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Guest Commentary

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George Runner
3 days ago

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 services.

The original fire fee was a scheme Governor Brown came up with after diverting about $90 million a year in fire prevention funds to help “balance” the state budget. Residents have gained nothing...

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Terry Sanders
3 days ago
Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch
The VA Fiduciary Program provides oversight of VA’s most vulnerable beneficiaries who are unable to manage their VA benefits because of injury, disease, advanced age or are under 18 years of age. This most commonly happens when the VA approves NSC Pension with Aid and Attendance. A fiduciary is an individual or entity who has been appointed by the VA to receive VA benefits on behalf of a beneficiary for the use and benefit of the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s dependents. The VA appoints fiduciaries who manage VA benefits for... [Read more]
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Via Press Release
3 days ago
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California is now in its fourth year of the worst drought on record. Hydrologists estimate it is the worst drought in 1,200 years. The Sierra Snowpack today is just six percent of normal. Many of our reservoirs are nearly empty. One of our largest, the New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River, is at just 22 percent of its capacity – with the rainy season now officially over.

Water rationing is now in effect in many communities. Many Californians face $500 fines if they take too long in the shower or spill a gallon of water on...

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Via Press Release
3 days ago
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The long history of California is embattled with disputes over water diversions for export to other regions. The US Army ran out the Paiutes from the Owens Valley in the Eastern Sierra Nevada region that destroyed the Paiutes quality of life and largely destroyed the environment. The battle over the O’Shaughnessy Dam that flooded the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park facilitated water conveyance transportation from Yosemite to San Francisco and its suburbs. This came after a failed attempt at the targeted Lake Tahoe.... [Read more]
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Via Press Release
1 week ago

I was really surprised that recreation releases from our rivers were not included in your recent mandated water cut back orders of 25 percent along with the curtailment notices for Jr. Water Rights and some possible Senior Water Right users.

Perhaps you are unaware of how much water is released for the pleasure of whitewater rafting and kayaking. The Mokelumne River FERC License 137 for PG&E. requires a minimum of 700cfs units of recreation water for boating flows to be released 9 times a year. All this recreational water is let...

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Via Press Release
1 week ago
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Federal programs rarely come in under budget. Consider Medicare, which will soon celebrate its 50th anniversary. In 1967, lawmakers projected annual spending in the program would reach $12 billion in 1990. The actual tab that year? A cool $110 billion.

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office says that Obamacare will buck the trend.

The CBO has lowered its projections for the cost of the president’s healthcare law by $142 billion over the coming decade, from $1.35 trillion to $1.2 trillion.

Obamacare may cost the feds...

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Via Press Release
1 week ago
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John Tuttle’s article regarding the fire fee in last Friday’s edition coincided with an article in Sacramento Bee the same day about almond growers planting more water thirsty trees during a drought. The Bee article stated that 40 to 80 percent of potable water is used by agriculture. To understand the connection between these two articles, one must understand the fundamental mission of CAL FIRE. Public Resources Code 4126 states CAL FIRE’s mission is to protect forests and trees capable of producing forest products, “...if such... [Read more]
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Via Press Release
2 weeks ago
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It may seem hard to believe that an underground utility line—such as a gas pipe or a water line— is damaged every six minutes in America because someone didn’t take the time to call 8-1-1. Last year, there were 67 instances of such damage to PG&E facilities throughout the Stockton Division, which includes San Joaquin, Amador, Calaveras and Alpine Counties. And with spring well upon us and green thumbs around the Central Valley and Sierra Foothills mapping out their flower beds, we want to remind our customers of the importance of... [Read more]
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Wendell Peart
2 weeks ago
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The current drought has brought into focus the roles of the environmentalists and senior water rights holders and the impact their respective interests are having on the diminished water supply.

So what do both have in common? Each of them feel they have a prior right to water over the rest of us. Environmentalists, for instance, would put animal needs for water, like fish, ahead of human needs. Senior water right holders, on the other hand, declare their senior water rights trump every body else’s needs for water because they...

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John Kingsbury
2 weeks ago

On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board released a proposed framework for meeting the statewide 25 percent water conservation target announced by Gov. Jerry Brown on April 1. The state board identified specific reduction standards for water agencies across California.

Under the proposal, water purveyor members in the 15 counties represented by Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA) were given water-use reduction targets of 25 percent or 35 percent without consideration for past conservation...

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George Runner
3 weeks ago

If high taxes guaranteed results, then California should have some of the best roads in the nation. For years we’ve had one of the highest gas taxes, yet our freeways consistently receive failing grades.

It makes no sense unless you admit that high taxes don’t guarantee good roads. That’s one of many reasons I had no trouble voting with my State Board of Equalization colleagues to approve a 6 cent cut to the state’s gas tax. Under a confusing and complicated law commonly known as the “gas tax swap,” the state has been overcollect...

