When we chat in Yuba and Sutter counties about “big issues” it usually means we’re talking about economic development and growth ... or homelessness. We might theorize that:

– There are people leaving California because of taxes and expenses.

– There aren’t enough qualified workers to employ.

– There aren’t enough businesses willing to move to our area.

– Want to solve homelessness? Need more housing.

Listening to an entertaining speech from the economist (I know ... entertaining and economist in the same sentence ... who’d have thought?) Christopher Thornberg, Beacon Economics, we’ve got some things right, some wrong, some mixed up. Thornberg was the keynote speaker Friday at Yuba County’s Perspectives Luncheon.

He argued people are leaving California (one of the leading economies) for one real reason: housing. And he said the key to developing business is having enough workers ... it’s just there isn’t ample housing they can afford. So it follows there would be businesses willing to move to the Yuba-Sutter area if there were enough workers ... if there were enough housing. 

Housing for the homeless? He didn’t go into that at all. But it’s what many of us prescribe as a remedy to homelessness and it makes sense. It’s just that we ought to recognize that housing is the cure on both sides of the divide – getting and keeping a work force and solving the homeless situation.

Thornberg said it three or four different ways: housing, for the Yuba County area, is critical.

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Business: We’re going to try to increase our Facebook posts, notifying readers of what the newsroom is working on or previewing stories. Inevitably, we’ll be providing links to stories that are located on our website, www.appealdemocrat.com, behind a paywall.

We recently did so with a breaking news story. We were lambasted a bit for, of all things, being greedy. News should be free, the arguments go, and people already pay for internet access. That’s silly, really. We’re going to keep on doing it, and like a couple of our staff members commented about the commenters: Haters are going to hate. We’ll be running the following declaration now and then.

“Why we post stories behind a paywall: The Appeal-Democrat can only afford to gather and report news if we are paid for our services. We do not get a share of the fees you pay to your internet provider; your subscriptions help pay our bills and our payroll. A daily rate of 99 cents allows you access to all the news on our website, appealdemocrat.com, for 24 hours. Much cheaper long-term rates are available. We post a few things outside the paywall: news of emergencies, such as imminent flooding or evacuations; surveys; calls for help by law enforcement; etc. But we are in the business of gathering news and selling subscriptions to our news service, whether it’s for a printed copy or an online collection. Thanks for your understanding.”

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Thumbs Up: The Yuba Sutter Taco Fest. Oh, boy. Been waiting for this.

It’s today, Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m., on Fourth Street in Marysville, between B and D streets: live musical entertainment, vendors, activities. Tacos.

The mayors of Marysville and Yuba City are having a taco eating contest. We want to see that almost as much as we want to see the chihuahua beauty pageant.

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Thumbs Up: Attendees of last year’s Pioneer Day in Smartsville could see the old church in the heart of the little town ... there were plenty of signs that the once-dilapidated structure was making a comeback, but it took some hard looking. This year, attendees are going to see the old church fronted with an intricate scaffolding system as restoration workers plug away at making the old bell tower look alive again.

The 12th annual Pioneer Day is today, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Smartsville. It’s a pleasant place to be ... check it out.

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Ugh: Here’s an old age joke ... and I don’t remember who sent it to me ...

Just after the funeral, the undertaker went up to the widow and asked, “Did the minister say your husband was 98?”

“Yes, he was 98,” she said. “Just two years older than me.”

“So you’re 96?” the undertaker said.

“Yes, I know ... hardly worth going home, is it?”

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