The rural life : Forever young…and deluded

Recently I read something about Taylor Swift that amazed me. It wasn’t that she’s “America’s most important musician,” as this week’s Time magazine cover story calls her. Or that her last tour grossed a record-setting $150 million, or that her new album, “1989,” had the biggest week of sales since “The Eminem Show” in 2002. […]

Masters of disaster

El Dorado County’s leaders have a habit of tripping over their own shoelaces on their way to the water spigot. The result is they keep dispensing sand from the spigot. The six-point motion from the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors Oct. 14 regarding its membership in the El Dorado County Water and Power Authority […]

The weekly Daley: New words

Unless you’ve been living on a desert island lately, you will know that “vape” beat out “bae” as the Oxford English Dictionary’s “Word of the Year” this year. Based on some recent personal experience, I’m familiar with “vape,” although I had no idea it would be in the running for top honors with the Oxford […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Words that scare me

There are a few words that my wife, Monika, uses that scare me. When she says, “What did you just say to me?” I know instantly that I should not have said what I said. My first impulse is to pretend I can’t recall what I said, but she doesn’t buy my response. My next […]

California rambling: Cooking the bird

You would think that 393 years after the first Thanksgiving dinner was held, Americans would know the best way to prepare turkey. Though each year it seems a new method is announced with its inventor declaring it to be the best way yet to cook a turkey. We all know the traditional roast turkey. It’s […]

Rock doc: How ‘bout them apples?

Do you have a good gut feeling about apples? Your body may — and that could be important to your overall health. Some of the components of apples survive their trip through the upper part of the human digestive tract. Non-digestible compounds, including fiber and substances called polyphenols, stand up to chewing and the effects […]

My turn: Censuring will not censor me

As headlined Wednesday in the Mountain Democrat, the EID Board of Directors voted 3-2 to censure me in its Nov. 10 board meeting. Censure has no impact other than an attempt by three special interest board members to unjustly inflict public disgrace upon me. The real reason for the censure attack against me is that […]

My turn: Toys for Tots

Christmas comes just once a year, and as we usher in the start of the Christmas season, we are fortunate to live in a community that is ever mindful of those children among us who are in need. This year marks a significant event for Toys for Tots as our Marine Corps League 697 and […]

Save and cut

Human Resources Director Pam Knorr was chosen by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors to sit in as interim county chief administrative officer. It is somewhat early to give her a rating, but from all accounts she is filling the bill and may even be exceeding the deposed CAO. Knorr did have previous experience as […]

Where’s the boom?

From September through Nov. 7 permits for single-family home construction totaled 19. That’s less than 10 per month. Not exactly a boom. Ditto for August, which saw eight single-family home permits taken out. The small number of new building permits indicate resale homes are still low enough to attract most buyers. On Sept. 26 Mountain […]

Belltower: Ground squirrels aren’t chipmunks

Reader Bruce Long of El Dorado Hills sent me an essay from the Marin Independent Journal that was published in the 1980s. Bruce moved here from there and likes getting the Mountain Democrat in the mail. It’s a nice sketch about someone who has a summer cabin along the South Fork of the American River. […]

The balancing act: Misplaced priorities

After at least a dozen Balancing Act columns describing the mismanagement of El Dorado County business by the county Chief Administrative Officer Terri Daly, the CAO resigned under pressure from the Board of Supervisors, who finally recognized that an immediate change was necessary. The light bulbs finally went off when the BOS recognized that because […]

Parallel universes

Last month the chairman of the French oil company Total SA was killed when his business jet hit a snow-removal truck when taking off from Moscow Airport. At first the Russians accused the driver of being drunk. The driver denied it and said he was sober and dispatched to the runway. Count on the Russians […]

Something to think about: Petrichor and other signs of fall

My favorite day every fall is the first day it really rains. This year, with the drought and the fires, everybody was waiting for that day. But what I wait for is the smell of rain after it hits the dust of summer — that rich, warm smell of wet earth and leaves. If it […]

My turn: Barton Health implements preventative measures against Ebola

Barton Health is committed to the safety of our patients, visitors, staff and physicians. After receiving several confirmed cases of the Ebola virus disease in the United States, Barton Health is prepared to care for and respond to suspected Ebola cases. Though the Ebola virus has not reached California or Nevada and the risk is […]

EPA waters

Nov. 14 is the latest deadline to submit comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft rules defining “waters of the United States.” In a memo summarizing what the EPA is seeking, El Dorado County Water Agency Manager Dave Eggerton told his board, “The proposed rule would dramatically expand the definition of waters of the U.S. […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Why are we different?

