Thursday, May 24, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Time for a change in District 5

I don't live in District 5, but I did recently endorse Andrea Macon for Supervisor of District 5 over Brian Oneto. You can read some of the personal reasons why I did endorse Andrea on her website, Now I’d like to outline a few of the reasons why I believe there is still a need for change at the Board of Supervisors, just like in the last election.

I have been watching and participating in politics both locally and nationally since 1974. I have a keen interest in following local government for the most part, however. I know Brian, I remember when he was elected in 2006. Several months later, Brian voted in favor of a renegotiated lease on the new Health and Human Services building on Conductor Boulevard. The original lease was only about 17 months old at the time it was renegotiated. Why? Now, recently I have seen a lot of dollar amounts thrown around regarding this building, but let's stick with facts. On August 23, 2016, I went to a Board meeting to speak with them about their Response to the 2015-2016 Grand Jury Report. For those that don't recall, the Board was very unhappy with the Grand Jury Report.

I told the Board that I took issue with 14 of their 19 findings and started with Number 1. Before I even got through number 1, some of the board members started getting rather upset: first Oneto, then Plasse, followed by Boitano. After the commotion quieted down, I asked the Board if $7 million was about the amount the taxpayers would be paying on the renegotiated extra 5 years on the lease? Supervisor Oneto said,  "Yes." $ 7 million dollars is about 7 ¾% of the county’s currently proposed $90 million budget. How many mentalhealth professionals and other health and human services for the taxpayers could be had for $7 million today?

Now, Brian will tell you that the renegotiated lease was on the Consent Agenda, where all items can be passed with one motion. He will tell you and is quoted as saying, "What the modification was portrayed as is not what we were sold." But he made no attempt to pull it from the Consent Agenda for discussion, as he had a right to. He just voted along with the other supervisors 5-0 to approve the extension of the lease for 5 years. What did the taxpayer get in return for the $7 million in rent? A onetime, $400,000 payment, at a cost to the taxpayer of over $7 million!

Amador CAO Chuck lley said in the same meeting "I implore you (BOS) not to do anything like that in the future." And County Counsel Greg Gillott also said in part of his response that, "it probably wasn't the best deal for the County." So, for an additional 5 years tacked on the lease, the taxpayer received a onetime payment of $400,000 (which by the way, no one has ever explicitly explained where the money went). In the Board's response to the Grand Jury, they acknowledged, "… that the funds should have been identified in the lease and future agreements will follow that practice." I believe the Grand Jury has investigated the HHS Building and the lease at least three times now, 2010-11, 2013-14, 2015-16.

I would urge you to read an opinion piece in the Mountain Democrat written by El Dorado County government watchdog Larry Weitzman, titled, "The Balancing Act, Questionable Dealing." I don't think it was ever reprinted locally. It will give you some good insight into the Board of Supervisors’ mismanagement on the whole Health and Human Services deal. And let's not forget that the Board originally could have bought that 8 acres from SPI where the HHS building is today for $2 million, but dropped out of negotiations on that to buy the Wicklow Way property for $1.8 million, but that's another story. (“The Strange and Twisted Tale of Wicklow Way,” M.W.Boitano,December 21, 2009)

Moving on, there was the situation Brian caused at one time when he was the board Chair. Dr. Bob Hartmann, Amador County's well-respected Public Health Officer, had his contract extended by board action on the consent agenda had his contract extended by board action on the consent agenda, 5-0 until June 2013. Weeks later, after Brian voted to extend Dr. Hartmann' s contract, he brought the contract back to the board agenda for "reconsideration." He questioned Dr. Hartmann’s duties, and even the hours he worked. After much wrangling, th Board approved a partial salaray adjustment, and a contract that expire at the end of June 2011. Dr. Hartmann signed the contract so the good people of this county would not be without a Public Health Officer.

Brian brought Dr. Hartmann’s contract back to the board for reconsideration shortly after Brian and his brothers blocked a prescriptive easement used by Dr. Hartmann and his wife, Mel Welsh, to access property they own. You can read about that in a letter written at the time by local resident Judy Hotchkiss -- see Amador Community News, February 2011.

