The Democratic-Chronicles: Drowning in their Tea Pee 838

In one of the biggest primary election upsets ever, the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, lost his bid to a virtual unknown. While every pundit worth their salt has weighted in on the underlying meaning of this, two things occur to me. First, this election was Cantor’s to lose. And lose it he did. It […]

A confused report

Multiplication… that’s the name of the game! And every generation… you know they play the same! — Bobby Darin, from the 1960 Movie “Come September” The 2013-2014 Grand Jury must have been watching Turner Classic Movies when they wrote in their report about the “proliferation of elected officials in El Dorado County.” There are seven […]

Rock doc: Behind the hum of electrical power

Think about the most complicated machine you’ve dealt with in the past year. Was it a beeping monitor tethered to a high-tech device in an emergency room? Or was it a superfast computer you used at work? Actually, the most complicated machine you’ve interacted with was the one you used this morning when you switched […]

College debt

It seems like millions of college students have decided to dive off the high board with little or no experience at swimming. Metaphorically, we are talking about the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt as of March. This year 70 percent of the undergraduates have loans. To to put that in perspective, in 2004 total […]

California rambling: Responsibility at sea

For several hours each day, the lives of 5,000 men and women depend on the decisions of a 25-year-old Somerset man. That’s a lot of responsibility for someone so young, but as Ensign Dominic Montez explains, the U.S. Navy expects a lot from its sailors. The 26-year-old naval officer is the only Surface Warfare Officer […]

Franckly speaking: Today I write in praise of … pausing

This is a column in praise of the pause. I’ve been pausing for things all my life, but I recently realized that some pauses — not the traffic signal type — contain hidden wealth. The other day I was trying to remember who sang “If You Could Read My Mind.” I pictured the singer’s face […]

The weekly Daley: Archnemeses

“USA to confront archnemesis,” the headline blared. I just don’t remember where I saw it, whether on Sunday or Monday. Having been traveling from San Sebastian, Spain to San Francisco all day Sunday and then some and being out of the news loop, I was a little punchy by the time I saw the headline. […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Don’t allow the past to own you

It’s amazing how one episode can affect you, sometimes for years, sometimes for a lifetime. I remember once, when I was 8 or 9 years old, that I saw a relative of mine drunk. He was crawling across a lawn to his apartment in the Richmond Housing Projects. A small crowd started to gather to […]

Hot June

The bad news from the El Dorado Irrigation District is during the week of June 4-10 ratepayers only used 3 percent less water than the three-year average. The good news is EID customers conserved 3 percent during a week that was hotter than blazes. Here are the daytime temperature reading from the Mountain Democrat for […]

Bass Lake transfer

June 9 the El Dorado Irrigation District finally concluded a sales agreement with the Rescue Union School District for 58 acres adjacent to Bass Lake. The school district also gets the lake. For the record, EID discontinued using the lake in 2009 and in October 2011 declared it surplus property. EID had most recently used […]

My turn: Micro Farms preserve our ‘quality of life’

People move to El Dorado County for the “quality of life” created by our open spaces and rural lifestyle. They move here to get out of the city, away with the rooftops and crowded freeways to the country to improve their “quality of life.” Our rural lifestyle did not happen by accident; it is the […]

Winners pick winners

Every coach wants to pick a winner at draft time. Some coaches seem to be better at picking winners, but it isn’t all 40-yard dashes and game film. It isn’t all intuition. Some football coaches have a formula for picking winners. They pick only college graduates. That is also a way to choose football players […]

Belltower: Pt. Lobos and beyond

As I write this I am heading off for a weekend at Monterey, and maybe golfing with my son, if he will give me a lesson or two on how not to hook the ball. I’ll probably tour the shops downtown. But I never miss an opportunity to go to Pt. Lobos. Last time I […]

The Balancing Act: Toxic waste travels ‘uphill’

“She left the city in rubble,” said Lloyd Oneto, an Ione city councilman speaking of former Ione City Manager Kim Kerr. “When she was hired in 2007 the city had $8 million in the local agency investment fund (the city’s main bank account). When she left in 2011, it had a negative balance of $800,000. […]

Flag Day

Tomorrow is Flag Day. It’s a day for patriotic Americans to hang out their flags in honor of our country. June 14, 1777, is when the Second Continental Congress adopted the flag that has since added stars until there are 50 now to represent the 50 states that make up this country. This Saturday also […]

