Monday, September 1, 2014

The balancing act: More county shenanigans

Item No. 3 on the consent calendar at the Aug. 26 El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting demonstrates why the county needs new top management. It was a small item asking for three $20,000 checks: one to the city of Placerville, one to the Cameron Park CSD and a third to the El Dorado Hills […]

Labor Day

Labor Day always marks the last hurrah of summer and the transition to fall. For most students, except here in El Dorado County, the day after Labor Day is the start of school. It’s a long weekend and here it is noteworthy for the Highway 50 traffic of hippie-like people returning from the Burning Man […]

California rambling: Surprising Santa Clara

“Everyone claims to be Silicon Valley,” David Andre of the Santa Clara Convention and Visitors Bureau said of the many cities in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond that identify themselves as a center of high technology, “but Santa Clara is where Silicon Valley began, and it’s still its heart.” Nowhere is Silicon Valley’s […]

Scholarship available for local forestry students

JACKSON – The Amador-El Dorado Forest Forum is accepting applications from now to Nov. 15 for the Edwin F., Lila and Lyle Smith Memorial Forestry Scholarship from students enrolled in their last two years of forestry study at a recognized college or university. The scholarship will be granted to a student who has graduated from […]

Mayors to meet for virtual handshake

Placerville Mayor Carl Hagen will join the mayors of three other pioneer-related cities for a virtual handshake tonight, Aug. 29, using a laptop computer. Held to honor the Santa-Cali-Gon Days festival, the event kicks off a celebration of the major trails used by pioneers moving west in the 1840s and 1850s. With Independence, Mo. the starting place for many […]

Dog tak with Uncle Matty: Cat saves boy from ‘otherwise friendly dog’

You’ve probably seen the video — “My cat saved my son” — but if you haven’t, watch it here: And brace yourselves, dog people, because you’re about to fall in love with a cat. Earlier this summer, Tara the Tabby became a hero and Internet sensation when she thwarted a dog attack by body-slamming, […]

Success turns golden

It is always remarkable when a couple stays married for 50 years. Even more remarkable are a bunch of independent farmers working together for mutual success for 50 years. We are talking about the Apple Hill Growers Association. This year is its 50th anniversary. The formation of the association and its shift from wholesale to […]

My turn: Conservatism vs. the GOP: Setting the record straight

Many thanks to Gene Altshuler for being such a shining beacon of radical lib-think, with his recent tome, “The Democratic-Chronicles: Drowning in their Tea Pee 838.” It offers so much material with which to debunk liberal propaganda and set the record straight. And such a cute title! Since Mr. Altshuler is hopelessly misguided in his […]

My turn: How Obamacare will kill job-based plans

Americans aren’t all that optimistic about Obamacare, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll: Fifty-seven percent say the law isn’t working as planned. That number will shoot even higher if employer health insurance vanishes, as an S&P Capital IQ report predicts. The financial-research firm forecasts that 90 percent of Americans who now have employer-sponsored […]

The balancing act: Poor sport

Some people take their losses and move on; others are vindictive. Sometimes when you want retribution and revenge after a loss, your actions are not only spiteful and selfish, but costly. That can be said for termed-out El Dorado County Board of Supervisors member Ron Briggs who will lose his $77,000-a-year job at the end […]

Iowa Hill update

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District has contracted with Jacob Associates to do core drilling, underground design and “rock engineering” for the district’s Iowa Hill pumped-storage project, according to SMUD’s summer report, the “Confluence.” The data collection was completed in May and the contractor “found rock at the planned location of the powerhouse to be suitably […]

Mystery savings

The members of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors must have chosen “mystery meat” when they went through the high school cafeteria line in their younger years. That’s what they seem to be putting on their budgetary trays these days. The mystery meat is the chief administrative officer’s “investment strategy savings.” The CAO pegs […]

The weekly Daley: Unintended consequences, a true story

Although I don’t barbecue all that often, when I do I like to be able to leave a platter of meat or oiled vegetables outside for a minute or two while I check the coals or do a last scrape of the grill. Too often though, in those couple of moments, meat bees or yellow […]

Something to think about: Star Trek and Dog Days

The Dog Days of summer officially ended Aug. 11. The hottest days of summer, believed to cause dogs and people to go mad, might not be over, but the term comes from celestial circumstances, not weather. Dog Days are the period when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises in conjunction with the sun, roughly July 3-Aug. […]

