Placer’s Energy Future

The Golden State Warriors with their lightening passes, 3-pointers from the other side of the moon and tenacious defense clobbered the Cavs to win the NBA Basketball Championship. It’s exciting to watch a team perform at the top of their game.

In the public policy arena, the stakes are higher. We need our local elected officials […]

By |June 26th, 2017|Energy, Environment, Fire Safety|Comments Off on Placer’s Energy Future

The Biomass Imperative and God Art

As I sit down to write this column from my perch overlooking the American River Canyon my eyes slowly move from the rolling green hills of pine and oak, to the low meandering clouds that gently cut a thousand invisible trails in the sky, top the bright reflective lights of the snow-capped Sierra Mountains. I […]

By |December 23rd, 2015|Fire Safety|Comments Off on The Biomass Imperative and God Art

Firestorms, Policy and the Big Mo

Watching the devastating impacts on human beings as the Sand Fire swept through the borderlands of Amador and El Dorado counties, it reminded me that momentum is a powerful force in both nature and the creation of public policy. For instance, there is a scientific phenomenon called a firestorm. A firestorm occurs when the fire […]

By |November 13th, 2014|Columns, Fire Safety|Comments Off on Firestorms, Policy and the Big Mo

Preparing for the Inevitable

“Wildfire in the City of Auburn is inevitable. It is just a matter of when.” That’s the first key assumption in the “2009-2010 Strategic Plan to Aid in the Prevention of Catastrophic Wildfire in the City of Auburn.” In the spring and summer months, dry grass, brush, and oak and pine trees surround homes and […]

By |January 1st, 2011|Columns, Fire Safety|Comments Off on Preparing for the Inevitable

The Fire Next Time

A key obstacle that blocks the implementation of public policies designed to prevent catastrophic fires, save lives and homes and enhance the health of our forestlands is the race of time. How public officials and firefighting agencies react in the aftermath of the devastating 49er Fire in North Auburn, which destroyed 63 homes, three businesses […]

By |January 1st, 2011|Columns, Fire Safety|Comments Off on The Fire Next Time

A big thanks to Project Canyon Safe volunteers

I want to express my deep-felt gratitude to the 114 individuals who got up early last Saturday morning, worked hard all day, and made the brush and wood fuel clearing project at the end of Robie Drive a huge success.

I initially hoped that our team, consisting mainly of volunteers, would be able to cut and […]

By |May 22nd, 2010|Columns, Fire Safety|Comments Off on A big thanks to Project Canyon Safe volunteers

Think inside the tinderbox

The Auburn Journal editorial, “2010: Let’s get back to basics” (Jan. 3), noted in reference to the devastating 49 Fire, “If area residents had known what could have happened when hot, dry, windy conditions met a spark last Aug. 30, they would have cleared the dry brush and scrub oak off Highway 49 near Bell […]

By |May 20th, 2010|Columns, Fire Safety|Comments Off on Think inside the tinderbox

Catastrophic Wildfire and the Cooperative Solution

Your editorial, “2010: Let’s Get Back to Basics” (1/3/10), noted that the “horrific 49 Fire reminded us what can happen when fire, wind and drought conditions mix” and that working to prevent a catastrophic fire in the American River Canyon is a key public safety challenge for city officials and Auburn residents. The canyon is […]

By |March 1st, 2010|Columns, Fire Safety|Comments Off on Catastrophic Wildfire and the Cooperative Solution

Snowflake Enablers

Ok, I admit it. Soon after my high school graduation, I failed the English Placement Exam. That meant that I had to take English 1A, euphemistically known as “Bonehead English,” my first quarter at Foothill Community College in Los Altos Hills, California. This was in the late 1970s when our hippy-dippy tenured high school teachers […]

By |September 8th, 2017|Education|Comments Off on Snowflake Enablers

One Heart, an Armed Robber, and 4119 Other Patients

I finally figured out what I want to do when I grow up. I want to be a bioethicist. Some prestigious hospital or university would pay me big bucks to, in response to a medical/ethical crisis like the birth of a cloned human being, issue Solomon-like wisdom and guidance for public officials, reporters, and everyone […]

By |July 22nd, 2017|Health Care, Public Safety|Comments Off on One Heart, an Armed Robber, and 4119 Other Patients

UC Admissions and the Fiction Writers Club

I thought about good old Mr. Bulwer-Lytton, the art of fiction writing, and making up bad stories when I read about the new admission requirements for students who wish to be accepted for the University of California. Since 1983 several English professors at San Jose University have sponsored the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest for “the opening […]

By |July 22nd, 2017|Education|Comments Off on UC Admissions and the Fiction Writers Club

The Washington Monument Strategy

Most of the political animals that make their living in Washington D.C. have heard of a crafty and devious maneuver called “The Washington Monument Strategy.” Legend has it that “The Washington Monument Strategy” got its name – and, no doubt, is now a permanent feature in the unofficial Bureaucratic Hall of Fame, which is located […]

By |January 2nd, 2016|Public Safety|Comments Off on The Washington Monument Strategy

Paving Old McDonald’s Farm

During last year’s debate over Placer Legacy, a proposed county program that would help preserve open space and agricultural lands I perpetuity, I remember several opponents confidently standing up and saying in public forums that the Legacy program wasn’t needed because of the Williamson Act. Most people in the audience shook their heads and naturally […]

By |January 2nd, 2016|Agriculture|Comments Off on Paving Old McDonald’s Farm

A Tax Cut for Movie Moguls

With my feet firmly in place, courtesy of the sticky soda-coated floor, the lights in the local movie theater dimmed and I began my struggle with the chewy candy in my mouth that had, like Super-Glue, latched firmly onto my teeth. I began to wonder what would make an otherwise sane man spend upwards of […]

By |January 2nd, 2016|Job Creation, Taxes|Comments Off on A Tax Cut for Movie Moguls

Deliberative Democracy Held Hostage

Last Wednesday, it was about 8:50 in the morning when I started to walk across the street from my office to the State Capitol. The Assembly Insurance Committee was scheduled to meet at 9 o’clock that morning to deliberate and take action on five bills related to workers’ compensation, disability benefits and annuities. My job […]

By |December 31st, 2015|Under the Capitol Dome|Comments Off on Deliberative Democracy Held Hostage

The State Knows Best

 When I was a kid, we used to walk through groves of giant eucalyptus trees on the way to Stanford football stadium. When we got to the stadium, we picked up a football program, which was full of pictures of the star players and statistics about the opposing teams. On the front cover of the […]

By |December 31st, 2015|Under the Capitol Dome|Comments Off on The State Knows Best

The Pursuit of DNA and Truth

Even columnists have heroes. Of course, we don’t demand that our heroes do really hard stuff like courageously rushing a well-defended machine gun next or throwing down the throttle on the X-15, climbing to the very edge of Heaven, and breaking the sound barrier. Being a sometimes cerebral and self-centered lot, the pundit guild will […]

By |December 31st, 2015|Public Safety|Comments Off on The Pursuit of DNA and Truth