Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chamber of Commerce ad


On Feb. 3, the Mountain Democrat contained a full-page ad taken out by the Chamber of Commerce that makes me wonder if the members have a collective reading comprehension disability. Or maybe they failed eighth grade civics.

The ad warns folks not to “sign the petition” because doing so would ensure state control of land-use policy in El Dorado County. Huh? They are referring to the “Fix Highway 50 First/Keep Us Rural” initiative. If approved by the voters, this initiative would actually ensure continuing, and stronger, local control of land use.

In the last few years, big out-of-county developers have been trying, and sometimes succeeding, to subvert the voter-approved General Plan by pushing for rezones and land-use redesignations. Passage of the initiative would make it much harder for them to do that.

I will assume that Mountain Democrat readers are both more literate, more honest and more rational than the Chamber of Commerce members appear to be. I urge all of you to go to the Rural Communities United Website,, and read the initiative for yourself. I guarantee that you will find nothing in it that is any threat to local control of land use.

Now for the civics lesson. When an initiative petition is being circulated, your signature on the petition merely says, “OK, you can put this on the ballot.” It is the result of the ensuing election that determines whether the initiative actually becomes a law. Even if you disagree with the folks who support the “Fix Highway 50 First/Keep Us Rural” initiative, be brave and sign the petition. Let the voters of the county say yea or nay to sprawl and gridlock. It’s called democracy.

Cameron Park

Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 24 comments

  • Cut-to-the-chaseFebruary 10, 2014 - 7:42 am

    Thanks Mary... It's like a Winter storm warning: more snow coming. The COC and developers have a lot to lose if they can't confuse or confound the voting public. The RCU Initiative stops big subdivision projects like Marble Valley, Dixon ranch, San Stino, and keeps rural zoning in tact. There's a lot of gold in the hills that the RCU Initiative prevents the developers from extracting from EDC. RCU focuses on the simple idea that "'s the Traffic, stupid!" The COC should tell the voters how traffic on 50 will be fixed once another 33,000 homes are built in Shingle Springs, El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park..... They won't, because the don't have a solution...

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  • RoseFebruary 10, 2014 - 6:20 pm

    Seems to me if the county gives the Chamber of Commerce annual Transit Occupancy tax Funds to cover its costs, does that mean the ad was really paid for by the county, imagine that.....

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  • VernFebruary 11, 2014 - 3:04 pm

    Mary Lou, what you say is solid advice if we were not in El Dorado County. Here in El Dorado County when a vote is close especially when it comes to development issues it always comes out of the elections office in favor of the BOS who represent the development community because they pay for their election efforts.... its simple , follow the money.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 9:16 am

    Nice article Mary--however damage has been done...I have personally talked to 25 different people who are now afraid to sign anything...many didnt know that candidates also have to have signatures. This is way I am so mad. I dont care what people vote on. However, the "scare" tactic used---also sent out the wrong message. As it is, many of the "30" year olds dont vote at all. Some good people are running for office--some good issues are trying to get to ballot....shaking is a shame. everytime I explain to someone up here...I think of each and every member of the Chamber and its Pac group. this issue is "the" example of why small groups of people should not have all the power.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 9:17 am

    way-should be " why"

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 9:48 am Look who the main backers are of the El Dorado County Chambers...some of the top dog Smart Growth copanies.

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  • Did as you suggested...February 10, 2014 - 10:00 am

    ...and here's what the petition says: "If CalTrans determines that traffic on any Highway 50 road segment west of the City of Placerville has reached, or is forecast to reach, Level of Service F (LOS F = stop-and-go, gridlock) during weekday, peak-hour commute periods, then the County shall not approve single-family detached housing subdivisions of 5 or more parcels until cumulative Highway 50 traffic levels are improved and stay below LOS F." What most people probably don't know is that Caltrans "forecasts" population growth at 3% per year in El Dorado County...NEARLY THREE TIMES the rate that the County forecasts based on historic activity. So, are you suggesting that we should give a state agency authority to decide land use issues in our county...even if they use wildly unsupported projections as the basis for their "forecasts"?

