My turn: Shouldn’t California have the best roads by now?

If high taxes guaranteed results, then California should have some of the best roads in the nation. For years we’ve had one of the highest gas taxes, yet our freeways consistently receive failing grades. It makes no sense unless you admit that high taxes don’t guarantee good roads. That’s one of many reasons I had […]

My turn: Benefits of reading and singing to your child

Can you recall a favorite nursery rhyme from childhood? How about a favorite book? Some of my early favorites were the “Incy Wincy Spider” song and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” picture book. Early language development is intricately linked to a child’s exposure to reading, talking, and singing starting from infancy. Though […]

Charles Krauthammer: Early onset Clinton fatigue

WASHINGTON — She burned the tapes. Had Richard Nixon burned his tapes, he would have survived Watergate. Sure, there would have been a major firestorm, but no smoking gun. Hillary Rodham was a young staffer on the House Judiciary Committee investigating Nixon. She saw. She learned. Today you don’t burn tapes. You delete e-mails. Hillary […]

California Rambling: Vitamin S

There’s a healing property in the Sierra Nevada that John Rice, general manager at Sierra-at-Tahoe, calls “Vitamin S.” “I believe in Vitamin S,” he said. “Whatever ails you, Vitamin S helps in so many ways.” Rice is speaking about the therapeutic effect that skiing and snowboarding has on people. He said it’s more than just […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Does God snore?

At times my mind operates in strange ways. After watching a NASCAR auto racing recently, I thought about God’s sleeping habits. Since God isn’t human, I assume He doesn’t need to sleep. Besides, He should be available to answer prayer requests 24 hours a day. Some part of me cannot accept the idea that God […]

Mark Shields: Irish eyes — not always smiling

There was a lot more drinking in Washington, D.C., before May 15, 1978. That was the date, as of this writing, I had my last drink. This may help explain why I, as an Irish-American, so dread March 17 and St. Patrick’s Day, which has regularly been turned into an excuse for officially sanctioned public […]

The weekly Daley: Rascals in high places

Far be it for me to criticize any duly elected representatives of the American people, especially 47 traitorous members of that otherwise august body known as the United States Senate. Taking it unto themselves to conduct foreign policy in direct competition with an ongoing and legitimate exercise of foreign policy, such Constitution-haters should be summarily […]

My turn: Change in EID election cycle

There are pros and cons to the proposed change of EID’s (the El Dorado Irrigation Districts) election date from odd years to even-year general elections, which would also extend the terms of current EID board members an extra year. Saving money, perhaps $40,000 saved once every two years out of a $42 million dollar annual […]

Even-year elections better

The El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors got it right when it voted 3-2 on Feb. 9 to switch to an even-year election cycle. The proof of this is in the numbers. While a typical voter turnout for an odd-year election might net 20-30 percent, it’s expected to jump to 63-85 percent in an […]

Charles Krauthammer: Netanyahu’s Churchillian warning

WASHINGTON — Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress was notable in two respects. Queen Esther got her first standing O in 2,500 years. And President Obama came up empty in his campaign to pre-emptively undermine Netanyahu before the Israeli prime minister could present his case on the Iran negotiations. On the contrary. The steady stream of […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Spin doctors, haters and the First Amendment

The point and purpose of this article is not to refute the odious, anti-semitic screeds, or the crude and obnoxious rants by various letter writers to this paper. My focus is on the bigger question of freedom of speech and its limits. The use of direct quotes from the various letter writers is simply for […]

John Stossel: Raping culture

Apparently, new laws are needed because at colleges, sexual assault is “epidemic.” Rape is so common that there is a “rape culture.” I hear that a lot. It is utter exaggeration. Fortunately, AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers is around to reveal the truth. “This idea of a rape culture was built on false statistics and […]

The balancing act: More county mischief

On Feb. 10, a rather innocuous item was on the Board of Supervisors consent calendar agenda. It was item No. 5 and its purpose was to receive and file a development impact mitigation fee report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014 and authorize reimbursement to the El Dorado Hills County Water (Fire) […]

Leadership at MLUSD

Parents and teachers in the Mother Lode Union School District have had enough. Expressing concerns about the leadership of the district since October of 2014, they’ve gotten the school board’s attention to the point where special meetings have been held specifically to hash out the issue. What’s the issue? The leadership at MLUSD is dropping […]

The weekly Daley: Who are those guys?

