Archive for December, 2011

December 8th 2011
Commission to Receive Public Comment on Striped Bass in February

Posted under Rich Reeser's Outdoor Column

 

The California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) decided today to
consider proposed striped bass regulations at their February meeting in
Sacramento. Consideration of the proposed regulations was originally
scheduled to take place at the Commission meeting in San Diego in
December. This decision came after Department of Fish and Game (DFG)
Director Charlton H. Bonham requested the change in order to allow
interested members of the public residing near the Delta the opportunity
to voice their opinions to the Commission.

“After the DFG public meeting in the Delta last week, we learned
there are many passionate anglers who would like the opportunity to
share their views on the draft proposal,” Bonham said. “I think
it’s important to hear these views. The discussion is welcome.
Moving the public discussion to Sacramento from San Diego will allow
these constituents to attend the meeting. It’s the right thing to do.”

The proposed draft changes regulations related to anadromous striped
bass. The draft language, which is now available at
https://nrmsecure.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=39586, would
authorize additional harvest of striped bass.

The basic proposed changes are as follows:

– Raising the daily bag limit for striped bass from two to six fish.
– Raising the possession limit for striped bass from two to 12 fish.
– Lowering the minimum size for striped bass from 18 to 12 inches.
– Establishing a “hot spot” for striped bass fishing at Clifton
Court Forebay and specified adjacent waterways at which the daily bag
limit will be 20 fish, the possession limit will be 40 fish and there
will be no size limit. Anglers fishing at the hot spot would be required
to fill out a report card and deposit it in an iron ranger or similar receptacle.
-Changes to the sport fishing regulations for the Carmel, Pajaro and
Salinas Rivers to allow harvest of striped bass when the fishery would otherwise be closed.

DFG is also recommending an adaptive management plan that will help
assess how the new regulations influence the fishery.
The Commissioners will decide whether to pursue the proposed
regulations at their February meeting in Sacramento. If they choose to
pursue the proposal it begins a process that includes at least three
public hearings and the completion of an environmental document. A final
decision is not expected until later in 2012.

 

California DFG Threatens to Eradicate Striped Bass

In an unprecedented move, the California Department of Fish and Game has been forced to propose regulations which will eradicate striped bass from the San Francisco Bay and Delta. A water contractor group known as the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta filed a lawsuit against the DFG alleging that striped bass are one of the primary causes of the loss of endangered salmon. The DFG was forced into a settlement on the lawsuit and the Department now has issued draft regulations that will eradicate the striped bass. Fisherman and the fishing industry are livid about the proposal. It will reduce the minimum size a fisherman can keep to 12 inches and it will allow a bag limit of up to 40 stripers in some locations.

This proposal stinks rotten. The lawsuit was funded by Stewart Resnick, the billionaire farmer and developer who sees this as an opportunity to once again try to blame the fish and fishermen for the problems in the Delta caused by overpumping.  We see it differently. It is a brazen move to undo the public trust doctrine and the rights of the citizens of California to use and enjoy the water and aquatic resources of the state. We need to fight back with every mechanism at our disposal.

The action proposed by the organizations at the top of this page advocates a massive letter writing campaign to the Fish and Game Commission which has the ability to kill the DFG proposal.  If the Commission votes for the proposal, it will go into effect.  If the commission votes against the proposal, it is dead and the water contractors will have no further recourse.  The regulations will then stay as they are today.  We are asking every concerned striper and other fisherman to use one or both of the following procedures to send letters and emails to the Commission.  If you want to write and mail a personal letter, click here to see a couple of sample letters http://water4fish.org/write-letters-to-legislators/index.php/  To use the automated email letter, click “to Continue” below and you will see the email letter to the Commission with copies to Fish and Game. On the email letter please do two things. 

1.    Fill out your name address and email and click on the box that gives industry leaders permission to add your name to a mass protest that will be submitted to the Commission.

2.    Click “Send My Letter”, your email will be immediately sent and you will receive a confirmation.

We will protect your confidentiality.  We will not give, lend, share or sell your email address to anyone except the organization that you list on the form.

