic, many commercial services, no garish signs, and sheriff’s mini-substations.
"We’re shaping how America will live in the 21st century," said Board of Supervisors Chairperson Rainy Greensfelder. Supervisor Fran Grattan agreed. Grattan said, "We used to talk only about preserving our quality of life. Now we’re actually magnifying it!"
Automation. Every county department is now fully automated. Every public record is available on the internet, and most every business transaction can be handled electronically. FCAT broadcasts virtually every public meeting, and through internet conferencing, the public can participate without attending in person.
Housing. Ex-president Jimmy Carter came to Nevada County yesterday to honor builder Todd Juvinall for his innovations in residential housing. Juvinall’s latest development comprises two hundred 1000 square foot homes. Juvinall’s highly-unconventional project is located in the forest and hides the houses from each other and the street. It includes paths and parks, and relegates parking and storage to common facilities.
Juvinall said, "The size is right for new buyers. The homes are affordable, made of space-age materials, energy efficient, and completely wired for satellite and internet communications. I’m grateful to the County for waiving all those unnecessary mitigation fees."
Cottage industry. Supervisor Paul Matson stated today that Nevada County leads the nation in small, low-impact "cottage" businesses. He said, "Once county supervisors agreed to encourage, not regulate, cottage industry, a tremendous amount of existing infrastructure was available – without new structures, waste treatment or road construction."
New industry. When the county finally funded the Economic Resource Council at a realistic level, it was inevitable that it would attract six major corporations to the area. As a result, housing sales are up, and unemployment and welfare cases are at all-time lows.
Tourism. Tourism is up dramatically because of increased county funding to the chambers of commerce for promotion. The beauty of the county, its convention center and its great recreational facilities are the draws.
Environment. Congressional Representative Sam Dardick met with Assemblyman Peter Van Zant at the South Yuba Visitor’s Center to celebrate the Wild and Scenic designation they had worked so hard to achieve.
Infrastructure. Construction begins tomorrow on the Gold Center Monorail, a federally-funded high-speed electric transport system, running from Washington to Lake of the Pines, with branches to Lake Wildwood and North San Juan.
Crime. Grass Valley Police Chief Jerrod Johnson stated that crime was "virtually non-existent" in the city, citing as reasons the high level of prosperity, youth programs, senior patrol, and numerous beat officers.
Media. Beginning July 1st, 2008, The Union will stop printing on paper, and will be delivered daily via the internet
Back to 1998: Today’s column starts our third year of providing insight, irritation and entertainment to the community. Our thanks to all our readers (Hi, Mom!), publisher John Walker and editor John Seelmeyer. We’re here because we love doing the column, and besides, no other newspaper would ever consider asking us to write for it.
Barry Schoenborn is a technical writer, and a ten-year resident of Nevada County. You can write to him at The opinions of columnists are not necessarily those of The Union."


  1. I am sorry Todd but I would still consider that project "Public Housing" and therefore would not be able to support it.

  2. Say what? Barry was funning, there was never a project. What are you talking about?

  3. You will not find a friendlier or nicer guy than Todd Juvinall. It's a pleasure to disagree with him, and we don't disagree on as many things as people might think.

    When we shared the mike on one radio show, he quickly said "Wouldn't you like to keep more of the money you earn?" That's always a compelling argument for lower taxes and (therefore) limited government. I loved it. But I also like government to do its job, and I'm willing to pay for it. Todd and I don't always agree on what the "job" is.

    Todd has always built homes that have a good chance of keeping him in business. He's not a charity, you know. I don't care a bit for some of the "flaming hoops" some of our government entities have asked him to leap through. I've seen some of the documents, and they're not pretty.

    Thanks for printing that old column, Todd! Some things (like "Wild & Scenic") came to pass, but usually with more rancor than harmony. Some things (like the monorail) ain't ever gonna happen. Our county should worry about federal pork, because we never seem to get any. And of course there remains a bunch of issues that will always get debated a lot and may never get solved.

    Anyway, Todd Juvinall remains principled, active, and a good buy to know.

    Barry Schoenborn


Real name thank you.