The community rose up in support of Dr. Hartmann. The medical staff at Sutter Amador, by acclamation, requested the board to recognize Dr. Hartmann for the contributions he had made as a public servant and provide him with a long-term contract. Eventually, that did happen, because other supervisors recognized Dr. Hartmann’s value to the county.

Let's move on to the fine example Brian set over the renaming of Squaw Ridge in 2017. Squaw Ridge is behind Silver Lake in the Eldorado National Forest. The Washoe Indian Tribe from Markleeville had requested the name of the ridge be changed from Squaw Ridge to Hungalelti Ridge. Tribal representative Darrell Cruz asked for the name change because the tribe finds the word “squaw” to be derogatory and demeaning to the women of the tribe. However, Brian struck a contrary note, questioning whether the word squaw was truly offensive and the usefulness of the name change. The Board voted to approve the name change, 4-0-1, with Brian abstaining.

Recently, I asked Brian Oneto a couple of questions on his re-election Facebook page. He never posted them on his page, nor did he answer me in person, by mail or in any way. So much for transparency and responsiveness. Here were the two questions: Why are your mailers coming from outside the county, and would you accept a donation from a union?

On the subject of unions, Brian Oneto had made a big deal regarding the SEIU “pledge.” It is included in the questionnaires most unions send out before they endorse any candidate. The pledge is standard boiler-plate language. It asks among other things,  if a candidatewould cross a picket line. It also asks if the candidate would or would not interfere with employees’ right to organize. That right to organize is guaranteed by law, so in reality, Brian was asked if he would abide by the law.
Brian has protested way too much about the pledge, even going as far in his newspaper ads to ask if his opponent will recuse herself from salary negotiations with the SEIU because she accepted a campaign contribution from them. Brian knows full well that the Board does not bargain individually with the union representing county employees. He knows that the Board hires an outside counsel to do that. It is much ado about nothing.

As a longtime Carpenters Union Member (32 years) I know a little about Unions and how they work. A Union would never support a candidate who would interfere with workers' legal right to organize, and it wouldn't support a candidate who would disrespect workers and cross a picket line! It speaks volumes to me and other union members that the union that represents most county employees endorsed Oneto's opponent. 

As an aside to the Union issue, I can tell you that when the local Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union was on strike in 2012, Brian Oneto, even though he has a logging background and operates a logging business, did not stop by and offer his support to us in the 14 days we were on strike. The only County supervisor who came to support us, and actually spent time picketing with us, was then-Calaveras County Supervisor Chris Wright.

And while we are on the subject of logging, I noticed that Brian recused himself a while back on an agenda item involving the Amador Water Agency letting a bid out regarding timber on their property. Most likely they were dealing with tree mortality issues. It didn't take much research to find that Brian was waiting on an opinion letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission regarding whether he could bid on the timber in his current capacity of County Supervisor. He did receive a favorable letter from FPPC saying he could bid on AWA timber.

Upon further research, Oneto’s FPPC Form 700 filings for the year 2017 show  that he had gross receipts between $10,000 and $100,000 from a company called Rjj Management. I typed their name into Google, which came back with an address in Richmond, California. Further exploration on Google Earth showed what appeared to be a log-export yard located on the water in Richmond. More research revealed that Pacific Gas and Electric in the recent past had commissioned a company called the Beck Group to study where their dead and dying trees could be processed. The Beck Group listed Rjj Management as one of the facilities where logs could be disposed of, and said that Rjj exported 90 percent of the logs they receive to China.

Now, in the Union sawmill business, we always said, “Log exports are job exports." Sierra Pacific Industries was also listed by Beck as a company where logs could be disposed of. A local, American company with sawmills in Sonora, Chinese Camp, and Lincoln, to name a few, as a company where logs could be disposed of. A local, American company with sawmills in Sonora, Chinese Camp, and Lincoln, to name a few. Now, maybe Brian logged someone’s property an arranged for the logs to be hauled to the Richmond export yard, at the owner’s direction, and then Brian was paid by Rjj a turned around an paid the actual landowner. I don’t know why you have an arrangement like that, but I would like clarification from the candidate.

