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31 May 2011


Steve Frisch

Funny Todd, I have met payrolls for more than 25 years and it does nothing to influence your opinion (or your fellows for that matter) about my views on economics or business development. I have between a $25,000 and $60,000 per month payroll every month since 1990.

Steve Frisch

Funny Todd, I have met payrolls for more than 25 years and it does nothing to influence your opinion (or your fellows for that matter) about my views on economics or business development. I have met between a $25,000 and $60,000 per month payroll every month since 1990.


I will leave this thread with this thought for you to chew on.

My outrage and frustration isn't with Big Business but with our government. The American Revolution was fought to allow us to govern ourselves. A government with citizens legislatures representing the people not the elite at the top.etc..."

Just when did the average person have much to do with running either state or federal government?

To make a gross generalization, I'd say the primary difference between now and olden days is that there was less government generally, and thus less opportunities for the powerful to mess with you on a daily basis.

In 100 years, we've gone from a country with a relatively tiny government, both in size and scope, to one that will approach half of the whole American economy. In addition, we've gone to a nation that was largely self employed (mostly farmers with a good helping of small businessmen) to one where practically everyone is an employee.

If you feel helpless, I'd say it's not the nefarious philosophy of those on top, but simply that you are so much more beholden to them than your great-grandparents where.

Mikey McD

Ben, are millionaires people to? Surely you are not advocating discrimination?

"elite...wealthy... millionaires and billionaires" Posted by: Ben Emery | 02 June 2011 at 02:13 PM

We are both frustrated with our government. The government is owned by the labor unions and corporations. However, labor unions and corporations are made up of human beings. Corps and labor unions only have as much power as the government is permitted to sell to them. Limit gov = limit the power of the corps and special interest.

BTW, I have searched high and low for years for the tax breaks and loopholes the progressives say a successful guy like me uses to get out of paying taxes, to no avail. Do let me know if you find any legal tax breaks or loopholes I can use. In fact all my research suggests that 'rich' guys like me pay 97% of all income taxes.

Mikey McD

Jcutter: my comments were made in good fun.
I meant no condencension and I appologize if
you felt uncomfortable with the facts.

Simply put, there is a direct correlation (invesrse) to the
increases in teacher Union size, scope and power to the
horrible education provided. Unions protect all employees regardless of
performance; which knowingly hurts the product.

As a public (charter school) I am unaware of where your
attacks against the Tea Party or Mormons/LSD come from?
If there is a connection between the public school (John Adams Academy) and the Tea Party or LDS/Mormons that would make the evening news.

"And as for your John Adams Academy revolution'!?! Are you serious in endorsing an LDS/Mormon view of the world? This is your solution to what ails us?...Their adoption of 'Patriot' cover just reinforces my point that there is a dangerous melding of extremist views into the tea party mentality.
Posted by: J Cutter | 02 June 2011 at 09:45 AM"

Steve Enos

Todd posted... "How do you explain all the empty store fronts in Nevada City BenE? Walmart is not around here"

Well a Super Walmart is approved and will soon be under construction in Auburn, joining the existing Homedepo, Target and Best Buy already in Auburn.

Then we will see a lot more than the recently estimated 108 million in sales leaving Grass Valley and going down the hill each year.

Solution... more local spending. A critical part of this soultion is the need for new retail sales options in our local area. This includes the approval and construction of new retail businesses be they locally owned or not. The demand is already here and a lot of it is being met down the hill.

It's a fact that a massive amount of spending, shopping and sales tax income goes down the hill already. A lot more will go down the hill when the Super Walmart in Auburn opens up. The 108 million estimate will grow.

It's the reality of this we need to address and that's not attacking Walmart in Auburn as that will do nothing to address the situation. More money will go down the hill and our local sales and sales tax income will drop even more.

Educate and ask folks to spend their money locally when they can, ok I get that and I do that. But the reality is that will not keep the money local when the Super Walmart opens in Auburn.

I support approving and building more retail options here in Grass Valley to meet the demand that is going down the hill now and in the future.

I spent 1.5 hours in a Super Walmart in Sacramento on Tuesday doing some research. I was shocked at how low their prices are on most items. Their regualr prices were far below the sale prices of local stores, stores like Safeway and CVS, etc. How they do that has a number of issues but the reality is they have super low prices and folks in our community will drive to Auburn to the Super Walmart when it opens, that is just the reality of the situation.

I'm not saying we should build a Walmart here, I do not support that for many reasons but I do support the develoment of new retail here, just gotta make sure it goes into the right location(s). The right locations are not Bear River Mills or Northstar, there are other better options.

Bear River Mills should remain industrial type uses, a place for primary job businesses that make things and bring money into our community.

