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Guest Commentary

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Guest Commentator
6 days ago
In a presentation before the Amador County Planning Commission on July 19, 2016, I raised the question that the proposed General Plan appeared to be deficient in not addressing “the concerns of CAL FIRE as to 100-foot setbacks on all sides for defensible space.” A proper requirement for future lot splits should require all structures to be at least 100 feet from the property line on all four sides. Such praiseworthy land use planning would move in the direction of minimizing fire. It would be another incentive for fire insurance... [Read more]
Copyright © 2016 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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Guest Commentator
2 weeks ago

There’s no doubt that Hank Willy, recently profiled in this paper, has many years of experience in local water. He has made many contributions to our county, especially to Jackson Valley.

But it’s equally obvious that Mr. Willy has some real biases.

Mr. Willy disparages people who believe that rivers are important as more than water supply. He has long criticized those who work to protect the recreational, economic, environmental, habitat, cultural and social values of our local rivers and streams.

Rather than reinforce...

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Guest Commentator
3 weeks ago

As a person with Medicare, you have important rights. One of them is the right to appeal.

An appeal is the action you can take if you disagree with a coverage or payment decision by Medicare or your Medicare health plan. For example, you can appeal if Medicare or your plan denies: a request for a health care service, supply, item, or prescription drug that you think you should get; a request for payment of a health care service, supply, item, or prescription drug you already got; or, a request to reduce the amount you must pay...

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Guest Commentator
3 weeks ago
San Francisco 49ers football player Colin Kaepernick created a firestorm recently when he refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. He added to the widespread outrage when he explained his action with this dilly: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
4 weeks ago

On Tuesday evening, August 23, 2016, the long-awaited Amador County General Plan Update was forwarded by the Amador County Planning Commission to the Amador County Board of Supervisors for consideration. At the meeting, the public was informed that all items of concern could be found online and any more discussions would not be heard.

For the meeting, I had prepared a presentation on “water supply during drought,’ which I intended to make during the customary public comment period. Rather than allowing public comment, the Planning...

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Guest Commentator
4 weeks ago
Early in 2014, Bill Retelle, of Seattle, Washington, called with an unusual request. He had just met with Kathleen Harmon, Executive Director of the Amador Community Foundation. To honor his mother, Rose Bird, born in Electra and a graduate of Jackson Union High School, Bill had decided to donate a portion of his estate when he passed away to the Community Foundation’s 501(c)(3) fund to award college scholarships to graduating Argonaut High School seniors. He requested that a committee be established to oversee the fund and choose... [Read more]
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Eric Winslow
08/25/2016 1:08 PM

California’s groundwater may contain naturally occurring radioactivity. Radioactive minerals occur irregularly in California’s bedrock, and when dissolved in water, radionuclides are colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Unlike community water systems, private wells in California are not routinely regulated or monitored for contaminants like radionuclides. As a result, well owners are responsible for ensuring their drinking water is safe.

In some well water, the concentrations of radionuclides exceed public drinking water standards,...

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Guest Commentator
08/25/2016 12:44 PM

Amador County deserves politics that are as good as its people.

I am responding to the unfortunate personal attack levied on me by former District 4 Supervisor Candidate Gwen Clayton in last week’s paper. I was saddened and dismayed to see Ms. Clayton bring to Amador County the worst kind of political rhetoric we are seeing in the presidential race today. Instead of focusing on what we can do together to make our county prosper or explain why she prefers the incumbent in the election, she chose to attack me.

I think we...

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Guest Commentator
08/18/2016 2:44 PM

In response to your commentary Aug. 12, please take my words in the spirit in which they were intended. I am not trying to berate or antagonize you. But I have some concerns that I want to address.

So far, what I’ve seen coming from your campaign is a bunch of promises to create a Utopian society, but no real plan to get there. You’re good about attacking the incumbent regarding the Grand Jury Report and the stonewalling of the general plan update, but I don’t see any reason why voters would have faith that you would be any...

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Guest Commentator
08/11/2016 2:20 PM

(Editor’s note: Molly Taylor is a third-generation Amador County landowner studying Urban Development at New York University. She grew up roaming and riding on her family’s ranch outside Ione.)

I am writing as a member of a third-generation Amador County family and landowner. Presently a resident of New York City, I am struck by the critical nature of foresightful, in-depth civic planning and how deeply and permanently affected communities can be though poor, lopsided and superficial planning.

The stark contrast between the...