 

 

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December 8th 2011
Puzzles

Posted under That's Life Columns

 

Back to an old subject, the price of gas, it looks like the oil companies finally figured out that they could increase their profits by lowering their prices.  Either that or they didn’t like the refined products accumulating on their properties.  All of this in the face of rising crude prices which topped $103 a barrel the other day before the debt crisis in Euro land dropped it $2 at the end of a trading session.

 The puzzle is when prices were wildly rising the last time oil was at this level, it was supposed to be justified.  So why is the market just now dropping the price at the pump when you would think it would be going in the other direction?

Could it be that the oil companies reaped “windfall” profits through collusion in maintaining higher pump prices while the price of crude plummeted?  As gas prices should have fallen to $2.75 or less per gallon during the last slump, are those cost savings just now showing up?  If that is the case, why did prices rise so rapidly last time if it takes that long for the oil to go through the refining process?  As I told you, it is still basic economics demonstrating the problem of dealing with oligopolies or monopolies.

It is also interesting to watch the price at the pump in Dixon and the surrounding communities.  Dixon’s prices are still holding above $3.50, while the old Dixie the dinosaur station is at $3.49.  However these stations are still ripping you off as you can find Valero gas in Fairfield at $3.42 and Arco at $3.45.  Costco beats them all, coming in at $3.36 per gallon.

While this isn’t politics, it is part of our lives and the behaviors are interesting.  Does any of this demonstrate greed?  Is it just economics?  Could it be collusion and conspiracy coupled with the aforementioned greed?

 I believe it goes a step further to demonstrate why government does such a fantastically poor job at encouraging open markets and free enterprise.  I might go so far as to give the “occupy” crowd another target as this is obviously a pertinent example of the industrial/government complex gone awry.

The people we have elected don’t give a damn about the people they represent.  They don’t care that you have to pay high prices for a commodity that is in abundant supply off of our coasts and onshore in Canada and the Dakotas.  These politicians bad mouth the oil companies but they take their money for their elections.  Who do you think they are going to listen to, you or the oil companies?

It ain’t gonna be you ….

* * * * *

From oil to water.  Maybe I need a little vinegar and we could make a nice dressing.  After listening in on negotiations for the water well in the Northeast quadrant, I came away with a lot of material.  I will save my commentary on the development industry for another time.  The puzzle which appeared in this instance was more of an answer wrapped in an enigma.

Paul Fuchslin of Solano Irrigation District did us all a favor, including the management of his own company, by finally exposing a real reason why the finances of the joint powers authority have tanked.  He also exposed either the incompetence of former leadership in Dixon in the city manager position, the council who was supposed to be keeping tabs on this agency, or the finance departments of both the city and SID.  Okay, so what am I referencing? 

It turns out that the water well in Brookfield, which the developer put in to aid the development of the new high school, is draining funds from the Dixon Solano Water Agency, our JPA.  According to Fuchslin, because of no residential development occurring in this area, there are not enough rate payer funds to support the costs of running this well.

Paul claims that money has been taken out of developer fees in the “capital fund” to subsidize these costs.  That’s odd.  There hasn’t been any development since 2006 when the well was completed.  The last time I looked there was little in this fund, one of three including operations and rehabilitation all of which are supposedly tapped out.

I have a request in to find out exactly how much this well costs to operate.  Once those figures come in, I would more than likely bet that the operations fund, the appropriate venue for taking care of operating costs, is the one really subsidizing the operation of this well.  That means you and me and everyone else not getting their water from Cal Water is helping to pay for this well’s operation.

After thinking about this for a second or two, it occurs to me that this isn’t the first time this has happened.  Back in the early 90’s when the real estate market was in recession, the exact same thing occurred.  At that time, we only paid for the water we used.  There was no service charge.  Along came Suzanne “Butterball” Butterfield as SID’s assistant manager and councilwoman to tell us that rates would have to increase as “the development expected did not occur”.  With more homes, the costs can be spread and rates held low.

So rates were increased and a service charge added.  The economy rebounded in 1995 and 1996 with development rapidly expanding and funds flowing into the water district to create a large surplus.  That forced the 1999 Bob Reed study where the council was going to give us all a 10% rate cut when a 25 to 33% was justified.

Following this along to its proper conclusion, everyone in DSMWS as it was called at the time subsidized the wells in the areas fallowed by the recession.  The puzzle this time is that the city and SID should know their own history so why was this never brought up during the water rate studies or advisory committee meetings?  Or is it not really that simple?

