Mark Shields: ‘Changing places': The 2016 election

Since 1952 there have been 10 national elections in which there was no incumbent Republican president seeking a second White House term. In nine of those 10 Republican voters and the party settled early on a consensus favorite, who led the field in the Gallup Poll one year before the party’s national convention, and then […]

Belltower: Two famous stagecoaches

I read with interest Pat Lakey’s story in the Mountain Democrat about the Wells Fargo stagecoach joining the Christmas Parade. Credit, of course, belongs to Trisha Campbell, manager of the Broadway Wells Fargo branch, for getting the Wells Fargo stagecoach to come to Placerville. Credit also Richard Esposito, publisher of the Mountain Democrat, for taking […]

The Balancing Act: Unclaimed baggage

Only five months into his tenure it is apparent El Dorado County’s interim Chief Administrative Officer Larry Combs has firmly taken control. The Board of Supervisors has all but conceded power to Combs. Are problems developing as a result? Before hiring Combs, the county was saddled with another interim CAO and still HR director Pam Knorr, who […]

Bush plants a seed in Syria

Whether it was a sincere policy proposal, or a bold attempt to separate himself from the pack, or a mixture of both, Jeb Bush has emerged as the one to finally identify the problem our nation faces in fighting ISIS. Troops. Or rather, the lack of them. Bush last week became the first presidential candidate […]

Something to think about: All at once

For some, this is Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — the day when you pull out the Christmas decorations and go up to Apple Hill to cut down your Christmas tree or arrive at the department store at 3 a.m. to do your Christmas shopping. This year, for us, it’s a breather, cosmically […]

The weekly Daley: Food basics

You’ve seen the television ads and you’ve seen the displays in the stores and recipes in every magazine from “Outdoor Life” to “Real Simple.” Sure it’s the holiday season, but by any measurement it’s really the “food season.” Just as I got out of bed Wednesday morning, the phone rang. It was my sister-in-law calling […]

My Turn: Presidents and Thanksgiving

Responding to a request from Congress, President George Washington issued our nation’s first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789. Only in the midst of the crucible of civil war, however, did presidential proclamations of Thanksgiving become customary. Every year since 1863 our chief executives have urged Americans to recognize God’s bounty and blessings on the fourth Thursday in […]

Charley Krauthammer: Obama’s phony war

Tell me: What’s a suicide bomber doing with a passport? He’s not going anywhere. And, though I’m not a religious scholar, I doubt that a passport is required in paradise for a martyr to access his 72 black-eyed virgins. A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the terrorists. Why was it […]

California Rambling: Mormon Island

By the end of this winter, it may be another 60 years, or longer, before Mormon Island is seen again. For the past three years, Folsom Lake’s water level has been so low due to the drought that the dismantled Gold Rush-era town’s exposed foundations became one of the most popular attractions in El Dorado […]

The Rural Life: Humans united

My husband and I watched season 1, episode 1 of “The Andy Griffith Show” the other evening. I’m not sure how old actor Ron Howard was at the time, but as Andy Taylor’s son Opie he looked and behaved like the most adorable 5-year-old you’ve ever seen. Opie is upset because Rose, the housekeeper and […]

John Stossel: Anti-liberty politicians

After a terrorist attack, it’s natural to ask: What can politicians do to keep us safe? One thing they could do is actually focus on keeping us safe rather than devoting so much time, energy and hot air to the many things government does instead of protecting lives and property. My state’s politicians are particularly […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: It’s OK to enjoy being old

The older I become, the more willing I am to admit past mistakes to my children and grandchildren. The aging process makes me more honest. Children listen when you say, “Let me tell you about mistakes I made in my life.” It helps them believe that they can make mistakes and still rebound and move […]

Update it or lose it

Some might say the law is the law. Others see gray in a black and white world. El Dorado County special districts, however, could see red if they don’t comply with the Mitigation Fee Act. In a nutshell, the act requires special districts seeking to charge a fee to 1.) Identify the use to which the […]

The Weekly Daley: The Syrians are coming, the Syrians are coming …

Jumping on the xenophobic bandwagon, 31 governors at last count said they wouldn’t allow Syrian refugees into their state, no way, no how, no kiddin’. Great for red meat soundbites, not legal from what I’ve read as only the federal government can say whether a refugee can enter the country or not. As I understand it, […]

Charles Krauthammer: The most revealing debate yet

The Republican debate on CNBC was riveting, the way a train wreck is riveting — you can’t take your eyes off it. The Fox Business Network debate was merely satisfying. A serious political discussion requires a bit more work, but it repays the effort. The CNBC affair was a contrived food fight during which substance occasionally […]