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Guest Commentator
08/11/2016 2:24 PM

(This guest commentary first appeared in the August 2016 edition of the Upcountry News Vol. 15, No. 8, courtesy of Rick Torgerson, Publisher)

After reading Ruth Gottstein’s and Linda Toren’s articles in the July issue of the West Point News, I felt a sense of deep pride in our local community. In these troubled times, they reminded us not only to become well-informed and utilize our public libraries, but also to nurture and seek the best in ourselves, both personally and collectively. Rather than engaging in rancorous or hateful...

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Guest Commentator
07/28/2016 3:43 PM
John Plasse, District 1 Supervisor for Amador County.
When I first received an email from Amador Ledger Dispatch reporter Eric Winslow, I was curious as to why he was asking for my “personal but informed opinion” on issues surrounding the Grand Jury Report on the Health and Human Services building lease. I thought that maybe it was addressed just to me as Chairman of the Board. I conferred with County Counsel and our CAO as to the appropriateness of responding to issues raised in a Grand Jury Report prior to the Board meeting their statutory obligation to formally respond to Grand Jury... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
07/28/2016 3:19 PM

In response to the opinion piece written by Eric Winslow in the Friday, June 17, 2016 Ledger Dispatch — it refers to a syndrome called Myth of Redemptive Violence, Eric’s attempt to paint a narrative of American history that revels in violence, celebrates violence and finds that violence provides meaning to America’s existence or is, as he says, redemptive.

Violence is not redeeming. It is an ugly destructive act committed when a rational mind no longer functions or is necessary in response to violence when our lives are...

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Guest Commentator
07/14/2016 1:34 PM

By Susan Manning, Cecily Smith and Terrell Watt

Everyone who lives in or visits Amador County loves this place. It’s one of the most scenic counties in the state, with high quality of life, clean air and water, abundant wildlife, rich history, deep Native roots, beautiful rivers, authentic working ranches and true community character. But if the Amador County general plan update proceeds on its current path, we will lose much of what we love about our county today.

Next Tuesday, July 19, the Amador County Planning Commission...

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Guest Commentator
07/14/2016 1:30 PM

The Amador County Assessor’s Office has just finished the task of reviewing all of the assessments for 2016-2017 and the overall change in assessed value throughout the county was an increase of 3.86 percent.

Property values in Amador County have been increasing, as well as property values throughout the state. Even though the increase in assessments in the county is relatively modest, it is the largest increase in assessments in the past eight years. It is also the fourth straight year of increasing assessed property values...

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Guest Commentator
07/07/2016 1:53 PM
The Sacramento Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility commends Governor Brown for signing a package of bills to tighten California’s gun contol laws, including bills to close the “bullet button loophole” in California’s assault weapons ban and a bill to ban magazines holding more than 10 rounds. PSR/Sacramento also recognizes the extraordinary amount of time and effort that legislators, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and members of civil society invested in getting these bills signed into law. This being... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
07/07/2016 1:22 PM

Although the Preamble to the Constitution is a statement of intent, not a codification of law, the Founders hoped to work toward cited objectives, one of which was to “establish justice.” Perhaps at no time in U.S. history have more people felt the effects of corruption of government and lack of established justice more than now. Some in high places act as though rules/laws are for others and that they can lie and potentially damage our national security without consequence, such as appears demonstrated now.

On July 5, FBI...

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Guest Commentator
07/07/2016 12:04 PM
Sadly, when we returned home from the family 4th of July cookout, I discovered Cher, one of my favorite laying hens, dead. She had been killed, we believe, by a raptor. Ursa, the German shepherd, led me to her body and stood over her, sniffing her, as if to confirm her death. From the scattering of feathers extending from the pond across the yard half way to the coop, it was apparent that she put up quite a battle for survival. But in the end, she was not able to fight off talons and the slashing beak of what I believe was one of our... [Read more]
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Guest Commentator
06/23/2016 12:13 PM

The Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento has received a Request for Dismissal of Appeal from the Ione Valley Land, Air & Water Defense Alliance. In December of 2015, the Amador County Superior Court ruled that LAWDA’s petition to submit the Newman Ridge Project to a referendum was illegal. Although LAWDA appealed that decision, it voluntarily filed this request to dismiss its lawsuit. That dismissal concedes that Amador County’s decision to keep LAWDA’s unlawful referendum off the ballot was the correct one.

The Newman...

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Guest Commentator
06/23/2016 12:06 PM

The Ione Valley Land, Air & Water Alliance is a grass-roots group challenging the Newman Ridge Quarry, a 278-acre fifty-year mine, and Edwin Center North, a 114-acre hot-batch asphalt plant, both planned to be just one mile from the town of Ione. These changes would forever alter the local landscape and rural quality of life by altering zoning from agriculture to zoning that would open the door to unimpeded and super-polluting heavy industry.

The Sierra Fund (sierrafund.org) took interest in LAWDA’s fight as a case study to shed...

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