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 […]

The balancing act: What to do when global warming fizzles

First it was global warming, it caught people’s attention, but concern soon waned especially when people realized it was going to cost them freedom and money. More important, when it stopped warming in the mid-1990s, it soon ranked at the bottom of world problems in most polls. So what did the activists and marketers of […]

Rock doc: Smarter than your average bear

Alex Waroff had a fantastic summer job this year. The veterinary student at Washington State University worked with faculty members as they tested just how clever grizzly bears are. What’s at issue is the use of tools. “Besides primates, scientists know that certain birds, dolphins, elephants and some other animals use tools,” Waroff told me. […]

Winds of war

We have to ask, how much different is Russia under Putinocracy than Germany under Hitlerism? The decades may be different, but the similarities are too close. Let’s begin with Putin’s beginning as he is tabbed to take over as premier from the ailing Boris Yeltsin. In September 1999, three apartment blocks were blown up by […]

My turn: Thinking about tossing your hat into the ring?

Being a candidate for any elective office can be overwhelming, confusing and many times not worth the effort. From your locally elective offices to our state and federal offices, the process can be daunting and unthinkable to the faint of heart. Candidates, especially at the state and federal level requires nerves of steel, the patience […]

The balancing act: Is noise the real fear?

Mather Airport is working to upgrade its instrument landing system from a current standard Instrument Landing System to an improved system. What that means is to reduce the minimum visibility requirements from a ceiling of 200 feet and a visibility of one half mile to something a bit less. With reduced minimums required for landing […]

Where the money goes

While the defense budget is expected to decline from 4.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product as of the 2010 budget to 4.6 percent by 2015, federal medical expenditures will rise from 4.9 percent of GDP now to 5.9 percent 10 years from now. That is the forecast from the Congressional Budget Office updated Aug. 27. […]

Pratt best choice

Last month we recommended El Dorado County Planning Commissioner David Pratt for District 2 Supervisor. For those going to the polls tomorrow, here is a brief reminder of why we are urging that you vote for David Pratt. Pratt is the only person on the ballot with 10 years experience in county government. Before his […]

Belltower: Echo Summit

Recently I received a book called “Echo Summit.” It’s 126 pages of historical pictures and captions. The cover is a photo of a huge snow bank left near the summit that had been cut through to allow freight wagons to pass through. The snow bank was higher than the wagons. The book’s intro notes that […]

The weekly Daley: What the…?

I had to pinch myself to see if I was awake the other day when I glanced at a headline saying that Newt Gingrich was kudoing Barack Obama for his current lack of an ISIS strategy. “Can’t be,” I thought. “Gotta be a typo or a joke or a play on words, otherwise it’s a […]

Something to think about: Slow boat returns

Vast. Magical. Beautiful. Ugly. Amazing. Superstitious. All of those words describe China for me. It was so different from what I expected — so much easier; so much better. Vast — with 1.35 billion people and a land mass just a bit smaller than the United States, everything in China except the food and the […]

Legislators want your guns

California’s Democrat-controlled Legislature keeps coming up with ways to take away Californians’ right to bear arms. It keeps finding insidious ways of chipping away at that. The latest attack is on the purchase of ammunition. Already, there are laws on the books that prevent the insane, the violent and convicted felons from owning weapons. There […]

Rock doc: A wolf in other clothing

I was hospitalized for 10 days in late July. In August, to rebuild my strength, I took my dog on increasingly long walks around town. We went virtually every day; the exercise was good for both Buster Brown and me. Buster is such a mongrel it’s hard to be sure what breeds have contributed to […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Chicken Little and the Sky is Falling

Chicken Little was hit on the head by an acorn and believed that the sky was falling. Our politically conservative Chicken Littles are now eerily quiet on what were sky-is-falling rants. Here are just a few that we no longer hear about because, wait for it … they are simply are not true. The Affordable […]

‘Kid Obama’ down three rounds — world title fight continues

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. — William Shakespeare To Shakespeare the world was a stage. Today, in the throes of war and terrorism, it resembles one […]

No ‘strateegery’

“Strateegery” is how we always seem to remember President George W. Bush pronouncing it, although that may be just an exaggeration promoted by the wags at Saturday Night Live. However he may have fractured some pronunciations, one could never accuse Bush 43 of lacking a strategy. As this is being written before the Labor Day […]

