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Thank you, DA’s Office

EDITOR: A few years ago my father, Roy Skiles, was killed in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver. She was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter on a plea deal and did very little time for taking my father’s life. A few weeks ago she was again picked up in El Dorado County for […]

The weekly Daley: State of the Union

Well, he didn’t, as they say,”hit it out of the park.” But I thought the State of the Union address wasn’t bad. Not like when he gets his “preacher on,” but not bad. “Winning the future” was a pretty good theme. It has that hopey changey ring to it without being overly schmaltzy or impossible-sounding […]

Something to think about: Year of the Rabbit

Feb. 3, the day after Groundhog Day, is the Chinese New Year in 2011. Traditionally I present a column about the predictions for the upcoming year as viewed by Chinese astrologers and this year is no exception, although I think we ought to scrap all such predictions and move blindly into the future, trusting only […]

Dog’s life is precious

EDITOR: I really want to express my heartfelt thanks to Henry Brzezinski and El Dorado County Animal Services for saving the life of little Sophie. This is a classic example of why so many animals are in the shelter, and euthanized, due to owners not willing to fully accept the responsibility of training. Rather than get […]

I’ve had it with Placerville sewer rates — let’s sue them!

EDITOR: I just received my most recent bill from Placerville, and I simply refuse to pay their arbitrary and capricious sewer rates anymore. My water bill was $37.56 and my sewer bill was $143.88 for this past time period. That is disgusting, and as I told the City Council when they first proposed these rate […]

Call to abolish Dept. of Education dismally misguided

EDITOR: On Jan. 11, 2000, President George W. Bush asked: “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” We just received the answer: “They isn’t!” The Department of Education just released a study of 320,000 fourth-, eighth- and 12th-graders, entitled “National Assessment of Educational Progress.” It analyzed students’ proficiency in science, and the results are […]

Obamacare: Told you so

EDITOR: A little while ago I sent a response to the doctor who said that due to savings Obamacare would not end up costing Medicare.  Looks like I was right.  Medicare’s chief actuary just told Congress that Obamacare probably won’t hold down costs (there go the savings) and won’t let everybody keep their present insurance […]

Life or death for dog? Shelter staff made right decision

EDITOR: Front page of today’s paper: “Dog shelter double-cross?” Our El Dorado County Animal Shelter staff are forced to make life or death decisions daily and I applaud them for recognizing that Sophie the cocker spaniel deserved a second chance. Clearly this family was not a good match for this dog from the start; it’s […]

Consolidation worth a look

Congratulations to El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools Vicki Barber for commissioning a school consolidation financial study. It is one way to be one step ahead of the continuing educational funding squeeze from the state. And the future looks grim despite Gov. Jerry Brown’s current exemption of K-12 schools from budget cuts. When the voters […]

How do they get re-elected when they say such idiotic things?

EDITOR: I am wondering who actually votes for the Tim Donnellys in the California Legislature? Of course I also wonder who votes for quite a few of our state level representatives and our federal level representatives. Tim Donnelly suggests that we eliminate the Employment Development Department since unemployment is high. If that is the solution […]

Veterans — now and in the future

EDITOR: I submitted a letter a few weeks ago regarding what the local veterans’ organizations do in El Dorado County. It was well received and I wish to express my appreciation to the editor for publishing it. I would like to take this opportunity to inform the veterans of El Dorado County what the veterans […]

Thanks for the help, Sen. Gaines

EDITOR: I am the proud father of two soldiers serving our country. My son is in Afghanistan and my daughter leaves in approximately three weeks for her third tour in Kuwait. Last week my daughter called and informed me her wallet was stolen with her driver’s license inside. Because she drives military vehicles she has […]

Redevelopment would do harm

EDITOR: In response to Mr. Wolfe’s Jan. 16 letter regarding “Placerville city redevelopment plan: the perfect storm,” you correctly pointed out many of the negative issues surrounding redevelopment. The City Council has insisted that redevelopment is “about people,” to create jobs and to attract businesses so everyone benefits, not just developers, bond brokers and consultants. […]

We thank our STARs

EDITOR: Assistance League of Sierra Foothills held a Tour of Homes during the holidays in El Dorado Hills in December. We requested the assistance of the STARs (Sheriff’s Team of Active Retirees) from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office to patrol the area around the six homes on the tour during tour hours. Their presence […]

Publisher’s ink: MORE than just art

The sandstone artwork on the bookshelf in my office was a gift from Diana. I’ve had it for several years now. It’s one of those little items one keeps because there’s special meaning attached to it. The small hand-crafted sculpture of an adobe was created by a young woman who worked two days a week […]