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Via Press Release
3 weeks ago

Mr. Atlan, as someone who campaigned for a seat on the Ione City Council on a platform which included fighting misinformation, I was surprised at some of the many allegations which you leveled against various governmental leaders in your Amador Ledger Dispatch guest commentary of April 3.

Let’s address a few of these canards. For starters, you say “The Amador Regional Sanitation Authority (ARSA) in a closed session meeting ordered their staff to shut off the water supply.” Quite the contrary Mr. Atlan, the issue was both...

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Via Press Release
3 weeks ago
I can’t believe for the life of me that the cities of Ione, Sutter Creek and ARSA are fighting over an issue that was solved for the better good of all parties over 20 years ago. It seems that ARSA and Sutter Creek have chosen to attack a private multi million-dollar business in Ione to break an agreement and benefit themselves. Castle Oaks Golf Course is the gem of Amador County and creates jobs, revenue and benefits for every person who lives in this county. What gives government entities the right to interfere with the running of... [Read more]
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Kelsi Himmel
3 weeks ago
Near Ecuador’s capital, Quito. From left: Teacher Kelsi Himmel, and students Haleigh Madsen, Jillian Welch, Cary Hale-Mounier, Kyle Welch and Maddie Hale-Mounier. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch
Spring break began with an adventure of a lifetime for five Argonaut High School students as they journeyed into the Amazonian jungle of Ecuador. These students chose to be part of a delegation that represented their own Amador community and the United States. Through this experience, they learned about the continuing struggles of the people and land of this tremendously beautiful and diverse region. The trip was made possible by their chaperone and environmental educator, Kelsi Himmel, who guided them through their 10-day trip of... [Read more]
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Via Press Release
04/02/2015 10:56 AM
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Most know the story of England’s heroic and singular stand against the rising tide of Nazism. Winston Churchill’s solo voice persistently heralded Hitler’s treachery and reversed the course of appeasement taken by so many. Due to England’s defiant stance Nazism’s high water mark was laid at their shores. So, for those who pay attention to recent events, there is a prescience of two futures; either a high water mark or a slow inexorable march towards lesser freedoms both social and economic.

Whereas we do not face a corporeal...

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Cecily Smith
04/02/2015 10:54 AM
The Mokelumne River. Photo courtesy to the Amador Ledger Dispatch

We are grateful that Assemblyman Frank Bigelow has agreed to amend AB 142. With the Assembly Natural Resources Committee amendments, the bill is now a legitimate Wild and Scenic River study bill for the Mokelumne River.

If enacted, the bill will list the Mokelumne in state law as a potential addition to the state Wild and Scenic Rivers System. It also includes the strongest interim river protection provisions ever included in a Wild and Scenic River study bill. Those protections could extend much longer than the year it will take to...

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Via Press Release
04/02/2015 10:53 AM

Attention all County golfers and Ione residents, the irrigation source for the Castle Oaks Golf Course has been shut off.

Without any warning or notice the Board of the Amador Regional Sanitation Authority in a closed session meeting ordered their staff to shut off the water supply. I’m really not sure how an operational decision becomes a closed session item as closed session items are strictly limited but that is what was done and therefore neither the course or the City of Ione had an opportunity to protest.

In 2007, ARSA, the...

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David Sayen
02/19/2015 7:35 AM

Most people I know are looking forward to signing up for Medicare just as soon as they can.

When you’re first eligible for Medicare, you have a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period to sign up for Medicare’s Part A and/or Part B benefits and services. Part A covers hospitalization and Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient care, and other medical goods and services.

Many people become eligible on their 65th birthday. Those folks can sign up during the seven-month period that begins three months before the month they turn 65,...

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William Peterson
02/19/2015 7:30 AM

When you retire, will you have a pension coming? This can be a puzzling question as many of don’t know exactly what a pension is. Quite often we confuse the word pension with our 401(k), IRA, or other retirement savings. A pension is an income or annuity that guarantees us income for a period of time or the remainder of our lives. So, for example, you work 30 years at ABC incorporated and when you retire, they guaranty you an income of, say, $2,000 per month. This is a pension.

Now, I realize that many of us will not have access to...

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Matthew Hedger
02/12/2015 9:46 AM
As my clients and listeners to my radio show will tell you, I am quite schizophrenic when it comes to long term care insurance. Now, I get the need. My mom needed long term care as did my dad, my step mom and, quite likely, my wife at some point. I see that statistically, about 42 percent of us will require some kind of long term care at some point in our lives. And I know that long term care is really expensive and the costs are rising at a much fast clip than inflation. So I really get the need for long term care insurance and I... [Read more]
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