Publisher’s Ink: Debates expose the talking and walking dead

Fans of “The Walking Dead,” a popular AMC series, are being treated to an exciting sixth season. The non-stop action in this zombie apocalypse mini-series keeps viewers riveted to their seats. On the opposite side of the television spectrum we have the presidential debates where viewers last Saturday night were treated to a scene of the […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Some more things I have learned

The following are additional life lessons I have stumbled across since I last wrote on lessons in November 2014. As I said previously, 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 … […]

The Balancing Act: A bumpy ride

As El Dorado County salaries and benefits grow at an alarming rate, our Board of Supervisors continues to take taxpayers on a ride to ruination. Salaries and benefits last fiscal year, which ended on June 30, exceeded my estimates by $3 million at $145 million. Just two years prior (June 30, 2013) salaries took $118 million out of the […]

Belltower: The wildlife around us

Mondays I buy a San Francisco Chronicle so I can see what the paper’s outdoor columnist, Tom Stienstra, has to say. Particularly, I’m waiting for him to announce that someone has caught a bonita in San Francisco Bay, which is what confirmed El Nino in 1997. That was the year El Dorado County experienced a […]

Mark Shields: Improving our presidential debates

By wide consensus, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was one of the two breakout stars in a recent Republican presidential debate (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was the other). Cruz is clearly a very smart man who is capable of saying some really stupid things. The GOP griped about the CNBC debate format and questioning. During a […]

My Turn: A six-point plan for immigration

Recent months have seen a long overdue spotlight put on illegal immigration. Candidates for president and the media have talked about the heinous murders of Kate Steinle in San Francisco and Marilyn Pharis in Santa Maria, allegedly committed this summer by illegal aliens who were multiple offenders, deported multiple times. Likely this would not have […]

Please resign, Mr. Meyers

For the sake of our students, parents and El Dorado County’s educational system it’s time for Jeremy Meyers to resign his elected position as Superintendent of Schools. The news of Mr. Meyers’ first driving under the influence of alcohol arrest on June 9 came as a shock. Last week’s second DUI arrest simply stunned us. How could the person […]

Something to Think About: Tell your story

So, The Donald has written a book. Big whoop. So did Dennis Rodman and I’m not even sure he can read. A review of The Donald’s book said that it read like a campaign manifesto, but neglected to give any real information about how he plans to resolve the big issues like health care, immigration […]

Charles Krauthammer: Take the winnings and run

Where do Republicans get that special talent for turning gold to dross? They score an electoral “massacre” (The Economist) in 2014 and, a year later, what do they have to show for it other than another threat to shut down the government? Hillary Clinton is caught in e-mail flagrante and Benghazi mendacity and yet, with […]

My Turn: Annexing Rescue Fire

Last month the El Dorado Hills Fire Department presented information on why we should annex the Rescue Fire Department. The EDHFD recently annexed the Latrobe Fire Department, claiming better support for EDH fire needs. EDHFD had already contracted to support LFD. However, that annexation will now cost El Dorado Hills taxpayers an unanticipated $600,000 annually to install […]

My Turn: Tahoe’s conservation success story

Lake Tahoe has been recognized for another important conservation success. Our region’s proactive, collaborative strategy to protect Tahoe yellow cress, begun almost 15 years ago, is working so well that the plant does not need additional protections under the federal Endangered Species Act. This conservation success story is yet another example of epic collaboration — how […]

John Stossel: Beat the elite

We love to complain about elites, people who seem to have a special advantage, privileges in life. I get annoyed by the Kardashians and other spoiled rich kids. They didn’t work for their wealth. They don’t contribute. Still, those elites are mostly harmless. But there’s one group of truly dangerous elites: politicians. Spoiled party kids […]

California Rambling: Stolen valor

On Veterans Day (Wednesday at 11 a.m.) county residents will gather at the Veterans Monument at the El Dorado County Government Center in Placerville to remember the sacrifices of those who served the cause of freedom. They are the men and women who answered the call and served in our nation’s armed forces. Every veteran […]

My Turn: ‘Smart debt’ needed for reinvesting in infrastructure

On Oct. 13 the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors approved a five-year capital improvement plan that includes $119 million to fund many projects that will address needed repairs and replacements in EID’s water, wastewater and hydroelectric systems. In prior decades EID kept rates low by putting off maintenance and rehabilitation across its system. The district […]

Time to vote

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors adopted the 2004 El Dorado County General Plan after years of litigation, public hearings, studies, amendments, compromises, etc. The plan was supposed to move the county forward. Instead, what followed were more years of litigation, public hearings, studies, amendments, compromises, etc. This same old song — which, incidentally, sounds […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Are you ‘over the hill’?