The balancing act: More county shenanigans

Item No. 3 on the consent calendar at the Aug. 26 El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting demonstrates why the county needs new top management. It was a small item asking for three $20,000 checks: one to the city of Placerville, one to the Cameron Park CSD and a third to the El Dorado Hills […]

Labor Day

Labor Day always marks the last hurrah of summer and the transition to fall. For most students, except here in El Dorado County, the day after Labor Day is the start of school. It’s a long weekend and here it is noteworthy for the Highway 50 traffic of hippie-like people returning from the Burning Man […]

California rambling: Surprising Santa Clara

“Everyone claims to be Silicon Valley,” David Andre of the Santa Clara Convention and Visitors Bureau said of the many cities in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond that identify themselves as a center of high technology, “but Santa Clara is where Silicon Valley began, and it’s still its heart.” Nowhere is Silicon Valley’s […]

Keep Kaser in prison

Twenty-nine years ago Robert Kaser tried to kill his estranged wife and two step-children. He shot all three with a .45-caliber pistol and succeeded in killing one — 14-year-old Ehren Dixon, who died three days later because a bullet knicked his liver and doctors couldn’t stop the bleeding. His doctor was amazed he lived three […]

The weekly Daley: A little potpourri for a change

I hardly ever delve into local government or political issues in this space, because next week I may have to be strictly impartial in my coverage of said issues. But last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors took an action that I think is just wrong. The four county leaders voted unanimously to contract out the […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Upbeat is always better

Who is in charge of the mornings in your home? If you have an upbeat person in charge in the morning, the rest of the day will probably be enjoyable. Upbeat people start the day with a “good morning” salutation, often accompanied by a hug or a kiss or both. • My upbeat wife, Monika, […]

Success turns golden

It is always remarkable when a couple stays married for 50 years. Even more remarkable are a bunch of independent farmers working together for mutual success for 50 years. We are talking about the Apple Hill Growers Association. This year is its 50th anniversary. The formation of the association and its shift from wholesale to […]

My turn: Conservatism vs. the GOP: Setting the record straight

Many thanks to Gene Altshuler for being such a shining beacon of radical lib-think, with his recent tome, “The Democratic-Chronicles: Drowning in their Tea Pee 838.” It offers so much material with which to debunk liberal propaganda and set the record straight. And such a cute title! Since Mr. Altshuler is hopelessly misguided in his […]

My turn: How Obamacare will kill job-based plans

Americans aren’t all that optimistic about Obamacare, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll: Fifty-seven percent say the law isn’t working as planned. That number will shoot even higher if employer health insurance vanishes, as an S&P Capital IQ report predicts. The financial-research firm forecasts that 90 percent of Americans who now have employer-sponsored […]

The balancing act: Poor sport

Some people take their losses and move on; others are vindictive. Sometimes when you want retribution and revenge after a loss, your actions are not only spiteful and selfish, but costly. That can be said for termed-out El Dorado County Board of Supervisors member Ron Briggs who will lose his $77,000-a-year job at the end […]

Iowa Hill update

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District has contracted with Jacob Associates to do core drilling, underground design and “rock engineering” for the district’s Iowa Hill pumped-storage project, according to SMUD’s summer report, the “Confluence.” The data collection was completed in May and the contractor “found rock at the planned location of the powerhouse to be suitably […]

Mystery savings

The members of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors must have chosen “mystery meat” when they went through the high school cafeteria line in their younger years. That’s what they seem to be putting on their budgetary trays these days. The mystery meat is the chief administrative officer’s “investment strategy savings.” The CAO pegs […]

The weekly Daley: Unintended consequences, a true story

Although I don’t barbecue all that often, when I do I like to be able to leave a platter of meat or oiled vegetables outside for a minute or two while I check the coals or do a last scrape of the grill. Too often though, in those couple of moments, meat bees or yellow […]

Something to think about: Star Trek and Dog Days

The Dog Days of summer officially ended Aug. 11. The hottest days of summer, believed to cause dogs and people to go mad, might not be over, but the term comes from celestial circumstances, not weather. Dog Days are the period when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises in conjunction with the sun, roughly July 3-Aug. […]