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 10:12 am

    Also-- if Caltrans has blown out their numbers as well--then they should be called on-- to correct them. Or they are also manipulating people through numbers--we have been taught--to believe the numbers...because who would lie to the people?. The people of El Dorado County deserve to decide for themselves on what issues are important to them. If the people in this county want development and traffic--so be it. But is they dont--some groups need to stop and actually listen to the voters.

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  • VinceFebruary 10, 2014 - 10:48 am

    You are incorrect about your growth rate assertion. CalTrans used the SACOG predicted growth rate of 0.72% to 2035. See the CalTrans Letter to the county dated September 25, 2013. Even with this low growth rate and all the planned improvements, they still forecast worsening traffic over the next 20 years.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 10:01 am Chamber Handbook...mentions the "evils" of measure "y"--that the people of el Dorado Voted on --twice. they have not updated their handbook--and since they are always on top of things--they must still support what they wrote.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 10:06 am

    Caltrans has said no major work is going to be done on hwy 50...not in the near future--no money. But at least you are making an effort to look at a variety of different papers. I said that people have the RIGHT to vote on issues they feel are important. The right to petition their government...I did not support any side or issue. Politics is a personal choice-- just like religious choices. It is why people came to America to begin with...for these freedoms.

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  • Civics 101February 10, 2014 - 10:34 am

    The First Amendment ensures five basic rights or freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. None of these is superior to the, your right to petition does not impair another person's right to free speech to encourage that others not sign your petition. To suggest people should sign a petition even if they disagree with the proponents (or with their proposed "solution") is like passing a health care law to find out what's in it. That health care thing hasn't worked out so well...

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 11:50 am

    With the exception of telling business not to let the petitioners on their property....or using scare tactics. the people I talked to said that Bill Center was made out to be the "devil" himself...all this someone afraid of the people deciding for themselves? "thought" policing. The right not to be offended is an alleged right that is sometimes invoked, either as pseudo law or in appeals to "common sense," to counter or challenge freedom of speech.[15] This is sometimes in response to racism, misandry, misogyny, homophobia or other forms of discriminatory language, sometimes a response to perceived blasphemy or insults to religion, and sometimes simply a case of political correctness, conservative correctness or other forms of thought policing. (<-----thought policing") The precedent of the Supreme Court explicitly denies the existence of such a right.[16]" and you are correct--not one stands more than the other. We have the right to petition our government. But for me--let me know what business has decided for you--that you can not read something for yourself...and decide what you-- as an individual-- would like to see on the ballot. Remember one cannot yell "fire"--just because they want incites a crowd. Grammar school civics. One cannot incite "fear." And I for one, will testify in a court of law that I have heard the fear of petitions from people because of this AD. francescaduchamp This ad incited fear. got anything else?

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  • Rex PebodyFebruary 10, 2014 - 1:36 pm

    All of my life I have been a pro-growth chamber of commerce supporter. However when it comes to fix Highway 50 I am not only going to sign the petition I am going to vote for this initiative when it gets on the ballot. The main reason is I can’t stand bumbling bureaucrats and self-serving politicians trying to thwart the will of the voters that they work for. The citizen’s intent in adopting Measure Y was clear. We want responsible growth not gridlock. This desire on the part of the voting public is reflected in the current general plan. In the current general plan 16,000 new residences are approved. Yet the members of our current Board of Supervisors are considering amending the general plan to allow 17,000 additional houses. There is no way that Highway 50 can absorb this increased volume of traffic. The result will not only be more traffic backing up on Highway 50 for longer periods of time but it will increase the back up and gridlock we experience on the surface streets that people use to access highway 50. If this boneheaded (notice I didn’t spell it Bone-headed) attempt to amend the general plan is allowed to move forward the streets that feed traffic on to Highway 50, like Ponderosa, Cameron Park Drive, Cambridge Road and Bass Lake Road will become rush hour parking lots. This may seem like an extreme assessment but I moved to El Dorado County from southern California and I saw what happened to essentially smaller communities were the growth of suburban development was allowed to proceed unchecked and without the proper increase of infrastructure. I am urging everyone who cares about the quality of life in El Dorado County to consider signing the petition and voting to force the politicians who are supposed to represent us to abide by the spirit of Measure Y and the will of the voting public.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 6:58 pm