What makes a person a conservative or a liberal? Is it nature or nurture — or some combination? Recently social science has evolved to where it has begun providing answers. Research, based on hard science not speculation, presented in such books as “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt; “Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political […]

Rock doc: Bones can tell quite a story

His teeth had no cavities, but they were heavily worn. He was about my height — some 5 feet, 7 inches tall. He wasn’t petite, likely weighing around 160 pounds. Well before his death, he broke six of his ribs. Five of them never healed, but he kept going nevertheless. A recent article in “The […]

California rambling: Playland-Not-At-The-Beach

Amusement Parks were not places for children in the early 1950s. At least, that’s what my mother believed. On trips to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, my sisters and I would stare out the window as mom’s Oldsmobile would roll slowly past Whitney’s Playland-At-The-Beach. We were seduced by the cackling of Laffing Sal, an animated papier […]

The rural life : Monica Joy — believe!

I remember her first gig. A fourth-grader who had barely begun piano lessons, she played “Spanish Dancer” flawlessly as her younger sister danced. The venue was the Miller’s Hill School 2007 talent show. Decked out in Spanish vests and wide-brimmed, tasseled sombreros, the girls performed like pros. So much so that theirs is the only […]

Domicile vs. residence

In September, state Sen. Rod Wright, D-Inglewood, was sentenced to a 90-day jail term, which he was due to begin serving on Halloween. A jury in Los Angeles had convicted him of perjury and voter fraud. His crime was living in one place, Baldwin Hills, outside the boundaries of his senate District but claiming a […]


When the Mountain Democrat editorial board decides whom to endorse for political office after talking to all the candidates, we make our decisions based on the interviews and our decision about who would be the best person for the office. We don’t make our decisions on who is most likely to win. However, we will […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Never quit exercising

On Oct. 17, my doctor, Susan Shiells, e-mailed me that I no longer had pneumonia after she reviewed my follow-up x-rays. During the last five months, I have had pneumonia twice. The first time around, I did not follow Dr. Shiells advice, which may have contributed to my second bout with pneumonia, which occurred six […]

The weekly Daley: Armageddon all over again

I called my brother the conservative right after election results showed the GOP had captured the U.S. Senate Tuesday night. His main source of glee was that %$#&&*& Harry Reid would no longer be the Senate Majority Leader. I didn’t even know he knew Harry Reid, let alone %$#&&*& Harry Reid. But no matter. What […]

The Balancing Act: FOD (‘Friends of Daly’)

Strong rumor has it that the county’s Chief Administrator Officer spent the last week cleaning out her desk and office of everything personal. But it remains unknown whether any county property or, more important, any county records went with her. It is also unknown if she resigned or the reason for her sudden departure. I […]

Much ado about nothing

“His words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes.” —Benedick from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing That quote summarizes the discussion by two lawyers at the Oct. 14 meeting of the El Dorado Union High School Board of Trustees. One was the district’s lawyer who claimed some “emerging area of law” that […]

My turn: Update on the EID GM’s fifth anniversary

I want to take this opportunity on my five-year anniversary to let you know how much I have truly enjoyed my time as your general manager. My message below briefly reflects back to when I was a ratepayer in the 1990s reading about the trials and tribulations facing EID in fixing its infrastructure problems and […]

The balancing act: Arrogance, incompetence and abuse of power

This column’s theme for the last several months has been about mismanagement within the Chief Administrator’s Office and it goes right to the top. It all started with the climate of fear and the unfounded claims made by the county’s Chief Administrative Officer. Then it went into the CAO’s hiring practices in recruiting people who, […]

Our endorsements

Placerville City Council Patty Borelli, John Clerici, Wendy Thomas Supervisor District 4  Michael Ranalli Supervisor District 5  Sue Novasel Local measures Measure M-No This would give Caltrans the power to decide whether commute-hour traffic does or will in the future reach Level of Service F anywhere on Highway 50 west of Placerville. That decision or forecast will […]

The weekly Daley: Halloween vs. Ebola vs. ISIS vs. Election Day

Talk about scary. How about what’s going on today: Halloween. I’ve seen reports of people snapping up Ebola victim Haz-Mat type suits for costumes. That’s kind of funny in a creepy way. Surprisingly, I have not seen or heard of anyone proclaiming this or that costume to be un-American, anti-Christian or insensitive to one group […]