Belltower: Cat stories

After reading about Walt and Hadley Kopps’ misadventures on the way to having feral cats fixed, I was reminded of our family’s cat stories. Especially after reading Jennifer Forsberg Meyer’s defense of cats and some of the wacky things her cat does. She has a very impressive cat. My first cat came flying in the […]

Dave Pratt for District 2

Five of the six candidates running for Supervisor, District 2, met with our editorial board. All left us with a favorable impression, though some more than others. On Sept. 9 the voters of the district that includes the south county, some of El Dorado Hills and Bass Lake Road will choose one of the six. […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Democracy denied

I am not a fan of initiatives — aka legislating by ballot. We elect representatives, and we should let them do their job. And while I may disagree with my representative’s vote from time to time (in the case of McClintock all the time), I have my chance to change things come election time. At […]

My turn: Course and program offerings at the El Dorado Center

In the first article of this series, I wrote about the state of California’s budget woes between 2007 and 2013 and the impacts on California’s Community Colleges (fewer course sections and higher tuition, among other deleterious results) and about recent improvements in the state budget (augmented somewhat by proceeds from Proposition 30) and the stabilization […]

The 2016 challenge

Since our current president seems to be spending most of the balance of his second term playing golf, hopscotching around the country on Air Force One to raise funds for the Democrats, and hanging out with celebrities, the rest of can only look forward to the 2016 presidential election. And thank goodness for term limits. Really, […]

The rural life: Who’s the real jerk?

“Sorry,” went the headline. “Your Cat Is Actually A Total Jerk. It’s Just Science.” The piece was written by Renee Jacques, a “viral content editor” at the Huffington Post online. It’s meant to be funny and, of course, to go viral, but her claim that “it’s just science” rubbed me the wrong way. Like one […]

California rambling: Surprising Richmond

Agnes Moore didn’t mean to be an agent of social change when, at 21, she applied for work as a welder at Richmond’s Kaiser Shipyard. A month earlier, Pearl Harbor had been bombed in a surprise attack and, like the entire nation, she was incensed about it. So, when Moore heard on the radio, “Women! […]

The weekly Daley: The Islamic Caliphate

We’re getting all involved in Iraq again. We’re trying to save countless minority ethnic groups and minority religious groups from annihilation, and that’s a good thing. The ISIS or ISIL or Islamic State (currently its name for itself) wants to set up an Islamic state in part of Syria and Iraq and have Sharia law […]

Drought still on

On Aug. 7 the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center downgraded the odds of having an El Nino fall and winter from 80 percent to 65 percent. The unit of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is pushing El Nino possibilities back from this month through winter to late fall and early winter. The next […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Cocktail hour for the like-minded

Cocktail hours are pretty popular these days. Bars and restaurants offer drinks for a lower price during the cocktail hours only. If I owned a saloon, I would invite like-minded people for a specific hour. Most people would rather drink with people they like, and I would avoid verbal and physical fights for the most […]

My turn: Kill the messenger at EID

We appreciate Director Alan Days’ confirmation of his meeting with the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and their director of legal affairs. This is not a free speech issue. The real point that the community would like him to respond to centers around this question: Why is a newly elected EID director seeking […]

Celebrity bizarro

Japanese-taught martial arts expert Steven Seagal’s biggest role on the silver screen was the 1992 movie, “Under Siege,” in which he played a Navy Seal counterterrorism expert. His acting career went into decline from there. Now he has really entered celebrity Purgatory. Seagal apparently has a blues band and was reported by Russian news to […]

Sand Fire benefit

Mark your calendar for Friday, Aug. 22. On that date from 5 to 10 p.m. there will be a pasta dinner and entertainment at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds to raise funds for the benefit of the victims of the 4,200-acre Sand Fire. What a great community effort put together in short order by community […]

My turn: The paradox of gun control

Another shooting of innocent people by a mentally deranged youth seeking retribution for the way he perceived he’d been treated has brought emotionally charged demands for “sanity” in our gun laws. The father of one of the victims insists “not one more.” Of course, it’s an opportunity to play the “blame game.” The easy targets […]

Belltower: From aluminum to plastic

When I lived on Bernal Heights in San Francisco my landlord, who lived upstairs, was working on his Master of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco State. His oeuvre was using an airbrush to paint large oil paintings of Swanson TV dinner trays lit by colored lights. He held his master’s show at his house. […]