Now let's suppose Oneto is the successful bidder on the Water Agency timber. Will he do business with Rjj Management, a known log exporter to China, or will he do business with Sierra Pacific Industries, an American company?

The logging issue brings up another question: If you are a full-time supervisor making $60,000-plus a year with full benefits as well, where do you find time to go logging? And why, if you’ve been in the logging business for 30 years, would you get notices of logging rules violations from CalFire as recently as last November?

I would bring up his recusal record, but that had been discussed at length lately. But what if the Plymouth casino becomes a reality? Your District 5 Supervisor has already been advised by the FPPC he cannot be involved in any discussion on either casino, as well as he can't even be on any ad hoc committees to discuss either one of the casinos, one of which just broke ground recently (Buena Vista). He has recused himself over and repeatedly on these casino issues. So, if you live in District 5, you will have no voice on the proposed casino in Plymouth at the Board of Supervisor level if Brian is re-elected. Is that fair to you?

For all the reasons I have listed, I believe it's time for a change in District 5. I encourage you to visit Andrea Macon's website at, and read her presentations and reasons she would like to have your vote.

Jim Laughton

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"River of Song" concert to benefit California river conservation - Thurs June 7

On Thursday, June 7, 2018, award-winning Bay Area musicians will join forces for the 2nd annual “River of Song: A Musical Celebration of California’s Life-Giving Waters,” a gala concert to benefit California river conservation. It will be held at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance (see and $39 at the door.

California rivers have long been an integral part of Grammy-winning bluegrass musician Laurie Lewis’ world: “Our bodies are composed of about 60% water. And 90% of our Bay Area water comes from the high Sierra Nevada Mountains. For me, it has become a calling to try and do what I can to protect these free-flowing rivers and help insure that all beings, human and otherwise, have access to good drinking water.” For over 25 years, she has been sharing her love of rivers with others through her music and rafting trips. Lately, she has upped her involvement with rivers by attending the River Advocacy Training School, through Friends of the River.

River of Song performers include Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum, Blame Sally, Thompsonia (Suzy, Eric & Allegra Thompson) and Jenner Fox, all of whom will feature songs about water and rivers, in styles ranging from bluegrass to folk-rock to blues.

The “River of Song” benefit concert was initiated in 2017 by Suzy Thompson, who teamed up with long-time friend Laurie Lewis. Suzy shares her personal river water story: “In the Sierras, there’s a spring-fed pond where Eric and I have gone every summer for over 40 years, to make music with friends and commune with nature.

The way that pond changes from year to year always drives home to me how precious our California water is. With Laurie’s passion for California’s rivers, it was a natural to get her involved with putting together this benefit show.”

Proceeds from “River of Song” will benefit Friends of the River, which works to protect and restore rivers across the state, and the Foothill Conservancy, a grassroots, nonprofit organization (based in Jackson) with a special focus on the Sierra Nevada’s upper Mokelumne River. The Mokelumne provides 90 percent of the water for the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Both organizations will have representatives at the event to provide information about current threats to our state’s rivers as well as efforts to protect them.

“We were thrilled with the success of last year’s River of Song concert, and are excited to have this become a yearly event” said Foothill Conservancy Executive

Director Amanda Nelson. “Our organization has worked for the Mokelumne River for more than 28 years, and our efforts to protect the river help protect the East Bay’s water quality. We’re excited to have the opportunity to meet East Bay water consumers and talk about the wild and scenic river that sustains East Bay communities.”

Friends of the River Engagement Coordinator Toby Briggs adds, “River of Song is an exceptional evening that builds our community and awareness about the issues our state and federal rivers face in the coming year. Thank you to the musicians who are amplifying the message about protecting our rivers by sharing their talent!”

