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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
August 18, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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August 18, 2010

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lOB Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010 EDITORIAL OPINION Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter EDITORIAL Accountability becomes even more critical after Bell fiasco It has never been a problem in Plumas County. When we ask, we receive. When reporters at the paper ask for the salary of a public employee, we get the information. For instance, when Craig Settlemire was hired as county counsel, we asked for a copy of his con- tract. And we got it. We subsequently reported his salary and benefits. To date, local governments have been very good about complying with state law that requires sum- mary information about their revenues and expen- ditures to the state controller's office. Payroll information is included in the total amount listed for each category of program, such as public protection, health and welfare, and gov- erning body. The data is compiled and used to pro- duce annual reports for the Legislature. , After the embarrassing news coming from Bell's city hall, where residents recently learned their city manager made $800,000 and police chief made in excess of $450,000, the state controller's office announced new rules. The controller's new rules require cities and counties to provide the salaries for each classifica- tion of elected official and public employee. Cities and counties generally are required to provide the informationto the controller by mid- October of each year. The controller's website will annually update the most recent data received. Lo- cal governments that fail to report timely face a penalty of up to $5,000. Consolidating the reports in one place is good for everyone. It keeps politicians and government officials accountable. The Bell fiasco has prompted legislators to intro- duce two new bills. AB1955 would define an "ex- cess compensation city" as any city that compen- sates any city council member in excess of the amounts set by state law. The bill would require the attorney general to notify an "excess compen- : sation" city council and provide for a hearing that would determine whether or not the city was in compliance with statutory compensation limits. Cities that cannot demonstrate compliance would be prohibited from adopting redevelopment plans and issuing bonds. The bill would also.amend the Brown Act to}. , , L quire final action on salaries of public employees to be taken in a public meeting. The body would al- so have to disclose the employee's name, the posi- tion and the total amount of salary, benefits, re- tirement and any other forms of. compensation on - the agency's website and in another accessible lo- cation no later than seven days prior to the meet- ing to ratify the contract. On top of that, the bill would declare that disclo- sure of officers' and employees' compensation is an issue of statewide concern and not simply a municipal affair. The second bill, an amended version of SB501, would require local of Fmials to disclose their salaries, benefits, reimbursement payments and other perquisites on a form, similar to the Form 700 (conflict of interest form), developed by the secretary of state. This newspaper is and will continue to be a watchdog for the community, but it doesn't hurt for residents to also watch over their community. One way to keep our officials accountable is to know how much they earn. We will keep you posted when the controller's : website is up and running and on the progress of the proposed legislation. A paper Breaking News .... go to g Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Delaine Fragnoli ........ Managing Editor Diana Jorgenson .......... Portola Editor Alicia Knadler ........ Indian Valley Editor Kate West ............... Chester Editor Shannon Morrow .......... Sports Editor Mona Hill .................. Copy Editor Staff writers: Joshua Sebold Will Farris Sam Williams Barbara France Susan Cort Johnson Kayleen Taylor Ruth Ellis Brian Taylor Pat Shillito Linda Satchwell Feather River Bulletin (530) 283-0800 Lassen County Times (530) 257-53211 Portola Reporter (530) 832-4646 Westwood PinePress (530) 256-2277 Chester Progressive (530) 258-3115 Indian Valley Record (530) 284-7800 Dangerous situation turns it00w a lucky one MY TURN I drive up Wishram Trail to where it hits Yonkalla. It's the back way that I take when I walk my dogs. A trail leads into the forest from there, passing by the river. It's a beautiful place to hang out with the dogs. Very peaceful. But not today, as it turns out. I see no one there, so I drive down to the bottom of Yonkalla. There, a number of California Highway Patrol officers and sheriffs vehi- cles have started gathering. I pull over onto the dirt to call my boss, when SWAT com- mander Gerry Hendrick comes flying around the corner in his own SUV, police lights flashing. It seems we have a "situation" all right. I call my friend back, and she updates me from her scanner. Delaine, my editor, tells me to stick around for half an hour to see what unfolds. By this time, officers are stopping all traffic going up Yonkalla, so I'go up the back way again, and a CHP officer has it blocked off on Wishram about a block be- low Yonkalla. Now, it turns out, that peaceful place of LINDA SATCHWELL Staff Writer So, I'm stumbling around the house get- ting ready to go to work, the way I do every morning, when the phone rings. It's a friend of mine, who has a police scanner at work. "Are you still at home?" she asks. When I tell her yes, she says, "(Sheriff) Greg (Hagwood) has been dealing with a situation in Graeagle since he got to work at 4 a.m. It's up on Wishram and Yonkalla. You should check it out." So begins a memorable day. i i Where in the world? Jim Battagin, otherwise known as Dr. Goose, makes prudent use of his newspaper at a secret hot spring in Nevada. "This hot spring is known to be a favorite for stew- ardesses flying in and out of Vegas," wrote