Mine issues off limits for 2 commissioners | SierraSun.com

Mine issues off limits for 2 commissioners

Dave Moller
Sun News Service

GRASS VALLEY “-Two Grass Valley planning commissioners will not weigh in on future decisions regarding the proposed reopening of the Idaho-Maryland Mine to avert conflicts of interest.

Commissioner Rey Johnson will have to avoid discussing or voting on mine issues because he owns two parcels of land that are close to it, according to City Administrator Dan Holler.

The city leader said Wednesday that City Attorney Ruthann Ziegler issued a legal opinion saying Johnson could not participate in mine matters for fear of the perception he could profit from it.

Commissioner Eleanor Kenitzer is the mine’s office manager, who said she has already removed herself from mine matters and will continue to leave meetings any time it comes up.

“When you recuse yourself, you have to distance yourself,” Kenitzer said. Mine President Dave Watkinson said he saw no conflict for Kenitzer if she kept her course.

Watkinson, however, wondered if Heidi Hall of the new group CLAIM-GV does have a conflict due to her job with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which has her on loan to the state’s water board.

CLAIM-GV was recently formed to scrutinize mine information, and leader Ralph Silberstein has admitted the group does not think reopening the historic gold mine is a good fit for the community.