Archive for June, 2010

June 30th 2010
Summertime … And The Living Is Easy

Posted under That's Life Columns

Summertime … And The Living Is Easy

While many seem to be able to slow down during the summer, my plate continues to overflow.  Change is the only constant but understanding what drives the change is the important aspect to consider.

I noticed on perusing my school board agenda that Sandra Harrington, the chief business officer, at the Dixon Unified School District is resigning.  As in most cases, you simply have to follow the money or understand its impact on the decision process.  However before we get to that issue, I have a pertinent comment to make on her performance.

I have been following this school district since my good friend Patrick Blasz ran for trustee way back in the nineties.  I have seen the performance of the predecessor to Susan Rinne, the business official who should have been sued instead of being rewarded for the incorrect information she provided to the Board.  This information led to the district’s first bout with insolvency.  I can’t quite recollect the young gentleman’s name who preceded Rinne, but his financial documents and information were also forgettable.  Not so with Harrington.

I was impressed with the amount of detail that Harrington provided for the school board.  Perhaps it was because of the previous financial imbroglio, perhaps it was just additional competency.  Either way, the board could not complain that they didn’t have all the facts needed to make good decisions.

My only complaint about Harrington is one I have made many times before about staff members of many agencies.  They prolong meetings by feeling that they must go line by line down their report.  An hour and a half presentation on a budget presented similarly at the immediately previous meeting is unnecessary unless being used to wear an audience out by members of the board who don’t want to hear the public.  If you want your meetings to run to midnight or beyond, schedule these presentations last so the rest of us can go home and do something productive.

Musing on Harrington’s resignation, I have to wonder if continuing calls for management to take a salary cut had anything to do with this decision.  I guess it is easy to preside over the complete excising of employees, but very difficult when you are asked to be the leader and take a 5 to 10% cut.  I won’t find it surprising to see others, rats or otherwise, deserting a fiscally sinking ship.

Harrington will be difficult to replace given her performance.  My question is why did we settle for such poor performance in the past?  Maybe it is because we don’t see what is produced in other school districts.  Isolation favors incompetents.

I do have faith that those on our school board are cognizant of Harrington’s contributions.  I would hope that they settle for no less in the future.  To do so would be a step backward …

* * * * *

It is my understanding that Jeff Matheson has also tendered his resignation as the Parks and Recreation director as well as doing the vacated job of Dave Melilli who was our city’s public works director.  The diagnosis of the why behind the action still comes down to the same consideration even if understanding it is more complex.

We had an city engineer named Ron Tribbett who did both jobs of engineer and public works director for years.  He told me he enjoyed the variety in the dual position of responsibility.  One of his workers told me he liked Tribbett’s ability to delegate his authority to those directly under him.

Warren Salmons, Tribbett’s city manager boss, felt there was too much work and wanted to have two individuals concentrating on the individual positions.  Or was it part of Warren’s ever expanding empire building efforts at city hall?  Either way, it was a mistake not to reconsolidate the positions when the economy turned south and Melilli chose to head to the town of Riverbank.  Instead, the position was foisted on Matheson.

Compensation shouldn’t have been an issue as Matheson’s salary was bumped up to $110,000 base as simply the parks manager.  I am not positive but I believe there was a modest increase given due to the added position.  If not, this may have been part of the impetus to find another position.

At the last council meeting I again addressed deficit budgeting and wanting salary cuts to balance the budget permanently.  While I am only one vote and evidently the biggest mouth on the dais willing to express my opinion on what has been a structural obstacle to solving many other pressing problems for the actual citizens who reside in this town, it appears that the writing is on the wall that the Dixon gravy train is about to be derailed.

I don’t have a whole lot of positives or negatives about Matheson’s performance, pretty much everything was adequate and nothing was outstanding.  I have yet to understand why we have no facilities in town for pick up basketball games when we have a joint use agreement with the school district.  I complained about this to Jeff on a number of occasions and it was never rectified.  Soccer seems to be the golden child of sports in Dixon.

It is also interesting to note that Matheson is taking a job under Salmons again, this time at the “golden showers” resort at Rossmoor.  I believe that Golden Rain is the actual name of the senior retirement community but the former description holds a certain comical benefit for my mind.  Evidently seniors have no problem paying exorbitantly for their management positions and Warren is on yet another empire building quest.  None of my business at all but just my perspective.

While I wish Jeff well and salute his proactive approach to salary preservation, I believe we will continue to see more shifts as fiscal and financial conservatism become the hallmark of future council regimes.  It will be interesting to see who really has a loyalty to the city beyond their next paycheck.

My problem is paying our directors more than a person who has a doctorate in many fields.  I won’t even comment on what the county pays for its chief administrator.  Obscene is a word that comes to mind.  Well, I guess that does qualify as a comment…

* * * * *

I went to the Solano County fair for the first time this weekend.  At least I was able to escape the heat in Dixon on Sunday.  I do enjoy fairs but I must say that our own Mayfair beats the county’s hands down.  There is more to look at and more to do.  Unfortunately, as with a number of things, even the Mayfair tends to be repetitive unless you look at it as a social event.

I did run into some people from Dixon on Sunday.  Diane Stassi was manning, or womaning, the city’s booth.  Mike Hamilton was busy concentrating on buying pigs, maybe for “grillin’ and chillin’ ”.  Also saw Scott Higby and John Currey at the livestock auction, both of whom had kids with entries being auctioned.  Dane Besneatte and his wife Cher were there wandering around after the Dixon day lunch.
 
I enjoyed the buffet barbeque lunch and the reptile exhibit.  Ever see a three foot long legless lizard?  A well run show with all the deep fried food you could ever want to sample.

Just a diversion from the real issues of the day…

* * * * *

I want to remind you all of the July 3rd TEA party in the Women’s Improvement Club park (the green area in front of the library).  Organized by Devon Minnema, it will feature speakers Lew Uhler and Gary Clift.  Lew Uhler is founder and President of the National Tax Limitation Committee, one of the Nation’s leading grass roots taxpayer lobbies.  Clift is the Republican candidate squaring off against recently elected John Garamendi, who replaced Ellen Tauscher when she was promoted by Barack Obama to a cabinet position.

Last year’s event was well attended by individuals from throughout the county.  It generated a lot of confused looks from passers by at the corner of A and First.  This year’s event should be larger as the movement has developed credibility as well as opposition and denigration from the progressives currently in power.

I look at it all quite simply.  Do you like the direction … no… do you like where your country is at?  Do you even recognize this country as what it was or is supposed to be?  The tired phrase of “taking back” the country or government irritates me.  Complacency, lack of education, and insightful oversight of what we call public servants is pushing us toward the demise of our once great nation.

What are you willing to do about it?…

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June 30th 2010
15.77 lb largemouth bass

Posted under Rich Reeser's Outdoor Column

Mark is pictured above with his 15.77 lb largemouth bass.

 

     ANGLERS CHOICE W.R.L.

