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California Rambling: Southern California’s Lake Tahoe

Northern California has Tahoe, and Southern California has Big Bear. Though Big Bear Lake is a reservoir (created in 1884 by damming seven-miles of the San Bernardino Mountains’ Bear Valley) and Lake Tahoe is a natural Sierra Nevada basin, the two mountain lakes and their resort communities have much in common to compare and study. […]

The Weekly Daley: Ain’t love grand!

“I’m in love with at least one if not two or more convicted murderers. He and/or they are who I want to spend the rest of my life with, maybe have his/their baby or babies one day. We’ll be so happy. Ain’t love grand! But first I have to help them bust out of prison, […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Will my marriage survive?

My Nov. 20, 2014, stroke resulted in my driving privileges being taken away until I can convince DMV that I am ready to safely drive on the roads again. This suspension resulted in my wife, Monika, taking over as my unpaid chauffeur. “Unpaid” does not mean she hasn’t paid an awful price for the “privilege” […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Moral myopia

Wanton killing always causes me to think about morality, or the lack of it. There is a belief, by some, that without religion there is no morality. And whether as self-justification or sincere belief, many, if not most, people of faith hold that their own religion is the foundation of morality. Much as I hate […]

Publisher’s Ink: To the back of the bill Mr. Hamilton!

It’s nice to see our federal government hard at work tackling worrisome financial issues. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew is soliciting public feedback to determine which woman to place on the $10 bill. An election year is just around the corner. From 1886-1891 Martha Washington’s portrait appeared on the $1 silver certificate. A picture […]

The balancing act: The transparency of the opaque

It’s been about three months since former Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr obligated the taxpayers to a contract for legal services, except it appears the contract was for investigatory services. The contract, executed by Knorr and County Counsel Robyn Drivon, had a spending limit of $50,000. A$15,627 bill for services has already been received. It’s not […]

Belltower: Some news that will give you fits

All the people running for president are being put on the spot when they come to Iowa. The big question is where they stand on ethanol. It is not ethyl and it is not high octane. And gas stations don’t give away glasses anymore. Ethanol is a worthless additive made from corn. It might as […]

Something to think about: Summer freedom

The longest day of the year has come and gone; the hottest temperature of the year has yet to be. The county fair was last week; the state fair is next month. For children, summer is ripe — most of the summer possibilities are still waiting and boredom has yet to set in. School is still […]

The weekly Daley: Excuse me! What?

Think you’ve heard it all? I kind of thought I’d heard it all until Wednesday morning. While driving to work I heard on NPR that state Attorney General Kamala Harris was hoping not to have to deal with a proposition titled the “Sodomite Suppression Act.” Excuse me! What? She was hoping a judge would grant […]

My turn: The fire fee shell game: You lose!

Democrats in the California Legislature seem to be facing the reality that the fire tax they passed with the governor’s help in 2011 is unfair. Californians who live in rural areas rely on a range of public services from multiple levels of government to combat fires. These residents already pay taxes to fund essential fire […]

Publisher’s Ink: Got water? I’ll drink to that.

As Ag Tours go, this year’s topic and agenda was most enlightening. Attendance was a tad lower than previous Ag Tours I’ve attended. This was likely the result of including only one wine-related venue on the tour. Participation always seems to increase in direct proportion to the number of wineries visited. This year’s theme “Got […]

California rambling: Feeding time

What is it about feeding time at a zoo that is irresistible? The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens lists a couple of dozen keeper talks on a busy day; many include a feeding. Fascinated zoo goers line enclosures to watch keepers measure mackerel to penguins at Penguin Island, toss apples to bears at Hearst Grizzly […]

The rural life: Doing well by doing good

Sometimes what goes around just keeps coming around. I think of that whenever I step into the fragrant interior of Andrae’s Bakery in Amador City. Part of what keeps me and my family finding our way to this little shop are the tempting goodies inside. But an even larger part is the goodwill owner Matt […]

The weekly Daley: More nuts with guns

Like clockwork, yet another young man turns up with a gun and a killer agenda, and another nine people are dead because they went to an event at their church in Charleston, S.C. Wednesday night. Dylann Roof allegedly went to the same event and while there, it is alleged that he shot and killed nine […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: It’s better not to be stupid

Joyce Sequichie Hifler wrote the book “A Cherokee Feast of Days.” This is a book of daily meditations. She wrote, “If you argue with stupid reasoning you end up being stupid – Expressing an opinion can run you out of bounds and into areas that are not yours to argue. And no one has any […]

