In our culture of deficits, cutbacks and layoffs, few government expenditures escape careful scrutiny.
The days when boards would casually approve six-figure purchases with little or no discussion are long gone — as they should be. Even state largesse, once accepted without question by grateful counties and cities, can raise eyebrows.
| I don’t stop to gawk at accidents nor do I have any desire to watch a fire burn.
The Stormy was hoisted out of Crescent City Harbor on Saturday March 28. She was one of 16 boats that sunk as a result of the March 11 tsunami - most of them commercial fishing vessels. Stormy was built in 1942 in Bay City, Ore., and was made of double-planked Port Orford cedar. Triplicate Photo
It’s not in my nature to get in the thick of things that are best
left to professionals. So, during and after the recent tsunami, staying
clear of the harbor seemed like the natural and wisest thing to do.
I had access to photos, videos and eyewitness accounts. All I had to
do was check in with our photographer or one of the reporters covering
the harbor or ask editor Richard Wiens for an update and I had my
tsunami news. And my partner Rick, in his capacity as Coast Guard
Auxiliary public affairs officer, was now at the harbor daily sharing
what he could with this civilian.
It was my desire to see Rick in action that took me to the harbor Saturday. I was curious to see what he actually did there.
It was an announcement that surprised no one.
Gov. Jerry Brown last week proclaimed California’s three-year drought officially over.
Knocked on its heels by last season’s above average storms, the drought was buried by an avalanche of Sierra snow this year. Brown made his announcement Wednesday, after a state crew measured the mountain snowpack at 165 percent of normal.
The drought’s demise is hardly news here in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.
Those living at 3,000 feet or above have spent much of the winter chaining up or digging out. At higher elevations, snow totals have been truly spectacular:
Dodge Ridge has accumulated more than 600 inches — that’s 50 feet — since the season began, the most in three decades. Bear Valley, with 544 inches, is not far behind.
Lower elevations have been hammered by floods and slides.
A new $70 million dollar courthouse will ideally be the centerpiece of Tuolumne County’s planned law and justice center, off Old Wards Ferry Road near Sonora.
So it may come as a surprise to many that the state Administrative Office of the Courts, which determines the building’s location, has not yet agreed to the county-owned site. Although the Board of Supervisors voted to buy the 50-acre center property in November of 2009, the state shortly thereafter began an exhaustive and time-consuming courthouse site selection process of its own.
Even now, the AOC “has a number of issues” with the Old Wards Ferry site and will likely not make a final decision until the end of this year. In December 2010, the county-owned site was recommended over two others — one on Sanguinetti Road and the other on Hess Avenue — in an evaluation completed by a local Project Advisory Committee.
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