For ticket information, contact the Freight & Salvage: (510) 644-2020 or visit the Freight’s website:

Friends of the River website: Foothill Conservancy website:

Monday, May 14, 2018

Foothill Conservancy: Save the Moke - Please speak up in Jackson on Monday, and...raft trips coming!

ban_wa 2
May 11, 2018
Wild and Scenic Moke link
Support the effort to protect and preserve the Mokelumne River:
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The Mokelumne needs your voice in Jackson Monday afternoon

Amador County Board of Supervisors to discuss Wild and Scenic designation on May 14 at 2 pm

We need you to speak up for protecting the river you love!

On Monday, May 14 at 2 pm, the Amador County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting to discuss whether to support the state's recommendations to include 37 miles of the Mokelumne in the California Wild and Scenic River system and legislation needed to implement the recommendations. The meeting will be at the County Administrative Center at 810 Court St in Jackson.

Please come and and speak up in favor of protecting the Mokelumne, especially if you live in Amador County or own a business or home here.

Wild and Scenic opponents are increasingly active as we get closer to securing permanent protection for the river. The supervisors need to hear from you, too!

Amador County's water agencies (Amador Water Agency, Jackson Valley Irrigation District) have voted to support the state's recommendation and pursue legislation. We hope the supervisors will do likewise, but they need to know their constituents care about this issue.

If you can attend the meeting, please send us an e-mail to let us know. If you can't attend, please send the supervisors an e-mail urging them to support the water agencies' position on Mokelumne Wild and Scenic designation or call your county supervisor at 209-223-6470.

Together, we can Save the Moke for Good!
River photo
Raft trips coming on June 3 and June 10

Thanks to the generous folks at O.A.R.S. of Angels Camp, we'll be running benefit raft trips on the Mokelumne Electra-Middle Bar run on two Sundays in June -- June 3 and June 10. Advance reservations are required. Cost is $75 per person. All proceeds benefit the Foothill Conservancy and keep us working to protect and restore the Mokelumne River.

See more and reserve your spot on the Conservancy website.
Photo of raft
FC website link
Foothill Conservancy
35 Court Street, Suite 1
Jackson CA 95642
e-mail us


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The Jefferson Messenger - Ed 9 Vol 2

The Jefferson Messenger 

Edition 9 . May 12, 2018 . Volume 2




Three Judge Court

Friday, June 1st at 10:00 am, is the scheduled date for hearing the case of Citizens for Fair Representation (CFR) v California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, for Lack of Representation and Dilution of Vote. This hearing is scheduled in response to the CFR's legal team filing a motion requesting the court convene a Three-Judge Court. This is our day in Federal Court to demand our case be heard before a 3-Judge Court, which, should this be granted by the Honorable Judge Mueller, we will get our path to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Date: Friday, June 1, 2018
Time: 10:00 am (arrive at 9:00 am)
Location: Robert T. Matsui Courthouse, 501 I Street, Sacramento
Motion to dismiss

Friday, June 15th at 10:00 am, is the scheduled date. This hearing date is for the Judge(s) to hear arguments by the State's attorney regarding the Secretary of State Alex Padilla filing a motion to dismiss on April 16th.

Date: Friday, June 15, 2018
Time: 10:00 am (arrive at 9:00 am)
Location: Robert T. Matsui Courthouse, 501 I Street, Sacramento

Many may recall last September's hearing; the room was filled beyond capacity. The courtroom proved too small a facility to accommodate the hundreds spilling in the hallways and outside. And so, due to an expected larger turnout for this June 1st court hearing, the lawyers requested that the hearing take place in the larger courtroom. It is a reasonable request and will provide better access for people who traveled throughout the Jefferson counties to personally witness the Justice system.  Let this steel your resolve, plan to attend, arrive early, show the judge we are here and we need to be heard.

