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Roundabout: Change is not always good

Reading the publisher’s article on the roundabout helps explain a lot about what is wrong with our government and how even at a national level we got in some of the messes we have. He talks about change like it is this wonderful thing that by definition should be embraced by enlightened people. Contrary to […]

Jaycee Dugard reward … what ever happened to J. Leonard Padilla?

In the Dec 22, 1991, issue of the Lake Tahoe Tribune, there was an article about J. Leonard Padilla offering a $100,000 cash reward for information leading him to the location of Jaycee Lee Dugard. The offer was good only until Jan. 5 because Padilla was going to federal prison for tax evasion. It might […]

Rock doc: How fragile is the solid Earth beneath our feet?

Geology has surely been in the news lately, with the price of petroleum moving relentlessly upward, a threat to global economic recovery because oil is so central to industrial society the world around. But now matters are suddenly worse. Even geologists like myself, used to the ferociously destructive power of earthquakes, have been taken aback […]

A dose of Dan: How would shareholders respond if America was a corporation?

If you managed to tear yourself away from the train wreck that is Charlie Sheen and other mainstream news distractions over the past several weeks, you may have come across a report issued last month that analyzes the United States as if it were a company. The “USA Inc.” report was issued by Mary Meeker, […]

Belltower: An historical disappointment

For most of my 32 years here at the Mountain Democrat we have had a column that reprints blurbs from past issues, starting with 150 years ago and working down to 25 years ago. Twenty-five years ago give something a lot of people can recognize. Many around here can recognize things from 50 years ago. […]

Mock trials

The local bench has done a good service by sponsoring a teen court, wherein local high school students try some of their contemporaries who have gone astray and decide on community service penalties. We would like to suggest a different challenge for high school students — mock trials. Somewhat like a debate competition, schools compete […]

We need unions

EDITOR: The repeal of collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin is an outrageous, partisan stunt that defies public support, democracy and precedent, and should be a wake-up call to the middle class. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker targeted nurses, teachers and firefighters just trying to support their families — hardworking women and men who provide critical services […]

‘History’ depends on who’s recounting it

EDTOR: Reference Mr. McHenry’s recent letter that continues the Japanese War Plans debate saga. Mr. McHenry complains my position is based on only one book. If I may refresh his memory, he cried out for “one book” — just one book that would support my position. He wanted one book that I could cite as […]

Trees of El Dorado County: I come not to bury ailanthus

The leaves of the trees are for the healing of nations. — Book of Revelations I come to praise a tree, the princess tree, that has been honored by inclusion on the El Dorado County Noxious Weed Management Group’s lisit. Master Gardener Barbara Bania went so far as to say it is not well-behaved! It is common […]

Someone made my day

EDITOR: Open letter to “Misty Mountain Hop:” You paid for my drink at the Starbucks drive-through this morning. You did it without knowing my name, my story, or even what drink I had ordered. And you gave the barista a note to give to me with my drink: “Hello, fellow coffee drinker. God will be […]

Backyard chickens are the only way to fly

EDITOR: I was excited to see your article about backyard chickens. My family has been raising chickens for eight months, and we just got some new chicks. They are a lot of fun and the eggs are delicious! Did you know that chickens will eat your kitchen scraps, fertilize your garden and keep it free […]

Please bring back the rainfall contest

EDITOR: This was the year I was going to win the Rainfall Contest. I can’t believe that the Mountain Democrat is not sponsoring the contest. Please reconsider and bring it back. RAYMOND PIERCE Cameron Park Editor’s note — The Mountain Democrat based its Rainfall Contest on statistics supplied by the local office of Pacific Gas […]

Rock doc: Ears of corn

It’s a world-famous grass, and crucial to our bellies. Its called Zea mays by botanists; rock-heads like me call it corn. Compared to many plants, it’s excellent at tolerating drought and heat  almost in a class by itself in that regard. Corn is obviously at the heart of corn muffins and tortillas, but you […]

Something to think about: The end of Puffy

Puffy died and it’s all my fault. Normally one doesn’t get all worked up about a piece of fabric filled with feathers, but I’m pretty bummed out because Puffy was perfect. It was one of those serendipitous purchases at Costco about eight years ago — an end cap piled high with light-as-air down-filled throws. I […]

The weekly Daley: Libya

“ Obama is way out of his depth. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s got a bunch of dumb s*&ts working for him.” Thus began a terribly circular and ultimately inane phone conversation with my brother the conservative earlier this week. The topic this time was Libya in particular and the Middle East rebellions […]

Cedar Ravine roundabout: Don’t accept the money if it’s a bad project

EDITOR: I have just read Mountain Democrat Publisher Richard Esposito’s column regarding the proposed roundabout in Placerville. While I agree that dedicated monies must be spent as allocated, there is no reason we should always accept that money if the project is a bad one. I agree with using money to upgrade the bridge and […]

‘Leave No Trace’ camping is the only way to go

EDITOR: I’m a sixth-grader in Latrobe School District and I try to help protect the environment any chance I get. I want to share some ideas with your readers about how to keep El Dorado County’s wilderness areas and camping spots as beautiful as ever. When I go camping I make sure that I don’t […]

Don’t mess with nature

It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, as the old Chiffon comercial from the 1970s said. Or it might also be restated as Mother Nature sure fooled us. In the category of making fools out of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Endangered Species Act is the Steller sea lion. This big honkin’ seal is […]

Wondered where Mr. Riordan went

EDITOR: Well I had wondered what had happened to letter writer Jim Riordan. My annoyance with government policies was suffering from a lack of fuel. By the way, Jim, the bubble and light show is to direct salmon fry away from pumps, not predators. But if you think about it, salmon lures kinda look like […]

Franckly speaking: I never knew poetry could make me sweat

“Poetry is a compressed way of expressing experience and that’s very powerful enlightenment.” — Ray Tatar, California Arts Council Talk about experience; Feb. 2 was the first time I got all nervous-sweaty about poetry. Normally, I receive a poem a day on my computer, but other than that, poetry is not a big part of […]

Redevelopment and our poor, blighted city

EDITOR: The Placerville Redevelopment Agency’s newly released “Report to the City Council” underscores the Project Area’s desperate state of blight. In fact, “blight” appears 190 times. Thumbing through the report’s pages one finds prominent businesses and historical buildings featured as evidence of blight. It turns out, blight can be found all over the place. Absent […]

Franckly speaking: On death bed, a woman of faith shows her heart

The most devout person I’ve ever known died two weeks ago in a home for the aged in Queens. Vera, who had a firecracker brain, a loving heart and a great New York accent, had been my mother’s friend and became mine about six years ago when I re-met her as an adult. Ninety-two years […]

Franckly speaking: Experiment reveals habits I didn’t know I had

I read newspapers in the day, but I only permit myself books in the evening. I’m not the only person like this. In fact, this phenomenon led my women’s group, for the first time in over 25 years together, to create an experiment. The idea was born after one woman asked about our reading habits. […]

Thieves are targeting Placerville

EDITOR: On March 2 sometime in the wee hours of the night, our vehicles were broken into as they were parked in our driveway at our residence on Clay Street, right off Main Street, in the heart of downtown Placerville. Our family of five had just moved here from Oregon in January, like so many, […]

Mountain lions and the state budget

EDITOR: The other day as I read news of Gov. Brown’s plans to cut our state budget to fill in the enormous gap, I watched a nice, healthy mountain lion stroll over 300 yards in the open through my neighbor’s cow pasture. It was no surprise, as the night before most neighborhood dogs were going […]

Publisher’s ink: A roundabout take on the roundabout

Realignment of Clay Street with Cedar Ravine at the juncture of Main Street in downtown Placerville has plenty of folks in a tizzy. So as not to throw any roadblocks in the way of progress I offer the following thoughts in a not so roundabout way. First off, change is always difficult to accept. And […]

What the president actually said

EDITOR: Letter writer Anthony J. Arjil (Mountain Democrat, March 7), says President Obama is using his “executive fiat” to subvert the will of the people by declaring he would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act because that violates his Constitutional oath to enforce the law. Mr. Arjil either does not listen very carefully […]

