Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Local women stage "Handmaid’s Tale" protest at Rep. Tom McClintock’s Town Hall meeting

JACKSON, CA - On Monday, June 19, Sierra foothill residents staged a powerful silent protest at Rep. Tom McClintock’s Argonaut High School town hall meeting in Jackson, California. Dressed in the red robes and stark white bonnets featured in the 1985 Margaret Atwood novel, The Handmaid's Tale, a dozen women, ages 12-70, walked into the center of the gym in pairs to protest McClintock’s tenure in office and his voting record. During his time in the House, McClintock (R-CA) has voted against pay equity for women, protections against sexual harassment and discrimination, and the Violence Against Women Acts of 2009 and 2013.

“History has its eyes on you,” said a hand-painted banner unfurled by two women accompanying the handmaids. The silent handmaids included Foothills Rising co-founders Kate Hege of Amador City and Amber Hoiska of Ione, “Who Are We McClintock? Calling Group” founder Alisa Jaffe Holleron of Fiddletown, and members of Indivisible. Foothills Rising is based primarily in Amador and Calaveras Counties.

"The autocracy, the lack of democracy, the things that are happening to women, the things that are happening to the environment, and the dystopian future presented by that novel are issues we have to worry about today," said Foothills Rising Co-Founder Steve Wilensky of Glencoe, a former Calaveras County supervisor. Wilensky acted in the role of the chauffeur at the protest, in another nod to the novel, which has recently been adapted into a 2017 Hulu television series.

The action and costumes were Hege’s brainchild. On Monday evening, she said, “Tonight, we showed Tom McClintock what local organizing looks like.” Her mother-in-law, Amy Turner, a fourth-generation Amador County resident, hand-sewed the dozen robes and bonnets in Amador City. Before the women walked silently into the crowded gymnasium, Foothills Rising members distributed a handout explaining the correlation between misogyny and autocracy.

Foothills Rising seeks to foster community-building, participation in local government, presence in state government, and pressure on the federal government through community organizing. The group’s next open, public meeting is Sunday, June 25 at 3pm, in the Mokelumne Hill Town Hall. The guest speaker will be Congressional candidate Roza Calderon, one of four female opponents McClintock is facing in 2018. Other announced candidates include Regina Bateson, Rochelle Wilcox and Jessica Morse. Jack Garamendi, Calaveras County Supervisor, will also be speaking to the group about “Running for Local Office and why you should do it.”

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Jackson Town Hall Meeting with Tom McClintock - Mon June 19

Tom McClintock, El Dorado Hills Town Hall Meeting
I invite you to join me at my upcoming town hall meeting in Jackson on Monday, June 19, to discuss important issues facing our nation.  Please find details for the meeting below:
Jackson Town Hall
Monday, June 19
6:00 PM
Argonaut High School Gym
I would appreciate the opportunity to hear from you at this event and encourage you to write, email, or call with your thoughts, questions, and concerns.  If you are unable to attend the town hall, please feel free to submit your questions to my office.  You will find all necessary contact information at

Friday, June 9, 2017

Supervisor Lynn Morgan, D3: A Leader for our County and beyond

By Ruth Gottstein
(This column appears courtesy of Debbie Dunn, publisher of the Upcountry News. June 2017 Vol. 16, No. 6)
It has been three years since Supervisor Lynn Morgan was elected to District 3 in Amador County. I realized that I hadn’t seen much in print, other than what is locally covered about the A.C. Board of Supervisors, or the emails that Lynn sends out about issues in her district or the BoS agenda. It turns out that this is only her second “interview” since Helen Bonner sat down with her shortly after the election.

I caught up with Lynn (I am on a first name basis with her ever since I loaned my home in Volcano for the weekly campaign meetings) as we sat down to breakfast at the iconic Rosebud’s CafĂ© on Main Street in Jackson.

One of the primary issues Lynn has had to deal with is the devastating bark beetle infestation. She states that this issue has had a huge effect on the property owners in Upcountry which dominates her district. What has brought this issue so close to home for many is the memory of the Butte Fire. The fire created a sense of urgency to address the dead tree issue. She said, “I cannot tell you how many people have contacted me seeking help with tree removal from their land…sometimes 15 to 20 calls a day! Not too surprisingly, many are widows…on fixed incomes, who are shocked at the cost of tree removal. It has been one of the biggest challenges for me in the past nine months. The California Disaster Assistance Act does not directly reimburse private property owners. I was compelled to approach the Amador Community Foundation and opened a fund with $10,000.00 of my own money to help people in our district. So far we have given nine fast-track grants of $1,000.00 to people in need. It has been gratifying, but so much more needs to be done.”

Another big issue facing the county is the growing of cannabis (Prop 64). It isn’t a problem that is going to go away. “It is here,” Lynn said and “…we need to learn what other counties are doing in order to establish our position based on best practices. That is our challenge.”