These are important days that every supporter of Liberty, Truth and Justice needs to show up. Numbers count and we must show those across this State and across the Nation, the enormous support for Representation and Liberty that CFR and Jefferson counties seek for ALL Californians.
We need hundreds in attendance.
We will not be denied in court.
We will not be denied Justice.

We can start building a crowd if each supporter brings at least two additional people with them and ask them to bring at least two people with them. This can only be accomplished if you stand and be counted. Now is the time to coordinate car pools, or perhaps charter a bus. Yes, June 1st and June 15thare on a Friday so plan ahead (as you would schedule a vacation day) and join us on this historical event. No excuses. 

If you do not have a ride, contact your State of Jefferson County Committee( to join a carpool. Everyone is encouraged to show up early, with signs and flags in hand, walking around the courthouse before during and after the hearing. People should arrive at 9 am, at courthouse and the hearing is at 10 am. Arrive early and beat the traffic.

A press conference will be held following the hearing at the Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse where CFR Attorney, Gary Zerman and County Committee liaison Terry Rapoza will provide statements.  Whether the court date is rescheduled or not, the press conference will proceed as planned. Should there be any rescheduling of these dates or other news, we will let you know as soon as possible. For those of us not able to get into the courtroom, we will be marching around the courthouse with signs and flags! Wear your SOJ colors and bring your flags and signs-bring an extra one if you have it for someone else!

Public Parking garages and parking lots all charge a nominal fee so bring enough change; debit/credit card options available. Cut & Paste this link to your browser for a map of Public Parking:


Messenger Staff
Northern Counties Reject Sanctuary State Policy

Tehama County was the first county to adopt a Resolution, declaring they would comply with Federal Law and their county does not constitute a Sanctuary State Jurisdiction (SB 54). This was quickly followed by Siskiyou County and Cities of Anderson and Lincoln.

In early 2018, Shasta County and City of Colusa followed suit, all well before those in the southern part of the State. Over the last couple of weeks, Butte County Board of Supervisors voted to oppose Sanctuary State policy. The Counties of Tuolumne, Lassen and Mariposa voted to adopt similar Resolutions, along with Yuba City and City of Waterford.

This effort continues to spread across the northern Counties including Calaveras, Placer, El Dorado and Yuba Counties. The citizens of the City of Lincoln have approached their City Council to file an Amicus (friends of the court) brief in the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against the State of California. Many people have joined County Republican Central Committees, Sheriffs and District Attorney's, to reject the Sanctuary State Policy's and/or file an Amicus brief.

As of this writing, 33 California cities and 9 Counties have adopted resolutions with some also filing friends of the court briefs in the U.S. Justice Departments lawsuit against the State.

Fight Sanctuary State Request for Initiative Filed

On April 18, 2018, a request was filed with the Office of the State Attorney General to circulate petitions for a statewide ballot measure (“California, Family, and Community Protection Act”).

Not only would the passage of this measure repeal SB 54 Sanctuary State Policy, but also AB 60 that allows illegal aliens to obtain or renew driver’s licenses or California Identification Cards. Fight Sanctuary State group is also seeking the repeal of AB 450 that prevents employers from cooperating with ICE. Employers, who violate this provision, are subject to civil penalties of upwards to $10,000, under the enforcement of California’s Attorney General.

Once the measure is approved, State of Jefferson County committees have agreed to help gather signatures for the petitions.

Terry Gherardi

Special Events & Meetings
This month of May kicks off what promises to be a summer of events, fairs and fundraisers, throughout the Jefferson Counties. Jefferson County Committee Leaders are encouraged to contact Dianna Baird so she can post your activities in the bi-monthly Jefferson Messenger and also on the calendar. The best communication is through our communication tool Basecamp.