 
            We had a very good turn out at Russo’s Marina for the Anglers Choice Western Rookie League Bass tournament. 194 anglers in 97 boats were ready for blast off at first light this past Sunday in the California Delta. My partner and I were at Russo’s Marina at 3:00 a.m. so we could launch our boat in order to be ready to start live well inspections of all the competitor’s boats. Registration starts at 3:30a.m. and people waiting to sign in when I arrived. Everything ran smoothly and by 5:25a.m. teams were blasting off according to their flight number. Everyone headed for their hot spot to start the day. Unfortunately my partner and my hot spot was not so hot. This was a 6 hour tournament because of California Fish & Game regulations from June 15th to Sept. 15th tournament can only run 6 hours due to the warmer water. It is very hard on the fish in the live wells and they need to be released earlier due to stress on the fish.
            When my partner and I had a terrible day and only weighed in 4 fish, the limit is 5 fish per team. After we weighed our fish we were in second place, the other team that is on staff with us weighed in ahead of us, did I forget to mention that staff members return 20 minutes before all the other boats. When the weigh in was complete we had slipped down to 43th place and out of the money. I can’t wait for the next one which by the way is at Clearlake, Ca. for those that are interested. The highlight of the tournament was when the winners weighed in, and pulled the big fish out for all to see. This thing was huge a real delta giant tipping the scales at 15.77 lbs caught by MARK KEYES fishing with his partner JONATHAN ASHCRAFT.

 California Outdoors Q&As
 
Can mice be used as bait?

 
Question: Is it legal to use mice as bait for stripers and bass? (Chris M.)
 
Answer: Despite the fact that there are many artificial lures on the market that look like mice, real mice may not be used in inland waters. Only legally acquired and possessed invertebrates, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians (except salamanders), fish eggs and treated and processed foods may be used for bait (CCR Title 14, section 4.00). In ocean waters, there are no restrictions on using mice as bait for stripers.
 
Are 12-gauge BB shotgun shells considered non-lead?

Question:  Are 12-gauge BB shotgun shells considered non-lead? Am I able to hunt coyotes with them in the lead-free area? I have not been able to get a clear answer to this question and others regarding the lead-free area. Per regulations, wardens are able to confiscate ammunition from hunters, but can I really be fined for using the wrong ammo if there is no clear information available? Which portion of the law allows items (including muzzle-loading rifles) to be confiscated under suspicion of shooting leaded bullets? I am not trying to get around the law, but I want to understand it so I don’t get in trouble by accident. It seems the law is not well-defined and has caused much confusion. (Colin K.)
 
Answer:  Yes, they are considered lead. No, you cannot use them in the lead free area. The California Fish and Game Commission defines a “projectile” as any bullet, ball, sabot, slug, buckshot or other device that is expelled from a firearm through a barrel by force. It is illegal to use any projectile that contains more than 1 percent lead for hunting big game or nongame within the affected area. This includes centerfire as well as blackpowder/muzzle-loader and rimfire projectiles. Additionally, for hunting nongame, “shot” and “pellets” are considered projectiles, and lead in these projectiles is prohibited as well.
 
Shot made from any material other than lead (e.g., steel, bismuth or other non-toxic substances) are not prohibited by this law and may be used in the lead-free zone to take coyotes and other wildlife as authorized in the regulations. 
 
Game wardens are authorized to seize not only ammunition but any other item (including firearms, vehicles, clothing, game, etc.) that may be necessary for evidence in court. The authority to seize evidence is not found in the Fish and Game Code but is found within various federal and state laws and court decisions regarding arrest, search and seizure.
 
Non-lead ammunition zone information can be found at
www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/condor/. The site is frequently updated with new information. The site also contains answers to many commonly asked questions, such as your question regarding the use of BB-size shot. 
 
 

Treble hooks legal for rockfish?

 Question: Is it legal to use a treble hook while fishing for rockfish south of the 40.10 line? (Kevin M.)
 
Answer: Yes. You may use no more than two hooks (a hook is a single hook, or a double or treble hook with multiple points connected to a common shank) and one line (CCR Title14, section 28.55 (d)). If, however, you have salmon on board, then you may only fish with salmon gear. Salmon gear consists of no more than two single point, single shank barbless hooks when fishing for salmon or when salmon are on board (CCR Title14, section 27.80 (a)(2)).

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June 30th 2010
Ted That’s Life #312 (7-1-10)

Posted under That's Life Columns & Uncategorized

Feel Free to Email: Tedhick@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of the hottest new ones on the internet…What it says in the bubble above is :

“A community organizer who was not even a boy scout telling me how to run a war. Look at that jerk. How fucked up can this country be?  God help us.”

The line at the bottom reads:

“Obama: Listen Stan, just because you graduated from West Point, have 33 years of military experience and real leadership abilities, became a four star general making life and death decisions daily doesn’t mean you know anything about how to fight a war and defeat an enemy. So just do what I say. OK?”

 

This Sunday, the 4th of July, take a moment to reflect on the many people from Dixon serving our country on a regular basis, in and out of war zones, around the world. Those stationed at Travis AFB are constantly leaving and returning from dangerous missions to help protect out way of life. If you have a service person or retired military person as a friend or neighbor take time to tell them they are appreciated by the vast majority of Americans and we know we continue to celebrate this holiday because of devoted people like them.

 

 

Things to think about

 
         Last fish fry this Friday at legion hall…Dixon American Legion Post 208 will serve its last all you can eat “fish fry” this Friday July 2. The popular Friday night feast will be replaced by a Summer Spaghetti Special according to post commander Greg Coppes. Starting July 16, the Legion will serve an all you can eat spaghetti and meat balls (or meat or meatless sauce) garlic bread, salad and dessert, for only $8 for Legion or Legion Aux or VFW or current military, and $10 for the general public. Children under 10 can gorge themselves for half price. Unlimited soft drinks are a dollar more and there is also a full bar…such a deal.

           The reason spaghetti is starting on the 16th is because Dixon’s annual NRA dinner will be held at the Vet’s Hall on July 9, at 6 pm (with dinner at 7). You haven’t heard about it either huh? Tickets for the rib eye steak dinner are $50 each and are available from John Hughes at Dixon Power Equipment, 678-6786, or Ed Colfelt at 678-2777. They can also be purchased at the new Vet’s Hall. If you buy a four or eight seat table, at a highly inflated price, they will give you a firearm. As of now at least 22 firearms will be raffled off.

 
           The Legion will hold its annual installation of officers dinner next Wednesday, July 7, starting at 6 pm at the hall for legion members, their families and invited guests.
 The Legion’s anticipated “remote bingo” is now licensed and ready to roll out the numbers maybe by August. This is a remote bingo game with dozens of Legion posts throughout the state participating online where reportedly it is possible to win up to $25,000. Holy bingo balls!

Pig Poo…

          The stupid California Department of Fish and Game Commission needs to be disbanded and replaced with people who actually know about fishing, hunting, environmental protection, and wildlife conservation. As an example; these idiots don’t have a clue what is going on in the real world…take the wild pig situation. Now recognized as a world-wide problem with no solutions, California is taking the backward lead in discouraging hunting by increasing the tags to a ridiculous amount. Feral/wild pigs, even just outside of Vacaville and Fairfield, are doing irreparable damage to the flora and fauna and are breeding out of control.             

          Their breeding cycle and exponential uncontrolled growth is recognized by many as a danger to food sources around the world.  To make matters worse, they aren’t cute, they aren’t nice, they’ve become almost nocturnal, and they aren’t stupid…but they do taste good. A few years ago you could buy five pig tags for $7.50 and a lot of people hunted them. DFG saw dollar signs and now the commission has decided on an anti-incentive to raise the price to almost $20 PER TAG…not an incentive to reduce the population…in actuality there should be a bounty on them. Who knows maybe poaching will increase. The next time you are near the foothills and see a mountain side that looks like it was just plowed and can’t figure out how anyone could get a tractor there…you can rest assured wild pigs came in during the night and rooted the earth to bare, now erosion prone, lifeless, useless ground.

