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Larry Weitzman

The Balancing Act: Worthless surveys

Money is so tight in El Dorado County that Chief Administrative Officer Larry Combs recently decided that no General Fund money will be used to repair county roads (Combs letter, Sept. 9, 2015) but that didn’t stop our Board of Supervisors from conducting a Citizens Engagement Survey at a reported cost of $15,000 to “help” with determining a […]

The Balancing Act: From frying pan into the fire

About or shortly after the time Larry Combs was dismissed from his two-year stint as Merced County’s chief administrative officer he was asked by the Sutter County Board of Supervisors to help find a new CAO. It was a paid consultancy. Combs recommended a man named Jim Arkens, who at the time was Mono County’s CAO. […]

The balancing act: We are out of control

At the Dec. 15 El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting item 40 on the calendar corrected an error made by the CAO’s Office in the annexation by El Dorado Hills Fire, the wealthiest district in the county, of Latrobe Fire, one of the poorest. The Board of Supervisors unanimously supported the annexation on June 10, 2014, […]

The balancing act: Open government

Sixty-two years ago Ralph M. Brown, a legislator from Modesto and later Fifth District Court of Appeals judge, wrote the Brown Act — now called the Open Government Act. Brown in the preamble said, “The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to […]

The Balancing Act: Unclaimed baggage

Only five months into his tenure it is apparent El Dorado County’s interim Chief Administrative Officer Larry Combs has firmly taken control. The Board of Supervisors has all but conceded power to Combs. Are problems developing as a result? Before hiring Combs, the county was saddled with another interim CAO and still HR director Pam Knorr, who […]

The Balancing Act: A bumpy ride

As El Dorado County salaries and benefits grow at an alarming rate, our Board of Supervisors continues to take taxpayers on a ride to ruination. Salaries and benefits last fiscal year, which ended on June 30, exceeded my estimates by $3 million at $145 million. Just two years prior (June 30, 2013) salaries took $118 million out of the […]

The Balancing Act: More sloppy goverment

El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Larry Combs, recently (Oct. 8, 2015) wrote a letter to El Dorado Hills Fire Chief Dave Roberts informing Roberts that Board of Supervisors Resolution 064-2014 had “errors of a technical nature that occurred in the adoption of the transfer.” Through this resolution EDH Fire annexed the Latrobe Fire Protection District and […]

The Balancing Act: Another survey

County executives are at it again. After the Board of Supervisors and chief administrative officer spent about $200,000 last year on a witch hunt and other diversionary tactics that pulled people away from the county’s real problems, now the board has hired another consultant, Laree Kiely, founder of the Kiely group, for another study. The contract must […]

Vehicles shine at Niello Concours

EL DORADO HILLS — From humble beginnings, the Niello Concours has grown up and features plenty of everything — pre-war classics from Packard, Lincoln and Cadillac, half a dozen or so 1950s and ’60s muscle cars, more than two dozen Ferraris from a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE to a 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta and more than a dozen De Tomaso Pantaras. There was even a 1955 Chris Craft Capri wooden speed boat owned by Michael Stafford of Placerville featured this past Sunday.

High-flying California Capital Airshow breaks records

MATHER AIRPORT — Oct. 2 was a first for the California Capital Airshow — its first ever night show. It was a spectacular demonstration of flying and fireworks that featured aircraft trailing giant sparklers off their wings followed by a ground fireworks display. Saturday and Sunday drew record-breaking crowds totaling more than 109,000 people, who enjoyed everything […]

The Balancing Act: Extortion under the color of law

In February of this year I wrote a column entitled “More County Mischief” wherein I explained the failure of the county to follow the The Mitigation Fee Act, which was codified in the California Government Code as sections 66000-66008. It had two purposes: one of which was to restrain local agencies from imposing development fees […]

Boeing B-17 arrives in style

In preparation for the California Capital Airshow that runs from Oct. 2-4, this weekend, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) flew in its Boeing B-17G, landing at Mather Airport on Monday. Named Sentimental Journey, it is perhaps the most authentic and pristine B-17 flying in the world, especially with its gleaming, mirror-finished, polished aluminum fuselage. Now in […]

The Balancing Act: Hoping for a windfall

Last column I promised more discussion regarding Ray Nutting’s claim against the county for  “malicious prosecution, abuse of process and numerous other torts” as Nutting identified in his own claim against El Dorado County filed Dec. 5, 2014, receiving case number 14.00096. All the documents are readily available via the Public Records Act or with […]

Italian masterpieces have a big day in Folsom

Italy on Wheels rolled into the Murer House Museum in Folsom on Sept. 12 for its fourth annual, all-Italian automobile, motorcycle, motor scooter and bicycle show. The automobiles filled the parking lot with the best in classic and modern Italian hardware, populated with enthusiasts from the area, including El Dorado County. The 12th was also the day of the […]

The Balancing Act: Self-interest

For the past year-and-a-half I have followed the county government machinations fairly closely. Prior to that time my interactions with the county were somewhat limited. There were a few supervisors who were less than impressive, but there were some good ones. Also impressive were some department heads and when I built a house 10 years […]

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance — grand daddy of classic cars shows ages beautifully

Some things in life are timeless, such as a 1975 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay or Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday.” For an equal display and exhibit of grace, beauty and variety, the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, even after 65 years, continues to be the biggest classic car show in the world. Though the price of admission […]

El Dorado County well-represented at Concorso Italiano

You know the excitement you get when a gleaming red Ferrari blasts by you on the road? Good stuff, I know. Now imagine yourself surrounded by hundreds of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos. This is automotive mecca, nirvana, if you will, and exactly what the Concorso Italiano has done since 1985. Originally acting as a support […]