We need to keep sales and sales tax here locally and that means we need more retail options locally in addition to working to get more locals to spend here vs. going down the hill.

George Rebane

SteveF, I wasn't aware that you also ran (own?) a for-profit. That would be to your credit, and many would be doubly interested in how you dovetail your expressed views with your capitalistic interests.

On the other hand, most of us who have owned and run businesses, where our butt was on the line, have a slightly different view of running a non-profit organization and meeting its payroll.


Meh, there's too much fixation on retail, typically by people who are in retail. It's not dissimilar to local Chamber's of Commerce being dominated by the guys who have small downtown storefronts.

The solution to 'shopping locally' is either to impose a tariff, raise gas taxes to ten bucks a gallon, or simply pay more for your organic health-food potato chips. The latter is certainly in evidence at Briar Patch.

In the final analysis, retail sales of finished goods sucks money out of an area, the best you can hope for is to keep a bit of sales tax and store clerk wages in your town. If a firm's value-added in that great chain of events we call 'commerce' is to put a box of Crispy O's on the shelf, it's hard to get too excited about it.

Wanna build up an area? Add value. Mining appears to be out since it'll obviously pollute the Earth and cause the chickens to cease laying eggs, so maybe everyone involved in 'planning' should work more at encouraging manufacturing and less worrying about Lowe's.

Healthy towns should think more about producing goods to trade for Crispy O's rather than fret about who sells them locally.

Steve Enos

Grass Valley currently has as estimated 108 million in sales going down the hill today. That's a real and big issue, no small matter as it means a LOT of local sales tax money going down the hill and out of our community. It's a real issue. This is the general fund type of income that is used for police and fire protection mainly.

I strongly agree that we need to work on developing and supporting primary jobs here, It's critical. Primary jobs are those jobs where people make things that are sold. We need to make stuff and sell it to others outside of Grass Valley.

George Rebane

"We need to make stuff and sell it to others outside of Grass Valley." With respect SteveE, I have argued long and hard that manufacturing in GV/NC makes no economic sense, and was probably the first to come to this outrageous conclusion that is now accepted by most people with a business background and some understanding of the involved economics.

Do you have in mind a new kind of manufacturing we can do here that has appropriate barriers to entry and can compete favorably with a similar business closer to supply, distribution, and labor?


"Grass Valley currently has as estimated 108 million in sales going down the hill today."

Honestly, I think there's little to be done. My guess is that the primary reason for this simply is 50 years worth of consolidation by retailers. Where there used to be all family restaurants, now there are chains. Grocery stores? Mostly chains (even the 'morale and good' ones like Trader Joe's). Soft drinks? Made in a factory somewhere instead of locally produced and distributed. Gas stations? Largely chains. Car dealerships? Chains. Not to mention book stores, hardware stores, and coffee shops.

Even in an area where it's located, and sales/inventory tax can be collected, a Walmart is quite a vacuum for making money leave a place.

Given a tendency towards gigantism in commerce, and even Democrats want to buy a Honda for cheap and load it up with ConAgra products at Costco, maybe the problem is that sales taxes is now a bad model for extracting money from your local population for local needs.

It's an interesting problem, what's the right stick for thrashing money out of people in a town? This assumes that they all want to chip in to hire more book shelvers for the library or whatever.

It's hard to escape real estate ownership as a tie to a place and even renters will feel the sting. I'll suggest a new tax plan:

1) State tax for all operations. 100% generated as a percentage of federal income tax. A two sentence form.
2) Local tax for all operations. 100% generated from property tax. Property tax bill is calculated by working out the value of your property as a percentage of the entire property base, taking the amount the county/city wants, and dividing it by that amount. No Prop 13 weirdness with static tax amounts, or non-Prop 13 weirdness where governments get twice as much money just because your property doubled in value.

No gas, cigarette, liquor, etc. etc. etc. taxes.

One nice thing about single-sourced taxing is that people get a good idea what they are really paying, plus it's a heckuva lot cheaper to administer.

Well, I've solved that problem. Off to work on cancer cures I guess.


That's 'moral' of course.

Steve Frisch

Gosh George, I ran for profit businesses in either executive or ownership positions for 20 years before I moved to the non-profit sector. I have stated that pretty clearly in the past. Some here may call that being a "cook", but I managed hundreds of people with budgets in the millions, and in three instances for a majority of the time it was my capital at risk.

As far as your disdain for non-profit organizations, I can attest personally to the fact that the management takes every bit as much skill, savvy and appetite for risk as running a for profit. Not to mention the point that very few here have given any credence to the fact that I inherited a non-profit that was 80% grant funded and moved it to 30% grant funded in 5 years. I always find it funny that rather than saying "hey you are shifting non-profits to a new model" people insist on saying, "hey you are rent-seeking" non-profit.

