Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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 […]

Bee-ing silly

For the last few years there has been a constant buzz about bee “colony collapse disorder.” Collapse is not necessarily a bee die-off. It’s bees abandoning a hive. The bees don’t die; they just head somewhere else. Not that there isn’t a loss of bees over the winter. For reasons still unexplained, these over-winter losses […]

Belltower: Bring on the killer robots, but not grizzlies

The same people who brought us the Internet are now working on robots for the Army. I’m talking about the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, also known DARPA. While DARPA is working on killer robots, there are groups working to stop the Army robots, specifically Human Rights Watch. Look for the United Nations to next work […]

The weekly Daley: A good time to be there…

Next time you’re planning a trip to San Sebastian on the northwest coast of Spain, I recommend timing your arrival to coincide with Pintxo Week. Pintxo Week began a day or two before we got to San Sebastian on June 9. As I recall, the week actually lasted more like 10 days or so. We […]

Something to think about: More than what you see

There are two old sayings that I have found to be absolutely true: “Never judge a book by its cover” and “There’s more than meets the eye.” In the course of the almost 10 years I have been a reporter, I have interviewed thousands of people in El Dorado County for a wide variety of reasons […]

Popular science

Science often comes down to a popularity contest. That’s what happened to global warming, especially after Al Gore began evangelizing through books and movies. Major metropolitan newspapers also accepted it as scientific fact as well as President Obama and California Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown. Here is the latest measure of the popularity of […]

My turn: Special interests at EID

There are a lot of false rumors, innuendos and pseudo facts being generated by a small group of special interest folks, a couple of whom made a lot of noise recently. From false and misleading accusations, to demands that I recuse myself from voting … being on the EID board never gets dull. There’s a […]

Russian metastasis

Like cancer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB colonel, is spreading the Russian disease in Ukraine. Having already swallowed up the Crimean Peninsula with little push-back from the West, why wouldn’t he think he couldn’t infiltrate eastern Ukraine with his soldiers of misfortune? Who is stopping him? He already has taken a chunk out […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Not invented here

There are lots of reasons why things do not get done: procrastination, timidity, lack of resources, contrary to policy or principles, or just plain resistance due to the uncertainty or discomfort of the new, that is a change to the status quo. All organizations face the unsettling aspects of change. And resistance shows up in […]

Different place, different priorities

While we await the various local anti-growth initiatives working their way through the system, we will take a moment to look at what a pro-growth policy does for an area. We are talking about Texas. An opinion piece opposite the editorial page of the July 15 Wall Street Journal highlighted some interesting facts. Naturally, the […]

The rural life: Save the day: Neuter and spay

My neighbor meant well. His e-mail, sent to everyone in our homeowners association, began, “Anyone need kittens? Of course you do!” He went on to explain that two strays at his friend’s house had produced litters that now needed homes. He pointed out that “kittens are great for all kinds of things out here in […]

California rambling: Giving cities a pass

What if a city’s best attractions were packaged like a theme park’s, with admission to all its best museums and sightseeing attractions on one pass? That’s the question theme park executive Mike Gallagher asked himself in 1996. He’d just left Marine World Africa USA in Vallejo and was out of work for the first time […]

Brown Act violated

Some of you may have noticed the My Turn column July 2 by all four members of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors. Unusual. Also, illegal. Yes, there was no regular item on the board’s agenda for them to approve whoever wrote this on their behalf. It’s been clear to us for a long […]

July 18, 2014 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged ,

The weekly Daley: More travels in Iberia

Living as we do in a small town, we’re not real accustomed to traveling on big city public transportation. Barcelona is a big city by our standards, more than a million and a half inhabitants, and the city is the capital of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, a region with a population of about five […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Occasionally I am stupid

Ten days ago I went to see my doctor after several sleepless nights of coughing and hacking. X-rays revealed that I had pneumonia, an acute infection of the lungs. A fever accompanied the pneumonia, and my doctor said not to go to work the next day, and no strenuous activity, such as tennis, for a […]

Publisher’s ink: Was this trial all for ‘Nutting?’

Now that the dust has settled following the trial of Supervisor Ray Nutting, many readers are wondering what cost to county taxpayers was spent on this losing endeavor? Losing you ask? Wasn’t Supervisor Nutting found guilty of something? Let’s see. District Attorney Vern Pierson charged Supervisor Nutting with four felonies and at the end of […]

Save the Druid Monument

The Cedar Ravine roundabout is a goner. The Placerville City Council, on a July 8 3-2 vote, ruled out a roundabout there. That leaves a real problem. How will the city create a four-way intersection when the Druid Monument is right smack dab in the middle of the intersection? It works now because it is […]

The balancing act: Grand jury gobbledy-gook

Dysfunction is the key word within the title of the new Grand Jury report published on June 20 regarding the El Dorado County Charter. Most if not all Grand Juries are supposed to be fact-finders, and although I didn’t examine the entire report to see if other areas of the report had fact-finding or opinion, the […]

Belltower: Medals and belt buckles

One of our readers called to complain that it is incorrect to refer to the Medal of Honor as the “Congressional Medal of Honor.” Strictly speaking, he is correct, even though the medal was authorized by an act of Congress. And if Wikipedia is to believed, here is the wording: “The President may award, and […]

Fear and ‘visioning’

Fear and ‘visioning’ As the so-called “visioning” thing proceeds in community plans under the assistance of consultants, so far there is little actual feedback that has come back to the board other than a happy-talk “Community Planning Guide” that is sorely lacking in specifics. In a recent general presentation to the El Dorado County Board […]

The weekly Daley: What is up with…?