Italy on Wheels rolling in Folsom

The fourth annual Italy on Wheels Italian vehicle show takes place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Murer House Museum grounds, 1125 Joe Murer Court in Folsom. Growing every year, this fine show not only features Italian superstars — Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos — but everyday cars such as […]

The Balancing Act: Hang on to your wallets

The Clean Energy and Pollution Act of 2015, Senate Bill 350, has passed the California Senate and should be coming up for a vote in a week or two in the Assembly. This bill really means the cost of California energy (electricity and gasoline) will skyrocket, as will the cost of cars . And it could outlaw older […]

The Balancing Act: Destroying Grand Jury credibility

The third and most insidiously false political report from the 2014-15 El Dorado County Grand Jury entitled “Putting political gain above what’s right for the county” is a perfect title to describe the Grand Jury actions. They have become a political body and a kangaroo court. In another attempted political and character assassination of the county auditor, […]

2015 Lexus RC-F: A Lexus luxury sports coupe 2+2

Lexus has built sporty cars in the past such as the SC300 and SC400 and the second generation SC430. Now Lexus has a serious sports coupe in the guise of the RC350 and the RC-F.  My tester is the super high performance F Sport model that comes standard with a rockin’, honkin’ 5.0L V-8 that […]

Scion iA and iM: Fresh, refined and a new direction

New nomenclature means all new cars from Scion. Stodgy is out and fun is in. And these cutting edge vehicles are from Scion, an inexpensive, high value brand from Toyota. One of the models, the upscale iM is all Scion, but the other model, the iA, is a joint project from Scion and Mazda.  Don’t […]

The Balancing Act: Attack on a supervisor

Supervisor Ron “Mik” Mikulaco doesn’t always vote with the majority of the Board of Supervisors. His most important vote was a dissenting no vote on the last budget (FY 2014-15 that had a large structural deficit) which happened to be the last budget submitted by ex-CAO Terri Daly. Someone during this last Grand Jury term […]

2016 Mazda CX-5: A new force in small CUVs

If there was a stealth car company in the world, look to Mazda. While their product line for the last ten years has been at or near the top of their respective classes, until the last couple of years, you could say they have been flying under the radar. But they have been found out […]

2015 Hyundai Azera: Getting it right

Never being a fan of the Azera, mainly because it was not attractive, has changed by about 180 degrees, with a new, fifth generation model. The prior generation which was a follow on to the third generation known as the XG 300-350 (a car of real value) must have been designed by a competitor because […]

More grand jury gobbledy-gook

While the precursor of the grand jury system dates back beyond the Magna Carta (which just had its 800-year anniversary on June 15), after reading the political claptrap from the 2014-15 El Dorado County Grand Jury it appears that its usefulness has passed. One of the 2014-15 reports, “Time to Admit & Correct a Mistake,” […]

Goodyear Blimp flies over Sacramento, Senior Open

Fresh from Chambers Bay, Wash., where it covered the biggest golf tournament of the year, the U.S. Open, the soon-to-be-retired Goodyear Blimp Spirit of America stopped in the Sacramento area for aerial coverage of the U.S. Senior Open played at the Del Paso Country Club. When not flying, the 192-foot-long and 50-foot-wide in diameter Spirit of America […]

The balancing act: The transparency of the opaque

It’s been about three months since former Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr obligated the taxpayers to a contract for legal services, except it appears the contract was for investigatory services. The contract, executed by Knorr and County Counsel Robyn Drivon, had a spending limit of $50,000. A$15,627 bill for services has already been received. It’s not […]

The balancing act: Sneaking a raise?

On June 2 the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors did the right thing and saved the county from a mini debacle that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually starting in about two weeks. Since the Board of Supervisors’ agenda is prepared by the CAO’s office at the direction of the chief administrative officer, […]

The balancing act: CAO Knorr’s questionable dealing

El Dorado County Interim Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr, with a sign-off from the new county counsel Robyn Truitt-Drivon, has hired a private investigator, the Balancing Act has learned. The PI contract was hidden under a “consultant” contract with a law firm that Knorr has dealt with before when she was CAO of Alpine County. […]

2016 Hyundai Elantra GT: Significant refinement

While not much has changed mechanically with the 2016 Elantra GT, with most every technical specification remaining the same, sometimes just small changes can make huge differences. In this case, besides the improvements in next-gen NAV and Blue Link connectively, the most notable is the new GT front end and it is a doozy. Most […]

The balancing act: The Veerkamp deficit

Having deficit budgets are commonplace in the federal government. They just effectively print more money to cover it. (They do it by borrowing money such as selling T-bills.) But in subordinate governments, while borrowing is sometimes done and some jurisdictions even end up going bankrupt (making future borrowing even more expensive and many times next […]

2015 Lexus IS 350: A true sports sedan

It’s been five long years since I last tested the Lexus IS 350 and not much has changed my opinion that the IS is dollar for dollar the best ride in the Lexus line up and perhaps the best Lexus model although I haven’t tested the new RC coupe yet. As far as Lexus sedans […]

The balancing act: The Blacklock connection

Patrick Blacklock is the current CAO of Yolo County, and it would take some explaining to understand that his influence and impact on our county has been more significant than any of our current members of the Board of Supervisors. Blacklock started his employment by government bodies in May of 2001 as the Administrator Officer […]

The balancing act: Pamela’s war on seniors

“We’ve got major budget issues. I’d feel much better getting all those other things to a committee and make sure we get multiple minds on this and develop a plan, a prioritized plan and the 15/16 (Fiscal Year budget) deficit is the target. And I understand it. I have seen deficits all my career tied […]

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