When I think about the expression “over the hill” I think about the aging process. When I hear this expression, it usually means he or she is too old now to “get the job done.” The last time I heard the expression was while listening to two men discussing an upcoming fight between two professional […]

The Weekly Daley: Good-bye

Mike Daley (aka “my brother the conservative”) died last week in a Redding hospital. Stage 4 liver cancer, failed kidneys and a perforated colon did him in. He was 72. If you’ve been around this space for any length of time, you’ll know him as the foil for many of my columns over the years. […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Obama’s legacy, part 2

Despite the fact that President Obama has achieved major and significant accomplishments, his presidency has been far from perfect. Obama entered the White House believing to his core that opposing parties could always reason together. And he stubbornly kept to this belief, in the face of obdurate and relentless opposition, for almost six years before […]

My Turn: A new direction

One of the best things about this community is our shared devotion to our city and county. It’s really quite unique and it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. It doesn’t matter if you’re a “Rail” or a “Trail,” a “Growth” or “No-Growther”; we all feel a deep passion for this place […]

Charles Krauthammer: Skip the investigations, win the election

At a certain point, you have to realize you can’t hit a fastball.  House Republicans don’t quite get that they are hopeless at oversight hearings. They keep losing — and now the chairman of the House Oversight Committee has just introduced articles of impeachment against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. I’m sympathetic to the GOP motive, […]

The Balancing Act: More sloppy goverment

El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Larry Combs, recently (Oct. 8, 2015) wrote a letter to El Dorado Hills Fire Chief Dave Roberts informing Roberts that Board of Supervisors Resolution 064-2014 had “errors of a technical nature that occurred in the adoption of the transfer.” Through this resolution EDH Fire annexed the Latrobe Fire Protection District and […]

Mark Shields: Who wrote the 2016 campaign script?

It first hit me on a Tuesday morning in March at a Washington presidential forum sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters. One 2016 White House contender spoke the following: “We’ve seen over the past number of years two Americas emerge. At the very top, top 1 percent today, with the largest federal government […]

Belltower: ‘Jewel City’ is a gem of an art show

The last romantic remnant of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition is the Rotunda of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco’s Marina District. Encircling the dome is the frieze, “The Struggle for the Beautiful.” By Bruno Louis Zimm. Separating the three repeated friezes in the attic of the rotunda are copies of the “Guardian […]

Something to think about: Halloween eve

It’s All Hallow’s Eve eve. No one cares about All Hallow’s Day on Nov. 1. Too holy. Holy is out; wicked is in. No, what millions of quivering little minds will take to bed with them tonight is that tomorrow is Halloween — the candy-filled, costume draped, pumpkin glowing culmination of a month-long celebration of […]

The Weekly Daley: And Round 3 goes to…

I was not able to watch Wednesday’s debate live as I had opted to attend a friend’s birthday dinner downtown instead. I did, of course, watch any number of cuts-and-pastes and partial recordings and highlights and lowlights. I was particularly impressed with … Yes, you read that correctly. I like Donald Trump as he is, […]

Still a cloud over Clinton’s E-mail

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton spent hours last week testifying before the special House committee investigating the murders of four U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012 — which occurred when Clinton served as secretary of state. A few weeks ago the Republican-led panel seemed prepared to place Clinton squarely on the hot seat. Then, House […]

Charles Krauthammer: Iran marches, Russia rules, Obama watches

Guess who just popped up in the Kremlin? Bashar al-Assad, Syrian dictator and destroyer, now Vladimir Putin’s newest pet. After four years holed up in Damascus, Assad was summoned to Russia to bend a knee to Putin, show the world that today Middle East questions get settled not in Washington but in Moscow, and officially […]

My Turn: Why the U.S. crude oil export ban needs to go

The Obama administration recently agreed to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for reductions in its nuclear ability. The deal will open the floodgates for Iranian crude oil to flow into the global market. But thanks to 40-year-old legislation, the floodgates guarding American crude are locked tight. Except for a handful of exceptions, it’s […]

Publisher’s Ink: This workshop is just window dressing

Marshall Fields department store on State Street in Chicago was always a favorite destination during the Christmas holidays. People waited in line down the sidewalk for an entire city block just to stroll by the store’s windows. Parents with children in tow gazed in awe at the holiday decorations, including tiny villages with Christmas lights, […]

John Stossel: Forced silence

In a democracy, citizens must be able to criticize their leaders. It’s a reason America’s founders put free speech in the Bill of Rights. I assumed that right is safe in the United States. So I was shocked to learn what happened in Wisconsin. Before dawn, Deborah Jordahl was awakened by the sound of cops […]