Thursday, May 31, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Lockwood Fire has Elections?

Lockwood Fire Protection District, located in the upcountry area of Amador County, is having an election. When was the last time that happened?  Does anyone remember?  We’ve seen the signs for the two candidates, but has anyone actually sat back and wondered why there is an election?  How come there hasn’t been one in the past 18+ years, or as far back as anyone can remember? This might just give you a clue as to who you should vote for. 

Typically when a Board Director quits, an announcement is put up on the web site, advertised in the newspaper, and posted at the fire department. Word of mouth usually brings forth one or two interested people, and on rare occasions three. Once they all discover that it will cost this small fire department more than $4,000.00 to hold an election, interested parties withdraw their letters of interest, all but one, so that the fire department can save money. They all full well know that there will be another opening on the Board within 2 to 4 years, sometimes sooner. They will apply at a later date.  That was back when we lived in a civilized world.

So what happened this year? A Board Director quit. Announcements were made including the deadline to submit a letter of intent.  One person came forward. Just one. Not two or three. Just one -  Lois “Cookie” Stevens. Keep that name tucked away in your brain.

The application period ended, all letters to be submitted, according to the announcement, no later than November 20. All applicants were invited to attend the November 27 Board meeting whereby a Board Director would be appointed. Mind you only one applicant applied – Cookie Stevens.

On November 27, two of the four Board Directors did not show up to the Board meeting. A quorum could not be established and the meeting was closed.  The next day, it was decided to hold the meeting on that Friday, Dec. 1. Despite the fact the announcement deadline had passed, someone attempted to apply for the position on November 30 and expressed displeasure during the December 1 Board meeting.  Two Board Directors were “uncomfortable” voting.  The same old “two against two” prevailed once again, halting all progress at Lockwood Fire. This is all documented in the minutes posted on the Lockwood Fire web site. Mind you, after all this, 90 days has passed and the matter now must go to an election.

Funny thing – the same woman that screamed “foul” is not the one running against Cookie.
Following through, Cookie filed her nomination papers when the Election Department doors opened on February 12 and declared her candidacy. It was not hard coming up with signatures as Cookie has been around the fire department and the Auxiliary dedicating her time to helping the community.  That’s all she wants to do. And a whole lot of people would like to see her do it. Many were hoping that no one else would come forward and file a candidacy for the position. Cookie would be appointed and there would be no election, saving the fire department over $4,000. Alas, a former Board Director and Treasurer filed her candidacy a few days before the deadline.

While this election is costing the fire department $4,000+, the upside is that it has brought Lockwood to the forefront. District residents are attending the Board meetings and expressing an interest. This is great. Maybe more people will start coming forward to help the department thrive again.  The fire department needs community involvement. There are major problems, of which Cookie Stevens has seen in the last year. And she is ready to tackle those problems and has been from the beginning. She has attended Board meetings, is a member of the Auxiliary, and has been listening to her constituents on the campaign trail. Her fresh face, new outlook and determination are what I am voting for. Let’s see her get to the finish line.  Vote for “Cookie” Stevens.

Jackie Vaughn

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Jeff Brown: Free Hot Dog Friday - Fri June 1

The Jefferson Messenger - Ed 10 Vol 2

The Jefferson Messenger 

Edition 10 . May 26, 2018 . Volume 2

The Embers of Tyranny Light the Bonfires of Liberty

It is amazing when force gets turned upon itself and redirected towards the attacker.  Such is the way of Aikido.  Such is the way of CFR.

We now employ the genius of the esteemed members of Article III as they use the very vehicles that have brought liberty to the brinks of extinction. Yes, my inference is towards Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims. These travesties that tore the very fabric of Republic from the States are now being rallied to our aid. See, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot hold that a general grievance that affects both one and many has no standing when the very cases that pillaged liberty were based on these very principles. A general grievance that has been adjudicated in the past must be dealt in the same manner today.

For all the damage Baker and Reynolds wrought upon our construction of government, they are now wielded in the mighty pen strokes of our legal team. Via their recitations and prose, our attorneys have painted our learned Judge into a corner. That past has bound her to a single decision, a three-judge court. We are not “wholly insubstantial,” we are not “obviously frivolous,” and we are not “obviously without merit.” The defendant has never said we were not right, only that we all suffered the same plight and therefore had no rights.