Something to think about: Mama told me …

As children we receive constant warnings from our beleaguered parents about the dire things that will happen if you take certain actions. Some of them are called old wives’ tales because presumably, beleaguered parents of the ancient past also warned their children of these same consequences. As an adult, I’ve found that some of what […]

My turn: GDPUD is unraveling

The more I look and investigate what is going on at GDPUD the more I see an organization that is unraveling. I don’t want this to piece to be seen as only an indictment of the board majority or the previous board because that may not be helpful but as a guide in the principles […]

Loser pays

Here’s a concept. Sue a business and if you lose, you pay the attorney’s fees for the business. That was the recent decision from the Delaware Supreme Court. Delaware courts hold a lot of sway in the corporate world because a lot of companies are incorporated in Delaware. One corporation included a loser pays proviso […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: You have blood on your hands

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, reading what seems like a million words, hearing endless debates in Congress and a seeing flood of television horror stories, America cannot seem to bring a modicum of sanity to the issue of gun control. The killings go on, absolutely nothing has changed and I am puzzled and […]

Oh, those crazy French

“We can stand here like the French, or we can do something about it.” — Marge Simpson The French seem satisfied with a March unemployment rate of 10.4 percent. The youth unemployment rate in France decreased to 23.40 percent in March from 23.60 percent in February of 2014. Youth Unemployment Rate in France averaged 20.07 percent […]

California rambling: The world’s first

On June 30, California celebrates the founding of its state parks, the world’s first. That distinction occurred in 1864, after President Abraham Lincoln — acting in response to petitions by numerous individuals, including California’s U.S. Sen. John Conness, Galen Clark, Israel Ward Raymond, Jessie Benton Frémont, Thomas Starr King, Bret Harte and Horace Greeley among […]

The rural life : On the fly, grimly

Consider the white, legless maggot. This most revolting of creatures is nothing more than a baby fly. How appropriate! Flies are despicable, and though I’m sure they have some place in the whole circle of life thing, I don’t care. I dislike them and their brood, and suspect we’d be better off without them. My […]

Congratulations winners

The most interesting election night outcome was the voter’s selection from among six candidates running for the District 5 supervisorial seat. The top two vote getters are Sue Novasel from South Lake Tahoe and Kevin Brown from Pollock Pines. District 5 for a long time has been a South Lake Tahoe seat. District 2, now […]

My turn: Speaking on adaptation

Imagine, for every living specie there has to be a story of adaptation for each one. How else have they persisted through millions of years, eons of climate change, vegetative succession, loss of habitat, ten times the CO2 we have today and other environmental shifts? Yet somehow we have allowed our legislators and regulators, like […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: You don’t have to fight to win

In his book “Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life,” Dr. Wayne Dyer states the following, “Don’t fight colds, illnesses or even serious afflictions. Don’t fight with family members, or against political opinions. Don’t fight addictions, and most important, don’t fight yourself. If you have cancer or arthritis cells in your body, talk to them […]

Belltower: Helping the competition

Most of us are staring at blank walls and some of us don’t even have any walls to stare at. Our office is slowly being deconstructed in preparation for the move to our new office on Ray Lawyer Drive. Every day I walk in and see another wall gone. It’s all going to charity. The […]

My turn: Don’t destroy Micro Farms, revise the ‘Small Farms Irrigation Rate’ criteria

Changes need to be made to the criteria for “Small Farms Irrigation Rate,” not because it makes good political showmanship, but because agricultural practices have changed. When the “Small Farms Irrigation Rate” (SFIR) was developed 15 years ago, Micro Farms, also referred to as “Small Farms,” used lower-density planting. Higher-density planting is now used. The […]

The chocolate king

Mrs. Gloop: [Augustus is now sucked into the suction pipe which takes him to the vertical pipe] He can’t swim. Willy Wonka: There’s no better time to learn. — Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory As this editorial is written the day before the polls have closed and local election results have been tabulated, we […]

Take my word for it: How to take a compliment

We in the journalism business learn to grow thick skin. We have to. We unfortunately assume that any piece we publish, whether about a local court case or simply on how we raise our children, will receive some sort of dissent from a few members of the general public. People just enjoy arguing, I suppose, […]