Because it is no secret, Lynn told me that she will be running for a second term as county supervisor. She credits taking the time to develop personal relationships with many of her constituents for her success. There were times when people would recognize her and say, “I can’t support you because…” and then go on to tell her what issue they were at odds with—and she’d listen patiently. Every candidate knows you can’t please everyone. Her inclusive style was to try and engage each voter in a meaningful dialog. It obviously worked. As a hands-on style, her method of communicating on the issues, inviting people to attend the Board of Supervisor meetings has fundamentally changed the way our elected officials engage with the public. Lynn has been quick to say: “I welcome healthy discussion about issues facing our county and our mutual desire to improve the quality of life here.”

And finally, on being a woman supervisor in a county, where the position has predominantly been held by men? Lynn states: “When it comes to gender, I feel about this office as I do about party lines. Being a county supervisor is not impacted by whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent or otherwise…and that is the same for gender. If you are an effective leader for your community, it really shouldn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. Getting things done for the betterment of Amador County is really all that I care about.” Supervisor Morgan’s example is a wonderful template for others who wish to follow in her footsteps.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Foothills Rising Community Meeting - Sun June 25

Foothill's Rising Community Meeting
Sunday, June 25 at 3PM
Mokelumne Hill Town Hall

Foothills Rising welcomes Roza Calderon, Candidate for US House CA-4 primary for Congress in 2018, founder of Lab40, co-founder of Indivisible Citizens of California's Fourth Congressional District.

Also, John "Jack" Garamendi, a fifth generation Calaveras County resident, County Supervisor for District 2, rancher and business leader will talk to us about running for local office.

For more information on Foothills Rising,

Monday, May 29, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Another Parent Speaks Out on Bullying

Dear Editor,

I am the parent of an 8 year old student from a Pine Grove stem school. A beautiful, smart, caring young girl who has become a victim of bullying. Experiencing different problems since Kindergarten. This past year has been extremely difficult​ for her. We have had meetings with the teachers, been told our daughter is “the most picked on child in class”, watched her confidence slowly falling with her grades and her friends, to the point she no longer wants to go to the school she is attending.

The last incident with her being called “fat” by a group of kids, had the teacher calling us, and finally we felt like something had to be said. When I approached the principal that morning to address my concerns, I was told she was told not to deal with me, and obviously my concerns for my daughter were not being taken care of, or even addressed. The principal even asked, "If she was having so many problems, why was she still there?"

My heart sank. I felt no hope, as the principal offered to sign the transfer papers to Jackson Elementary. I am a single mother, and have no choice but to have her finish off the school year there. She will attend Jackson this Fall. I am hoping to see more support from school, with more resources for my daughter to deal with the her confidence and succeed in school without feeling pushed out. If you ask my daughter, that's exactly how she feels...with no support from her school, and the responsibility left on her to try and counteract the issues she is dealing with every day, without anyone stopping it.

As a mother of a young daughter, it concerns me to see this exclusion start at such a young age. I expect more from our school system to make sure our children feel mentally and physically safe and secure while our children are in their care, and I hope to see a change...the schools modelling the kindness expected of the students, and the students needs as a priority. Not the convenience of exclusion, which has pushed her away from her school.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Words do hurt, and it all starts somewhere. Teach your children kindness, inclusion, tolerance and to support each other.

Best regards,

Kelley A Gaston

Friday, May 26, 2017

Scott Thomas Anderson: "A Threat Past the Pages: The Future of Reading & Writing in the Digital Age" - Sat June 3

Scott Thomas Anderson will speak at Hein & Company Bookstore on Saturday, June 3 at 5 p.m., on the subject of how prose, poetry and creativity will make or break the English language in the Digital Age.

For more than a decade, Anderson has worked as a crime, culture, and travel journalist, writing in the center of a media metamorphosis that continues to alter how Americans share their everyday experiences. Appearing at Hein’s & Company’s Baker Street West, Anderson will discuss the danger of our youngest generations learning linguistic impulses through hyper-abbreviated platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. He will consider what happens to the brain’s ability to focus when we trade a book’s imaginative doorway for the swamp of fragmented, multi-media distractions. He will also look at the future of the written word if today’s writers, poets, artists, and teachers don’t recognize a threat against it.
Scott Thomas Anderson is an award-winning staff writer for Sacramento News & Review. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Future Traveland The Irish Independent, Dublin’s largest daily newspaper. He’s been interviewed about homicide investigations nationally on the Travel Channel and internationally on Ireland’s Radio 1:Drivetime. His nonfiction book, Shadow People: How Meth-Driven Crime is Eating at the Heart of Rural America is an exploration of the nation’s modern methamphetamine crisis. In 2015, his newest nonfiction book was released, The Cutting Four-Piece: Crime and Tragedy in an Era of Prison Overcrowding.

This free talk is open to the public.

Hein & Co. is located at 2004 Main Street, Jackson. (209) 223-9076

For information regarding this event, please call 209-223-2215.