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By Eric Johnson
Published Jul 08, 2024

A commitment to justice and accountability is carved in stone, so to speak, in the California constitution, which gives every citizen the right to serve on their county's civil grand jury. A commitment to justice and accountability is carved in stone, so to speak, in the California constitution, which gives every citizen the right to serve on their county's civil grand jury. Image credit: Danylo Samiylenko, Shutterstock

Civil Grand Juries: Citizens Investigating Governments

As you can see above in the banner ad for our book, How California Works, by Jonathan Vankin, we believe that “Democracy Lives in California”—despite the very real threats it has faced for decades, which persist today. 

Obviously, this hopeful position is not fashionable in this era of hyper-partisan negativity. It is easy, these days, to fall into a trap of believing that politics is entirely corrupt. We have discovered that if you look closely, you will find that here in California, a lot of people—including elected leaders—are still working hard at the project that gives our book its subtitle: “Building Democracy in the Golden State.”

That said, this is not a time to be passive or naive. It is the first job of every journalistic enterprise—and every active citizen—to hold public officials accountable.  

In this week’s edition of The Newsletter, Chris Neklason writes about a uniquely Californian institution that allows ordinary citizens to exert significant power over their local governments.


A Uniquely Californian Democratic Institution

Over the past week, citizens empowered as members of civil grand juries issued reports of their investigations of local governments. It's an honorable institution, and these volunteer government watchdogs found some dishonorable stuff. Here's how the civil grand jury system works, and what this year's reports reveal.


How Civil Grand Juries Make Government Better

Participation on Civil Grand Juries is open to all Californians of voting age.
Civil Grand Juries are a powerful means by which ordinary citizens investigate local governments and provide recommendations for improvement.

2024 Civil Grand Jury Reports

In civil grand juries, citizens make sure the actions of California’s local governments add up.
We celebrate California's Civil Grand Jury session of 2023-2024 with a review of some findings and results from across the state.


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Nevada County's Homepage

Direct your browser to https://nevada.californialocal.com/ to catch up on the latest news in California and Nevada County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!


Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

See more recipes in their Taste Summer! cookbook.


Fresh summer veggies, marinated and grilled

Marinated and grilled, summer vegetables make a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or steak. Choose whatever's in season.
New! Pick your garden favorites for a quick side dish


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Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus logo Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus

Supporting local singers by building, promoting, and nurturing vocal music programs, the Truckee Tahoe Community Chorus hosts two annual concert series that feature music from a range of genres, such as classical, Broadway, and contemporary hits.

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From Our Media Allies

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Sierra Sun logo Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Offers Free Summer Meals

The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is pleased to offer free summer meals for children 18 years of age and under and disabled adults through the Seamless Summer Options program.

Sierra Sun logo Northstar’s Vail EpicPromise Fixes Donner Lake Rim Trail Pedestrian Bridges

The winter of 2022-23 was one for the record books, and all that snow helped make for a great ski season, filled our lakes, and brought about a great summer wildflower show. But also left Truckee Donner Land Trust with …

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Bear Experts Offer Tips for Camping in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Headed to the Lake Tahoe Basin for a summer camping trip? Black bear biologists who work in the Tahoe Basin every day have some advice and thoughts to share to help keep Tahoe bears wild. 

Sierra Sun logo Truckee Donner PUD Board Adopts Annual Wildfire Mitigation Plan

At Truckee Donner Public Utility District's June board of directors meeting, the board adopted the agency's annual Wildfire Mitigation Plan, approved the audited financial report for fiscal year 2023, approved contracts needed to deliver on crucial capital projects and heard …

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Your Guide to Tahoe Disc Golf

It's a sport for the casual recreator or the fierce competitor. Disc golf began its evolution in the seventies after Ed Headrick, nicknamed "Steady" Ed, designed the modern-day Frisbee.

Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Lake Tahoe Summer Fire Restrictions, Red Flag Warnings & National Fire Danger Rating System

LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev. – Summer is in full swing and so are fire restrictions in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Please "Know Before You Go" and check the fire restriction status in your area.

Sierra Sun logo U.S. Forest Service Scientists’ Work Featured in Netflix Documentary

A rusty brown bark beetle, the length of a grain of rice, lands on a ponderosa pine. Tiny insect legs make a clicking sound, as the beetle scales the tree. Twitching its antennae, the miniature assassin readies itself to bore …

Sierra Sun logo Placer Board of Supervisors Approves New Budget for Fiscal Year 2024-25

With an eye on balanced growth, the Placer County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution today to formally adopt the Fiscal Year 2024-25 Budget.

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Recent Local News

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• Feedback Sought for Internet Speed Survey

Nevada County residents have until July 31 to participate in a survey on local Internet speeds.

(07/08/2024) → YubaNet

• Rotating NID Canal Shutoffs Announced

The Nevada Irrigation District announced rotating short-term water outages for a limited number of canals in the face of extreme temperatures and limited water supply.

(07/03/2024) → YubaNet

• Summer Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival Opens

This year the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is presents The Merry Wives of Windsor along with the musical Always…Patsy Cline through August 26.

(07/01/2024) → Edible Reno-Tahoe
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Recent Statewide News

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• California’s ‘Weak’ Job Market Propped Up by Public Money as Private Sector Sheds Jobs

Private-sector jobs in California have declined since their post-pandemic peak, while public-sector employment has shown gains, the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office says.