Rock doc: Training microbes to make biofuel

When you fill your tank, you likely see a little sticker on the pump saying part of the fuel is ethanol. Ethanol is a biofuel, which means it comes from plants like corn, rather than from fossil fuel — ancient carbon that’s been buried within the Earth for millions of years. Producing more biofuels is […]

Rock doc: A tale of two stoves

My elderly aunt recently came into some money. She decided — very generously — to send part of it to each of her nieces and nephews. This gave me the task of choosing how I wanted to spend an unexpected $1,000. I decided to buy a new range for my kitchen. I wouldn’t otherwise buy […]

The balancing act: A survey designed to create change

According to the Sacramento Bee’s latest editorial, El Dorado County lives in the dark ages, “a rough and tumble mentality, a culture that pervades county government.” Most of this supposed revelation is identified in a climate assessment survey designed and given by the law firm Van Dermyden Maddux discussed in the last Balancing Act. The […]

Belltower: A tale of two Monroes

Reading John Poimiroo’s column about Yosemite’s Wawona Hotel brought back memories. Having gone on some writers trips sponsored by the Nevada Tourism Department and written a three-part series about the first trip, I must have wound up on a list of writers invited to the Wawona. It was a winter trip — about 20 years […]

Our recommendations

The Mountain Democrat endorses: Joe Hoffman, Judge, Office 5 Vicki Ashworth, Judge, Office 1 Vern Pierson, District Attorney CPA Joe Harn, Auditor-Controller CPA C.L. Raffety, Treasurer-Tax Collector Bill Schultz, Recorder-Clerk.

Technology on the farm

“How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm After they’ve seen Paree.” Technology is the answer. The old song references milking cows, but in the Midwest corn belt, technology is increasing crop yields and cutting planting times in half. The latter is a big bonus for a year when the East and Midwest were […]

Drought still on

Wednesday, May 21, saw a thunderstorm drop a deluge of water on Placerville about 5 p.m. It was enough to add 0.2 inch to the Mountain Democrat rain gauge. If it hadn’t lasted only about an hour or so, but rather had gone on overnight, we would have been talking about some serious rain. Instead […]

Our recommendations

The Mountain Democrat endorses: Joe Hoffman, Judge, Office 5 Vicki Ashworth, Judge, Office 1 Vern Pierson, District Attorney CPA Joe Harn, Auditor-Controller CPA C.L. Raffety, Treasurer-Tax Collector Bill Schultz, Recorder-Clerk.

Something to think about: Stuck in the middle with you

Boomers have been called “the sandwich generation” — responsible for their children who haven’t yet left the nest and also for their parents who are struggling to maintain their nest. It’s not a phenomenon new to this generation, but there are times when the meat in the middle of the sandwich gets mighty thin. A […]

The weekly Daley: So, I sez to the bartender…

“So I sez to the bartender, I sez…” and a joke follows along behind. I can’t seem to remember any of the dozens I’ve heard over the years that started out that way, but it’s a traditional way to start a joke. It’s not a traditional way to start a technical presentation, although if it […]

Our recommendations

The Mountain Democrat endorses: Joe Hoffman, Judge, Office 5 Vicki Ashworth, Judge, Office 1 Vern Pierson, District Attorney CPA Joe Harn, Auditor-Controller CPA C.L. Raffety, Treasurer-Tax Collector Bill Schultz, Recorder-Clerk.

Credibility an issue

In a May 19 editorial titled “Where’s the beef?” we took note of the following: “The ‘Climate Assessment Summary of Issues’ filed April 24 by the independent consultant hired by the county at a cost of $140,000 puts the allegation of a ‘culture of fear’ into the category of fantasy. Page 2A of the 34-page summary […]

My turn: Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink

About 60 percent of all developed water sources come from the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the form of snowmelt and rain runoff. The world’s largest fresh water reservoir (in the form of snow pack) is right here in California. Snow melt finds its way through mountain streams, tributaries and large river systems eventually making […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Other things I have learned

The following are some life lessons I have stumbled across. I hope I have avoided platitudes, empty pieties, self-evident propositions, commencement oratory and anything that sounds like it may have come from the inside of a fortune cookie. But then again… 1. If someone says, “It’s too complicated for me to explain it to you,” […]

The rural life: Cloud watching

“Not a cloud in the sky.” Sound like a perfect day? Not to me. I think a sky without a single cloud is like a table without flowers, or a neck without pearls. It’s missing the adornment that sets off its true beauty. I’ve always loved clouds. I love gazing at them to see what […]