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Chester Progressive
Chester , California
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September 7, 2011     Chester Progressive
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September 7, 2011
 

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lOB Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter EDITORIAL A N D OPINION EDITORIAL Legislature needs to be accountable for its spending The state Assembly and Senate have been drag- ging their feet about releasing records of their members' spending. The body usually releases once-a-year figures in November for the previous year. Under pressure, the Legislature has re- leased some up-to-date figures, but not others. The record release came under pressure from the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee, which fried suit against the Assembly after it re- fused to release current office records. The Sen- ate, which had received a similar request, com- plied by releasing data, too. The records are significant because they show,. member by member, what is being spent. We're not talking chump change here. For the eight months ending July 31, 20il, the highest spender in the Assembly, according to the released infor- mation, is Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from La Canada Flintridge, at $297,580. That pales be- side the highest Senate spender, Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat from Long Beach, at $789,020. But member totals don't tell the whole story. Other expenses are broken out separately: Assem- bly Speaker John Perez, in addition to $225,939 in member expenses, has $373,206 in speaker's office expense. On top of that, the Democratic Caucus, which Perez leads, spends $6.7 million. Members can get more for serving on or chairing various committees. Collectively, the two bodies have $256 million to spend. Our assemblyman, Dan Logue, had $331,381.54 in base expenditures for the period Dec. 1, 2009, through Nov: 30, 2010. For the eight months from Dec. 1, 2010, through July 31, 2011, he spent $227,718.48. Currently, Logue serves as chief Re- publican whip, an office that carries its own bud- get. Plumas County's state Sen. Ted Gaines has spent $416,151.40 in base expenditures for the eight months from Dec. 1, 2010, through July 31, 2011. Previously, he served in the state Assembly, where he spent $318,107.42 from Dec. 1, 2009, through Nov. 30, 2010. These totals do not include expenses for any committee work the two men might do or leadership roles they might fill. When the amounts are this high, the public de- serves to know how much is being spent and what it is being spent on. Spending categories include staff salaries, in- and out-of-state travel, office equipment, car leases, district office rent and communications, among others. The issue came to a head last month When Por:i fantino contended his budget had been cut i~e-~ taliation for being the 0nly Dem0~ht to vote against this year's budget. To prove his allega- tion, he filed a Public Records Act request for the current office budgets of all Assembly members. The Assembly declined, claiming that the state Legislative Open Records Act exerhpts correspon- dence, notes, memoranda and preliminary drafts from disclosure. Media outlets jumped on the is- sue and made their own requests. Because there are so many holes, the release of records has been hailed as a weasel attempt by the Legislature to deflect criticism. "It sounds to me like they're trying to put out enough informa- tion to give the appearance that they're being can- did and transparent, while holding on to the in- formation that is actually important and sensi- tive," Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, a free-speech advocacy group, told the Sacramento Bee. We applaud Portantino, first, for not letting De- mocratic leadership bully him for his vote. Sec- ondly, we support his efforts for full and accurate disclosure of member budgets, including monthly tally sheets showing whether members are over, under or on budget. The mishmash of released records begs the question: What is the Legislature trying to hide? If the public knew just how much our elected offi- cials were spending and how they were spending it, might we demand that they take the kinds of cuts that are all too familiar to the rest of us? You can view the records online at Sen- ate.ca.gov/whatsnew by clicking on "Senate Ex- penditure Reports" and at assembly.ca.gov by clicking on "Assembly Expenditure Reports" in the left-ha~d display box. Fea ng spaper Breaking News .... go to plumasnews.com Michael C. Tfiborski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Delaine Fragnoli ........ Managing Editor Alicia Knadler ........ Indian Valley Editor M. Kate West ............. Chester Editor Shannon Morrow .......... Sports Editor Ingrid Burke ................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Michael Condon Dan McDonald Ruth Ellis Pat Shillito Will Farris " Brian Taylor Barbara France Kayleen Taylor Mona Hill Trish Welsh Taylor Susan Cort Johnson Sam Williams Diana Jorgenson Remembering the pain and suffering MY TURN ALIClA KNADLER Indian Valley Editor aknadler@plumasnews,com Most of us, I think, would like to forget the terrible and painful periods in our lives, but the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and their aftermath are still being played out on the world stage. Time has brought different perspectives, though. Many people cheered when they heard our troops shot and killed the terrorist leader. Others started to cheer, then felt guilty for taking such joy in the death of a mass murderer. In church Sunday, many of us will be coming to terms with the gamut of emo- tions we've gone through this past 'decade during special remembrances. Some of us will ask for forgiveness be- cause of the glee we felt, forgiveness for the people who attacked and murdered so many innocent people, and then there will be others will just ask God to save us from such madness in the future. Whatever the purpose, many of us will be praying for divine intervention and un- derstanding of past, present and future events associated with the attacks of 9/11. We've~sked our readers to share their remembrances from that time (see Letters to the Editor), recalling where they were that morning when it seemed like a war was being waged on the East Coast. I was just feeding the cat out on the porch when my husband came ripping in- to the driveway on an aborted run for cof- fee with the guys. He baled out of his truck and just stood there, radio blaring out the open door. "Someone just attacked us," he yelled over the noise. "They hit the World Trade Center in New York." I stood there dumb- founded for amoment. "Who are we at war with?" I asked. He Wkere in the World? Carl and Margaret Chavez connect with friends Marita and Helbert Betz in Heidelberg, Germany. The Betzes, who live in nearby Gorxheimer, toured