Opinion Columns

Retiring judge endorses Tice-Raskin as successor

April 15, 2014 — 

In the following open letter to the public, Nevada County Superior Court Judge Sean Dowling endorsed United States prosecutor Robert Tice-Raskin as the person most qualified to replace him:

Dear Nevada County Voters,

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Hillary leans on Bill and Barack to sell presidency

April 15, 2014 — 

Recently Hillary Clinton gave what appeared at first to be a rambling and unfocused answer when asked to name the proudest achievement of her four years as secretary of state. The short version is, she doesn’t have one. But Clinton’s words make a lot more sense when seen not as a nonanswer to a specific question but as an effort to lay the foundation and establish a theme for a presidential campaign.

The occasion was her appearance on a panel discussion at the Women in the World meeting in Manhattan. It was pretty easy going; the moderator, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, asked softball after softball. (Sample: Noting Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, Friedman asked: “What have you learned from her?”)

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What are the progressives so afraid of?

April 14, 2014 — 

Michele Spencer, in her Other Voices piece on April 4, states that everyone knows “that something is going seriously wrong in this country …” and cites the “growing income gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of us is likely evidence of the underlying problem.”

Boy, has she hit the nail on the head, but is entirely wrong as to the impetus of that gap.

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Plenty of reasons not to trust state government

April 14, 2014 — 

Californians don’t trust their state government. That’s nothing really new, but right now there’s as much cause for distrust as ever before in modern times.

There is, of course, the scandal that sees three indicted or convicted state senators under suspension after accusations of political corruption, gun-running and/or perjury, all refusing to resign.

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It Takes a Village Idiot

April 14, 2014 — 

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Obamacare turns out to be positive experience

April 14, 2014 — 

I have been reading a lot of conjecture and rumors lately regarding our nation’s new health-care system. For instance, a recent writer went so far as to say that doctors were refusing to take on new patients with Obamacare.

The true fact is that many doctors are not taking on new patients no matter what kind of insurance they have. There are just not enough primary care doctors, especially outside of major cities. More about doctors and Obamacare later …

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It’s time to find out what the candidates are really made of

April 14, 2014 — 

Except for last Thursday’s district attorney duke-out, the three candidate nights held so far in Nevada County have been relatively bloodless affairs, hardly in keeping with the full-contact politics favored by most partisans in the county.

The League of Women Voters means well, and there is enlightenment to be gained by having all of the candidates for an office respond to the same set of questions. But the unfailingly polite and bend-over-backwards fairness of these forums takes the spark out of the politics.

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It takes a village idiot

April 11, 2014 — 

R.L. Crabb cartoon

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Piecemeal immigration changes likely this year

April 11, 2014 — 

The grand compromise on immigration passed by the U.S. Senate 10 months ago is now all but history, despite talk from President Obama and other Democrats about “comprehensive reform.”

For comprehensive immigration reform, as it’s understood in Washington, D.C., means granting undocumented immigrants some kind of pathway to citizenship. Only a very few Republicans are willing to allow this, no matter how arduous and long the path would be.

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Secret sauce behind opponents of a minimum wage hike

April 10, 2014 — 

There’s a heated debate going on in Congress and many state capitols this spring over raising the minimum wage. One of the key players — and a vocal opponent of wage increases — is the restaurant lobby, led by the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

So, when the Restaurant Association holds its lobby day in Washington, D.C., in late April, topping its agenda will be this: to stick a fork in the proposed federal minimum wage increase.

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What our community should know about the Day of Silence

April 10, 2014 — 

Everyone who has been in high school knows how difficult it is to deal with peer pressure.

The Day of Silence provides an escape from the pressure.

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The killing, jailing of journalists continues

April 10, 2014 — 

Journalism is not a crime. This is the rallying cry in demanding the release of four Al-Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt. Three of them — Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed — have just passed their hundredth day of incarceration. The fourth, Abdullah al-Shami, has been in jail for more than six months. They have been charged with “spreading lies harmful to state security and joining a terrorist organization.” Of course, the only thing they were doing was their job.

Anja Niedringhaus also was doing her job as a photographer for The Associated Press when she was murdered last week in Khost, Afghanistan. She was covering the preparations for Afghanistan’s national election and was sitting in her car with AP reporter Kathy Gannon when an Afghan police officer opened fire, killing Niedringhaus and wounding Gannon.

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Time for bipartisan drought-coping measures

April 9, 2014 — 

The recent letter proposing pipelines to bring water to California was intriguing, although I disagree that building more dams is “insane.”

Investing in infrastructure to bring water from as far away as Alaska and North Dakota to “fill California reservoirs,” as the writer suggests, would be economically pointless without expanding existing storage capacity.

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End of discussion

April 7, 2014 — 

Regarding my letter of Feb. 28, I seem to have stirred up a “hornets’ nest” or struck a nerve with liberal Democrats who are blind to the truth regarding President Obama’s lack of transparency and dishonesty with the American people and also his abuse of power.

I would like to respond to Connie Barker who questioned, “if Obama was so powerful and dictatorial, why can he not get Congress to do anything?”

