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We need some clarity on ambulance services

EDITOR: We need some clarity here. In 2006 the Diamond Springs Community Facilities District (CFD) was formed to defray the cost of community services in Diamond Springs. It was done by referendum (vote), and added a fee to the property tax of each property in the district. Diamond Springs Fire Department does not charge anyone […]

Let’s show some flower power, Placerville

EDITOR: Over the past several years many downtown Placerville merchants have worked very hard to create a beautiful scape on Main Street hanging flower baskets on the lamp posts. Each year a fundraiser is held to add more baskets with the objective to have two on every lamp post. MORE rehabilitation center has watered the […]

Taxes are never ‘temporary’

EDITOR: Somebody clear this up for me. Our Democrat politicians want to “extend temporary” taxes for five years. What will change in five years to eliminate these “temporary taxes?” The Dems don’t want a cap on spending or a cap on pensions so in five years spending will continue to climb and we will have […]

Everybody can vote, but not everybody pays taxes

EDITOR: While campaigning for governor, Jerry Brown promised that he would not raise taxes but would rather seek voter approval for any new taxes. He wanted to have a Special Election in June for this purpose. Most often, Special Elections rally special interest groups to get out the vote in support of tax increases. Special […]

Authorities overbearing as 8-year-old unfairly singled out

EDITOR: Imagine a child age 8 assigned a school project, excited and eager to please. The project assigned is to collect pennies, quarters or any other kind of money and then to bring it in to school the next day. So each child is given a box to bring home and fill with monies for […]

I think we can vote on Placerville city redevelopment

EDITOR: Here is something that people need to be aware of that has not been mentioned during the Placerville city redevelopment process. I looked up the redevelopment laws, California Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Safety (Redevelopment Law). Looks to me like redevelopment can be put up for a vote by city of […]

Fire departments preying on the elderly

EDITOR: The articles in your paper on March 21 regarding our local fire departments and the desire of an outside emergency transportation company to offer services in the county fail to mention a very imporant fact. The fire department is now charging the elderly, who are calling Gold Country Retirement Community home, a not inconsiderable […]

What’s up with the freeway construction?

EDITOR: Why has no work been done for what seems like over a year on the Highway 50 project at El Dorado Hills Boulevard? The traffic is jammed up there all the time and there are extra lanes in both directions that could be opened up with minimal effort. It looks like most of the […]

Lily-white Republicans

EDITOR: The House Republican leadership has decided that the previous Democrats’ administration of the House cafeteria was too “green.” Out went recyclable and compostable utensils, and back came cardboard containers and non-recyclable forks and knives. Goaded by the Tea Party, the GOP chose to bring back the Styrofoam cup, the perfect metaphor for the Tea […]

Kevin Cairns jailed: Shame on you

EDITOR: Shame on you, Judge Douglas C. Phimister. Shame on you, deputy distict attorney Dale Gomes. We were sickened to read the Mountain Democrat headline that Highway 50 Dante’s restaurant owner, Kevin Cairns, was ordered to jail for … defending his personal and constitutional right to protect his own private property. Since there is no […]

Publisher’s ink: March Madness defined

• March Madness for college basketball fans is in full swing. The slogan “March Madness” was coined to describe the craziness associated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament and the hype it creates. Any one of the 64 qualifying teams has a chance to win the national title – even an underdog team representing […]

Anti-logging suit wrong-headed

It hardly seems like news anymore when some environmental group sues the U.S. Forest Service to stop any and all logging. It’s not like the home building industry needs any lumber right now anyway. But the suit over logging at Lake Tahoe is just plain boneheaded. The logging that is being targeted is that being […]

Small businesses beware, no right to defend yourself

EDITOR: As an owner of a small business in El Dorado County it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain myself. I have seen our Sheriff’s Department, the district attorney, and the judges fail to hear and see our perspectives. Small business is what makes up our economic stability and provides the woven fabric of our […]

Restaurant owner in the wrong business

EDITOR: All of the recent problems at Dante’s Restaurant just highlight the need for a few rest areas to be situated along Highway 50. I expect that most of us traveling up to the snow or to Stateline have felt the need for a place to stop at one time or another. This is especially […]

How much has the Garrido case cost us?

EDITOR: Enough! How long has this “Garrido” thing been going on? How much money has this cash strapped county put out on this case? Why don’t you put one of your investigative reporters on this case to tell us how much this is costing us, the taxpayers. How much are we paying their lawyers? The […]

Highway 50 hazard — I’m lucky to be alive

EDITOR: An open letter to Caltrans: Your project to add HOV lanes to Highway 50 has created what I believe to be an unsafe condition at the bottom of the Bass Lake grade on the westbound lanes. As I was traveling on that section of road Feb. 17, during light rain on a breezy day, […]

Are we really broke?