Like the Pinkertons in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” severely conservative lawmakers all over are relentlessly pursuing regressive policies to enforce their will and values on their fellow citizens. One house of the Georgia State Legislature adopted language in a Freedom of Religion bill that is seen as a way to bar the LGBT […]

Something to think about: Walking the lines

Sometimes it’s hard not to think of the world as a bad place filled with violent people, especially after listening to the news on TV. Fortunately for me, that perception only lasts a few seconds because there are plenty of examples around me to show that it’s a beautiful place filled with generous, helpful folk. […]

My turn: A squandered opportunity

Editor’s note: Congressman McClintock delivered the following remarks on the House floor following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address in January. I rise to express my deep disappointment in the address by the president last night in this chamber. Twenty years ago, President Clinton was in a similar position. He realized his policies […]

John Stossel: Kochs and Unions

Lots of people sure hate the Koch brothers. The Kochs get death threats like this: “If I had a chance to murder a Koch brother in cold blood, I would surely take it.” Jim Dean doesn’t want to kill the Kochs, but he does want new laws to limit their influence. Dean’s brother Howard was […]

My turn: Consider hospice care at end of life

I have no qualms about the decision of an individual to opt for an alternative to traditional medicine and choose to end their life early and with dignity. After all, the hospice movement was also born as an alternative to the medical establishment, and also ushered in right-to-choose preferences for end-of-life care. I just hope […]

California Rambling: Carnaval de Québec

We Californians don’t know winter. Yes, our Sierra Nevada gets 400 inches of snow on average, but that doesn’t mean we know winter. We travel to the mountains for short escapes to play in the snow, then scurry back to our homes at lower, warmer elevations. A 40-degree day is often the coldest winter day […]

Mark Shields: America truly needs the New Hampshire Primary

The three most recently elected U.S. presidents collected in private contributions for their respective campaigns that brought them to the White House $31 million (Bill Clinton), $96 million (George W. Bush) and $746 million (Barack Obama). According to the reliable Center for Responsive Politics, total spending in the 2014 midterm elections amounted to a record […]

A hero’s bill

Rep. Tom McClintock introduced on Feb. 13 a bill to honor Marine Staff Sgt. Sky Mote, a 2003 graduate of Union Mine High School who was killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 2012. Called H.R. 979, the legislation aims to designate a mountain peak in the John Muir Wilderness as “Sky Point.” The […]

The weekly Daley: All the views that’s fit to print

Call me old fashioned. I’ve been reading National Geographic since before I could even read, and that goes back a ways. Early on I mostly looked at the pictures which were pretty stunning back in the ’50s. Approaching puberty, of course, a young fellow was particularly drawn to the photos of the Amazonian, African, New […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Keep your negative mouth shut

When you research the teachings of American Indians, you keep running across the idea that it’s a good idea to avoid negative statements when you communicate with others. When you are tempted to say something negative, don’t complete the sentence. • In a marriage, both parties are tempted to fire back a negative statement, especially […]

My turn: Are you a Populist?

Many voters identify themselves with some established political party, yet bemoan the stands taken on issues by party leadership. Too often a politician will enter office after a campaign, which leads voters to believe some promised course of action will be taken, only to enact measures which lead America closer to One World Government. Many […]

My turn: California needs a simpler gas tax, not a higher one

With prices at the pump heading back up, news of a cut to the state’s gas tax will surely cheer California drivers. On Feb.24, the State Board of Equalization approved a 6 cent per gallon cut to the state’s gas tax. The change, which will take effect July 1, is based on a complicated formula […]

Vote no on Measure O … again?

On Nov. 4, 2014, voters in El Dorado County soundly shot down Measure O. In a landslide, the measure, which was created by local residents in opposition to projects proposed in Shingle Springs, the Green Valley corridor and parts of Highway 50, garnered nearly 40,000 no votes (39,224 to be exact) for a 66.37 percent […]

Home country: Peak performance

“There’s no sense a-tall,” said Alphonse “Windy” Wilson, “in climbin’ a mountain. Why, you can percolate up to the top and what do you get? Tired.” Windy had cornered several old ladies who were leaving the Rest of Your Life retirement home to walk two blocks to the store. They weren’t fast enough to escape […]

Home country: Fishing therapy

As a prequel to the morning coffee inhalation down at the Mule Barn coffee shop, the members of the world dilemma think tank were found at the break of day, armed with fly rods, in their other guise as charter members of the Lewis Creek Piscatorial Pursuit Alliance. “I like your presentation, Dud,” said Doc, […]

Home country: Squash, who needs it?