The fact remains that this entity is being manipulated, or at least was under Nancy Huston and Warren Salmons, to pay more than its fair share of administration costs to support bloated salaries.  We also have SID sucking off Dixon’s teat by surcharging us 119% not only for the work they do, but for shuffling their idle employees into our city limits as if they are working.  I believe someone has also found an example of where we were charged for a “pumping” truck even though that function wasn’t used and it was simply used for transportation.  There are any number of ways management in both organizations are making decisions only benefitting their respective agencies.

So Karen Nolan, the Vacaville Repeater’s head editorialist, thinks that the three members of the Dixon city council who didn’t show up for the last DSWA meeting should be chastised and ridiculed for wanting to take the water operation from SID to run it as a city department?  This clueless bimbo, yes I am referring to the Mexican bread company as Karen has that same airiness as white bread, thinks that three of us are irresponsible?

Maybe someone should ask Karen why it is that David Mansfield of SID has not offered up the economic downturn as a valid reason for a rate increase.  Why is it that management of both entities has not made a written guarantee to reduce rates once development returns?

The Sunshine Ordinance being proposed by Ourania Riddle can go only so far.  Once you have the information, you still need a brain to understand your options.  Nolan’s idea is the same as BJ’s and the BOB’s.  Look only at the bottom line.  Don’t investigate the causes.  If everyone else is paying more and you aren’t financially solvent, you must be paying too little.  Don’t ask why, just raise rates.  As Terrible Ted would say, “Bite me”.

Another puzzle is why, if the last DSWA meeting was so flipping important, hasn’t it been rescheduled?  Are they waiting for another “crisis” of their own making to attempt to force another poor decision?

So where am I actually at given all of the above statements?  I am still waiting for answers to my question on depreciation as what did you spend $2.2 million on for which you have failed to account.  Mansfield told us that he could show where every dime has been spent.  That was over three months ago.  My questions started over two years ago.  What’s the hold up. 

This agency could easily be preserved if SID was charging appropriate amounts for its work.  Couple that with a reduction in administrative charges by the city, (it shouldn’t cost us $200,000 to do financial work), and this organization is in the black despite the bailout of the Brookfield well.  It seems that SID is not interested in “getting real” any more than the city is.  Perhaps the new city manager will solve that problem instead of creating it like the last two did.

I don’t believe that it is the city manager’s job to set policy nor strategy to deal with these issues.  I think that three intelligent and financially literate councilmen can analyze the situation and system for their constituents as all five should be doing.  However, when your life has been nothing more than a paper shuffler within the “system” it leaves you inept to deal with real life challenges.  So we are back to three to bear the onus of this conundrum.

I simply want all the cards on the table.  Instead we are told to make decisions and “trust me” when it comes to the justification for charges.  Given the situation in Bell, have we learned anything about keeping our eye on the shell with the pea under it?

Maybe not for some pea brains in Wackyville …

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December 1st 2011
That’s Life #385 (12-1-11)

Posted under That's Life Columns

Feel Free to Email: Tedhick@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

For the one person who objected to the column last week aout the collage crap…My mom was a lot of things but I am here to tell you I am not the son of a female canine…

 

Left to right your Dixon City Council: Mayor Happy” Jack, Vice Mayor “Grumpy Dane, “Bashful” Mike, “Doc” Rick and “Sleepy” Thom, and the city attorney.

 

            I commented last week about the inane, bordering on the absurd obsession of the Dixon City Council to abdicate its responsibility by over involving the public in every single aspect of being an elected official. On top of that the council went completely berserk by electing the nasty, mean, old curmudgeon, former public defender and wanna be next Mayor of Dixon, Dane Bassinette, to the vice mayor’s chair. This is the guy I advised voters to back when he ran for election…sorry about that.  That was before his true colors surfaced and he made the change many newly elected people do…from a reasonable person to a man with permanent PMS. Since we have no Snow White on the dais anymore we are left with just five of the seven dwarfs: Mayor “Happy” Jack Batchelor, Rick “Doc” Fuller, Thom “Sleepy” Bouge, Mike “bashful” Ceremello (sorry but there weren’t many left, it was either that or Dopey and the city attorney took that one) and Dane “Grumpy” Bassinette. This council is known to change course when a huge group of as many as four or five people question them…let’s see, four or five out of thousands…What wimps.