 

 World Cup or little dancing girls…?

 

           World Cup or little dancing girls…? Which would you rather do on a Saturday afternoon, finish watching the second half of the USA World Cup soccer game or take off to Vacaville to watch, I don’t know, a hundred or so local girls do dances from toe, to jazz to tap? You know me, I was overjoyed at joining my first wife Linda and her eldest son Trey at the Vacaville Performing Arts Center to watch the three hour Dixon Dance Studio “Music That Makes You Move” recital in the sold out (for all three performances) 500 seat theatre. Girls (and one guy and boy kid) from a couple of years old to their teens, and even an older adult group, performed highly practiced, lavishly costumed routines. The little ones provided more levity than one would think possible giving it their best shot, and the grace and complexity increased as the age groups progressed.

          Three hours of this…I missed the end of the game and the US involvement in the tournament…but was it worth it? I forgot to mention one of our granddaughters had a few minutes in the spotlight with her group, so all-in-all, I guess it was worth it. Sisters Stacy and Amy, the instructors, and outdid themselves with this production. If anyone taped it they should put it on the local cable channel for everyone to see the level of local talent and teaching we have.

 
 

Blond Jokes Are Back

 

NO...It is NOT bath oil!

           I’ve had several requests and complaints about the blond jokes disappearing from this space and some folks wondering why. Some think it was the pressure from the “We ain’t as dumb as you think Blond Anti-Deprecation League.” Its not, I quit running them because I ran out of new ones. Just to show I’m not afraid of any blond babe I pulled one of my favorites out of the past…A Dixon blonde (who has dyed her hair to try and cover up her birth defect) who works in the business community heard that baths in milk would make her beautiful. She left a note for the milkman at Safeway to leave 25 gallons of milk. When the milkman read the note, he felt there must be a mistake. He thought she probably meant 2.5 gallons. So he went to her house and knocked on the door to clarify the point. The blonde came to the door and the milkman said, “I found your note asking me to leave 25 gallons of milk. You mean 2.5 gallons didn’t you?” The blonde gal said, “No, I want 25 gallons. I’m going to fill my bathtub up with milk and take a milk bath so I can look young and beautiful again.” The milkman asked, “Do you want it pasteurized?” The blonde said, “No, just up to my breasts. I can splash it on my eyes myself.”

          If any of you blond joke enthusiasts have any new ones (or anyone having any other comment to make) just send them along to tedhick@gmail.com and we’ll use them if they are newish. BTY if you don’t like them just send along a note…with your hair color.

More Economic Stimulus?

 

           Sometime this year, we taxpayers will again receive another ‘Economic Stimulus’ payment. This is indeed a very exciting program, and I’ll explain it by using a Q & A format:
Q. What is an ‘Economic Stimulus’ payment? A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers. 
Q. Where will the government get this money? A. From taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money? A. Only a smidgen of it.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment? A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China? A. Shut up…

          Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the U.S. economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:
* If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China or Sri Lanka.
* If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs
* If you purchase a computer, it will go to India, Taiwan or China.
* If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala …
* If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea.
* If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan.
* If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.
Instead, keep the money in America by:
1) Spending it at yard sales, or
2) Going to ball games, or
3) Spending it on prostitutes, or
4) Beer or
5) Tattoos.
(Those listed above are the only American businesses still operating in the U.S.)
Conclusion: Go to a ball game with a tattooed prostitute that you met at a yard sale and drink beer all day! No need to thank me, I’m just glad I could be of help.

 

 

A Good Use For A Cat!

         

           An Elk Grove fireman was working on the engine outside the station when he noticed a little girl nearby in a little red wagon with little ladders hung off the sides and a garden hose tightly coiled in the middle. The girl was wearing a fireman’s helmet. The wagon was being pulled by her dog and her cat. The fireman walked over to take a closer look. “That sure is a nice fire truck,” he said with admiration. “Thanks” the girl replied.
          The fireman looked a little closer and noticed that the girl had tied the wagon to her dog’s collar and to the cat’s testicles. “Little Partner,” the fireman said, “I don’t want to tell you how to run your rig, but if you were to tie that rope around the cat’s collar, I think you could go faster.”
          The girl replied thoughtfully, “You’re probably right, but then I wouldn’t have a siren would I?”

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June 23rd 2010
Are We Making Progress Yet?

Posted under That's Life Columns

Are We Making Progress Yet?

Why do we do, what we do, specifically as it relates to public service or elected office?  What is it that we are attempting to accomplish?  This is a question you have to ask yourselves when officials come up for reelection as well as when you place others in a position to help accomplish the goals of those whose terms are not up for reconsideration.  As I have yet to see my recall papers with which the “sour grapes” few keep threatening me, I will continue to represent the alternative to the status quo “bad old boy” types.

Just what exactly is the alternative?  Well you have to examine what it is that has been done and what system is being preserved.  The council is one example and the school board demonstrates more of the same.  Are we really satisfied with either of these two entities which provide a microcosm of State and federal foolishness?

Does the public school system actually produce the product for which their creation was intended?  I was listening to one of the supposed conservative talk show hosts the other day and he said “I don’t hear anyone calling for an end to this system.”  Really?  You must not be getting out much or your circle of sycophants is extremely small.

I was educated within this system.  What I noticed on my arrival at UC Berkeley with scholarships and “honors at entrance” was how woefully inadequate my preparation had been compared to others who had the advantage of studying calculus in high school.  Considering I was the top graduating male in my class, I have considered many times how the system performed for my compatriots as well as its obvious declining ability to meet the needs of those who attended after I left including those currently being educated.

We have examples of other schools outperforming our public schools.  Locally we have Montessori.  Parochial schools and private schools prove that improvement is needed.  However, it isn’t as simple as saying just pay for it if you want a better education for your children.  We are already being forced to pay for something that many of us don’t want.  If those that want more of our money for this failing institution expect us to provide funds for continuing in the “status quo” fashion of failure that they keep feeding us, they had better think twice.

During the last school board meeting I tried to get this point across to Herb Cross as well as the “coalition of hope” represented by Irina Okhremtchouk, Gildardo Pinon, and John Gabby.  It isn’t simply about surviving the financial situation that the board finds itself in year after year.  It is about the “product” being provided to our community.  In all of the school board meetings I have attended, curriculum is never discussed in any depth and teaching methods are missing in action.

How can you be in “program improvement” for three years and never examine why you are there?  Given the past school board of “political social climber” Shana Levine and Allan “mediocrity is ok” Hodge, this was to be expected.  Now we have Jim Ernst and Herb Cross, both supposed past educators or administrators, and Irina who is working on a PhD in education along with two concerned parents in Gabby and Pinon.  Certainly a majority can see the “problem”.  Now they have to understand it and address it.

Herb believes I was referring to him with the phrase “bad old boy”.  He claims he is neither “bad” nor a “boy”.  Sorry Herb but you fit the bill and that is why you protest.  What “good” have you done either as a councilman or a trustee?  You still have an opportunity to change that on the school board.  Playing political power games rather than concentrating on solving problems will not garner you any accolades.