Geez, I leave home and go to Spain for a while only to come back to a country that seems to have gone off the rails. Now, corporations have souls and religious rights to deny certain elements of health care, particularly to women. Five guys in black robes determined that a company can pick and […]

July 11, 2014 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged ,

Something to think about: Déjà vu

It’s déjà vu all over again as Iraq once again erupts into turmoil and the U.S. is being drawn in, sending advisors and boots on the ground to Iraq. The phrase “sending advisors,” makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. “Sending advisors” happened in the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, […]

July 11, 2014 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged ,

Grading problems

One element of this year’s Grand Jury report provided a valuable highlight on some issues that need correction — enforcing the grading ordinance. There are several sections dealing with what has been the lack of enforcement of the county’s Grading Ordinance, but the key issue is the site of the old Diamond Lime Plant. Lime […]

July 11, 2014 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged ,

My turn: EPA’s new carbon standards — CO2 fix or another tax?

If you have an extra minute, take a look around you. How many people do you know react to facts with a psychodynamic response — an automatic, partly unconscious act of tuning out at the first hint of anything counter to their predisposed ideas? Or if they do choose to engage, it is through the […]

Train upgrading

We’re glad to hear the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation is closer to having a regular engine restored for use on the eight-mile segment the board granted it to use for rail passenger service. With the small A Cars it currently has in operation, the El Dorado Western Railway transported 2,200 people last year between […]

July 09, 2014 | Posted in Opinion | Tagged ,

The balancing act: Questionable dealing

El Dorado County’s chief administrative officer, Terri Daly, has a history. Before she came to El Dorado County, she was the CAO of Amador County from 2007 to 2010. Prior to that she was the assistant CAO of Amador County for about a year and a half, and before assuming that post she was originally […]

California rambling: Vagabondizing at Mono Lake

Mark Twain was, in his own word, “vagabondizing,” when he visited Mono Lake in California’s eastern Sierra in 1862 and wrote about in “Roughing It.” Twain’s descriptions of Mono Lake, as read by Stuart Wilkinson of Caldera Kayaks at the end of one of his guided kayak tours of the lake 152 years later, remain […]

Clearly a conflict

One of the strangest sections of this year’s Grand Jury Report is the one dealing with radio purchases by the Lake Valley Fire Protection District in Meyers at Tahoe. The report discusses the case of Gareth Harris, who owned a retail store in Marin County, which he closed in 2002, but continued to operate as […]

The weekly Daley: On being secure

While I’ve noted that traveling is good for the body and mind and maybe especially the soul, there is an aspect to modern travel that can drain the life and spirit right out of you. The security checks at airports, and in Europe the train stations as well, are positively inhumane. Our own are bad […]

A document for all time

Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago today, the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain and its king was signed, even though leading churches in Philadelphia already had a copy on July 2. The key phrase for us is the beginning of the second paragraph: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: To learn, you need to keep your mouth shut!

Father’s Day always takes me back to my life lessons learned from my dad. • Dad often told me, “Be careful of any free lunch offer. There isn’t such a thing as a free lunch.” He recommended that I step back and count to 50 when an offer that seemed “too good to be true” […]

My turn: MCWRA opposes SB 1199

Mountain Counties Water Resources Association advocates for the water interests of its members in the Sierra Nevada mountain communities. We have significant concerns about Senate Bill 1199, “Wild and scenic rivers: Mokelumne River.” SB 1199, authored by Oakland Senator Loni Hancock, designates almost 37 miles of the Mokelumne River in Calaveras and Amador counties as […]

Secret science

We are totally stumped. Until it was pointed out by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, we had no idea there was a government agency that sponsored research and kept it secret. The Environmental Protection Agency funds research to support its regulations and even picks its own […]

My turn: El Dorado County on the move to drive innovation

We ask the public to join the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors in our commitment to create a renaissance regarding the county’s reputation. For starters, Terri Daly has been working at our direction for almost four years and we want you to know that we support our chief administrative officer (CAO) who is working […]

Economic opportunity

The University of California at Davis is planning to open a satellite campus. The general outlines are for a campus focusing on food, health and the environment. Sacramento thinks it will get the campus for the rail yard, but that is a long way off from development. El Dorado County should organize a delegation of […]

Belltower: Honor and duty

“Honor and distinction.” That’s how National Security Advisor Susan Rice described Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who by all accounts of his platoon mates abandoned his post. You think she would have learned better after being laughed at for saying the four Americans who died in the Benghazi Consulate were killed by rioters incensed by a video […]

Neutering the board

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. — Lord Acton The El Dorado County 2013-14 Grand Jury’s attack on elected officials, as detailed in a news story Monday, also contains a multi-page effort to turn the members of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors into factotums for the chief administrative officer, the […]

The weekly Daley: Getting out of town

There’s nothing like travel to perk up the senses, grow some new dendrites, eat something you never thought you’d eat and meet someone you never would otherwise have met. Travel consistently gives me a laugh. T-shirts, funny signs, foreign words that are awkwardly translated or words that in their own language are just plain funny. […]

Something to think about: A day to celebrate

Today is June 27, which may not mean much to you unless it’s your birthday or anniversary. It doesn’t mean much to me, either, but if you’re looking for something to celebrate, here are a few choices: This is the 178th day of the year with 187 days remaining, which means there are plenty of […]