Be sure to let Dianna know when you have your weekly or monthly Jefferson meetings (inc. county, date & frequency, start time, location, contact info.). Also it is important to suggest to people in your county to be sure to subscribe to the Jefferson Messenger by visiting the web site, where they can also view the archives of previous publications. It is important that you let people know about all the resources offered to find out the latest news about, ”What is Happening in Jefferson.”
Listen to Mark Baird
Inspirational speech
honed with humility
freely faithful
courageous conviction
Events are happening all over Jefferson Counties, too many to list here. For more information, please check the website, Events and Meetings or copy & paste:
Amgen Tour of California – Friday, May 18th

The El Dorado County Jefferson Committee invites you to join them along the roadways and highways of El Dorado County, on Friday, May 18, when the world renowned Amgen Tour of California Men's and Women's Cycling Tour, travels from Folsom through the foothills of El Dorado County, on their way to South Lake Tahoe. This marks the tours 13th year.

This is a major media event and we want to have a big Jefferson welcome; greeting the cyclists with our signs and flags along their route. Some businesses and property owners have already given us permission to place signs prior to the event. This is a 645-mile tour beginning in Southern California, including many riders from throughout the world.

If you would like to participate as part of the welcoming team and wish more information, please contact Jack Parsons, 916-425-9461 or Terry Gherardi, 530-677-4294. You may also visit the Amgen Tour Web site, to view the routes.
Conference Call
Like NASCAR, Jefferson honors its Mothers - May 13, 2018 is canceled
Join us on May 27th for the next call to find out about the latest happenings in Jefferson.
Conference Call Phone number:
Access Code: 307268#

For Questions during the call, simply log into our Chat Room.
Don't miss out!  Mark your calendar for upcoming calls!
  • June 10th and June 24th
  • July 8th and July 22nd
  • Aug 12th and Aug 26th

Motherhood: More Than a Full-Time Job

"Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." 

This article courtesy of The Patriot Post...cut & paste to your web browser:
Want to learn more? Click here to view the many videos that explain what brought us here.
Standing County
Committee Meetings

Subject to change without notice.

Curry County, OR

2nd Wed. each month - 6:00 PM
Panthers Den
29513 Ellensburg Ave.
Gold Beach, OR 97444

El Dorado County

2nd Tuesday each month - 6:30 PM
American Legion Hall, 4561 Greenstone Road, Placerville

Doors open 5:30 to 6:30 PM, to socialize, ask questions, buy merchandise, and/or enjoy a meal.  The meeting time: 6:30 – 8:00 PM

Josephine County, OR

1st Thursday each month - 6:00 PM
Elmer's Restaurant
Grants Pass

3rd Thursday each month - 6:00 PM
Kerby Belt Building

Klamath County

1st  Wed. each month - 6:00 PM
Community Hall aka Shasta Grange, 5831 Shasta Way
Klamath Falls, OR

Nevada County

2nd and 4th Mondays - 6:00 PM
Robinsons Conference Center 293 Lower Grass Valley Hwy
Nevada City

Placer County

3rd Tuesday each month - 6:30 PM
8062 North Lake Circle
Lakeview Hills Club House
Granite Bay
At the cross street of Auburn Folsom Road, there is a sign that says Lakeview Hills, turn into the neighborhood then turn left at the T for the "Clubhouse" and you will see an opened chain-link fence (the 8062 #'s are small, not very obvious) 

Shasta County

Mondays at 5:30 PM
2570 S. Bonnyview Road

Sutter and Yuba Counties

2nd Monday each month - 6:30 PM
Doors open 6:00 PM
Caltrans Building Sierra Room
703 B Street

4th Monday each month - 6:30 PM
Church of Glad Tidings Building 500, Room 212
1179 Eager Road
Yuba City

Tehama County

1st  & 3rd Friday each month - 7:00 PM
Westside Grange
20794 Walnut Street
Red Bluff

Trinity County

2nd Thursday each month 6:30 PM
Hayfork Community Church
7450 State Highway 3

3rd Wednesday each month - 6:00 PM
Round Table Pizza
120 Nugget Lane

Tuolumne County

2nd Tuesday each month - 6:00 PM
Sonora Re/Max Building, 207 S Washington Street

A Huge Thank You to
Our Newsletter Staff
Dianna Baird
Ginny Rapini
Terry Gherardi

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