the Chavezes around Heidelberg and drove them to their home for some delicious German pastries. Marita's sister is Portola resident Heidemarie Johnson and Marita has visited Plumas County several times. The Chavezes were on a two-week riverboat cruise from Vienna to Amsterdam on the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers.Next time you travel, share where you went by taking your local newspaper along and including it in a photo. Then email the photo to smorrow@plumasnews,com. Include your name, contact information and brief details about your photo. We may publish it as space permits. looked dumbfounded too, and we just stood there looking at each other and lis- tening to the terror unfolding via the radio airwaves. I turned to run back into the house after a minute or two, yelling back at him that I'd turn the television news on, and like just about everybody else in the world, we spent the next several hours and days glued to the television. For the next year or two, I suffered from recurring nightmares of World War III, where even way up here in the rural mountains, we were harried by bombs and had to watch the skies for danger. Indian Valley became a nuclear refugee camp in one nightmare, and the railroad was our only lifeline. The worst night was when we had a lightning storm right overhead. I actually rose out of a dead sleep in in- stant terror,, screaming my lungs out with the flash and boom of a nearby strike. Gads. Our poor old coonhound was al- ways scared of lightening after that. Those attacks destroyed forever my feel- ing of national security. The United States is safe from war, or so I thought. Watching the birth of the CNN network during the Gulf War was one reason I felt so safe. War was supposed to be on television and in history books, not on our home soil. Gone are such childish thoughts these days, now that the War on Terror has waged for so many years and taken so many of our sons and daughters. So many Indian Valley children went off to war, it was scary. I felt like a parent, waiting on word from them about where they were and if they were OK. I was so glad when parents and grand- parents shared their stories with us, and so were many of you readers who always asked me for more. During this time the military quit send- ing me press releases about all the kids who were graduating from basic training or being promoted up through the ranks. There seemed to be fear that terrorists would obtain the "son or daughter of" in- formation and retaliate against the fami- lies of troops on the ground. Or at least that's what I figured at the time. ' : That fear receded; and soor~i was receiv- ing information again, though not much more than the basic training graduations. We mostly relied on the parents to share photos of their sons and daughters and in-. formation about which units they were serving with. Blue Star flags' started joining the Amer- ican flags on homes, and in the windows of businesses -- each child serving seemed to belong to the whole community and not just to their rooms and dads. That was the feeling -- a community family joining in a patriotic fervor of na- tional pride. That is what I will be remembering on this 10th anniversary of Patriot Day. REMEMBER WHEN KERI TABORSKI Historian 75 YEARS AGO ........ 1936 The Quincy Lumber Company sawmill in Quincy resumed sawing operations this morning. The sawmill, shut down since 1930, will work until winter weather condi- tions set in. The logs for the sawmill have been provided by timber in Butterfly Valley. 50 YEARS AGO ....... 1961 The California State Division of Beaches and Parks plans to make an initial expenditure of $100,000 for construction of a recreation facility at the newly created Frenchman Lake in eastern Plumas Coun- ty. Plans are for the construction of public campgrounds and boat launching. 25 YEARS AGO ......... 1986 Keri McElroy graduated from the Cali- fornia Highway Patrol Academy recently. A Plumas County native, (Meadow Valley) and the daughter of Ian and Donna McE1- roy of Meadow Valley, she is the first Plumas County woman to graduate from the academy. She will begin her law en- forcement duties in San Francisco. 10 YEARS AGO ......... 2010 The Plumas County Board of Supervisors adopted a $68 million bud- get---S25 million more than was actually spent last year. Assistant Plumas County treasurer/tax collector Ginny Dunbar will seek the posti- tion of Plumas County treasurer/tax col- lector, the position now held by Barbara Cokor, who will not seek another term. Note: items included in the weekly Remem- ber When column are taken from our bound newspaper archives and represent writing styles of that particular period. The spelling and grammar are not edited, so the copy is presented as it actually appeared in the original newspaper. Small papers will be the last standing MY TURN DAN McDONALD Staff Writer dmcdonald@plumasnews.corn Daily newspapers are dying. It's a slow, agonizing death that is hard for me to watch. It started more than 15 years ago as the Internet began to gain traction as a source for real-time news. No longer do we have to wait for our morning paper to find out what is happen- ing in the world, It's right there on the World Wide Web just moments after it happens. Or just turn on one of a dozen 24-hour TV news channels. Under a bright red "Breaking News" banner is the latest news of the day. It might not be big news but it is indeed breaking. Our collective eyeballs are migrating to the computer, along with the advertisers who want tocapture those viewers. Meanwhile, the cost of producing a newspaper continues to rise. The paper and ink alone have doubled in price over the past 10 Years. Have you noticed most daily newspapers appear smaller in your hands? It's because they are. Metropolitan daily papers will soon be a thing of the past. They are passing away as fast as WWII veterans. The obituaries include The Rocky Mountain News, Seattle Post-Intelli- gencer, Detroit Free Press, Cincinnati Post, Honolulu Advertiser ... The list could almost fill this entire column. Closer to home, the Oakland Tribune (in business since 1874) and the Contra Costa .... Times are on the way out. Tribune read- ers will see their paper for the last time Nov. 2. The Las Vegas Review-Journal, where I spent the last 16 years of my career, is bleeding red ink. Two weeks ago another few dozen of my friends and former co: workers were fired. Before I left the R-J in March; I helped train a few interns, fresh out of college and excited to start their journalism ca- reers. I had to ask these young scribes, bur- dened with tens of thousands of dollars of college loans, with all due respect, "What the hell are you thinking?" There are no jobs out there. Thousands of experienced reporters are looking for work, reduced to blogging on the Internet to pass the time, Most of these people don't have a trade to fall back on. They aren't truck drivers, See Small, page 12B