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Nevada City plans meeting to support police

Downtown Nevada City on Thursday, April 29, 2010. The small Nevada County community will hold a special City Council meeting Wednesday to support law enforcement after a councilwoman’s controversial comments on Facebook.
Downtown Nevada City on Thursday, April 29, 2010. The small Nevada County community will hold a special City Council meeting Wednesday to support law enforcement after a councilwoman’s controversial comments on Facebook. Sacramento Bee file

Evans Phelps didn’t expect her term as Nevada City mayor would start like this.

In her first week at the helm, Phelps and the rest of the City Council in the small Nevada County community have faced a backlash after Councilwoman Reinette Senum wrote on Facebook that a sniper’s killing of five Dallas police officers last week “was completely incited by America’s police force.”

Phelps said she called a special City Council meeting for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 317 Broad St., in response to the overwhelming amount of feedback she has received. Only one item is on the agenda: a resolution in support of the Nevada City Police Department and law enforcement officers across the country.

Phelps said Senum’s post “does not reflect what the rest of our community thinks about our law enforcement.”

Senum said in her initial post Friday that law enforcement has “obviously been given directives to go out there and kill. It’s insane and it’s meant to create mayhem.” She deleted the post Saturday, but it reappeared on her Facebook page Monday. Senum was unable to be reached for comment about the reappearance of the post.

The Nevada City Police Officers Association quickly called for Senum’s resignation Friday. The Placer County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association asked Facebook followers to boycott Senum’s restaurant, Los Mineros, in Nevada City.

Senum apologized to the Nevada City Police Department, but Tim Ewing, president of the Nevada City Police Officers Association, said the organization maintains its stance that Senum should resign.

“I know she apologized, but she apologized with a bunch of qualifiers,” Ewing said. “And it’s hard for me to take her apology seriously when her comments are still on her Facebook page.”

Phelps also said Senum’s apology should be more than a Facebook post.

“An apology on Facebook is not good enough,” Phelps said. “I told her that I expect her to apologize to every single officer in our community face to face.”

Senum said she met with Nevada City Police Chief Timothy Foley on Monday, and their meeting went well. She will attend a police officers’ meeting July 20 to apologize in person.

She said she does not plan to resign.

“I think we have an amazing opportunity to come together on Wednesday,” Senum said. “It is my sincerest hope that we can come together and move forward from this.”

Before voting on the resolution supporting law enforcement, the City Council will open the floor to public comment.

“We are all trying to get past this,” Phelps said. “As a City Council member, if the Police Department is against you, how can you have a working relationship with City Hall?”

Phelps said she could not forecast how Wednesday’s meeting will go. She said Senum will make a statement at the beginning of the meeting before the public speaks. Phelps made it clear that the council cannot force Senum to resign after Wednesday’s meeting.

Thomas Oide: 916-321-1009, @thomasoide

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