Todd Juvinall

BenE, careful now, yu sound like you want to start a revolution. If your policies were any good yuou might have some compatriots, but alas, you don't. You will have to revolve alone.

Frisch, I only asked him if he had ever met a payroll, and he chose to ignore. You make a payroll with money that is not from your pocket, that is a big difference. Plus most of your ideas are pretty far out there.

Ben Emery

A counter to George's piece on what Walmart brings. My opinion is based on watching it happen in a small town in CO and reading the same story over and over again across the nation. In the early 90's I would shop at Walmart but by the end of the decade I refused to support the store because of the damage it was doing to the community along with it abandoning its "Made in America" tradition.


Steve Enos

George... a fair amount of "stuff" is made here and sold outside of the area and I'm not just talking about growing weed.

Due to our location and transportation options a lot of "stuff" isn't on the list of "stuff" we should make here.

But we do have a rather healthy tech sector here and those folks like the high quality of life we offer here. We have a number of businesses that make "stuff", many are "homebased". We have some interesting businesses here like the company in Loma Rica that makes and repairs train running gear of all things, go figure.

We can and do make "stuff" here and it needs to be part of the mix.


"Do you have in mind a new kind of manufacturing we can do here that has appropriate barriers to entry and can compete favorably with a similar business closer to supply, distribution, and labor?"....

Why don't you start a new thread on that question? The economic mix for an area, and whether it can be managed at all, is a really good question. No doubt you already have at some point in the past, but there's really only about eight topics here anyway.

Personally, I think places that are oriented towards, for instance, the retired, are playing a losing game. The current crop of retirees are singularly blessed with what in many cases is rather unearned wealth (whether it's Medicare payments, the stock market bubble, government pensions, or getting a lot more out of SS than was put in) and this will go away over time.

Basing your economy on the poor, whether it's government aid or merely having a lot of soup kitchens is probably a bad idea. Besides, they're like stray cats. The more you feed them, the more there are.

So, just exactly how much real wealth does an area have to gin up and export to break even in a stylish way? It has to be enough to buy new cars, building supplies, electricity, and Newman's Own cookies at Briar Patch. In short, enough to import the needed goods of a modern society.

Todd Juvinall

George, if what SteveE says is true, that 108 million bucks travels out of the county to big box stores, then would it be a logical conclusion the store here would be unaffected if a Walmart moved here?

George Rebane

SteveF - My question was meant to be about your current efforts. I have never denigrated your food service career as a businessman who met payroll with his own nickel on the line. I just wish you could forge a better tie between what you espouse now and what was required to keep your former business going.

SteveE - Your maintaining that manufacturing up here makes sense - haul up the raw materials, add labor value, and haul down the finished products. No doubt that explains the Nevada County manufacturing trend (even before 2008) during the last decade, and the greedy capitalists will see to it that the trend will continue.

Todd - I suppose you're right, except perhaps for some few items that someone would buy here instead of make the trip to Walmart or Costco. Those 108 million bucks are already sunk costs for the competitors of the big box stores. However, it seems what BenE may have missed with his anecdotal counter to the Walmart's impact study is that yes, Walmart will displace direct competitors, however, it more than makes up sales for specialty and non-competing businesses that start/expand who take advantage of the traffic Walmart brings into a community.

Greg Goodknight

that $108M would be flowing out of the county one way or another, because our county doesn't make the stuff carried by Costco or WalMart. Our Main Streets and Rude Center are just ticked off they weren't able to siphon off their cut off the top.

I buy local when the service and product warrant it, but that's woefully not very often.

Mikey McD

Enos, remember when Grass Valley/Nevada County kicked Mt People's Warehouse out of town? They were ideal and they fit your criteria.

"We need to make stuff and sell it to others outside of Grass Valley." Posted by: Steve Enos | 02 June 2011 at 03:59 PM

Paul Emery

I'm finally getting back to recreating yesterdays response to a couple of questions.First, what is True Capitalism as I coin it.

My Greek grandfather raised his family by being a truck farmer in the Capay Valley. As a youngster I remember riding in the back of his pickup truck (now illegal) when he would drive his crops to Sacramento to sell at the farmers market on 5th street. There he would sell directly to distributors or individual markets, he would get paid in cash, tqake the money home and use that to raise his family. The buyers would then resell his produce at a profit and take the money home and raise their families. There was nobody involved that did not add to the value of the produce by performing a vital function. There were no speculators or other leaches that would make a profit that did not have a direct connection to planting, transporting or selling the product. That's True Capitalism. The ones that make a profit actually do something directly valuable and get paid based on that equation. So I say let's return to True Capitalism as much as we can, cut out the bankers and useless money suckers. Let's manufacture and distribute locally as much as we can even if it means that some products may cost a little more. That money will come back to us.