(07/08/2024) → CalMatters

• California Boosts Spending to Help Students Earn Math and Science Degrees

A program for low-income, first-generation STEM students at community colleges is receiving millions of dollars to expand across the state.

(07/08/2024) → CalMatters

• CalMatters’ Digital Democracy Makes a Difference in the Legislature

CalMatters launched Digital Democracy in April, and its impact has rippled across the Legislature.

(07/08/2024) → CalMatters

• Hundreds of Deaths, Thousands of Injuries, Billions of Dollars: The Cost of Extreme Heat in California

Heat waves have killed hundreds of Californians and cost billions of dollars in the past decade, according to a new report from the state insurance department.

(07/07/2024) → CalMatters

• 6 Myths About Homelessness in California

There’s a lot of misinformation floating around out there about homelessness in California. We use data to dispel several common myths.

(07/07/2024) → CalMatters

• California Now Has Mandatory Water Conservation in Urban Areas: How Will the New Rules Affect Your Supplier?

The measures are substantially weaker than a previous proposal after an onslaught of criticism. But they will still save enough water through 2050 to supply the state’s entire population for a year, at a cost of $4.7 billion.

(07/03/2024) → CalMatters

• Gavin Newsom Says Never Mind on CA Crime Measure

Assemblymember James Gallagher speaks during the floor session at the state Capitol in Sacramento on June 13, 2024. Photo by Cristian Gonzalez for CalMatters

(07/03/2024) → CalMatters

• 2024 California Ballot Measures: What You Need to Know

Much is expected of the California voter.

(07/03/2024) → CalMatters

• ‘Nothing Will Be Protected’ — Why California Environmentalists Oppose a ‘Green’ Energy Bill

Nearly every major environmental group in California opposes a bill that would modify the state’s signature environmental law to speed up upgrades to power lines. Supporters say it would help free the state from fossil fuels and make the grid more reliable, but opponents fear it would damage state parks.

(07/02/2024) → CalMatters

• Does a Proposed $10 Billion Bond Favor Richer California School Districts?

Small and low-income school officials say the bond measure deal is unfair. The money is allocated through matching grants, so wealthier districts that can raise more local funds will get more money from the state.

(07/01/2024) → CalMatters
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Government Announcements

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Image of United States seal. United States   (07/05/2024)

Al-Safa US LLC Recalls Frozen Ready-To-Eat Chicken Products Due to Possible Listeria Contamination

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2024 - Al-Safa US LLC, the importer of record located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, is recalling approximately 2,010 pounds of imported frozen ready-to-eat chicken products that may...
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (07/03/2024)

Brian Dahle CA Senate 01:
Update from Senator Dahle - 07.03.2024

Update from Senator Dahle - 07.03.2024 SREPweb Wed, 07/03/2024 - 14:02
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/30/2024)

Michael Foods Inc. Recalls Fair Meadow Foundations Liquid Egg Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2024 - M.G. Waldbaum dba Michael Foods Inc., a Gaylord, Minn. establishment, is recalling approximately 4,620 pounds of liquid egg products due to misbranding and undeclared allergens...
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (06/27/2024)

Brian Dahle CA Senate 01:
Sen. Dahle: California Headed for ‘Cruel Summer’ with Budget Woes

Sen. Dahle: California Headed for Cruel Summer with Budget Woes SREPweb Thu, 06/27/2024 - 12:02
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (06/25/2024)

Brian Dahle CA Senate 01:
California Senate Republicans respond to Governor Newsom’s State of the State social media post

California Senate Republicans respond to Governor Newsoms State of the State social media post SREPweb Tue, 06/25/2024 - 15:10
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/24/2024)

Totally Cool, Inc., Recalls All Ice Cream Products Because of Possible Health Risk

Totally Cool, Inc. of Owings Mills, Maryland is recalling multiple brands of ice cream products, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others w
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/24/2024)

Wildly Beloved Foods is Recalling Orzo (Vegan) Dried and Campbell (Vegan) Dried Due to Potential Mold

June 24, 2024, Wildly Beloved Foods of Clinton, Washington is recalling approximately 30 packages of Orzo (vegan) Dried and 30 packages of Campanelle (vegan) Dried, 10 oz, due to potential mold growth contamination. The recalled Orzo (vegan) Dried, 10oz were distributed through Payless Foods, The
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/24/2024)

DSD Merchandisers, LLC Announces Voluntary Recall of Deluxe Roasted & Salted Mixed Nuts Due to Undeclared Peanut

DSD Merchandisers, LLC is voluntarily recalling UPC 6-51433-99651-6 Deluxe Roasted & Salted Mixed Nuts, Sell by: 10/09/24, due to the presence of undeclared peanut. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to specific type of allergen peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening aller
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/21/2024)

Vitakraft Sun Seed Recall of Sun Seed Vita Prima Hedgehog Food Due to Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Vitakraft Sun Seed Inc. of Weston, OH, is voluntarily recalling one lot of Sun Seed Vita Prima Hedgehog Food because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is also a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products,
Image of United States seal. United States   (06/18/2024)

Hudson Harvest Issues Voluntary Recall of Tomato Basil Sauce Due to Potential Under-Processing

Hudson Harvest of Germantown, NY, is voluntarily recalling Hudson Harvest Tomato Basil Sauce because of reported swelling, leaking, or bursting jars. There is a possibility that the product has been under processed, which could lead to the potential for spoilage organisms or pathogens.