Rock Doc: Playing with Jello and deducing climate change

I hope you played with your food when you were young. Perhaps you experimented at some point with pushing a drinking straw through Jello. If you twisted the straw as you removed it from your food, you could sometimes trap a column of gelatin in the straw. You then had the choice of either blowing […]


Signs have been pointing toward a plea bargain and the declaration that Philip Garrido is competent to stand trial for kidnapping and rape cleared the table for a new deal. Our suspicions were confirmed last week when Nancy Garrido’s attorney said both she and Phillip confessed. Defense attorney Steve Tapson said Nancy Garrido confessed to […]

Bad news

Here’s some news we could do without. Next Sunday it’s time again to move the clocks ahead for the spring time change. It’s a relic of President Woodrow Wilson and America’s entry into W0rld War I. Wilson seems to have been keeping up with the Germans, who imposed daylight saving time to conserve coal. President […]

Trees of El Dorado County: Should trees have standing in court?

In 1972 the Sierra Club sued the Disney Corp. to prevent the development of a ski resort in Mineral King Valley next to Sequoia National Park. The Supreme Court ruled that the club as a membership coporation lacked standing and could not bring the suit, thus ruling in favor of Disney. But the ruling opened […]

Don’t let them cram this development down our throats

EDITOR: Diamond Springs and El Dorado residents had better be ready to have yet another new development crammed down their throats. A plan for a 76-acre business park, on both sides of Highway 49, in the vicinity of Tower Mart and Enterprise Drive, was on the El Dorado County supervisors’ agenda for approval March 1. […]

Let Vern the guide dog stay at the mobile home park

EDITOR: I have read your story regarding Randy Cummings and his guide dog, Vern. This is a sad story. The story tells how Vern is retiring, but will have to relocate as Randy is getting another guide dog. I believe this is terrible. The mobile home park manager was very much aware of this and […]

The Rock Doc: A new slice out of the apple

I often eat without thinking, either while listening to the news or writing. It’s a poor habit for several reasons, one of which is my ever-growing waistline. But the next time you bite into an apple, I implore you to take just a moment to really savor its taste, aroma, and texture. Those characteristics vary […]

Don’t lump all pit bulls together

EDITOR: This letter is in response to Debbie Smith’s letter in the March 2 edition. To say that “it’s just how pits are” and “pit bulls are just bad news” is ignorant and adds to the negative opinion of this breed — who I feel have been given a bad rap. Any dog, no matter […]

My turn: In a California ruling, Ninth Circuit affirms EPA isn’t above the law

If the American concept of responsive, representative government means anything, it’s that bureaucracies don’t have unchecked power. Unelected regulators and administrators answer to the legislative branch, which enacts the laws that they administer. And they answer to the courts for how they interpret and apply those laws. It follows that average people who believe they […]

For planning purposes only

EDITOR: Mr. Longhofer’s letter, “Sharing in the glory” posted Feb. 23, states, “… the debate was whether there was a Japanese plan to invade Hawaii and then the coast of California. There was such a plan, so that debate is closed.” This was obviously written in Mr. Longhofer’s inimitable style, which has occurred in letters […]

Article misrepresented McClintock meeting

EDITOR: The context of the article, “We’re doing what doesn’t work” misrepresents what really transpired when Congressman Tom McClintock addressed the El Dorado Hills crowd on Feb. 23. As one individual commented, it appears McClintock paid for this “ad.” First let’s take a step back to the Jan. 19 Tea Party Patriots of El Dorado […]

Beth Gaines would be our conservative voice at the state Capitol

EDITOR: The Mountain Democrat’s endorsement of John Allard for the 4th Assembly Seat is a real disappointment to this El Dorado County conservative  woman. I have been to numerous debates and political meetings with all the candidates for the 4th Assembly District and Beth Gaines is by far the best candidate for this Assembly seat, […]

This is why we’re voting for Beth Gaines

EDITOR: My husband and I had no idea who to vote for, Mr. Allard or Mrs. Gaine. Dutifully, we sat down to read the literature sent by both candidates so we could debate. Ms. Gaines set forth her agenda and where she stood on issues. We liked that. On the first side of Mr. Allard’s […]

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