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Suicide: An increasing public health concern

April 7, 2014 — 

“You will face many defeats in your life, but never let yourself be defeated.” — Maya Angelou

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‘All politics is local’

April 4, 2014 — 

Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Tip O’Neill first used the phrase “All politics is local” in 1932. It became a common phrase in U.S. politics after he rose to the speakership. O’Neill served in the House of Representatives for 34 years, beginning in 1952 and including 10 years as speaker.

He was obviously well liked by his Massachusetts constituents. Americans generally like their elected representatives. They might not like the other guy or gal’s representatives. Maybe that’s just human nature?

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Did I miss something?

April 4, 2014 — 

When did we convene a Constitutional Convention? What’s happening to our nation? I can remember when the U.S. Constitution was revered and respected. Now it is reviled and persecuted by those who have sworn an oath to protect and defend it and the people it represents against all enemies, foreign and domestic!

Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated, when speaking to Egyptian officials in 2012: “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in 2012. I might look at the Constitution of South Africa, that was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary … It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done …”

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No room for special interest, corporate money in politics

April 3, 2014 — 

Everybody knows that something is going seriously wrong in this country and that the growing income gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of us is likely evidence of the underlying problem.

Aside from the impact of the Wall Street debacle, various trade agreements and technology, the problem is the movement toward an oligarchic form of society in which all economic and political power rests with a handful of billionaires.

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7 million reasons not to repeal the ACA

April 2, 2014 — 

So it turns out that millions of people dealt with the Affordable Care Act enrollment cutoff pretty much the way they habitually deal with the April 15 income tax filing deadline: procrastinating until the last minute to insure maximum stress and standing in line.

Like mobbing shopping malls on the day after Thanksgiving, it’s the American way of life.

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An evangelical surrender in the marriage wars?

April 2, 2014 — 

In 2008, both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain supported defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

In 2012, only Republican Mitt Romney supported traditional marriage, Obama having announced a change of heart six months before the election.

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Carrtoon

April 1, 2014 — 

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Using community support to combat culture of victim-blaming

April 1, 2014 — 

In honor of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it is important to address our role as a community in supporting survivors of sexual assault.

In its most basic definition, the word “awareness” means to simply be conscious of something, to know that it exists; however, the Miriam Webster Dictionary also defines “awareness” as “knowing and understanding a lot about what is happening in the world or around you.”

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Trout eradication program under the radar

March 31, 2014 — 

While under the radar, in 2008, a huge trout eradication program began in Eldorado National Forest to save a frog. The public comment process was practically nil at that time and the U.S. Forest Service didn’t make a lot of noise either, lest the public be outraged at such an undertaking.

In a recent conversation with Eldorado National Forest fish biologist, Sarah Muskoph shared with me that tadpole-eating brook trout in seven lakes were the reason for an eradication program which had already been completed by 2011 and 2012.

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A living wage is an equal voice

March 31, 2014 — 

Take a look at your bills: What do you pay for food, housing, clothing, health care, utilities and transportation? How much would it take for your family to just get by? Could you make it on $15,000 a year? $21,000? What would your family have to do without to make ends meet?

What exactly does it take to make it in America?

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A tribute to ‘Zeus’

March 28, 2014 — 

We first met Craig Zetterberg in the fall of 2008. Our oldest daughter, Angela, had failed to make the Nevada Union freshman girls volleyball team, and she turned to the sport of swimming instead. The following fall, swimming turned into water polo, and our relationship with Craig “Zeus” Zetterberg began.

Immediately after the close of that first water polo season, Angela was diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma, a rare childhood cancer, and our lives turned upside down.

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LaMalfa out of touch with Republican mainstream

March 28, 2014 — 

I’d like to rally Nevada County Republicans to seriously consider the impact of affiliating with the Republican constituents represented by the Tea Party.

Since 2010, the Tea Party has coalesced around three key issues: 1. Meaningful immigration reform threatens the social order; 2. The ruling elite has lost its sense of American values as expressed by our Founding Fathers; 3. Central government is bloated and self-serving.

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Where is your ‘energism’?

March 27, 2014 — 

Where is your “energism”?

That was the question a student asked a classmate as I walked onto the campus of Pleasant Valley School on Wednesday, March 19.

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Thanks for heartfelt support during this time of loss at Nevada Union

March 27, 2014 — 

This community continues to amaze me. In a time of great need, the support that flooded the Nevada Union High School campus was an indication of what I sensed when I came to accept the position as superintendent of the Nevada Joint Union High School District. I want to thank the entire community for its support of our students and staff at the passing of our beloved teacher, mentor and friend, Craig Zetterberg.

What happened on campus the week following Craig’s death was nothing but noble.

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Katrina victims live out Hollywood eco agenda

March 27, 2014 — 

I visited Lousiana recently to do some reporting on Sen. Mary Landrieu’s bid to win a fourth term in a tough political year. But before heading to the key parishes that will determine Landrieu’s fate this November, I stopped by New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward to see how rebuilding efforts are faring nearly nine years after Hurricane Katrina.

I visited one particular spot — the area where in August 2005 a flood wall holding the waters of the Industrial Canal broke, setting off a calamity that continues to this day. The destruction was total; the rebuilding is at best partial.

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Obama least transparent president in history

March 27, 2014 — 

“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.” So wrote President Barack Obama, back on Jan. 29, 2009, just days into his presidency.

“Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

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