Now this group of elected, but afraid to make a decision, governing body has shown its Solomon like wisdom by appointing, get this, a 13 member panel to review the results from a consultant, that THEY ARE PAYING $20,000 (which our capable HR guy could do as part of his job) or our dollars, to narrow the applicant field for the vacant city manager’s position from like 60 to 15. The group of 13 will then recommend to the council its choices and the council will then select whoever it wants anyway…local politics at its best folks…and you’re picking up the tab.

 

It looks like the days of common sense and taking responsibility for the decisions the voters elected them to make have come to an end…what a sorry state.

I’ll tell you one thing. If Bassinette carries through with his threat to run for Mayor I’ll come out of political retirement and stack my 12 elected years against this grumpy old codger just to make sure he doesn’t get elected. Want to see some good old fashion, no BS, no punches pulled campaigning…It may come to that. I have no desire to be mayor but I do have a desire to see our leadership position filled by someone with common sense, courage of convictions and the ability to carry out the public’s will without running government by referendum…So there. Put that in your hookah and smoke it. (That’s today’s version of “put that in your pipe and smoke it.”)

I had one person tell me Tuesday, “One thing about you when you ran for office…you didn’t change. You were the same “A%$hole” after you were elected that you were before…at least you were consistent, caring, and didn’t sell the public a bill of goods.”…That’s darn near a compliment the way I see it!

Can’t you just see it now? “Mayor Hickman, I want to whine about something I don’t like and take up the council’s busy schedule with my personal gripe…”

Mayor Me: “Thank you for your input, there’s a time and a place for everything but this isn’t it…but, we’ll give it all the due consideration it’s worth…next.” That’s why I won’t get elected, but I sure as hell can spoil the election for someone…reportedly just like in the recent school board election.

 

Now for the National Mess

 

Why no money to help seniors, schools, the truly needy or our current and past military folks…Just look at the disgrace below.

 Salary of retired US Presidents …………$180,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of House/Senate …………………..$174,000 FOR LIFE

Salary of Speaker of the House ………..$223,500 FOR LIFE

Salary of Majority/Minority leaders… $193,400 FOR LIFE

Average Salary of a teacher …………….$40,065 per year, as long as they don’t lose their position!

Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN…$38,000…I think I found where the cuts should be made!

 

From The E-Mail Bag

 

Dear Ted: But on the bright side: To help save the economy, the Obama administration will announce next month that the Immigration Department will start deporting seniors (instead of illegals) in order to lower Social Security and Medicare costs. Older people are easier to catch and will not remember how to get back home. I started to cry when I thought of you. Then it dawned on me… oh, crap… I’ll see you on the bus! B.D., Dixon

 

Dear Abby: ‘I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but I can’t afford to spend a lot of money to do it, any suggestions?’  Sam in California. DEAR SAM: ‘Register as a Republican, and run for public office.’ Abby

 

Driving in the rain or on slippery roads — this may save your life

Dear Ted: Want to know how to achieve good vision while driving during a heavy downpour? We are not sure why it is so effective; just try this method when it rains heavily. This method was given me by a police officer who had experienced and confirmed it. It is useful….even driving at night. Most of the motorists would turn on high or fastest speed of the wipers during heavy downpour, yet the visibility in front of the windshield is still bad…In the event you face such a situation, just try on your sun glasses (any model will do), and it’s a miracle! All of a sudden, your visibility in front of your windshield is perfectly clear, as if there is no rain. Make sure you always have a pair of sun glasses in your car, as you are not only helping yourself to drive safely with good vision, but also might save your friend’s life by giving him this idea…Try it yourself and share it with your friends! Amazing, you still see the drops on the windshield, but not the sheet of rain falling. You can see where the rain bounces off the road. It works to eliminate the “blindness” from passing semi’s spraying you too, or the “kickup” if you are following a semi or car in the rain. They ought to teach that little tip in driver’s training. It really does work.