Charles Krauthammer: The racing form, second edition

The Republican nominating race is a mess: a strong field, but with 10 declared candidates and a half-dozen more to come, we need a bouncer to keep order. I’ve given myself the job. Rope lines separate the four categories. (A) Top tier: 1. Jeb Bush. Solid, no sizzle. Sizzle may be in less demand than […]

My turn: ‘No’ more water

In the midst of California’s worst drought in 100-plus years, El Dorado Irrigation District Directors Alan Day and Greg Prada voted “no” on pursuing additional water for the county at the board’s May 11 meeting. After giving lip service to the El Dorado Water and Power Authority’s continuing efforts to obtain 40,000 acre-feet of water for […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Censorship by any other name

Censorship by any other name is suspect. Presently, college campuses around the country have become home to a moral movement that is shocking for its illiberal slant and because it is a perverse form of censorship in institutions that have long prided themselves as bastions of free speech. Recently aggrieved students, reacting to what they […]

The balancing act: Sneaking a raise?

On June 2 the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors did the right thing and saved the county from a mini debacle that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually starting in about two weeks. Since the Board of Supervisors’ agenda is prepared by the CAO’s office at the direction of the chief administrative officer, […]

Mark Shields: Tap-dancing on immigration

Let me begin by confessing my own prejudices on the matter of immigration: I never personally had any decision to make, but — to my great good luck — my ancestors made the bold decision to leave their homeland and be Americans. So I benefit, every day, from the precious and totally unearned gift of […]

Belltower: Birds gone wild

Monday morning on my way to the weekly breakfast meeting of the Taxpayers Association of El Dorado County I saw a crow pecking at French fries. Rather than interfere with the crow’s breakfast I parked in a non-French-fried space next to it. What resulted was a bird confrontation. Two starlings eyed the French fries and […]

Teens get a chance to fly

On May 3, 10 Civil Air Patrol cadets, ages 12 to 18, received a unique view of El Dorado County as they took to the skies from Placerville Airport in one of two Civil Air Patrol Cessna aircraft. Once in the air, certificated pilots allowed the cadets to fly the planes and perform basic flight […]

Murderer’s parole denied after letters

A man guilty of murder was denied parole June 9 after an exceptional turnout of letters. Lynn Tracy told the Mountain Democrat that, after running an article asking for letters against releasing William Ray Hall Jr., she and husband Mike were “overwhelmed” with readers’ responses. “I could never, never repay them for their time and […]

The balancing act: CAO Knorr’s questionable dealing

El Dorado County Interim Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr, with a sign-off from the new county counsel Robyn Truitt-Drivon, has hired a private investigator, the Balancing Act has learned. The PI contract was hidden under a “consultant” contract with a law firm that Knorr has dealt with before when she was CAO of Alpine County. […]

Publisher’s ink: The ‘WMD’ has been located — it’s in Chicago

After several failed attempts purchasing subway passes, my wife and I were aided by a friendly Chicago Transit Authority employee. Trying to navigate the subway token vending machine was more difficult than traversing the city and its outlying neighborhoods. “I hope that was the most challenging part of our visit,” I stated as we boarded […]

Charles Krauthammer: Why doctors quit: Chapter 2

I rarely do follow-up columns. I’m averaging one every 10 years. And while my last such exercise resulted in a written apology from the White House (for accusing me of making up facts over its removal of Churchill’s bust), today’s is not a complaint. It’s merely a recognition that the huge response elicited by last […]

California rambling: Surprising Branson

Branson may be the bowl of kettle corn you’ve put off tasting. However, once you do, odds are you won’t be able to put it down. What makes Branson (population 10,000) so tantalizing is its down-home authenticity. Branson is located in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri near the Arkansas state line. This is a […]

John Stossel: Social ‘justice’

Protestors demand “social justice.” I hate their chant. If I oppose their cause, then I’m for social “injustice”? Nonsense. The protesters usually want to punish capitalism. “Spread those resources,” says Hillary Clinton. Even capitalists often make the mistake of talking about “social justice” as if it’s the opposite of free markets or a reason to […]

The weekly Daley: Is it or is it not?