“It’s all watermelon’s fault,” said Steve, shaking his head and sliding in to the philosophy counter. He nodded at Loretta while flipping his mug to the upright and fillable position. She brought the pot and filled it. “I always thought you liked watermelon, Steve,” Doc said. “I’ve eaten it with you, even.” “That’s why it’s […]

Thanks, Rotary

Among the elements that make up the El Dorado County lifestyle are the enhancements provided by service organizations. A partial list naturally would include the Soroptimists, the Lions, the Kiwanis, the 20-30 Club and, of course, the Rotary. In El Dorado County, the oldest Rotary Club is the one in Placerville, having been formed in […]

Belltower: A new adventure

This is my last column. Today is also my last day as editor of the Mountain Democrat. I am retiring. By the time you read this column I will have already left the building, so any calls will not be returned. I started my newspaper career late in life. I served four years in the […]

The balancing act: ‘Climate change’ is killing us

Climate change, a term used in place of anthropogenic global warming (AGW, meaning human produced carbon dioxide is causing the world to warm which will cause disastrous effects to the Earth) has come to the forefront of California politics again, like it wasn’t already every other word out of a liberal politician’s mouth already. It seems […]

The weekly Daley: Freedom of speech and press; good things

We’ve taken a little heat lately here at California’s Oldest Newspaper — “Since 1851.” We’ve been publishing letters to the editor and columns by regular contributors that have offended readers along a fairly broad spectrum of politics and concerns. Several complained about Gene Altshuler’s offerings on the Opinion page. In general, they think Gene is […]

Thanks, Jeep Corp.

The late Mark A. Smith wasn’t the sole founder of the Jeepers Jamboree. There were other notable individuals in addition to Smith who founded the Jamboree, originally an economic development idea of the Georgetown Rotary. Smith, however, was its first wagon master and held that position for a number of years. The Jamboree has since […]

Tahoe landmark reopens

Long known as the De Webb Sahara Tahoe and Horizon Casino-Hotel, the venue has reopened after six months of remodeling. The $60 million investment employed 700 construction workers. Now called the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, it will feature some pretty fascinating rock memorabilia, including Elvis’ caped suit that he wore at Madison Square Garden. […]

Something to think about: Signs and portents

Punxsutawney Phil and Sarah Palin — what do they have in common? Signs and portents of the future. On Feb. 2, while Punxsutawney Phil, the nation’s Furry Weather Guesser, was predicting six more weeks of winter and then biting his handler in Gobbler’s Knob, Penn., Jimmy the Groundhog was biting the mayor’s ear in Sun […]

Oak woodlands overrated

On Jan. 26, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to essentially switch from measuring “oak canopy” to measuring “oak woodlands.” The real distinction is looking out for what is beneath the oak trees. As explained by the county’s biological resources consultant Cathy Spence-Wells, a principal with Dudek & Associates, in a Jan. 20 […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Nihilists and naysayers

Recently when addressing the issues of balanced and sustainable economic development, I labeled myself as a “Wise Growth” person. One of the comments I received was what did I mean by that? Growth seems like such a simple word, just one syllable and yet it is crucial to all things. From living organisms to the […]

Home country: Squirrely friends

When Steve and Dud got up to go get a paper, it left just Doc and Bert sitting at the philosophy counter of the Mule Barn truck stop. Bert turned his head and smirked a little, being careful not to let Doc see him. Doc also didn’t see Dud outside, punching in a number on […]

Home country: Squirrel jacking

It might have been the winter doldrums that did it. You can never be sure of these things. It’s just that … well, Doc is one of those guys who can’t stand to see anyone bored. He claims it’s bad for their inner chemistry, and since he has more initials after his name than anyone […]

Home country: The beauty of snow

Somehow the snow is a little like Christmas. We can expect it. We can listen to the television weather and expect it. But still, when it comes it’s like a gift, a wonderful unwrapped gift, because it is the wrapping. Doc found it when he turned on the porch light before dawn and the sheer whiteness of […]

Home country: Time and the wind

Mabel Adams was out the other day, with her new walker, the one with the basket on it, and a seat for sitting when she gets tired. It’s a purple kind of walker and she likes it. It has hand brakes, too, just like a bicycle. She was headed for the Curl Up ‘N Dye […]

Eating away at reserves

El Dorado County government began the year where it ended it — facing a General Fund deficit. As explained by then-Interim CAO Pamela Knorr and Chief Budget Analyst Laura Schwarz, the county has appropriated $4.7 million more than it is receiving in property, sales taxes and miscellaneous other revenue sources. Between now and then we […]