EDITOR: America is broke and we must reduce the size of government! Quick, now, immediately, no time to debate. Grover Norquist, darling of the Tea/Republican Party, wants to drown the government in a bathtub by having it run out of funds. I should make the point that Mr. Norquist wants to abolish programs that aid […]


There’s a difference between shooting a few ducks out of the sky and using an anti-aircraft gun to blast out an entire flock. Senate Bill 523 by Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, falls into the latter category. It is legislative overkill. Among the many legislative proposals for pension reform this bill stands out as ill-conceived, […]

The rural life: My dog, myself

May I someday be the person my dog thinks I am. This adage expresses a worthy goal. A challenging one! Your dog thinks you are best, smartest, kindest person in the world. Endlessly interesting. One hundred percent benevolent. Never, ever wrong. When I think of how my little dog Sadie regards me, it makes me […]

California Rambling: Three Stages earns an ‘A’

There was a giddy question mark in his voice as Dave Pier, the executive director of the region’s new performing arts center, Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, completed his introduction of New York City’s Joffrey Ballet in early March.  It seemed almost as if he couldn’t truly believe that a ballet company as renowned […]

No paperwork left behind

While President Obama is pushing for more money to update what George W. Bush labeled as No Child Left Behind, the schools haven’t seen any improvement. They have seen an increase in paperwork. The No Child Left Behind Act is the eighth iteration of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act passed as part of […]

Billingsley’s bullets: Is your ego in charge of your life?

Within the next few weeks I will be making two important decisions that will immediately affect my life in important ways. The question I am wrestling with is related to my ego. Am I making these decisions because of my ego needs or because satisfying my ego needs is no longer a high priority for […]

The weekly Daley: Red Carpet Dreams

Ring, ring. Ring, ring. Me: Hello Caller: I’m calling for Chris Daley. Me: That’s me. Caller: This is Megan from Regal Entertainment Group. I’m calling to tell you that you’ve won the Red Carpet Dreams Sweepstakes Grand Prize. Me: Ummmm. What’s that? I didn’t enter any sweepstakes. (Thought bubble: This is why I usually don’t […]

What really happened with the El Dorado County Fire Safe Council?

EDITOR: I am concerned about the Mountain Democrat’s limited reporting about the suspended funding to the El Dorado County Fire Safe Council for fire safety activities for the Western Slope portion of our county. The March 14 Democrat article didn’t indicate that the reporter had independently read and analyzed the federal audit report that prompted […]

Rock Doc: Light overcoming the darkness

There’s good news all around us. On March 20 we’ll be hitting the first day of spring, known to us geeks as the spring equinox. That’s the point when those of us living on the northern half of the Earth finally start to see daylight overwhelm the darkness of winter. We’ve survived the shadow that […]

Our own American Idol: the Planning Commission

EDITOR: Did you know Placerville has its own version of American Idol? You didn’t? It’s called “Planning Commission” and it’s on Channel 2 TV the first and third Tuesday of each month. The game goes like this: the “Applicant” brings his “Project” to the “Commission” after first going through the city’s Community Development Department’s Building […]

Publisher’s ink: Awards are great but purpose is greater

“Awards don’t put food on the table” Frank Miles, the former president and CEO of Thomson Newspapers Inc., informed me. In the 1970s, Thomson owned more daily newspapers in the United States than any other company. Miles believed it was nice to be recognized by one’s peers but at the end of the day the […]

Time to drill

It’s past time to drill, but it’s never too late to begin. If President Obama would quit dithering around with throwing up roadblocks against drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Petroleum Reserve we could start progressing toward energy independence. Already small oil drilling companies are bringing in oil from the Bakken Formation in […]

Thanks for supporting Habitat for Humanity

EDITOR: Open letter to the friends of El Dorado County Habitat for Humanity: First, we’d like to thank you for your continued support of our ongoing efforts to bring affordable housing to El Dorado County. We couldn’t do it without your help. Second, it has become necessary to ask for volunteers. Although we’re not quite ready to begin […]

Thank you so much: The students were impressed

EDITOR: Open letter to the community: I would like to personally thank all of the people with such gracious hearts who contributed to the “Pennies for Patients” fundraiser at Guiding Hands School. About a month ago I wrote a letter to the editor of the Mountain Democrat regarding a campus intruder who came on site, […]

My turn: Rejection of ObamaCare gives lawmakers, governor opportunity for do-over

Democrats and Republicans alike are anxiously waiting to see whether the job-killing, government-run health care law signed last year by President Obama survives its legal challenges. Just last month a federal judge deemed the “lynchpin” component of “ObamaCare” — the individual mandate that requires everyone to purchase the kind of health care coverage the government […]

Japanese earthquake, tsunami absolutely heartbreaking

EDITOR: As the death toll continues to rise in Japan from the horrific earthquake and tsunami, our hearts continue to fill with tears and deep compassion for the Japanese people who have lost their lives, for those injured and still missing and for those who will live on and suffer the tragic loss of their […]

My turn: From Lebanon, with pessimism and hope

BEIRUT — On the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 11, I received a text message from a colleague. The dinner she was hosting would be delayed an hour “on account of revolution.” The delay was not a surprise since everyone I know had been riveted by the dramatic events shaking the Arab world. As scholars of […]

Why even go to the City Council meetings?

EDITOR: I attended the Placerville City Council meeting to express my opposition to the roundabout along with many other business owners and citizens. At the meeting the vast majority was opposed to the roundabout and was able to get up and talk to the council about the negative impact it would have on their business. […]

Rules of the road

EDITOR: Driving these winding foothill roads can be a challenge. My kids “cut their teeth” here … gave me nightmares. Here are a few simple habits that work for me: 1. Follow at a safe distance. The California Highway Patrol recommends three seconds. I concur. It’s not just safer — it reduces stress and improves […]

I have some concerns about the roundabout

EDITOR: Being an elderly pedestrian who recently bought a home not far from the Druid Monument in Placerville, I am concerned about the proposed roundabout. Exactly what safeguards are proposed for pedestrians who want to cross it? No roundabout I’ve ever seen had traffic lights — that might slow down traffic. Will there be an […]

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