    Rose...I try not to think of them at all. It was their PAC group --that paid for the AD--not sure where their money comes from. Its members are Chairman Kirk Bone, Secretary Mark Luster, Treasurer Gordon Helm, Mike Kobus, Kimberly Beal, Brian Jensen, and Laurel Brent-Bumb. They do ask for contributions Interested in supporting the efforts of the El Dorado County Chamber Political Action Committee? Contributions can be made to EDC Chamber PAC, 542 Main Street, Placerville, CA 95667. FPPC # 1341257. For more information call (530) 621-5885.

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  • taxpayerFebruary 10, 2014 - 7:16 pm

    In 2012 54% of the Chamber's $568,834 reported revenue came from taxpayers; additionally, their building is virtually rent-free ($1 pa from the County).

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  • VernFebruary 11, 2014 - 1:58 pm

    TAXPAYER, you’re correct. Its my understanding this budget 2013-14 there was a unexspected additional 1 million in the TOT Fund (Transit Occupancy Fund), most of which went to the Chamber programs. The Chamber serves at the will of the Board of Supervisors especially during an election year. think of all the guest speaker events sponsored by the chamber for McClintock, all paid for by us tax payers. Also your correct $1.00 year rent with the same deal when they take over the downtown courthouse, both deals brokered by Sweeney whos daughter-in-law runs Bigelows office and son who is warming up to run for Supervisor.

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  • Oh myyyyyy G*dFebruary 11, 2014 - 2:11 pm

    Vern - Who says theres no GOB network in this county? Just thinking s-w-e-e-n-e-y scares the living c*** out of me; he still rules.

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  • vernFebruary 11, 2014 - 3:50 pm

    During the recent EID race a flyer advocating the election of one of those running for the EID board, Rich Englefield, went out using the return address of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce. County Counsel said no big deal. Well thats not exactly ture, if their useing Tax payers funds at the direction of the BOS to support a single political party, I as a tax payer have a problem with it and County Counsel works for me.

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  • VernFebruary 11, 2014 - 4:15 pm

    Heres another way to help balance what the Chamber does in our community. Americans For Democratic Action need your dollars. Send your donation to: 1629 K Street NW Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006 Phone: (202) 600-7762 E-mail:

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  • Susie O.February 21, 2014 - 10:26 am

    Thanks, Fran. EDC Chamber of Commerce = Bullies. Let's mention about the Political Action Committee Board of Directors: that Kirk Bone is the Serrano/Marble Valley developer, Laurel Brent-Bumb is the EDC COC director, PG&E and Sierra Pacific are big corporations, Kim Beal is a local realtor/developer. I won't be supporting or buying services from the others on the PAC, and in fact, it questions me purchasing services or items from ANY EDC COC member. I own a small business myself and their anti-community resident attitude is why I won't join. EDC COC members: if you are anti-community resident, anti-democracy (the people's right to initiative), think it's ethical to misrepresent the truth and mislead voters, and if you don't support the community, why should the community support your businesses? Koby Kicks Ants, maybe you feel strongly about being on the EDC COC PAC Board, and it's your right, go for it, but your actions can have consequences. Just saying.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 7:10 pm

    Now, the EDC Chamber PAC allows us to take the next step by dedicating support and financial resources to the local candidates and initiatives that best reflect our members’ priorities.” ...and financial resources <---their words not mine.

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  • D. HoffmanFebruary 10, 2014 - 7:32 pm

    Rose if taxpayer is right the county paid 54% of chambers ad.

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  • Fran DuchampFebruary 10, 2014 - 8:27 pm

    Thanks taxpayer...

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