          This next warning is another good one! I wonder how many people know about this. A woman had an accident several weeks ago and totaled her car. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to hydro-plane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence! When she explained to the officer what had happened he told her something that every driver should know – never drive in the rain with your cruise control on. She thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe consistent speed in the rain. But the Officer told her that if the cruise control is on when your car begins to hydro-plane and your tires lose contact with the pavement, your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making you take off like an airplane. The officer said never use the cruise control when the pavement is wet or icy. We tell our teenagers to set the cruise control and drive a safe speed – but we don’t tell them to use the cruise control only when the pavement is dry.

          NOTE: Some vehicles (like the Toyota Sienna Limited XLE) will not allow you to set the cruise control when the windshield wipers are on. If you *send this to 15 people and only one of them doesn’t know about this, then it was all worth it. You might have saved a life. (*Send friends to web page www.tedhickman.com for this column.)

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December 1st 2011
MORE STRIPERS

Posted under Rich Reeser's Outdoor Column

         

 (Pictured L to R is Jim, Dillon, & Jake)

    (Pictured is Jake with his big fish)      

          We had a great Thanksgiving with almost the entire family being able to make it for dinner. Just after finishing Thanksgiving dinner and it was time to start tying up our rods for trolling with my nephew Pat Carpenter the following day. My son in law and my 2 grandsons were excited about going trolling for stripers as the action has done nothing but improve the last couple of weeks. Pat went out for a while Thanksgiving morning and caught his limit, so needless to say we could hardly wait until morning and start fishing. There were 5 of us in the boat Pat, my son in law Jim, grandsons Jake, Dillon and myself. In order to fish comfortably we could only put out 3 fishing rods and took turns catching fish. The action started real fast and after the first hour and a half we had 5 fish up to 7 pounds and than the bite slowed. We only caught maybe 1 or 2 fish the next couple of hours, but that gave us some time to enjoy a lunch complete with turkey sandwiches. Than over the next couple of hours we filled all our limits and headed back to the boat club with 10 nice stripers. When we got home it was time to regroup for another day of fishing, but this time we were heading out in the morning in my bass boat and switching out our trolling rods for casting rods. I was spotty for us most the day with a fish here and another there. We never got more than 2 or 3 bites in the same areas. As time started to run out on us Jake had casted up on a shallow flat a couple times and claimed he got bit on both cast, but the fish wouldn’t commit and take his lure. Well on his third cast up on the flat that fish hit his lure like a freight train stripping off about 60 yards of line on his first run. After about a 10 minute battle and a couple more run’s the fish was played out and came to the net, a beautiful 22 pounder.  

 

 California Outdoors Q&As

Question: I fish out of Morro Bay for halibut but there’s no live bait available this year. Because of that, I’d like to try ball bouncing for halibut and am thinking about trolling a Rapalla fishing lure as bait. I have two Rapalla lures with three galvanized treble hooks attached to them. I know the limit is only two hooks for most ocean fishes. Can I use these lures as they are designed or do I have to cut a set of hooks off them to be legal? (Chris Jones)
 
Answer: There are no hook restrictions for halibut, so the lure you have described would be legal to use. However, according to our halibut program expert, Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Associate Marine Biologist Travis Tanaka, you should remove one of the treble hooks. There are two reasons for this. First, a hooked fish would be safer to handle because you wouldn’t have the additional hooks (not hooked in the fish) possibly hooking your clothing or skin. Second, short fish would be easier to release because again you wouldn’t have to worry about the additional hooks catching where you don’t want them to.

 Tanaka says many anglers will also use a rig similar to that used for salmon, basically a hoochie/flasher trolled on the bottom. He’s also caught halibut drifting frozen anchovies.

 We recommend a soft, knotless landing net. Sublegal-sized halibut landed with this type of net don’t fin split (damage their fins) and they will have a greater chance of survival when you release.
 

 
Gaffing salmon?

 Question: Is it legal to gaff a keeper salmon in the ocean instead of using a net?
 
Answer: In ocean waters it would be legal to gaff a legal size salmon pursuant to the California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 28.65(d), but you must still have a landing net that is at least 18 inches in diameter on board to land any undersize fish. In inland waters, CCR Title 14, section 2.06 makes it illegal to use or possess a gaff throughout California with one exception, which is a section of the Sacramento River below the Deschutes Road Bridge where gaffs three feet or less in length may be used to land legal sized fish. This exception only applies to anglers fishing from a boat.