Belltower: Cat stories

After reading about Walt and Hadley Kopps’ misadventures on the way to having feral cats fixed, I was reminded of our family’s cat stories. Especially after reading Jennifer Forsberg Meyer’s defense of cats and some of the wacky things her cat does. She has a very impressive cat. My first cat came flying in the […]

Dave Pratt for District 2

Five of the six candidates running for Supervisor, District 2, met with our editorial board. All left us with a favorable impression, though some more than others. On Sept. 9 the voters of the district that includes the south county, some of El Dorado Hills and Bass Lake Road will choose one of the six. […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Democracy denied

I am not a fan of initiatives — aka legislating by ballot. We elect representatives, and we should let them do their job. And while I may disagree with my representative’s vote from time to time (in the case of McClintock all the time), I have my chance to change things come election time. At […]

My turn: Course and program offerings at the El Dorado Center

In the first article of this series, I wrote about the state of California’s budget woes between 2007 and 2013 and the impacts on California’s Community Colleges (fewer course sections and higher tuition, among other deleterious results) and about recent improvements in the state budget (augmented somewhat by proceeds from Proposition 30) and the stabilization […]

The 2016 challenge

Since our current president seems to be spending most of the balance of his second term playing golf, hopscotching around the country on Air Force One to raise funds for the Democrats, and hanging out with celebrities, the rest of can only look forward to the 2016 presidential election. And thank goodness for term limits. Really, […]

The rural life: Who’s the real jerk?

“Sorry,” went the headline. “Your Cat Is Actually A Total Jerk. It’s Just Science.” The piece was written by Renee Jacques, a “viral content editor” at the Huffington Post online. It’s meant to be funny and, of course, to go viral, but her claim that “it’s just science” rubbed me the wrong way. Like one […]

California rambling: Surprising Richmond

Agnes Moore didn’t mean to be an agent of social change when, at 21, she applied for work as a welder at Richmond’s Kaiser Shipyard. A month earlier, Pearl Harbor had been bombed in a surprise attack and, like the entire nation, she was incensed about it. So, when Moore heard on the radio, “Women! […]

My turn: Kill the messenger at EID

We appreciate Director Alan Days’ confirmation of his meeting with the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and their director of legal affairs. This is not a free speech issue. The real point that the community would like him to respond to centers around this question: Why is a newly elected EID director seeking […]

Celebrity bizarro

Japanese-taught martial arts expert Steven Seagal’s biggest role on the silver screen was the 1992 movie, “Under Siege,” in which he played a Navy Seal counterterrorism expert. His acting career went into decline from there. Now he has really entered celebrity Purgatory. Seagal apparently has a blues band and was reported by Russian news to […]

My turn: The paradox of gun control

Another shooting of innocent people by a mentally deranged youth seeking retribution for the way he perceived he’d been treated has brought emotionally charged demands for “sanity” in our gun laws. The father of one of the victims insists “not one more.” Of course, it’s an opportunity to play the “blame game.” The easy targets […]

Sand Fire benefit

Mark your calendar for Friday, Aug. 22. On that date from 5 to 10 p.m. there will be a pasta dinner and entertainment at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds to raise funds for the benefit of the victims of the 4,200-acre Sand Fire. What a great community effort put together in short order by community […]

Belltower: From aluminum to plastic

When I lived on Bernal Heights in San Francisco my landlord, who lived upstairs, was working on his Master of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco State. His oeuvre was using an airbrush to paint large oil paintings of Swanson TV dinner trays lit by colored lights. He held his master’s show at his house. […]

Low comedy

Low comedy is a “comedy bordering on farce,” according to Merriam-Webster. And that’s what we would call what went on at the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors July 29 when one of four initiatives that passed muster with the county Elections Department got shunted off the Nov. 4 ballot. Not that we like any […]

The balancing act: Animals rule

Most El Dorado County residents know that our county’s “make shift” animal shelter needs to be replaced. It has been an issue for at least eight years. The Placerville Drive facility was much too small and ill equipped to do the job, but its dedicated staff made do anyway. Needing replacement because of the limited […]

The weekly Daley: Getting tough on immigration (that was then)

I wrote this piece back in October 2011. At the time, I assumed that by now, three years later, we would have seen some pretty substantial changes on the immigration issue. What was I thinking? My brother the conservative was all about Rick Perry until the Texas governor got caught having allowed children of undocumented […]

