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 […]

California rambling: Wonderful Wawona

Miwok Indians named it “Pallahchun,” meaning “a good place to stay.” Settlers later named it after the Miwok name for “big tree,” wawō’na. Though, to many, it is Yosemite National Park’s “best-kept secret.”  With its historical hotel, golf course, history center, artist studio and nearby attractions, Wawona is where people who live in Yosemite Valley […]

Wanted by the U.S.

It may seem like spitting in the wind, but we’ll give credit to Attorney General Eric Holder, obviously with the support of President Obama, for exposing the Chinese cyber thieves. Part of a military unit, the pictures published Tuesday show at least two of them in uniform. With names like Wang Dong aka Ugly Gorilla, […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: I am a tad weird

It seems that I notice things that other people do not notice. Recently I concluded that most right-handed people pick their noses with their left hand and that the nostrils of right-handed people are a little wider on the right side as you look at them. • Keeping in mind the above information — never […]

Memorial Day

Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of the summer vacation season. Nothing like a three-day weekend to bring out all the amateur drivers and keep the CHP busy with those who imbibed too much before heading back home. Originally Memorial Day was called Decoration Day to honor those who died in the Civil War — […]

Take my word for it: Summer ‘break’

I try not to be jealous of my kids, but this time I cannot resist. Summer is coming and I can’t help but miss my youth the most this time of the year. My eldest daughter “graduates” kindergarten next week. Then she’ll escape the grasp of the educational system and be released back into the […]

My turn: Barton helping beyond the hospital Walls

It takes collaboration and action to meet a community’s needs. In March 2012, Barton Health engaged with South Lake Tahoe residents to complete a comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment. In the Affordable Care Act, all nonprofit hospitals must identify health needs for vulnerable, often under-served, populations within their community and create an action plan to […]

Poor choice

Regular readers of Mountain Democrat editorials know we take strong positions and don’t expect 100 percent agreement on those from our readers. We tackle the issues locally, statewide and nationally, undaunted by whatever power may feel offended. One thing we never do is comment on pending court cases. Our staff provides detailed and unbiased coverage […]

Rock doc: Major shaking on the horizon

I once experienced a small earthquake when I was visiting the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The natives thought little of the temblor but I was impressed that the ground beneath my feet could suddenly and without warning start to shake. Later, when I majored in geology in college, I learned that my native […]

Whistleblower or mole?

What are we to make of Edward Snowden, now under the protection of Russian president-for-life Vladimir Putin? Snowden fancies himself a whistleblower saving us from a vast domestic surveillance program by the National Security Agency. That’s the view of Sen. Rand Paul. His father, Ron Paul, is organizing a clemency petition for Snowden. That viewpoint won […]

Belltower: Saratoga a lost opportunity

When I flew to Munich, Germany, in 1966 I had already been in the Navy a year. That included nine weeks of boot camp in San Diego (now closed), a summer of working in the Marine scullery in Memphis, Tenn., until my billet for eight months of avionics school came through. Then I spent another […]

The balancing act: Being nonpartisan doesn’t stop politics

Running for office in El Dorado County, as non partisan as it is supposed to be (no party affiliations), is still loaded with plenty of dirty politics. And it looks like there is a need of a large laundromat to clean up the schmutz being hurled by some members of the Board of Supervisors and […]

The weekly Daley: Good news, bad news or not even news?

It’s prom season and the prom fashion police appear to be out in force. Reports abound that this girl or that boy has been denied entrance to the prom because she or he was wearing an outfit that didn’t suit those in power in their school or school district. CNN online gives a brief history […]

Fracking the economy

Count on one thing. The Obama administration dislikes oil. Though it touted the increased domestic oil production while President Obama ran for reelection, it will do everything it can behind the scenes to hinder it. Witness two years-going on three years of delay of the Keystone XL Pipeline to bring Canadian oil to the Gulf […]

Something to think about: Clueless about country

I am not a country music fan. When I was a child, it was called country western and there was a lot of twang in it. The men’s voices all seemed to have gotten stuck in adolescence as they semi-yodeled mournful words. There was that old joke that if you played country music backwards you […]