Retain appellate judges

Out of 10 justices on the Third Court of Appeals, seven are on the Nov. 4 ballot for confirmation. All but one who was appointed this year were appointed to this court by Republican governors. Should a majority of voters vote against confirmation, they will be casting a vote for Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint […]

Something to think about: Your three minutes are up

In the way, way back days, telephone operators used to tell pay phone users when the three minutes their dime paid for was up. In our cell phone-riddled lives, we don’t hear that phrase any more — unless we’re at a City Council meeting. I’ve been attending Placerville City Council meetings since 2005, unwillingly at […]

My turn: The history behind why Placerville business and property owners, along with local residents, support Measure K

A little background information may shed some light on the current controversy surrounding Measure K and why Placerville residents should care. The initial public meeting for the Cedar Ravine/Main Street Roundabout project was held in November 2007, and was well attended by community members, the majority of whom were strongly opposed to the roundabout project. […]

Rock doc: The start of a better trend for diabetes

“Eat right and exercise.” It’s good advice. But millions of us Americans struggle every day to live up to our hopes regarding diet and activity. Some of us are pretty good at one thing (for me, it’s exercise) but not good at the other (starch and sweets make up too much of my diet). It […]

My turn: Lies, damn lies and statistics

While driving through Coloma on my way to an appointment, I took notice of yet another modification on a Howard Penn for Supervisor sign. Penn’s first campaign signs during the primary simply read Howard Penn for Supervisor District Four. After the primary I noticed that his new signs included “Stop Developer Influence” and recently he […]

Yes to Prop. 1

After extensive negotiation between the governor and the Legislature, the voters are being asked to approve a $7.1 billion water bond. The governor wanted to keep it small and keep it focused. Past water bonds have been larded down with no-water-related pork to win votes in the Legislature and to win backing from various environmental […]

My turn: Voters guide for dummies

I have been on both sides of an election: a candidate for supervisor in my county of residence, Calaveras (1992), and Assembly member of the 5th California district (2012). I have voted in almost every election since the age of 18 here in California, Maryland and New York. Whether you’re a candidate or a constituent, […]

Rock doc: A better way to shine light in a dark world

Years ago I purchased a headlamp — a small flashlight that straps around your head to light your way. It’s really useful because it leaves both your hands free as you work or walk. I used my headlamp during the dark half of the year to exercise my dog in dark pastures and an undeveloped […]

No to Prop. 48

California already has 60 Indian casinos. Compare that to Reno, Nev., which has 16 and La Vegas, Nev., which has 108. What happens in Las Vegas should stay there. We don’t need Las Vegas in California. What Proposition 48 seeks is to ratify a deal to let the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians build […]

California rambling: Skiing and snowboarding with benefits

Being loyal has benefits, particularly when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. Ski areas used to compete with one another for a skiing and riding public that was expanding, but for the last few decades skier and snowboarder visits have been declining. Last winter, 56.2 million skier visits occurred at U.S. ski areas, according to […]

The rural life: Beastly crimes

Change is in the air. Starting next year, the FBI will begin tracking animal cruelty as a top-tier offense, categorizing it individually in the agency’s uniform reporting system. Traditionally, animal abuse has been lumped with smaller crimes under a generic “other” category, lessening its priority and making it difficult to find, count and track. Now, […]

No to Prop. 47

One thing we can say for sure about Proposition 47 is that it will increase burglaries. That is guaranteed. Proposition 47 seeks to downgrade certain felonies to misdemeanors. Our No. 1 gripe about this ballot box tinkering with the criminal law statutes is that it changes possession of stolen property from a felony to a […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Start your day with thankfulness

How does your day normally start? I start each day with a short meditation that basically gives thanks to the Great Spirit for my many blessings. After giving thanks, I turn on the coffee pot and enjoy the comforting coffee aroma and taste while I read the newspaper. No negative thinking allowed in my first […]

My turn: Hangtown Ball = economic development

Placerville Mayor Carl Hagen knows more about the economics of festival tourism than he does about the jam music scene. No matter — he’ll be on stage at the fairgrounds this weekend as a guest of the Hangtown Halloween Ball, welcoming the music festival crowd and introducing one of the headliners. “Leftover Salmon,” in this […]

My turn: Are the local ballot measures really ‘good’ for agriculture?

Our mission statement at the El Dorado County Farm Bureau is simply “To protect, promote and enhance economic opportunities and long-term viability for El Dorado County farmers, ranchers and foresters.” Recently, a young woman commented to me that she felt the family farm was an indicator of the health of a community. Prosperous farms meant […]