As far as being a “boy”, you are not a “girl”.  You are also not a man in the context of standing up and doing what is right.  You may think that standing up for your progressive principles and continuation of governance which is being rejected by more and more according to all major approval polls of elected officials makes you a man.  It makes you an unthinking puppet or “tool” of the establishment.  Even aside from this perspective, I find it to be a waste of your intelligence, Herb, to get caught up as a cog in the machine when you are capable of so much more.

We have two major problems within the school district, finances and performance.  Even the union understands the constraints they are working under.  As with city government, the majority of the budget is made up of salaries.  Why is it that the unions are willing to make concessions but the administration is not?  Even the city, through their furlough program, has taken an across the board cut of almost 5%.  Up the amount to 10% for the district, and your finances are almost balanced.  Better than cutting jobs when those positions are needed to provide the “product”.

Performance is much more difficult to address.  Or is it?  Why is there no collaboration among educational institutions to bring up the performance of the laggards?  Tutoring along with parental involvement are worthwhile adjuncts but no substitution for a program of quality design.

I leave it to you … and I will be watching…

* * * * *

There is still a schism at the council level between those who support government as we know and hate it, and those who would return governance to its appropriate role as a servant rather than a master.  Progress has been made and this coming election will provide our residents with an opportunity to experience an alternate form.  This isn’t about destroying government.  It is about controlling it.

Rather than going along with budgets and accepting them as adequate given their source, as an executive officer of an organization it is that person’s duty to give direction and set policy.  It is difficult to accomplish this as one of five members of a “committee”.  Again, one has to define and recognize the “problems” you are attempting to solve.  It goes back to Steve Alexander’s favorite line of “you have to know where you have been, where you are, and where you want to go”.

Those preservationists on the council refuse to understand that salaries and benefits are not sacrosanct.  Vallejo paid the ultimate price.  Sacramento’s legislators continue to dodge the bullet of their own making.  Cities across California are all experiencing the enormous burden from “rewarding” public employees in an unsustainable fashion.  Once again we were asked to approve a deficit budget.  I refuse to do so and will continue in that vein.

I don’t mind being the “bad boy” on this one, which is not to be confused with being a “bad old boy”.  Good cop, bad cop or whatever role playing needs to be done, I recognize full well exactly what past administrations’ and the current one’s shortcomings and misdirection are.

This is not to say that progress is not being made in this area.  While the twelve year reign of Courville and those before her as well as those who worked along side her were abject failures, we are seeing some movement in actually solving the intrinsic restrictions halting success.

First off, the city must generate the necessary revenues to allow projects to proceed.  This can be done in a number of ways.  One is by outright salary reductions much as I suggested for the school district.  The second way is by reallocating costs or reducing expenses within certain areas which provided partial funding for the north core drainage area.  The staff also did this with the water district in removing what were unreasonable allocations of the city manager’s salary to this fund.

Why is it that the Pardi market site still sits vacant with a city project anticipated for years?  How is it that the general fund had reserves of close to $3 million in it, yet not one of the clueless council churls ever figured out that the million needed for the “plaza” could have been supplied by that fund?  If you have read this column in the past you know the answer.  The answer was that this fund is not for projects that benefit all of us, but simply the piggy bank to assure wage and benefit preservation.

We are making progress in better scrutinizing costs and contentions that more money is needed from rate payers.  The water agency is a great example of this.  How is it that Solano Irrigation District is in effect “triple dipping” as one person put it by billing the city of Dixon and the city of Suisun for standby charges while these employees are also working for SID? 

How is it that another phony “cost allocation study” resulted in SID being allowed to charge 112% of wages to recover the cost of benefits for their employees?  I have seen the city’s costs and even including retirement costs ranging from 30 to 40%, they would have to have one hell of a Cadillac benefit plan to raise costs to that percentage.  I know how miserly administration is at SID toward their employees and their medical coverage, so I truly doubt that this can be justified.  It is simply another mechanism for SID to raise additional revenue to which they aren’t entitled.

So now the question is “where do we go from here?”  The council at this last meeting approved the coming November elections.  Frankly I view this vote as a referendum on what type of governance this town wants.  Do we want decisions made by a small group of people who are restrictive in their view of individual rights?  Do we want to continue endorsing a system teetering on the brink of financial insolvency while providing little to nothing for its citizens?

Or do we want a change back to traditional values upon which our country was founded?  We have already seen movement on the council in this direction.  I had to use an expletive to wake you all up but the job got done.  Decisions on some issues are being made more beneficially.  However the larger policy questions still receive little support even when the obvious points are made.

Maybe it is because some on the council can’t bring themselves to agree with the people’s bully.  Maybe they need the economic downturn to get worse and put us where the school district is.  Maybe we need a business person as a city manager instead of a bureaucrat as I contended when we were looking this last time.

This election can change a lot of this.  Kay Fulfs Cayler’s contributions have been minimal.  We might as well have left the “Kid” in office given the similarities of abilities in cheerleading for the same old style and “I second that” modus operandi.  Dane Besneatte needs additional support.  I can’t do it alone.

As someone stated, “I can count to three…”

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June 23rd 2010
Ninth annual “Snag Proof” derby coming

Posted under Rich Reeser's Outdoor Column

Ninth annual “Snag Proof” open by Rich Reeser

  The Ninth Annual Snag Proof Open  fishing derby will take place on the California Delta this coming July 31st and August 1st and will be launching out of Russo’s Marina on Bethel Island.
• Pro Division – $200 • Am Division – $100 • Big fish for both – $20 • Options available for both $15 late fee after July 28th Check-in starts at: July 30th Check-in starts at: 3:00 p.m. 7 p.m at the Sugar Barge Resort (Bethel Island) Aug. 1st Check-in Starts at 6:00 a.m. – 9 a.m. at Russo’s Marina (Bethel Island) Blast off in order of sign up on Saturday, reverse order on Sunday.
 The snag proof open mixer party Friday July 30, 2010 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be great food • Great Music • FREE assortment of foods for all contestants and exhibitors on Friday night SPO mixer party • FREE Hot dogs and a cold beverage on Sunday after fishing – while waiting for Awards • FREE prize for the first 50 teams to sign up • FREE Gamakatsu Frog Hooks for each member of next 100 teams
On July 20th at Gone Fishing Marine Ultimate Bass University will be a must attend class if you are going the fish the Snag Proof Open. July’s guest speaker will be Snag Proof Pro and Delta Fishing Guide Bobby Barrack.
For those of you that don’t know he also helped in the design of snag proofs Bobby’s perfect frog. Bobby will be giving up a lot of information on frog fishing, like what kind of areas to look for, how to fish different structure and so on. Those of you that have never attended any of these classes you have really missed out. Not only on valuable information but at the end of the class there is a free raffle with some great prizes given away, rods, reels, tackle, boating items and much more. The class starts at 6:30 pm and last about 1 ½ hrs, I will see you there. 
 

Kokanee bite is still on at Lake Berryessa

 Kokanee bite is still on at Lake Berryessa, Troy Barr of T_ROYS Guide Service took Will Bruce and his some Hunter of Lincoln ca. We fished the main lake around the big island for good results by noon. We fished RMT dodgers Uncle Larry’s Spinners and RMT hoochies from 35 to 52 feet deep going 1.5 to 1.6 on the GPS. The best scent today was Pro-Cure herring and prawn. Will be out a few more days next week see you out there.
 