Take heart my fellow Jeffersonian's. Providence has again smiled upon us and added brilliance at a most requisite time. If you dare to read the responses our learned fellows put forth, be sure to wear eye protection as you may find the light of truth blinding in its magnificence.


Three Judge Court Decision


The Judge has vacated the scheduled June 1st, court hearing; Citizens for Fair Representation (CFR) v Secretary of State Alex Padilla. This in no way means that the hearing has been canceled. Citizens for Fair Representation’s motion to convene a three-judge court is submitted without oral argument. The motion is submitted in briefs, including the reply brief, if any.

The Judge will weigh the motions of both CFR's and State Attorney's positions and is expected to make a decision. If the court determines that oral argument is needed, it will be scheduled at a later date. Please note: All Jefferson related activities are vacated as well.
Friday, June 15th at 10:00 am, is the scheduled date for the Motion to Dismiss. 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. As with the vacated June 1st date, any announcements regarding the decisions or scheduling will be posted as soon as possible, so be sure to stay tuned.

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

Messenger Staff
New 501 (c) 3 Account
You can now write off Donations
By popular request, the State of Jefferson has a 501(c)3 account so you can now report your donations of $100 or more on your income tax return. Please write your checks to “PECAN” and the check memo should read, “State of Jefferson Formation Legal Fund.” This account is designated ONLY FOR THE LEGAL FUND. You may mail the checks to: State of Jefferson Formation, P.O. Box 751, Palo Cedro, CA 96073.

Our goal for the legal fund remains at One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) and we are almost half-way there. We understand that the flow of donation dollars tends to dwindle during the holidays and tax season; however, now you can write off your donations ($100 or greater); this is a great opportunity to further your annual donation goals and support the battle for equal/fair representation.
Donations of any size can still be made, by visiting the website, using the donate button for Pay Pal.

Terry Gherardi
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:
What: Tri Tip Dinner & Fundraiser
Why: Celebrate Flag Day
When: Thursday, June 14th
Where: Dodasa Ranch 5059 Carol Lane in Burson
Doors open 4:00 PM
Dinner 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Click here for details

Conference Call
May 27, 2018
Join us 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
CITIZENS - Don't Sit This One Out
If you are tired of being ignored and tired of not given the opportunity to have a voice on such items as the gas tax and vehicle registration fee increases, and whether or not you want to live in a Sanctuary State, then you cannot sit back and not vote in the June 5th primary election.

It is time to be an informed voter and educate others. We must all recognize that it is Governor Brown's administration and state legislature who are the career politicians that have imposed new taxes and regulations, while also ignoring the laws under the Constitution that they took an oath to uphold.

Ask yourself: If California has the 5th richest economy in the world, how is it that we have the highest level of poverty, some of the highest homeless rates, worst roads, worst schools and diminishing business climate.

It is time for a change in Sacramento. We cannot allow this damaging free-will agenda to continue, leaving your children and grandchildren left to pay for the financial demise of the state, with its trillions of debt and unfunded liabilities. It is been said, that California is postured to take the lead in spreading socialism to every state in the union.

Tell everyone you know to mail in their absentee ballots now, or be sure to show up at the polls on June 5th.  Your vote is necessary now, probably more than any time in our state & country's history.
Terry Gherardi

We are pleased to report that earlier in the year CFR had added two highly qualified consultants to the legal team.

One consultant is Professor Stewart Jay from the University of Washington School of Law, where he has taught since 1980. Prior to that, Professor Jay clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren E. Burger. Jay's expertise and research includes constitutional law and constitutional history.

The other consultant is Judge Alex Kozinski, a former Chief Magistrate of the United States Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, serving for over 30 years. Prior to his appointment by President Ronald Reagan, Judge Kozinski was a law clerk for Judge Anthony Kennedy and for Chief Justice Warren Burger of the Supreme Court.

Terry Gherardi
Click here to find related videos
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

Click here to subscribe:
The Jefferson Messenger

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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: