Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The ‘State of the Mountain Democrat’

From page A4 | February 12, 2014 |


Richard Esposito

I was recently invited to speak to the Pollock Pines–Camino Rotary Club. It’s always enjoyable to break bread (or in this case a breakfast Danish) with business leaders of this small but highly respected service club.

It’s amazing what 16 Rotarians can accomplish. One of their key projects is to provide free dictionaries to students within their school district. Hundreds are purchased and distributed every year and the gratitude of the young students is overwhelming.

Since my visit that morning coincided with the presidential State of the Union speech, I decided to give the Rotarians a “State of the Mountain Democrat” address. By all accounts, the speech I would deliver would be much more factual than what the nation would hear that evening.

Relocating an entire newspaper operation can be somewhat daunting. I recall during my consulting days paying a visit to The Oelwein Daily Register, a small newspaper located in northeastern Iowa. The newspaper building suffered a catastrophic fire and the staff was temporarily working out of a two-story house in town.

The advertising staff occupied the kitchen upstairs. A wooden plank covering the sink was used as a countertop. And if the smell from singed papers in burned file cabinets salvaged after the fire wasn’t enough, the publisher pointed to a gaping hole in the ceiling of his makeshift office.

“Look up there!” he shouted. “Do you see that?”

There was indeed a large hole in the ceiling over his desk. The exposed wood beams were coated in a white substance. The pitched roof line above the beams was clearly visible.

“That’s pigeon sh##! I have pigeon sh## in my office!” he declared. “Be sure to inform corporate of this when you get back to Chicago.”

This visual always comes to mind whenever people complain to me about their working conditions.

Fortunately the Mountain Democrat’s move wasn’t the result of a fire or any other natural disaster. We had a signed lease in hand with Tractor Supply Co. and the building, we still own, was renovated to meet their needs.

Finding a new home located within Placerville city limits was a priority for the Mountain Democrat. And we accomplished this when we purchased the old Blockbuster Video building at 2889 Ray Lawyer Drive. Ample parking for our employees was a key selling point and this building provides it.

California’s oldest newspaper is currently operating in the newest facility of any newspaper within the state. Where many newspaper companies across the country are selling off their properties and resorting to leased office space, our family owners made the commitment to reinvest in the community we love and serve. All totaled, that investment was $1.4 million.

Our greatest challenge was moving from an underutilized 18,600-square-foot building with 22 years accumulation of “stuff” to a more efficient 7,400-square-foot building. Newspaper folks are natural-born hoarders and just sifting through years of old newspapers, files, outdated photo equipment, memorabilia and junk took time, energy and one big trash container.

Overall our move went smoothly. Employees are excited about their new confines with ample desk area, natural light and pleasant working conditions. The only glitch on move-in day occurred when our telephone provider failed to connect our service. This found me fielding calls as they temporarily transferred all incoming newspaper calls to my cell phone number.

My “State of the Mountain Democrat” address to the Rotarians that morning was summed up with “the state of the Mountain Democrat is strong. We successfully moved our operation, while generating additional tax revenue for the city at our former location. Our employees continue to perform magnificently and our dedication to serving our readers goes unmatched. And … we still believe in the printed word.”

The same could be said about Pollock Pines–Camino Rotarians. Just ask them to show you the “thank you” cards from students receiving all those free dictionaries.

Richard Esposito is publisher of the Mountain Democrat.



Richard Esposito



Heard over the back fence: Attorney to warn about scams

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Road zone of benefit protester reaches dead end

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Six file for Dist. 2

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

District 2 candidates forum Aug. 14

By News Release | From Page: B1

EID ditch customers get relief

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

Veterans receive wildland fire training

By News Release | From Page: B1

Market data open for local biz

By Ross Branch | From Page: B1

Volunteers clean up national forest

By News Release | From Page: A3 | Gallery



My turn: Special interests at EID

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

Russian metastasis

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

The Democratic-Chronicles: Not invented here

By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4



Small Farm compromise

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

EID and Dale Coco

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

DA hogging Main St. parking

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

CAO and staff hiring friends

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Altshuler’s hypocrisy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5



Sharks defeat Loomis Basin in season finale

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Celebrity golf at Tahoe

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Roundup: July 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Dolphins ring up another title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Dodgeball: Not the national pastime but …

By Shane Theodore | From Page: A7 | Gallery



At a glance: Comets to meteors

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Taste the best at the State Fair

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Tractor Supply Store recognized

By Uc Cooperative | From Page: B3

Amador Fair honors cowboys

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B3

Arbor Day book helps to identify trees

By Arbor Day | From Page: B4

Learn about lavender and its many benefits

By Christian Women's Connection | From Page: B4

Lee’s Feed appreciates customers

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B5

My Time meeting in August

By Senior Day | From Page: B5

Builders’ Exchange honors scholars

By El Dorado Builders' Exchange | From Page: B5

En garde at Silver Screen Classic

By Auburn Silver Screen | From Page: B5



Weather stats 7-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 8-10

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Walter Vali

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Jean Lachelle Taylor

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate



Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8