Family affair at Sheriff’s Office

EDITOR: Remember the song, “It’s a Family Affair”? I see in Wednesday, Jan. 19, edition the front page showing a lady pinning a sheriff’s badge on the brother-in-law of John D’Agostini. The brother-in-law has been appointed and hired by D’Agostini to be second in command at the Sheriff’s Department. Sounded a bit convenient to me. […]

I’m sorry Dante’s is for sale

EDITOR: In response to the article in the Jan. 21 Mountain Democrat, I wish to state that I am a supporter of Mr. Kevin Cairns, the chef and owner of Dante’s. If someone was using my property as a toilet I would be very upset also. Having raised four children I know that kids can […]

My turn: The new royal forests

Much of my district is comprised of forests managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Over the last two years I have received a growing volume of complaints protesting the increasingly exclusionary and elitist policies of this agency. These complaints charge the Forest Service, among other things, with: • Imposing inflated fees that are forcing the […]

Those lazy bums

EDITOR: Millions of Americans are out of work — I hear in the media they are bums who don’t want to work and are parasites living on the dole. Could it be they just can’t find work? I remember back in the 1980s when apparently unemployment was a problem (I say apparently because I was […]

Disband the Air Force

EDITOR: Mr. Napolitano (senior judicial analyst for Fox News) has asked where in the Constitution it authorizes the federal government to regulate the delivery of health care? Hmmm, got me to thinking there is nothing in the Constitution about the United States Air Force. Let’s give those fly boys 30 days notice — the savings […]

Move forward with Laura’s Law

EDITOR: El Dorado County is ahead of the curve with the Behavioral Health Court. The court has proven successful in helping people with mental illness to stabilize, find the right medication and work with a doctor and therapist to improve their living situation. We have a new sheriff who is energetic and the deputies who […]

Good neighbor policy

Kudos to El Dorado County for its response to complaints from neighbors along the new section of the El Dorado Trail that ends at Missouri Flat Road. The county installed fencing along the trail as far as Old Depot Road. The county also fixed up that road, which apparently had been partially damaged from trail […]

All in the family … poor judgment by sheriff

EDITOR: After learning that the newly elected sheriff had appointed his brother-in-law to the position of undersheriff, and having difficulty believing that this was acceptable according to El Dorado County regulations, I investigated the county’s policy regarding nepotism. Human Resources provided me a copy of the Personnel Management Resolution, Item No. 810, which  addresses nepotism. Even though […]

De-icing highway

Thank you, Caltrans, for your quick response to unusual icy conditions along a realigned section of Highway 49 in the China Hill Road area south of El Dorado. Apparently a spring or excess water from the rains had been welling up through the pavement causing ice on the road during freezing conditions. Caltrans’ solution is to […]

Health care costs most likely going up … and up

EDITOR: The House of Representatives has voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka by some Obamacare). A few of their concerns causing this vote: Insurance companies required to spend 80 percent of premiums on health care claims, insurance companies required to accept those with pre-existing conditions, insurance companies required to insure […]

Yay, Ray, for getting the cat down

EDITOR: Three cheers for El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting for taking the time our of his busy day to help a person get his cat out of the tree. I know the man with the cat appreaciates it. Thank you, Mr. nutting. DUANE FULLER Diamond Springs

Cut away

Gov. Jerry Brown aims to cut the pay of the 63,000 state workers who didn’t complete contracts with Gov. Schwarzenegger when he was in office. Brown’s savings are projected at $308 million. Other savings, currently unspecified, would shift juvenile prisoners to county facilities in three years, eliminating 4,000 state jobs plus related but unspecified administrative […]

California rambling: Family ski memories

Our family’s annual winter vacation was always to the same magical place, Yosemite National Park. It was the early 1950s and skiing had not yet become widely popular in California. The Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley would change that in 1960, but until then, Yosemite and its ski area, Badger Pass, were as if […]

The rural life: Making your mark

Dogs are so funny. Out on a walk, when they come to a place where another dog has left a “calling card,” so to speak, they must stop and place their own mark directly on top of it. Even if all they can squeeze out is one tiny drop of urine, they’ll work at it, […]

If I ever need help again …

EDITOR: First I want to thank the two people who saw me fall and immediately came to help me as I was lying on the cold blacktop on Saturday, Jan. 8. You were angels to me. I will never forget your kindness and thanks for calling 911. When the ambulance arrived things happened very fast. […]

Ehren Dixon deserved a full, rich life

EDITOR: In regard to Robert Patrick Kaser: Ehren Dixon was a terrific kid in 1985 with a bright future. He was a member of the Dry Diggins Dolphins swim team along with our sons, one of whom was the same age as Ehren. Ehren Dixon was highly thought of by everyone who knew him and […]

The weekly Daley: Moving on

You know how sometimes you wake up one day and realize it’s time to move on? I did that this week. Nothing significant like quitting your job and becoming a pirate or running away to the circus or changing your gender. Next to those, this was pretty small potatoes. I switched gyms. For 16 years […]

Sheriff’s choice: Nepotism is counterproductive

EDITOR: After I arrived home from a winter trip, I sat down to review the past issues of the Mountain Democrat that my wife had saved while I was gone. I was shocked to read that the newly sworn sheriff had selected his brother-in-law as his undersheriff. I also read the letters to the editor […]

Undersheriff choice smells bad to me

EDITOR: Last October I placed a telephone call to El Dorado County sheriff’s candidate John D’Agostini to ask who he planned to name as his undersheriff because I kind of smelled something coming that I didn’t like. He showed that he had some political blood in him and danced around the answer, finally telling me […]

In support of Ridley K-9 Academy

EDITOR: We are writing this letter because we have used Garrett Ridley of Ridley K-9 Academy with help in training our male Doberman pinscher Sterling. We could not stand by and see all the newscasts on TV reporting about the case of animal cruelty toward Garrett Ridley without telling our great experience with Garrett. Garrett […]

Billingsley’s bullets: Eliminate boredom in 2011

The amount of boredom in your life is really 100 percent up to you. It would be nice to blame others or to blame your job or to blame your lover or spouse for the boredom in your life, but it will not work. External forces do not determine your boredom level – you do. […]

Jobs, jobs, jobs

Give the new Republican House of Representatives credit for concentrating on job creation while the Obama administration concentrates on destroying jobs. House Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., aims to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas regulations. Upton told WorldNetDaily his committee would “foster a new era of job growth, fight rampant regulations, fortify […]

Supervisor Ray Nutting rescues cat stuck in tree

EDITOR: What a great story in the midst of constant bad news: The chairman of our own El Dorado County Board of Supervisors puts his own safety at risk to help a resident of our county. Talk about going way beyond the call of duty. I just wanted to say thank you, Ray Nutting, for […]

1099 insanity

Among the crazy schemes to fund Obamacare was the belief that making a business file a 1099 Form on every vendor from whom it buys $600 worth of print toner or copy paper or toilet paper would somehow root out the so-called underground economy. All it has done is make a living hell out of […]

We’re funding a bloated educational system

EDITOR: With regard to our state’s budget crisis the elephant in the room is educational expenditures. Our state’s educational system is a failure by any social or economic standard of measurement. Did you know that 33 percent of students entering the ninth grade in California never finish high school? Could you afford to operate a […]

Hope House helped … thanks

EDITOR: Jeff Headrick and his team from Expert Design and Construction in Rancho Cordova recently underwrote all labor and materials to completely remodel a kitchen at a local transitional home in El Dorado County. Working with Assist Local Network out of Folsom, Expert Design reviewed project proposals from throughout the region looking for a project […]

Appalled at Animal Services criticism

EDITOR: I read the recent editorial, headlined “Gold plated animals” with great dismay. Whenever given a chance to attack El Dorado County Animal Services, you seem to jump at the opportunity. And may I suggest again that you get with the times and quit calling the animal shelter a “pound?” It’s an antiquated term. So […]

Have you lost a child to murder?

EDITOR: Mr. Steve Tapson’s recent letter defending child-murderer Robert Kaser sickened and saddened me. I’m sickened by his use of the letters to the editor as a forum for Kaser’s defense. Using the excuse of a high blood-alcohol level is absurd and sounds desperate. Are you suggesting we’re all capable of murder if we’re drunk […]

Response to columnist regarding guns: This is not a perfect world

EDITOR: Mr. Chris Daley, I must vehemently disagree with most of the points you made in your column entitled “Can gun tragedy be avoided?” You stated that maybe if the shooter knew everyone had guns, he might have decided to go back to school. According to reports I have read, he was in school and […]

My turn: Snowshoe Thompson genealogy revealed

I had the great pleasure of visiting your town in September 2010. The reason was mainly to see where my uncle John Magnus Kristensen used to live in the 1950s. The Mountain Democrat has once helped me track down descendants of him some years earlier. No one showed up, but I am very grateful for […]

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