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Larry Weitzman

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 […]

The balancing act: The elephant in the room

At the April 15 Board of Supervisors special meeting, whose main purpose was a CAO budget update presentation to address the continuing county annual deficits, the operative word was “bloated.” During the meeting CAO Pamela Knorr admitted that the budget was bloated and she said it more than once. While Knorr admits the problem, she […]

2015 Toyota Camry V-6: A Camry with World Class Performance

While Toyota claims the new 2015 Camry is an all new ride, examination of the specs shows us that its wheelbase remains the same (109.3 inches) as is the width (71.7 inches), to the tenth of an inch. Even the body retains the same almost identical shape with the biggest change coming in a new […]

The balancing act: Water, water everywhere, but here

Let’s get one thing straight: Droughts are caused by nature, water shortages are caused by humans. While this has been another below-average year for California, it seems the rest of the United States received massive amounts of water, especially many areas east of the Rockies recording record rain and snowfall, with Boston setting a new […]

The balancing act: How to balance the budget

Public Safety is the primary function of county governments. Before the expansion of governments 60-70 years ago, the sheriff was the majority of county spending. Currently in EDC, the sheriff is about 20 percent of General Fund spending. Other departments directly related to public safety are the District Attorney, the Public Defender and the Probation […]

2015 Toyota Yaris: Effective, economical, efficient, energetic

Yaris has been in the Toyota stable since 1999 starting as the egg shaped Echo, not exactly the most attractive car in Toyota history but it was quite a performer knocking off 0-60 mph times in the eights and easily achieving 30 mpg plus. Now in its third generation (since 2011) and the second generation […]

Danny Popp, your average American

Danny Popp’s life resume would read like most anyone. He’s 44 years old, a father of three children — one daughter already at the University of Kentucky, a son 15 and another younger child. He spends his days working for McCluskey Chevrolet in Cincinnati as a Corvette technician but most of his weekends are spent […]

The balancing act: More county mischief

On Feb. 10, a rather innocuous item was on the Board of Supervisors consent calendar agenda. It was item No. 5 and its purpose was to receive and file a development impact mitigation fee report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014 and authorize reimbursement to the El Dorado Hills County Water (Fire) […]

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage: Saving money made easy

Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning; the Mitsubishi Mirage makes gas stations a mere mirage as it is the highest mileage conventional car for sale in the United States. EPA rates the Mirage at 37/44/40 mpg and in fact it does a bit better in my testing. It also has one of the […]

The balancing act: ‘Climate change’ is killing us

Climate change, a term used in place of anthropogenic global warming (AGW, meaning human produced carbon dioxide is causing the world to warm which will cause disastrous effects to the Earth) has come to the forefront of California politics again, like it wasn’t already every other word out of a liberal politician’s mouth already. It seems […]

2015 Mazda5, a real minivan

In this day and age, about every minivan in the U.S. market has a footprint the size of a full size SUV. Length and width average about 202 inches and about 78 inches, respectively. They even stand about 68 inches tall or more. Who’s kidding who? The age of the minivan is gone, except for […]

2015 Hyundai Sonata: the consummate family sedan

Hyundai claims the 2015 Sonata is all new. While every body panel has changed and more than a facelift has occurred, the resemblance to the prior generation is remarkable. Even the chassis dimensions have changed marginally all in the name of refinement and polish. In that respect Hyundai has accomplished its goal of a vehicle […]

The balancing act: Doing their homework

Jorge Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat.” It seems the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors is again guilty of violating this basic principle of leadership. At the Jan. 27 board meeting there was a small, seemingly innocuous item on the consent calendar agenda. The consent calendar is supposed to […]

2015 Mazda 3 I Touring Sedan: Your exceptional basic compact

A few months ago the Road Beat had a chance to test the best compact car in current production, the Mazda 3 2.5-liter hatchback, a virtual econo-rocket that combines excellent performance with phenomenal fuel economy plus near-sports car handling coupled with good ride quality. But that was a fully loaded Mazda 3 that stickered at […]

Hyundai Elantra Coupe: affordable sport

Hyundai has refreshed the Elantra Coupe and simplified the acquisition process. It boasts a new, more powerful engine, sportier suspenders and quicker, refined steering to enhance the driving experience. Outside, the slick body has a new, more integrated spoiler and a blacked out grille unique to the Coupe, adding a bit of aggression. And now […]

Toyota Tundra a real competitor

Toyota’s new third generation 2014 Tundra has finally got it right (keep reading and you will understand). Toyota has been making trucks for decades, with the Tacoma owning the mid-size class for years and one of its biggest competitors, the Ford Ranger no longer in production. In the full size realm, Toyota started with the […]

Toyota 4Runner matching the image

Now in its fifth year of the fifth generation (The 4Runner started production in 1984), the 4Runner continues to be a solid, consistent seller for Toyota averaging about 50,000 units a year, despite sales being stolen by its similarly sized CUV sibling, the Highlander. They are totally different vehicles with no relationship between them and […]

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