What’s Up with Loyalton?
As the county’s major population center and only "city," Loyalton should be of interest to everyone in the county, and generally is. But, why is there always so much noise from that corner of the Valley; what’s up with that?
It's a mighty noise, but when we look in the nest, we see just a few peeping chicks can make a lot of racket. Peep Peep!
It might be interesting to look at the people who are generating all the noise, but that would make it seem like they were the problem; they aren’t. Many of us would complain if we were in the same situation. Let’s see what that situation is.
Loyalton- Call It Home
Loyalton has been a good home to many people over the years. It was a proud industrial and agricultural center, and it did its work well. A little town like that doesn’t deserve to fall into disrepair.
But, it has. People who have invested lifetimes in the little town have a hard time to believe that such work won’t pay off. Loyalton hasn’t had a fair shake in life; that’s often true of persons and the towns they live in. Some people want the Loyalton of their childhood back, a broad-backed town with rough hands and a wind-burned face; a proud town.
Even if there weren’t a global economic downturn, Loyalton would be on hard times. The industries it relied on are gone, and while it is near some beautiful country, it doesn’t command a natural draw. It’s near Reno, almost near enough to commute if gas isn’t too high and your job is a good one, but not near enough to draw a bedroom crowd, as Spanish Springs, Fernley, and even Verdi are.
The unbelievable truth that Loyalton is probably not going to spring into economic bloom in our lifetime is hard to swallow. It’s so hard to swallow, some can’t.
If you love Loyalton, living there is reward enough. Nearness to family and friends, and to the places that make a life rich are reward enough. If you have to attach a dollar to your value of Loyalton, you’ll become bitter, over time.
Loyalton- Call It Metropolis
Some people have convinced themselves that Loyalton must grow. They invested heavily in that possibility. Some people don’t want the grimy Loyalton back, they want houses around the valley. That’s bad for the Valley; there are already places like that, go there. It’s also not going to happen. There is simply nothing to draw that kind of development. Chilcoot is closer to Reno, Sierraville is closer to Tahoe. There have been unclaimed building permits on the Plumas side for years. The current depression is probably going to last for a decade; the recovery will hit the area a half a decade later. That kind of growth is decades away, if ever. Even if it did, it wouldn’t bring prosperity except to a very few. Houses cost the county money for services, commercial and industrial uses make money. Construction jobs are always temporary. If we did suddenly fill the hills around the Valley with houses, it would probably finish Sierra County. Better they should be built in Verdi.
Metropolis. The cogen plant and old vacant hotel are lower right.
Loyalton- Call It Ill Informed
When people experience stress, they look for a scapegoat. The scapegoat in ancient times was a slave, disabled person, fatherless child or other unvalued or unwanted member of society which was thrown out of the group or town in the event of bad times. With the scapegoat went all the evil, sin and blame which might have brought on hard times.
William Holman Hunt, the Scapegoat
It is an act of ignorance, and it requires ignorance to perpetuate, to believe that casting out one of the community can somehow bring fortune to the rest, but it’s an old habit of humans, and it brings a certain amount of consolation.
Unfortunately, it has negative consequences. First, when public employees or elected officials are scapegoated, it unfairly castigates someone who, at the very least, is doing a difficult job to the best of their ability.
In addition, it has the dual negative effects of demoralizing the person and wrongly tarnishing their reputation, and the general confidence in local government. There are sufficient real problems in county government, it isn’t necessary to imagine more.
If you’re going to blast someone, at least know what you’re talking about. Tim Beals is a frequent target of the uninformed. Folks who are worth $28,000 a year are frustrated that Beals is paid in the low six figures. Given the amount of money he oversees, the vast responsibilities he is assigned, and the time he puts into the job, he’s not paid well at all. In addition, Beals provides numerous services to Loyalton for pennies. It isn’t that Beals is beyond criticism, but at least know what you’re talking about. If you don’t pay for qualified staff, the whole shiteree could go down the drain, as Loyalton should know by now.
Finally, wasting time blaming the innocent distracts community attention from the reality of the situation, and from any realistic solutions the town might find. It isn’t just environmentalists (we all know about the recent "troubles" with HSRA), and it isn’t just CEQA, it’s the market. There are real possibilities for Loyalton, but like such things in life, they will take time, be hard fought for, and not be just what we want.
Loyalton-Call it Finicky
That last, the level Loyaltonians are willing to settle for, is part of the problem.
Let’s tell a joke; it’s an old joke, and the Prospect has no idea who originally penned it. It goes like this:
Once there was a very pious person. It began to storm heavily, but the man just prayed. Eventually, someone came to the door and said, "the river is rising, the town’s going to flood. Get your valuables, we’ll take you to higher ground. But, the man declined, saying "If there is to be a flood, God will save the pious. I’m not afraid." The waters rose, and the man went to the second story to pray. A local sheriff deputy in a motorboat came by and said, "get in the boat, I’ll take you to higher ground." "No," the man said placidly, "the Lord will save me, I’ll wait." Eventually, as the man was praying in the rain on his roof, a helicopter came by, dangling a harness. "Put this harness on," someone shouted above the roar and spray of the helicopter, "we’ll fly you to higher ground." The pious man waved them off, "the Lord will save me." Of course, the flood rose, the man drowned, and on reaching heaven (he was, after all, at least pious) he said, "Lord, I prayed to you, why didn’t you save me?" The Lord said, "I sent you a neighbor, a cop, and the national guard, I tried to save you!"
Now, here’s Loyalton, drowning in the flood of these times, and some people don’t see the help that’s there. Imagine the Almighty saying to Loyalton, "I sent you the internet, I sent you grass fed beef, I sent a cogen plant, I sent you medical marijuana" but the pious of Loyalton saying "we wanted a steam locomotive".
You don’t always get what you want. You don’t always get what you want. You don’t always get what you want. Still, if you try sometimes, you just might find, you can get what you need.
If you’ll accept it when it comes.