That's all I have time for now. More on Eisler this evening.

Steve Enos

"remember when Grass Valley/Nevada County kicked Mt People's Warehouse out of town? They were ideal and they fit your criteria.

Sorry, wrong they were not kicked out. They moved to Auburn to be close to Hwy 80 and below the snow line. It's an example of George's thoughts about what does and what doesn't work here. MPW needed to be closer to Hwy access and below the snow. Here didnlt work for them due to transportation and logistics issues.

Steve Enos

"that $108M would be flowing out of the county one way or another, because our county doesn't make the stuff carried by Costco or WalMart"...

Nope, this is not the real issue about the sales going down the hill.

The real issue is the loss of the sales tax on the 108 million in sales, much of it taxable. That's the issue, it's the loss of sales tax from this 108 million.

Paul Emery

Thats correct Steve. You beat me to it


"Nope, this is not the real issue about the sales going down the hill."...

Yep, it most certainly is.

It's 99% unavoidable, since I don't see a shoe or car building industry happening in any of these small towns anytime soon, but the math goes as follows.

Of the $108M (your number), if it's all taxable via sales tax, the clawback is about 1%. Last I checked, 1% of $100M is less than the other 99%.

Just due to the historical oddities of local government funding, the sales tax $$$ is a biggish deal to local government, but in the scheme of things that 1% is pretty trivial. The main lump of a bit over 90% for the actual goods has to be made up somehow. Somebody in the area actually has to do something useful that somebody from outside of the area will pay for.

Having said that, local retail is mostly a passthrough.

As an aside, I find sales taxes a pretty obnoxious thing. You are turning all the retail stores into tax collectors, it hammers poor people, it's a tax on already (usually) taxed income, it's a tax on savings, and it's gone up and up and up over time. It's darned attractive to all those people with their own projects in mind though. Witness all the talk about VATs in the last few years.

Account Deleted

Ben - Bob's soccer went out of business because the good folks of this area decided to buy the same items for less from a different store or went online. It's all about efficiency. More efficiency=less carbon footprint. More efficiency=better living conditions for everyone. I'm sure the good folks that owned Bob's Soccer were very nice, but they do not have a right to continue in business no matter what. If the business model is no good they have to close the store and come up with something better. Your reply to my comment about your quote was not germane. Of course hard work is not a free market idea. You can work your ass off, but if it is of no value to me, why should I be forced to pay for it? There are workers and there are producers - they are not always the same. It's my money and I'll be the judge of what is valuable to me. If you don't like that statement, let me know when I can decide what is valuable to you. I know I have to give over some of my wealth to support the maintenance of a limited but strong govt that follows the Constitution, but I see no good reason to shell out my money to people that do not provide me with anything of value. Or to be forced at gun point to give my money to people that have a higher income than I do. Or to subsidize those that don't give "good effort".

Account Deleted

Just noticed the total BS story about Mt Peoples Warehouse. It is a fact that they moved out because Funk claimed the local govt would not work with them to provide one central warehouse/office space. He said he was sorry to move and force his employees to commute or move as well. This was an ongoing story at the time and it was widely covered in the local press. Obviously, we heard this from Michael Funk at the time and it was his side of the story. But I never heard him say that he moved for any other reason. Please give us a citation of your version.

Greg Goodknight

Wal Mart tried to build here in the '90's, iirc across the street from B&C. The local left and the main streeters blocked it. So they went elsewhere.

Sorry, but the Rude Center doesn't have an absolute right to a percentage off the top of everything I spend. I'd rather spend $108 at Costco than $148 here and get lower quality merchandise.


" It is a fact that they moved out because Funk claimed the local govt would not work with them to provide one central warehouse/office space. He said he was sorry to move and force his employees to commute or move as well. "

That's how I remember it also.

Todd Juvinall

MPW left because they were trying to get the county to partner up with them on money to build a new facility. We said OK but we need to see your books. They left.

I worked in a little market at the corner of Race and Henderson during high school. There were many little corner markets then but when the "supermarkets" arrived the little ones became obsolete. I have many wonderful memories of working there for $1.15 per hour but now I prefer to save my money buying milk for 2.99 and not 3.99 at the Savemart.

Mikey McD

Paul, like it or not banker play a vital role in capitalism. Today, your Pa may not be able to afford a farm/ranch without the help of a banker... (save the lottery or inheritance). BTW, I have similar stories which also included riding in the back of my Pa's truck (no illegal).

FACT: Mt. People's wanted to expand here, the local gov pushed them out of town. It has ZERO to do with snow fall.

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