Department of Fish and Game News

For free Fishing Day in California, DFG will waive the license requirement for residents age 16 or older. People will have the opportunity to fish on all freshwater and ocean waters in California. Details at www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/freefishdays.html.
New Mobile Web App Puts Fishing Information at Your Fingertips It’s a nice weekend, and you want to go fishing. If you’re new to fishing, or in an unfamiliar area, where should you go? If not everyone
in your group has a license, where will you find the nearest place to purchase one?

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has released a mobile
Fishing Guide web application that provides access to fishing locations,
latest fish planting sites and fishing license sales locations. The web
app, which is optimized for iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones,
can be accessed by navigating to www.dfg.ca.gov/mobile.

The new web app has three components:
1.    Fishing Guide: The core Fishing Guide component provides a
listing and maps of more than 1,500 fishing locations across the state.
This includes locations that are accessible by car as well as
back-country sites.

2.    Fish Planting Schedule: Recently planted locations often provide
excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers can now use their mobile phones
to quickly find the latest fish planting sites in their area.

3.    Fishing Licenses: Use your mobile phone to find one of the more
than 1,600 locations around the state that sell fishing licenses.

DFG’s mobile Fishing Guide app was developed in collaboration with
the Office of the State Chief Information Officer in conjunction with
the newly designed CA.gov portal. The Fishing Guide app can also be
found by navigating to www.m.ca.gov and clicking on “Recreation and
Leisure.”

Additionally, content on the newly designed home page at www.dfg.ca.gov
has been reorganized with the two most common visitor types in mind. A
section for anglers and hunters provides links to popular recreation
pages such as regulations and license services. Another prominent
section is targeted to those needing scientific or conservation services
and information.

Web users are encouraged to comment on these new products, and DFG’s
website in general, at www.dfg.ca.gov/survey.

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June 23rd 2010
A look into the past…Robben's Dept. Store

Posted under Feature Stories from the IV

Robby Robben

As part of a new feature the Independent Voice we will highlight local independent business people throughout he community. This week we start with “Robby” Robben, third generation local business and entrepreneur extraordinaire. Robby’s grandfather was born out on what is now named Robben Road. When Robby graduated from Dixon High School he left a string of football records which stand to this day. He was a small dynamo in 1973 and left DHS with the records (which still stand) for most total yards in a season, 2,900 in nine games, most touchdowns in a game, 9, and 24 touchdowns in one 9 game season. He still holds almost every record except total yards in one game; he only gained 323. Back to his store. Robben’s Department is a unique one of a kind place that has stood at 111 N. First Street downtown since at least 1924 when the Wilson family (relatives of the Robben’s) started the business as Wilson’s Department Store. The store contains hundreds of  items of everything the old time department store in rural areas used to have. Updated to offer items from manufactures like Levi, Carhartt, Stetson Hats, Redwing and Justin Boots, to specialized outdoor themed furniture, carpet, vinyl and hardwood flooring to youth sports uniforms and lettering. Only Robby knows everything the store contains Its like a step back in time and people come from all over to shop or just look. Robby is there almost all of the time when he isn’t out managing his other ventures but in his absence you will find other family members like his wife or sister who can track him down if you need him.
The store hours are 10:30 to 6 Monday thru Saturday and closed on Sunday. You can call 678-5763 to make sure he’s there or to check and see if they have an item to want…if not they can probably order it. Robby, his family and store are indeed one of the last pieces of living Dixon history. The amazing thing is when you go to browse he actually knows where everything is. Just ask him for a pair of black Levis size 30/30 and he’ll probably be able to just pull it off the shelf…Amazing man with an amazing mind and a very successful, hard working,  local business person. If you haven’t met him or seen the store take the kinds and drop by…you will be amazed. Photo story by Ted Hickman

 

 

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June 23rd 2010
That’s Life #311 (6-24-10)

Posted under That's Life Columns

 

 

Feel Free to Email: Tedhick@gmail.com

 

 

BP’S final option

 

 

True Things to think about

           Dixon can’t solve murders? According to a Vacaville newspaper Dixon police only solved four out of 11 murders, for a 36 per cent solved rate since 1980 where Vacaville has solved 48 out of 51 murders for a 94 per cent solved rate. And that’s a good thing? Vallejo comes in with a whopping 70 per cent solved rate on 292 murders and Rio Vista tops the list at 100 per cent with one for one. Over all there have been 594 murders in Solano County since 1980 of which 71 per cent have been solved. By my math that leaves 29 per cent of murders still at large, probably living in the Vacaville area?
           Four cars were stolen last Thursday in Dixon. Four Hondas were ripped off between last Thursday night and Friday morning. Local authorities the locks may have been picked or some kind of master key was used. If you’ve got a Honda better do something and call police at 678-7070 if you see anything suspicious. Hopefully the thieves stole one that will kill them.
           Did you happen to see where Uncle Sam wants to stop writing checks to dead people? No kidding. The government sent benefit checks to over 20,000 dead folks over the last three year totaling over $180 million. The current administration thinks this practice should stop for all non-democrats.

           A Tea Party will be held here in Dixon July 3, at the Women’s Improvement Club Park in downtown Dixon, from 11 to 1, and you’re invited. According to the young political activist Devon Minnema the second annual Independence Day wake up call will feature a republican candidate for the 10th district congressional seat, Gary Clift. Also scheduled to attend is the founder of the National Tax Limitation Committee, Lew Uhler. Come on down and gripe.

           The US Supreme Court this week upheld the government’s rights to ban financial aid to designated terrorists groups by a 6-3 vote no less. Rights groups sued and are complaining it violates the right of free speech to NOT finance groups that want to kill us. The rights folks complain the law’s ban will stop training and advice to nearly four dozen organizations on the state department terrorists list and squander a chance to persuade people to renounce extremism…This is true. I’m not kidding.

           In yet another embarrassment for this country your Commander and Chief, with no military or leadership experience, yesterday fired this country’s top professional general directing the war on terrorism for disagreeing with your president and his staff…and again the Muslim world is proud and happy.

           And last but by no means least…Criminal investigators in Washington are looking into Afghan security firms that have been extorting as much as $4 million a week from contractors paid with US tax dollars and then funneling funds  to both warlords and the Taliban. If found to be true this US administration would be guilty of financing the enemy…Maybe it would be easier if they would just apply for training grants instead or just put in SS claims for their dead martyrs.

World Cup…Been Watching?

 

           Let me say right off the bat (or foot I suppose) that I join millions in suggesting every person blowing one of those obnoxious horns be required to give up their expensive tickets or shove the noise makers where the sun don’t shine. Who in their right mind would travel that far, pay all of that money to sit for a couple of hours or so and blow out what little brain they must have.
           I’ve ref’ed over 3,000 games at many levels and I was very impressed with the referee’s jobs until the US game when the African FIFA ref decided to tank it by calling an invisible foul and negating a US goal. I wonder how much that earned him? The USA by the skin of their teeth has managed to proceed on to the half way point and the round of 16. The rest of the ref’s have been great letting players play at a level they where they are comfortable but imposing sanctions on many things you haven’t seen before, like cards of both colors when they are either earned or deserved. They’ve called indirect fouls for dangerous play, and given cards for taking a “dive” and cards for encroachment and time wasting…good for FIFA and the game.