 

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December 1st 2011
Only A Matter Of Time

Posted under That's Life Columns

 

Remembering back to my days as a shop steward working at General Motors, my international rep told me that his boss complained about having to “put out the multitude of brushfires” rather than working on larger issues.  Some of these brushfires need to be squelched before they turn into conflagrations.  Others are simply devised to make the news.  Then we have those created by those you have elected.  Some people aren’t all that sharp, some are too indoctrinated to see certain issues clearly, and then we have those who are just outright enemies of the populace.  Ever hear that phrase, “smile to your face then stab you in the back”…

 As with most liberal “regressives” who just don’t get the message, the modus is to simply continue bringing something back until it is approved.  I was looking forward to hearing new reasons from Gary Erwin as to why Dixon Downs should be resurrected and all I got was the same old tired bush chants.  “It will be good for the schools.”  “The crime element is overstated.”  “It will be good for agriculture and support businesses.”  “They pay a lot of taxes.”  So what all of a sudden has got them all worked up over at the internet rag known as the Dixon Patch?

 It seems that there is a movement afoot to buy the land in San Pablo by the University of California to build another facility along the lines of Livermore Laboratories, the nuclear experimentation adjunct to the university.  So why wouldn’t Frank Stronach and crew want to relocate their racetrack to the land he owns in the northeast quadrant?

 More importantly, before it was Steve Alexander against the world as the lone councilman who spoke out against the project.  This time maybe there are two opponents.  Those who favor this have Dane Besneatte who thought this was a great idea when it was first presented and Jack Batchelor as the delegated if not surreptitious mouthpiece of the Chamber of Commerce whose members supposedly endorsed the track unanimously.  Another lie but that is besides the point.

 First off, gambling is a non-productive venture.  The house rakes off the top to pay wages and for their facilities, while the much lessened pot is then given back to the winners to lose again.  It is a lot like taxes.  Eventually there is nothing left to distribute as chunk after chunk is taken out.  The only thing that perpetuates it is new suckers thinking they can beat the system.  The only product produced is “entertainment” if losing money can be called that.

 Second, the traffic problem still exists with a freeway of three lanes instead of four and no reliever lane.  I stated the last time the Downs was an issue that although millions were spent on a less than accurate environmental impact report, the traffic study ignored impacts to the First Street overpass which was the front entrance to the facility.

 Finally, in this short concise analysis, the people spoke in opposition to the idea.  Erwin thinks it needs to be explained better.  I think there are many better uses for that property than a racetrack.  Let Magna put in a plant to build automobile body parts.  Create jobs that pay people a living wage rather than taking their rent money from their pocket.  While quality of life and what people think are important, there is a higher point of law that everyone forgets.

 The owner of the land has the right to do what he wants with it given the limitations of zoning and land use, both of which are bureaucratic annoyances created by those who don’t own the land and feel they are more qualified to dictate how the land will be used than the actual owners.  However, the landowner must mitigate any impacts his development will have on already existing landowners or users of public infrastructure.  The bottom line is if you really don’t like the idea of a racetrack coming to town, you have two choices.

 Move or litigate…

* * * * *

Well, I hope the new vice mayor, Dane Besneatte, will be happy with his desired position.  As promised, I relinquished the seat after only a year.  It will be interesting to see the dynamic between BJ and Dane, both Rotarians and Chamber members.  My bet is the contrary Dane will now become the acquiescent Dane or should I say BOB.

 Much as many of you have been expressing your displeasure with Dane’s sonorous monologues reminiscent of Gil Vega’s dissertations about nothing, there seems to be a growing concern that Dane has drifted from his constitutional focus to just benefitting his buddies.  I have noticed it but kept silent as the project in question is long overdue.  I just expect Dane to fight for all projects just as hard, whether or not the personalities involved are familiar or not.  I also expect some simple logic.

 Drifting back to the last meeting of the council, it rather amazed me that both Dane and Thom Bogue supported Herb Cross’ personal opinion rather than that of the wastewater committee which did not.  Dane attempted the lame argument that just because the committee did not support Herb that didn’t mean they supported lowering the compensation for water softeners.  Maybe you should have talked to the ones who voted it down, Dane, just as I did.

