Yes to Prop. 2

Proposition 2 on the state ballot is a simple concept, but includes some complexities in its execution. It seems nothing the state does can be neatly wrapped up in a bow, but we will try. Proposition 2 is a “rainy day fund” for the state budget — a reserve fund. It actually replaces a current […]

Novasel for District 5

Meeting with both candidates seeking to represent South Lake Tahoe on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, we found two candidates extremely knowledgeable about the area east of Echo Summit. But District 5 now includes Pollock Pines. This is where the two candidates begin to separate. We found Novasel not just knowledgeable about Meyers, […]

My turn: Steamrolling SMUD’s Iowa Hill Project

Note: This article was written and sent to the Mountain Democrat on Aug. 29, two weeks before the King Fire erupted in our community, burning over 97,000 acres and destroying 80 structures. As a Camino resident, it is very disappointing to see SMUD steamrolling their $800-plus million Iowa Hill project (adjacent to Slab Creek Reservoir […]

My turn: Measures M and O could be bad for family farms as well as residents

El Dorado County agriculture and our family farms could be adversely impacted by passage of Measures M and O. This would happen because the voter-approved 2004 General Plan would be partially invalidated, thus undermining the efforts by El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) and the El Dorado County Water Agency to obtain additional water supplies for […]

Roc doc: Triggering the ice age

From time to time I give public talks on climate change — those large scale changes geologists have been studying since the 1830s. At those talks I’m often asked a basic question about climate that, until now, has stumped scientists. Here’s the background. In the 1830s a Swiss naturalist named Louis Agassiz started promoting the […]

Ranalli endorsed

Mike Ranalli is our choice for Supervisor, District 4. The voters in the primary whittled things down to the top two candidates. Having interviewed both candidates, we feel confident Ranalli is the best choice for the voters of District 4. We consider him the most knowledgeable about county government by virtue of the number of […]

The rural life: Having info? Good. Using it? Better!

Have you ever said to yourself, “I’m going to do that,” in response to a good idea you’d seen or heard? Then you got busy or distracted, and you wound up not doing it, after all. Which meant something that might have had a positive influence on your life was lost instead. This happens to […]

California rambling: Discovering Iceland’s Westfjords

Iceland’s Westfjords, an area of mythic beauty discovered by Norse settlers 1,140 years ago, is now just being rediscovered by leisure travelers. Until two years ago, this remote, northwest edge of Iceland, connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus of land and populated by small fishing villages, lonely sheep farms and millions of nesting […]

The weekly Daley: Spittin’ image

If you are a baseball fan, you’ve no doubt watched games in which players, sometimes all of them, spit repeatedly — on camera — into their hands, onto the area around home plate, into the dirt at first, second and third bases, onto the dirt area of the pitcher’s mound. Often a batter reaches down […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Quiet people learn more

I guess all of us have two or three friends who love to talk. The heavyweight, champion talkers love to have quiet friends and spouses who appear to be good listeners. Marcel Achard said, “Women like silent men. They think they’re listening.” • Actually, the silent ones may not be listening. They are being quiet […]

Yes to Measure I

Measure I asks city voters to approve adding a half cent to the sales tax. The measure will bring in approximately $1.8 million a year to repair city streets. Currently the city receives about $200,000 a year for that. The city’s capital spending needs are $21 million just for streets. The City Council has proposed […]

No to Measure K

Some folks may have enough property to have a circular driveway, meaning two entrance points so a friend can drive to your front door to pick you up and exit out the other street access point without having to do a three-point turnaround maneuver or back out a driveway into the street. Anyone who has […]

My turn: The wrong advice

Recently Ellen Van Dyke and Richard Boylan published letters in this newspaper regarding the Planning Commission’s review of the Community and Economic Development Advisory Committee (CEDAC) Targeted General Plan Amendments and Zoning Ordinance Updates (TGPA/ZOUs). Both letters were so filled with misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric that it is difficult to determine where to begin a […]

Borelli, Clerici, Thomas endorsed

While sometimes county supervisors have won reelection without opposition, we are pleased to see a competitive election in Placerville. In fact, we can’t recall there ever being a non-competitive election for the Placerville City Council. Five candidates are seeking election to three open seats on the City Council. All five met with our editorial board. […]

Belltower: Lessons from SEAL training

I only volunteered for two things before getting married. No. 1, I enlisted in the Navy. The draft was on then and I didn’t want to be an Army draftee. No. 2, I volunteered for Antarctic duty. The back of the Antarctic Service Medal says, “Courage, Sacrifice and Devotion.” Everybody called it “Courage, Sacrifice and […]

The balancing act: The budget debacle

With winter coming it was a good thing that Supervisor Ron Mikulaco and Auditor Joe Harn came up with a plan to pay for the second snowplow and saved the county $50,000 interest instead of following the Community Development Agency’s plan to lease it, which is usually the most expensive way to acquire anything. It […]

The weekly Daley: What’s wrong?

A dark, giant cloud obscures the silver lining. As of (fill in time and date), the following problems, issues, calamities, circumstances, conditions and perceptions were causing heartburn in the world. In Hong Kong, residents are protesting by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions by now. They want a more local and controllable brand of […]

No on Measure O

OK, we’ll admit it. Measure O is so bureaucratic and full of obscure references that we don’t pretend to understand what its proponents think they are trying to accomplish. What are “platted lands overlay?” What is Policy What is Map LU-1? What are policies and And, really, why should we care? This […]

Something to think about: Not so inscrutable

I learned a tremendous amount about Chinese culture, the people and the countryside on our 20-day China Culture Tour, but here are a few things that stood out to me: All of our local guides had false Anglicized names, to make it easier on English-speaking tongues and some of those names were pretty funny. They […]

No on Measure N

Measure N was promoted by a group called Region Builders. After getting it on the ballot, the group disassociated itself with its own ballot initiative. We find that to be a peculiar combination of events. While there are some attractive pieces of this initiative after a cursory look and it seems more carefully drafted than […]

My turn: At the crossroads

When for the first time you happen upon the intersection of Cedar Ravine Road and Main Street, you are quickly struck by the feeling that you have entered a place of special significance, a place like no other found ordinarily, a location on the map of historical worth, a section of a small town rich […]

Vote no on disastrous Measure M

Measure M gives Caltrans absolute control over the El Dorado County General Plan. Before proceeding to detailed discussion of this ill-conceived measure, it is important to remind our readers that El Dorado County is one of the few if not only counties in California that collects development impact fees for Highway 50, an interstate highway […]

California rambling: The Shelties in our lives

Joan and I have had seven Shetland sheepdogs live with us, during in our marriage. Heather was our first Sheltie, a sweet though terminally timid sable-colored puppy that was my Christmas gift to Joan when we lived in Tahoe City in 1974 (we’d been married four years, but military service, graduate school and relocations kept […]

The rural life: Life’s little half-halts

Can a colonoscopy make you happy? Having just had one, I can say, unequivocally, yes. I don’t mean the peace of mind that results from knowing your insides are OK, though that’s nice, too. I’m referring to plain old everyday happiness, in general. A colonoscopy can boost that, as well. How can this be? The […]

The weekly Daley: Small world, different world

Driving down a dirt road last Thursday, early evening, actually a sand and ground-up-seashell road on the way to my cousin’s house in Florida, I’m listening to NPR on the rental car radio. Yada, yada, “a huge wildfire in California,” yada, yada, I’m looking for a driveway that’s covered by tropical vegetation that I haven’t […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: What is your excuse?

During my waltz through life, I have heard several people blame their former spouse or spouses for making their past or present life difficult. The favorite phrase of these “spouse blamers” is, “If it weren’t for …” In some cases, they have been divorced for 30 years or more. • It’s true that there are […]

Invaluable project

The partial collapse of the Esmeralda Tunnel Sept. 21 is a reminder of two things: 1. Project 184 still has quite a bit that needs to be upgraded. 2. It is worth every penny. The tunnel was built in 1930 by PG&E when it owned Project 184. Project 184, of course, is the combination of […]

My turn: Safe and reliable service key priorities for EID

Each year the El Dorado Irrigation District completes key capital improvement projects to help ensure the reliability of our infrastructure and services. The district’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is a rolling five-year plan that identifies projects required for health and safety reasons, legal and regulatory reasons, maintaining existing assets, including life cycle replacement, as well […]

My turn: Closing waters to recreational fishing senseless

It took a change of leadership in Australia to bring some sense to marine reserves off their coastline, and it will take the same thing here in California before intelligent, science-based decisions can be made about our own Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). A newly-elected leadership in Australia’s government has announced it will repeal the management […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The opt-out syndrome

One of the most sacred rights we have as Americans is the right to vote. Yet citizens are opting out of the political system and not exercising this right in alarming numbers. In the last presidential election, 42.5 percent didn’t bother. No one expects a midterm turnout to approach that of a presidential year. For […]

Water politics

Make no mistake, there is a drought on. The rainfall season that began July 1, 2013, and ended June 30, 2014 was the fourth driest on record. Our rainfall records go back to the 1873-74 rain season. We remain optimistic that this is a one-off year like 1986-87 that recorded 19.42 inches and was followed […]

My turn: SAGE urges ‘no’ vote on Measure K

The El Dorado County Association of Surveyors, Architects, Geologists, and Engineers (SAGE) — a local group of professionals made up of land surveyors, architects, geologists and engineers who are passionate about serving the community and have been providing technical review, input and support on El Dorado County local issues for over 30 years — is […]

The balancing act: Is it incompetence or arrogance?

As the investigation grows it becomes apparent that the chief administrative officer, her assistant and most of the office is in trouble. An El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting on Sept. 9 revealed a new scandal could be happening and it involves a simple snowplow. It seems the CAO’s office can’t even buy equipment […]

Discouraging fire

As of Sunday morning the King Fire had gone up to just over 82,000 acres and was still 10 percent contained. Its continued march northeast is discouraging. We have faith in the expertise of the fire management. They are calling in as many resources as they can and area parking lots are filling with fire […]

Invaluable donation

Marshall Hospital has not one, but two hyperbaric chambers. Only a few hospitals in Northern California have these specialized wound healing chambers. At a cost of $80,000 each, the Marshall Hospital Auxiliary provided $56,000 last year for the purchase of these oxygen-enriched chambers that arrived five months ago. As detailed in a report by Mountain Democrat […]

Something to think about: Not so fast lane

On a slivered moon night last month, I stood outside with a few thousand other people, singing along with the Eagles, one of the three best bands of my lifetime. While I sang, fortunately drowned out by my fellow Eagles enthusiasts, I realized I was paying more attention to the meaning of the lyrics than […]

Rock doc: How hard is that?

A good friend of mine checks each morning on the web for the final “Jeopardy” question. It’s the last question on the taped “Jeopardy” program to be broadcast later that day. I don’t go to movies or follow sports, so I’m often at a loss when it comes to many quiz show questions. But recently […]

Thoroughly modern

Placerville’s new police chief, Scott Heller, is bringing the Police Department into the high-tech age in the way it connects to the public. Now the Police Department has its own phone app. (Sheriff, take note!) By going to the Apple Store or Google Play Store and searching for Placerville Police you can download an app […]

My turn: Small businesses deserve more from healthcare reform

President Obama marked the recent conclusion of open enrollment in the federal healthcare law’s insurance exchanges with a celebration at the White House. The administration exceeded its goal of signing 7 million Americans up for insurance coverage. Many small business owners are in a less festive mood. They’re dealing with burdensome new rules, taxes, and […]

My turn: Watershed issues and natural resource management

When James Marshall knelt by the tailrace of his lumber mill on the bank of the American River in El Dorado County 150 years ago, the riches foretold by the nugget of gold he had found consumed his thoughts. Today, Californians understand the true, lasting riches around him were the renewable resources: the trees on […]

Keep saving water

Remember to reset your automatic irrigation systems from three days a week to twice a week as of Tuesday, Sept. 16. If your address is an even one, your watering days are Wednesdays and Sundays, according to the El Dorado Irrigation District. Odd numbered addresses water on Tuesdays and Saturdays. All watering should be done […]

California Rambling: Taking notice of autumn

Next week, California changes seasons, but most Californians won’t even notice. September 23 is the first day of autumn, though it’s a day largely ignored by Californians, most of whom have never considered that the state has any other season than summer. What a shame, for California’s other seasons are truly glorious. Winter glistens with […]

The weekly Daley: War on terrorism, round 347 or so

Beginning 13 years ago today, America’s War on Terror continues apace with no end in sight. That’s probably because there will always be someone or many someones who will engage in what we would consider to be terrorism. With relatively few exceptions, those people are mostly, justifiably mad at their own governments or circumstances and […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Don’t become a full-time victim

In his book, “Earn It – Empower Yourself for Love,” Bob Quinlan states, “Victims, who feel others are responsible for everything that happens to them, will not assume responsibility. Fatalists, who believe their failures are pre-determined, do not understand the power of their ability to make decisions. Self-absorbed individuals will not care how their behavior […]

Congratulations, Shiva

Shiva Frentzen was the clear winner of the Sept. 9 special election to fill the District 2 supervisor seat for the next couple of years. She was far ahead of the pack with 30.96 percent of the vote. It is also clear that she picked up the votes of those with whom she is in […]