          The players for the most part are high paid professional whiners who, of course, never commit a foul, are always crippled when barely touched and magically heal as soon as the ref makes a call in their favor…
          One of the English-Scottish mumbling commentators summed up the tournament pretty well by saying, “We have the greatest players in the world assembled here…and no teams.” The used to be run away favorites may be lucky to make it to the quarter finals. It is interesting to see two teams, that don’t speak each other’s language, and a group of officials who don’t understand any of them, get by with just a whistle and hand motions. I remember one men’s comp game I did with an African team and a European team who were going at it yelling at each other in their own languages. They all spoke a version of English. When I had enough I called the captains together and said, “I’ve had enough let’s all speak the same language OK?” The rest of the game both teams spoke French. They thought it was really funny.
          Speaking of France they disgraced themselves once again showing they are truly a nation of whiners, quitters and losers. Their multi-million dollar players were even booed by their own countrymen when they lost playing half assed against host South Africa and rebelled against their coach and showed their usual lack of discipline and devotion to either county or their team. The good news is they were booted from the World Cup.
           The WC players for the most part all have equal abilities, have been coached on the same principles since they were old enough to walk and played at the highest levels possible…so the matches should be pretty even right? How have the small countries, that are underdogs, competed with the big dogs who are paid millions to play the game professionally? It’s called team work…as in playing together as a team…quite a concept huh?

 From the EmailBag

          Ted: Did you know….that the words “race car” spelled backward still spells “race car”?…that “eat” is the only word that, if you take the 1st letter and move it to the last, it spells its past tense, “ate”?
          And have you noticed that if you rearrange the letters in “illegal immigrants,” and add just a few more letters, it spells: “Go home or move to France you free-loading, benefit-grabbing, resource-sucking, baby-making, violent, non-English-speaking assholes and take those other hairy-faced, sandal-wearing, bomb-making, camel-riding, goat-loving, raggedy-ass bastards with you.” How weird is that?  R.D. Dixon.

          Ted: Please tell your readers to look at their garage door. From a friend…After our home inspection the inspector noted that our garage door had a dent in it. We tried to figure out how it got a dent in it. Finally we figured out someone tried to break in. I searched YouTube and found the video below. Please watch it…  I took the pull string off of ours and zip tied the lever up to the slider.  Now you have to cut the zip tie in order to release the lever.  Please pass this on. http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=CMz1tXBVT1s             S.A Dixon.

Check this out: Another Email That Makes Sense

          Ted: I was in Lowe’s the other day for some reason and just for the heck of it I was looking at the hose attachments. They were all made in China.The next day I was in Ace Hardware and just for the heck of it I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in USA. Start looking… In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else, even their job.
          My grandson likes Hershey’s candy. I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now. I do not buy it any more. My favorite toothpaste, Colgate, is made in Mexico …now I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything.
          This past weekend I was at Safeway. I needed 60W light bulbs and Bounce dryer sheets. I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off-brand. I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats. They were the same except for the price. The GE bulbs were more money than the off brand, but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO, and the off brand was made in – get ready for this – the USA in a company in Cleveland, Ohio.
          So throw out the myth that you can’t find products you use every day that are made right here. So on to another aisle – Bounce Dryer Sheets…yep, you guessed it. Bounce cost more money and is made in Canada. The Everyday Value brand was less money and MADE IN THE USA! I did laundry yesterday and the dryer sheets performed just like the Bounce Free I have been using for years and at almost half the price!
         My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA – the job you save may be your own or your neighbors! Start buying American, one light bulb at a time! (We should have awakened a decade ago). Let’s get with the program…help our fellow Americans and self employed local business people keep their jobs and create more jobs. K.C. Dixon

(Ted: How about supporting locals like Bud’s downtown the Buckhorn, the UPS Store out by Safeway, Robben’s Department Store downtown, Big O Tires, Ace Hardware, Dixon Glass, the Independent Voice,  Sierra Salon, Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant, Napa Auto Parts, Solano Baking, Dr. Jim Sanderson DDS, Dr. Troy Stevens DC,, local realtors, local tradesmen etc. Send me the names and phone numbers of those who are local, independent business people who pay the bills themselves and work hard to feed their families. I will be happy to recommend them to everyone).

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June 18th 2010
MERCURY LEVELS IN LAKES A CONCERN

Posted under Rich Reeser's Outdoor Column

STATE  WATER RESOURCES BOARD  CLAIM
 MERCURY LEVELS IN LAKES A CONCERN

 

What Oil Spill?

 
 
 California Outdoors Q&As

Access rights to public waterways

Question: I have a question regarding access rights to California waterways. I’ve noticed “no trespassing” signs posted on many of the Delta sloughs south of Sacramento that state the area between the public road and the slough itself cannot be accessed or fished. These look like government signs.
 
While investigating I found that state and federal law, as well as the California Constitution (Article 10, sections 1, 4 and 7), appear to guarantee the public’s access to these waterways. Shouldn’t the public have the right to access and fish from this land? (Abe M.)
 
Answer: While California law allows for public access to public waters, it does not grant the public the right to cross private property to reach those waters. That means that while the waters are open to public use and passage, in order to reach those waters you may need to do so from a public launch ramp. If you want to fish from a bank, you will need to do so from areas that are public property or not marked with No Trespassing signs due to private property rights.
 
The signs you are referring to here are different, though. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Capt. Mark Lucero, the posting at the Delta levees has been an issue since early 2000 when the reclamation districts first erected these signs to keep anglers from parking their vehicles on the levees and down embankments. DFG has received constant complaints from anglers upset with the posting and lack of accessibility to the river. We inform the anglers that the trespass issues are a penal code violation and that our officers will not be issuing citations for trespass. However, we do caution the anglers that they may be cited by a sheriff’s deputy. There’s been a real effort lately, through CalTIP and letters sent to DFG, to get our officers to address this issue. However, as mentioned, our officers will not be enforcing trespass laws or conducting angler checks as a priority. In addition, anglers may fish from the bank of the levees if they access the bank via navigable means and stay within the mean high tide.

Possessing bear parts

Question: I’m trying to find information on the possession of parts of a bear that I found in the woods that appeared to have died of natural causes. I have looked over the rules and regs and all pertain to the “killing/hunting” and possession of it thereafter. Nothing addresses the possession of bear parts in the manner that I have described, where the bear died of natural causes. Do I need a permit authorizing the collection of the skull and claws? (Heather M.)
 
Answer: Under California Fish and Game law the pieces and parts of an animal are treated the same as the complete animal, live or dead. Possession of any piece or part of a bear is legal only if it was acquired as authorized by law. There is no provision in the law for taking bears that are already dead, but neither is it specifically prohibited. 
 
According to retired Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Capt. Phil Nelms, if you are in possession of a bear (including any or all pieces and parts) and if there is any evidence the bear had only recently been killed or died, it would be probable cause for a game warden to investigate the circumstances. If evidence exists that the bear was taken in violation of the law, you would be subject to prosecution. However, mere possession of dried and/or desiccated bones, teeth, claws, etc. generally do not raise undue suspicion, especially in the absence of any other evidence or information suggesting the bear was taken illegally.
 
Keep in mind that buying or selling any part of a bear is illegal in California and violations are prosecuted as felonies. 
________________________________________
 
Do freezer fish count towards my possession limit?

 

Question: I recently purchased a sport fisher that I hope to use fishing. It has a very good freezer on board and a friend has stored some yellowtail and yellowfin tuna he caught in Mexico in it. This fish was processed and packaged for freezing in convenient meal-size portions before he returned from Mexico. Do I need to remove this fish if I am using the boat for fishing? (Dave N.)
 