 The fact of the matter is that my solution of reducing the payment to $200 in cash and $200 as a credit on the person’s sewer bill from $300 and $300 while also slashing the money paid to plumbers for removal of the systems from $300 to $200 would have allowed the city to fund the removal of close to 75% of the suspected self regenerating salt discharging water softeners.  The most we will achieve even with the new funding of $250,000 is around 50%.  We have a meeting coming up with the State Water Quality Control Board early next year.

 Thinking outside of the box is to re-examine your position going in.  Dane’s position was we were kicking the can down the road and eventually we all are going to have to pay.  Well don’t look for any solution, Dane, just go with your hand out to the citizens and tell them it couldn’t be prevented.  Only problem with that is there is a big mouth on the council who also writes in the local paper who will tell the citizens the truth.  From this aspect, Dane is no better than Jack or Rick Fooler … or Herb Cross.

 But let’s not leave out Darth Bogue.  Darth joined in the fun by suggesting we pay even more to people to remove these items.  The $250,000 would be depleted twice as fast paying $400 instead of $200.  Yet that fact seemed to escape the Thom who suggested reducing the sewer bill credit to $100.  He thinks the money for the credit is coming from the same source.  It isn’t.

 The credit affects the operations fund.  It means for a short period of time that $250,000 match will result in a loss in revenue to the fund.  Luckily there is a healthy balance in this fund at this time.  What it does not affect is the amount of units that will be pulled out and, in fact if we had listened to Bogue’s bull, we would have pulled even fewer units from service.  The depletion of the fund itself will be just one more reason for consultants to ask for a rate increase.

 The only reason I don’t mention BJ or Fooler’s arguments is that they have none.  BJ blindly supports Cross.  Fooler appears to be along for the ride and too fearful of losing the waiting list of individuals.  Let me remind you what I said during the debate on the new city manager salary: “there will be plenty of applicants even with a starting range of $110 to $130K.”

 Rather than listen to me, BJ insisted that the top end be raised to $140K.  Does 57 applicants tell you something?  Like you are still offering way more than necessary?  No wonder Batchelor and Fuller don’t want me as a negotiator.  They know nothing about the subject and are unwilling to learn, being the old dogs who are too lazy to learn new tricks.

* * * * *

I was surprised that I got so much cooperation out of Batchelor and the others during the time we were discussing the city manager’s selection process.  That should have raised any hair I have left on my head.  But it was only a matter of time before the real meaning of cooperation could be felt right between my shoulder blades.

 Is the fix already in?  Could be.  This is one of the reasons I asked that all of the applications be made available for councilman review.  As I only expected that I would be the only one interested, I didn’t make it clear that this option was available for all councilmen’s advantage.  The mayor felt it necessary to spell this out.

 In the past, the council did not review all applications but took what the consultant gave them.  Mistake number one.  The council also had their mind’s made up such as when the Queen encouraged Nancy Huston to apply.  Well, duh!!!

 As I have taken some heat from Terrible Ted Hickman on appointing a committee to do my elected duty, I feel the need to respond.  Don’t expect to get different results from putting the same committee comprised of a majority of BOB dummies in place to give me advice.  Simply because I went along with the process as defined by the mayor and the rest of the council to give them some solace and comfort in doing things “traditionally”, does not mean I put one iota of confidence in this committee’s opinion.

 Much like the mayor stuffing lower advisory commissions with his think alike cronies, I hold suspect any opinion not based on fact, logic, or reason emanating from these political parrots.  Great decisions can not come from closed minds … or basically ignorant ones.

 I intend to make my decision the way it should be made.  I will do the research.  I will examine all 57 applications.  I will develop my own short list and ask why any of my selections were discarded.  During the personal, confidential interviews I will be asking questions specifically related to each candidate’s background rather than the “fairness” based model of asking the same question to each applicant.

 I will listen to the committee member’s individual questions.  I will listen to their logic in how they assess the candidates.  If that jibes with my selection, then great.  If it doesn’t, then maybe those differing individuals need to run for office so they can make the decisions.

 That is what I was elected to do and that is what I will do.  Good enough, Ted?… ( Ted’s note: “Yep.”)

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