The serializer

By serializer, we are not talking about a cliff-hanger or a box of Cheerios. No, we are talking about who facilitated a serial meeting of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors. It has been crystal clear to us that the Board of Supervisors violated the Brown Act when four members of the board approved […]

Something to think about: Slow boat to China

I am taking a slow boat to China — actually I’m taking a slow boat through China, part of it, at least. To prepare, my husband and I have gotten enough shots to feel like colanders, including a polio shot. Whatever happened to the sugar cubes? We now have visas — not Visas, but little […]

Penguins by the millions

Just because California had one of the hottest Januaries on record doesn’t mean the world’s going to Hades in a handbasket. It doesn’t mean even a smidgen of global warming. All it meant is a drought for California, while the East and the Midwest got hit by the Polar Vortex. January was also when a ship […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: How not to run for BOS

Well, I have suffered through the first candidate forum to determine someone to fill the vacant seat in the Board of Supervisors’ District 2. In a take-off from a Seinfeld episode, it was cringeworthy. Not one of the five candidates evidenced any real measure of preparation for the debate. The gaffs were, well, cringeworthy. With […]

Missing the point

July 18 we stated unequivocably that the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors violated the Brown Act. At issue was a My Turn column by all four members of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors printed July 2. The violation came because there was no agenda item for the board members to approve the […]

Sand Fire reflections

The 4,200 acres burned in the Sand Fire wreaked devastation from the confluence of the South and Middle forks of the Cosumnes River west almost to Highway E-16. It razed 19 homes and 49 structures. From the topographic map provided by the command center it is clear that the steep canyons involved made containing and […]

California rambling: ‘Same Time, Next Year’

In the 1978 motion picture, “Same Time, Next Year,” actors Ellen Burstyn and Allen Alda return each year to the Heritage House Resort on the Mendocino Coast, where the movie was shot. For decades, they were not alone. Staying at the Heritage House Resort became an annual tradition for many of its guests. That’s because […]

The rural life: Walking — wowza!

In a world where health advice changes like the weather, there’s one prescription you can rely on: walking. I’ve quit trying to keep track of which foods are good and which are bad (they keep trading places), and instead just try to walk as much as I can. I’ve sung the virtues of walking before. […]

The weekly Daley: The wrong side of history

The so-called border crisis doesn’t seem to be getting any better, fewer headlines maybe, but not measurably better. Our own Congressman Tom McClintock did what he could for the cause when he addressed his fellow representatives last week. Using the customary rhetoric and hyperbole about how it’s all the president’s fault, because he wants to […]

Billingsley’s bullets: Advice from my psychiatrist

When I visit my dental hygienist, Katrina, it feels like I am in a psychiatrist’s office. She has me lie down on a couch/chair that could fit well into any psychiatric office. Katrina then asks me if I have had any problems since I last visited her. Her soft, friendly voice relaxes me. Her counseling […]

My Turn: Privatization of public services

One of my concerns is the inefficacy in the way our public services are delivered to taxpayers. Let’s call them customers. There should be a California law that allows private companies to compete for delivery of public services to its customers. Whether it’s maintenance services, education, correctional institutions, revenue collection, emergency services and anything the […]

Policy book

We assume new members of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors receive a copy of the board’s policy manual. It’s quite a bit to digest, having 89 sections. The section on ordinances is worth a book all by itself. There’s no qualification for running for the Board of Supervisors other than being a voter […]

My turn: Community College: What’s in it for students (and for citizens)?

California’s community college system enrolls more students (a total of about 2.1 million) and offers more programs (at least 175 different technical fields) than any other post-secondary education system in the U.S. In fact, one of every four community college students in the nation attends one of the 112 community college campuses in California. According […]

The balancing act: Toxic waste spreads

In late January of 2013 an e-mail was sent to many county employees by Kim Kerr who listed her title as ACAO (assistant chief administrative officer) and interim Department of Transportation Director. The body of the e-mail had three points, one about recruitment, and a series of bullet points about training opportunities. But it was […]

My turn: History of Crawford and East Diamond Ditch detailed

As a 40-year customer on the East Diamond Ditch, I read with interest your article entitled “EID ditch customers get relief,” which appeared on the front page of the Wednesday, July 23, 2014, issue of your paper. This story gloriously paints the staff and Board of Directors of EID as knights on white horses riding […]