Answer:  In California waters, Fish and Game Code sections 5508 and 5509 state you may not possess fish on a boat or bring ashore fish to a California port unless the size and species can be determined. Returning to California waters or landing in a California port with fish in the condition you describe would not be legal because the fish would not meet those criteria. Section 1.17 of the California Code of Regulations provides that bag and possession limits apply whether your fish are fresh, frozen or otherwise preserved.

 

 

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June 18th 2010
Ted That’s Life #310 (6-17-10)

Posted under That's Life Columns

Feel Free to Email: Tedhick@gmail.com

 

“Did you see the sign on the lawn at the drug rehab place that said, “Keep off the grass”?

 

 
   Ms. Mel and Jess Jones are seen preparing for their “Music at the Winery” event set for June 27, from 5:30 to 9 pm at the Jess Jones Vineyard featuring a variety of live music from the bay area’s Natural Blend band. For $15 you get a glass of wine and a ticket to their “potato bar.” For all of you winos (excuse me when you have money and drink from a glass its connoisseur isn’t it?) the place is easy to find. Just go south on 113 past the fair grounds and keep going. There’s is the first ranch on the right past Midway Road. You can buy stuff there too.

FPPC Looks At Dixon Officials?
From The Email Bag…

 

          Ted: “Have you heard the Chamber of Commerce manager and Dixon City Planning Commissioner, Tiffany Wing, (and Dixon City Councilman Mike Ceremello for his actions and mouth) is being investigated by the FPPC for a conflict of interest? I heard they may have to go back over every vote she’s taken to see if there was any wrong doing or undo influence used in favor of the Chamber and her pocketbook. Reportedly she also has made some comments that are under question also and has used her position as a planning commissioner to recruit chamber memberships. Can you find out if this is true”? K.C. Dixon

 
(Ted: I emailed the FPPC (Ca. Fair Political Practices Commission) Monday morning and received a phone call about 5:45 that afternoon from Roman Porter, Executive Director of the FPPC. He said Ceremello was not in any violation of any FPPC regulated mater with either his choice of words or his council behavior and he was NOT under investigation. He then said (paraphrased) Wing was NOT under investigation either but added she could be in violation of FPPC policies if she took part in any vote, or used her city position to bring monetary reward to her, via her position as chamber manager…which could be a conflict of interest).

 

Nothing Going Right?

   

       A little guy is sitting at the bar at the Buckhorn staring at his drink when a large, trouble-making biker steps up next to him, grabs his drink and gulps it down in one swig.
          “Well, whatcha gonna do about it?” he says, menacingly, as the little guy bursts into tears. “Come on, man,” the biker says, “I didn’t think you’d CRY. I can’t stand to see a man crying.”
          “This is the worst day of my life,” says the little guy. “I’m a complete failure. I was late to a meeting, and my boss fired me. When I went to the parking lot, I found my car stolen and I don’t have any insurance, I left my wallet in the cab I took home. I found my wife in bed with the pool boy and then my dog bit me.” I just can’t win so I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all. I buy a drink, I drop a capsule in and sit here watching the poison dissolve; then a dumb ass like you shows up and drinks the whole thing!”

“The election isn’t really over its just starting…

Want my advice and vote? Do not call!”

 

Joke of the Year…
Two women were sitting quietly together, minding their own business thinking of ways not to spend money.

 

Truths For Mature Humans

 

Cell Phone for seniors!

 

 
1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer and cell phone history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger. 
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.
13. I’m always terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. “Do not machine wash or tumble dry” means I will never wash this – ever.
15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?
16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
17. I keep some people’s numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Bud Lite than Kay.
20. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.
21. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it. 
22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take two trips to bring my groceries in.
23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.
24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
25. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?
26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front, like down near Vacaville. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber and dumber every year?
29. There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.
31. Sometimes I look down at my watch three consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, but I’d bet  everyone can find and push the snooze button from three feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!
33. Women: If you are dumb enough to use Botox on your upper lip you must know you end up with a face that looks like a rabbit.
34. Where was I when they decided to quit calling “traveling” in basketball?
35. How come all Sacramento area TV news readers think they have to editorialize. There are no more real TV reporters, only news readers who seem to think we care about what they think. Only Channel 3 seems to have a lid on this stupid new trend. I just want the news read, not your opinion you non-professional egomaniacs. Channel 10 followed by Channel 40 are by far the worst. Like Mike says, just shut the f up and read the news …you know the rest.

More Economic Stimulus?

 

           Sometime this year, we taxpayers will again receive another ‘Economic Stimulus’ payment. This is indeed a very exciting program, and I’ll explain it by using a Q & A format:
Q. What is an ‘Economic Stimulus’ payment ?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers . 
Q. Where will the government get this money? A. From taxpayers.
Q. So the government is giving me back my own money? A. Only a smidgen of it.
Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.
Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?…A. Shut up…

          Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the U.S. economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:
* If you spend the stimulus money at Wal-Mart, the money will go to China or Sri Lanka .
* If you spend it on gasoline, your money will go to the Arabs
* If you purchase a computer, it will go to India , Taiwan or China .
* If you purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico , Honduras and Guatemala ..
* If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea .
* If you purchase useless stuff, it will go to Taiwan .
* If you pay your credit cards off, or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.
Instead, keep the money in America by:
1) Spending it at yard sales, or
2) Going to ball games, or
3) Spending it on prostitutes, or
4) Beer or
5) Tattoos.
(Those listed above are the only American businesses still operating in the U.S.)
Conclusion: Go to a ball game with a tattooed prostitute that you met at a yard sale and drink beer all day! No need to thank me, I’m just glad I could be of help.

 

A Good Use For A Cat!

        

            An Elk Grove fireman was working on the engine outside the station when he noticed a little girl nearby in a little red wagon with little ladders hung off the sides and a garden hose tightly coiled in the middle. The girl was wearing a fireman’s helmet. The wagon was being pulled by her dog and her cat.
The fireman walked over to take a closer look. “That sure is a nice fire truck,” he said with admiration. “Thanks” the girl replied.
          The fireman looked a little closer and noticed that the girl had tied the wagon to her dog’s collar and to the cat’s testicles. “Little Partner,” the fireman said, “I don’t want to tell you how to run your rig, but if you were to tie that rope around the cat’s collar, I think you could go faster.”
          The girl replied thoughtfully, “You’re probably right, but then I wouldn’t have a siren.”

 #

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June 17th 2010
Sometimes You Just Have To …

Posted under That's Life Columns

 

 

Sometimes You Just Have To Wonder

 

I find it interesting how many of the public read this column and this paper.  There are a number of you who tell me you “love” what I write and to “keep up the good work” as someone needs to do it.  There are others, mostly who find themselves at the opposite end of the gun, who feel this work is detrimental to Dixon as well as being unworthy of being called “journalism”.  A few have even picked up on the term I originally coined to describe the Dixon Tribune or the frequent literary contributions of Debra Minnema Dingman in the way of made to order “defunct shortly after going to print” publications, “bird cage liners”.

The opposition loves to tell you publicly that they refuse to accept this paper or read its contents.  As I have stated many times before, it is odd that they always seem to know everything contained within and are able to quote from those hated and distasteful authors of the truth they don’t want to hear.

One of the reasons I bring this up is that “reading comprehension” skills being what they are, a product of the reader’s own logic, skill, and intelligence, this column’s intent is often perverted or warped from its true direction.  I usually witness this with the basis being a single line or statement taken totally out of context or toward an unintended conclusion.  Such was the case with the appointed one, not to be confused with the anointed one, Kay Fulfs Cayler’s somewhat emotional distressed misinterpretation of a descriptive nickname in quotes in my last column.