I’m following up on last week’s piece suggesting that climate change is an actual thing, that it’s happening and maybe we ought to think about crafting some realistic responses. A number of commenters took me to task on a range of issues such as promoting the notion that we humans are to blame to some […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Avoid doomsday people

Every morning we choose an attitude to start the day with. We can have an optimistic approach and look forward to the day unfolding, or we can dread the day, assuming there is no joy ahead. • You start each day in bed. If you share a bed, one of you may say, “You snored […]

Long live the Wagon Train

In a county that exudes history, the Highway 50 Wagon Train continued to be a breath of fresh air as it rolled down the mountain this week on its way to Placerville. The annual reminder of where we came from is much appreciated and continually anticipated by much of the area’s residents. Set to arrive […]

Charles Krauthammer: Why doctors quit

About a decade ago, a doctor friend was lamenting the increasingly frustrating conditions of clinical practice. “How did you know to get out of medicine in 1978?” he asked with a smile. “I didn’t,” I replied. “I had no idea what was coming. I just felt I’d chosen the wrong vocation.” I was reminded of […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Why am I a liberal?

Why am I a liberal and not a conservative? Well a belief system can be defined as much as what it stands for as what it is against. First, I do not consider the current right wing of the GOP to be conservative by any understanding of Abraham Lincoln, Edmund Burke, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight David […]

My turn: Talking to your teen about stress

Any parent will tell you raising teenagers is a stressful time! Are you in that stage? Talk to your teenager about it. Your stress may be similar stress for your teen. A recent American Psychological Association (APA) online survey shows today’s teenagers experience greater levels of stress. Stressors include academic pressures, feeling overscheduled, financial pressure […]

The balancing act: The Veerkamp deficit

Having deficit budgets are commonplace in the federal government. They just effectively print more money to cover it. (They do it by borrowing money such as selling T-bills.) But in subordinate governments, while borrowing is sometimes done and some jurisdictions even end up going bankrupt (making future borrowing even more expensive and many times next […]

Mark Shields: Chris Christie channels Ralph Perk

History, just by what it selects to remember, can indeed be cruel. Consider, for example, Republican Ralph Perk, who, during the 1970s in heavily Democratic Cleveland, was elected mayor three times. But what Mayor Perk is mostly remembered for was that day in 1972 when, while using a blowtorch to cut the steel ribbon to […]

Belltower: Rain records provide some optimism about next year

Season rainfall has gone over the 22-inch mark, according to the Mountain Democrat’s rainfall stats. That moves the current 2014-15 rain year into seventh place in the past 141 years of Mountain Democrat rainfall stats. Last year was the fourth lowest. The rain-year ends June 30. At this point it is a low-water year, but […]

The weekly Daley: Spare ‘climate’ change?

I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations lately with two climate change deniers. Smart, respectable, world-wise guys who have been around as many, if not more, blocks than I. They simply do not believe any of the reports of climate change, melting glaciers, rising seas. Lies, all lies, they say. Cooked up by corrupt “greener […]

Attention graduates

Many El Dorado County high schools and even area colleges will be hosting graduation ceremonies this weekend. Years of hard work have been completed, and a bright future lies ahead for many. We wish all graduates good fortune going forward. For the high school graduates, welcome to adulthood. Whether you’re off to college after the […]

My turn: California water rights law: 100 years and counting, and concerned

The long history of California is embattled with disputes over water diversions for export to other regions. The U.S. Army ran out the Paiutes from the Owens Valley in the Eastern Sierra Nevada region which destroyed the Paiutes quality of life and largely destroyed the environment. There’s the battle over the O’Shaughnessy Dam that flooded […]

My turn: Let’s talk about water rates

Let’s talk about water rates. I have recently had the great pleasure of working with Mary Fleming from an organization called the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC). This company receives funding from the State Water Resources Board to help small agencies such as the GDPUD complete tasks like complying with Prop. 218, allowing the district […]

Charles Krauthammer: You want hypotheticals? Here’s one

Ramadi falls. The Iraqi army flees. The great 60-nation anti-Islamic State coalition so grandly proclaimed by the Obama administration is nowhere to be seen. Instead, it’s the defense minister of Iran who flies into Baghdad, an unsubtle demonstration of who’s in charge — while the U.S. air campaign proves futile and America’s alleged strategy for […]

California rambling: Summer camps

Summer began this past weekend for many residents of El Dorado County. They went camping, had backyard barbecues and sunbathed by the water. Though in reality, summer doesn’t begin officially for another 28 days. However, you can’t convince a kid that summer won’t arrive for almost another month. After all, graduation ceremonies have been happening […]

John Stossel: Dr. Capitalism

For years, my scientist brother Tom was the nonpolitical Stossel. I defended free markets on TV, and he studied blood at Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Mom asked me when I’d get a “real job” like his. Then the crusade against capitalism reached his world. Medical “journalists” demanded that corporations distance themselves from medical […]

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