Simply putting something in quotes does not make it a quote.  As you can see from the first paragraph in this column, some of these quotations are simply meant to give emphasis to a paraphrase of the actual wording and others are actually quotations.  Normally one would expect or deduce that if the lead in is “she said” or “he stated” then it is an obvious quote.  Anything else may be for the purpose of highlighting the readers’ attention to an important point.

While I shouldn’t have to explain any of this, nor is that my duty, it is also not the responsibility of those sitting at the dais to continue to single this paper and its writers out for criticism in some official capacity.  We could once again head back to the First Amendment rights to a free press as well as free speech, but it is obvious that comprehension of a somewhat simple principle eludes those who would not be critiqued.

The irritant sobriquet in question, “Kay ‘I have lived everywhere and life was miserable there’ Fluffy Cayler” was not intended as a direct quote.  However, interpretation of Kay’s statements about life in Fort Walton Beach or Okinawa do allow one to conclude that life wasn’t exactly rosy there.  As for the hyperbole of saying she has lived everywhere, she certainly has lived in many more places around the world than I have and this would be expected from being a serviceman’s wife.  The point is Kay, if you are going to complain about a never ending parade of mobile signs in Florida as a method of keeping that choice from the free market capitalists in town or whine about how water was only available in Japan for six hours a day as an unfounded argument and basis for pushing through agreements with Dixon’s water agency, then expect to get called on it.

It is too bad that Kay chose to take the one line so personally.  As a libertarian I believe in freedom of choice and if  Kay chooses to exercise her right to be made “miserable” by my statements and thoughts put into print, that is her choice and not mine.  I can’t make any of you anything you don’t “choose” to be for yourselves.  So one must assume that there is some guilt associated with her response.

It is ironic that she claims to be completely happy despite those statements.  Was she happy about the condition of my yard, which was no business of hers at all, when she made the statement it looks like it has been hit by a hurricane?  She complained about raccoons in her backyard, or skunks, or other “vermin”.  Interesting coming from a farm girl from Dixon, Illinois.  Kay also doesn’t like the possibility that a neighbor might put in a “ham radio tower” which might disturb her enjoyment of her pristine property.

While misery and being miserable might be poor choices of terms to describe your outlook on life, your own statements are very revealing as to your own outlook and the truth.  I have seen personal criticisms of my own person and work in print where the assumption is I must be miserable and this, that or the other things as to why I do what I do.  Aggravated is probably a better appellative as the consummate descriptor of my problem with a society acting unintelligently and far from what it was intended to be in this country.  Rather than attempting to control others to give me mental peace, my peace comes with allowing others to be who they are and make their own life choices.  This does not mean that when their choices impact me that they will be ignored.  Maybe a simpler understandable statement is “I don’t care what you do on your own property as long as it doesn’t come onto my property” and that doesn’t mean raccoons.  They make their own choices.

Kay has made it obvious that she, as well as Jack Batchelor, believe they both know better than the rest of us what is good for us and can make those choices in our stead.  The medical marijuana dispensary situation was one of those.  On Dixon Downs, the mayor and she went in opposite directions.  This doesn’t matter.  Both think they know more than we do and should make our choices for us.  My stance was quite different.

The issue was one of property rights.  Magna had a total right to place whatever they wanted on their property as long as they mitigated all of its impacts on the rest of us.  These impacts did not include how “we feel” about their business or its appearance.  My only concern was that of traffic.

Some of those who criticized this endeavor, and are friends and associates of mine, like to point out that the project would never have been completed given Magna Entertainment’s bankruptcy.  That really is no concern of mine.  Having an empty field out there or looking at the incomplete skeletal remains of a defunct business do not alter my reality of the situation.  It is someone else’s property, plain and simple.

I am now changing the topic to Yvonne McCluskey’s out of context quotation of a portion of a letter written to her by the editor and publisher of this paper, Dave Scholl.  “It is imperative that public officials maintain a humble attitude as servants, rather than seeking to impose their predilections and personal preferences. As well as humility, holding an office often requires a thick skin towards criticism – even some which may not be deserved and which may be expressed harshly. Officials should make a conscious effort to hold their emotions in check and consider the opinions presented to them regardless of the method of expression and regardless of the persons involved. Such an approach will lead those officials to make better decisions and to maintain the confidence of their fellow citizens.” 

McCluskey’s point was to show that Scholl’s opinion of my use of an expletive, as well as my actions as a councilman, agreed with her own, yet he allows me to continue on as a writer as well as the public allowing me to continue on as an elected representative.  While Dave disagrees with my tactics, he unlike the others does not attempt to constrain my use of my arsenal of abilities.  For the rest of you, you need more information.  The same information available to Yvonne which she chose not to share with the public.

The reason for Dave’s letter to Yvonne was in response to her demand not to receive this paper.  Unfortunately for her, as an appointed official and part of the regime which entitles the public to address her in her capacity, she does not have that choice.  Again that nasty old Constitution and bill of rights keeps coming up.  Something about being able to address your representatives.

In fact, the two paragraphs just before the one she quoted says it all. 

“Every public official in this nation takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. That especially requires honoring the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment protects freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press.

It also protects the right of the people ‘to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Americans have an absolute right to confront public officials with our questions, complaints, and challenges. As long as the method of presentation is peaceful, that right may not be restricted.’ ”

Funny how the impact changes when all of the context is examined.  This was an intended criticism of Yvonne’s narrow views which she ineptly attempted to turn on me.

Rather than concentrating on bringing me or this paper into some conformity with your world views of how things should be, it might be advised to start actually listening and thinking about your own actions which are detrimental to Dixon being anything more than a city government run little corporate town.  You know, the towns in the old West where control was everything and the people’s choices were few such as the company store.

All of this once again serves to illuminate the intent of those in office, either appointed to the council or appointed to the planning commission, who want to continue doing things the way they have always been done.  Rather than looking at lowering costs, they take the “progressives” approach that more of your money will solve the problem.  Rather than being open minded, they want to stifle anything outside of their norm of propriety.

As I said in last week’s column, Rick Fuller has strayed from the fold of this “group think”.  I want to believe he will continue to keep an open mind.  My concept of the “general fund” of the city of Dixon is not as the piggy bank for staff’s salary and benefits.  I have said this many times and stated it again in closed session.  As with our prior Queen of a mayor, our current mayor BJ refuses to make the leap that this fund could actually assist in developing the Pardi market site and fix neighborhood flooding.

Now before any of you blow a gasket that I am revealing closed session information, I must again remind you that peripheral discussions not related to the actual topic under discussion is allowed.  I am not even doing that.  I am simply restating what I have already said in public any number of time and will continue to say.  Staff salaries and benefits are way out of line and need to be reduced permanently to make even more money available to pursue projects necessary to benefit the entire community.  I do want to qualify this by saying that the lower end of the salary range of employees needs to be viewed quite differently than the upper.

Once again, in case the point might be missed, this is about thinking outside of the box which city management has done such a great job of keeping their little bureaucrat friends within.  All I can say to the “Fluffies” and “McCluckys” is this: “Is Dixon much different today than it was 20 years ago when I first moved to town?”

What exactly has the status quo BOBs done for all of us other than raise fees, taxes, and prices of living for the benefit of a few?

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