Battagin. "Naturally, I asked them to move back so brother Bob could take this photo." Next time you travel, share where you went by taking your local newspaper along and including it in a photo. Then e- mail the photo to mine is the likely getaway route of an "armed and dangerous" male suspect in his 20s who had been stealing automatic and semi-automatic weapons from a residence in south Reno the night before. When the house was surrounded by po- lice officers, he and his two female accom- plices went into the garage where he hotwired a black 2009 Ford Mustang. Ap- parently, Jacob Terril Boss saw a getaway car in the making. He drove that car through the garage door, leading officers on a high speed-- 120 mph -- chase through Reno, ending up in the unlikeliest of places: #20 Wishram Trail, Graeagle, in a very nice, quiet neigh- borhood. From there, the suspects hoofed it on foot and spent the night hiding, not sleeping (if the heavy bags under their eyes in their booking photos are any indication). Canine units came from Reno that night, but turned up nothing. The next morning, the women had enough, and just before I cruised by the Yonkalla-Wishram intersec- tion, had given themselves up there. Jacob Boss, however, is still at large and, as far as anyone knows, is armed and dan- gerous. I set up with the CHP officer and listen to what I can on his scanner and ca- jole him into telling me a bit more. He's a congenial guy, and when he needs to, asks residents who (keep in mind this is Graeagle) are very, very excited, because not much happens here, "If you don't mind, could you move back just a bit?" After we've hung out for an hour or so, with little to show for it but a serious de- sire for coffee, I tell him, "I know lots of the trails around here, I could probably go out there and ..." He says, "I'd probably want to keep you from doing that." As the morning wears on, helicopters that have been circling overhead move away from the forest and seem to be center- ing on the neighborhood where we're standing. They start hovering lower, as well. I say to the cop, "Should i be nervous that they seem to be right overhead and much lower?" "I know I am," he answers. After a few more passes, he says, "Oh, no." I'm feeling a little less safe. I move closer to my car and call Delaine, who has just finished an exclusive interview with Sher- iff Hagwood. After hearing the details, I walk back up to the officer.  n, ,: "Did you find out anything new?" he asks. "Yeah," I say, "how about you?" "Nope." I tell him what I've learned. He listens, and then divulges, "There's been a sighting -- seems the guy is some- place just off of Maidu in the forest." Words are coming fast and furious over See Danger, page 11B REMEMBER WHEN KERI TABORSKI Historian 80 YEARS AGO ..... 1930 Arrangements have been perfected be- tween the Indian Valley Railroad Compa- ny and the United States Postal Service whereby the railroad company will trans- port mail between Paxton and Crescent Mills for all Indian Valley points. Items from the annual report of the Plumas County Free Library submitted to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors this week gives the number of registered borrowers in Plumas County as 4756and the number of volumes in the Plumas County Library system as 39,230. 50 YEARS AGO ..... 1960 Miss Linda Bennett of Salt Lake City, Utah, recently crowned Miss Universe, was a special guest of last weeks Plumas County Fair Friday. Arriving by private airplane, her parents are part-time resi- dents of Plumas County, owning mining concerns in Genesee. The Plumas County Fair 4-H auction livestock sale champion steer was a 967 pound angus owned and raised by Pam Neer of Taylorsville. The animal was pur- chased by Charles Mapes of the Mapes Ho- tel in Reno for 55 cents per pound. 30 YEARS AGO ..... 1980 Riding atop his horse Comanche, Ernest G. Leonhardt of Quincy led this years an- nual Plumas County Fair parade as grand marshall.. He was selected for his many civic contributions and business involve- ment throughout Plumas County. The newly built "Mini Meadows" mina- ture goff course and driving range in Graeagle opened Friday night. 10 YEARS AGO....2000 The Plumas County Fair 4-H livestock auction held at the fairgrounds last Sun- day set an all- time record with 146 buyers spending $248,887. Let's agree to disagree on my view points! / ...................... into the future? How about the questions of whether or not we're facing a double-dip recession, will Nancy Pelosi's power fade if Harry Reid doesn't prevail in Nevada or, better yet, is it possible actor Will Farrell will ever make a movie I would watch? On the last, that would be a definite no. MY TURN How about whether I like purple or green ........................................................................................................................................................ best, pork, chicken or beef?. OK, those are M. KATE WEST Chester Editor There are times when there are so many things in this world to have an opinion about that you can't come up with one when it's needed. This is definitely one of those times for me -- I am totally unable to form an opin- ion on any given topic. It isn't that I'm not reading or listening to remain current with what is happening at the local, state and federal level. I think I can't form an opinion because I am on in- formation overload because everyone else is so busy expressing his or her opinion! Proposition 8, anchor babies and a new movement to change the 14th Amendment are the hot button items for today's read, Still, other questions beg the answers of who might be the best candidates for the 2012 presidential election, whether Jerry or Meg will govern California, and will state worker furloughs continue questions I can answer, very likely because they don't require much grinding of the old brain gears. I like purple and beef would be my flavor choice, pork would be second, chicken third and ocean fish only ... sometimes. And, wild game of any kind, not on my taste good list! OK, having made those few minor deci- sions I could maybe stretch out another opinion or two, or not. Wow! This is tough. I'm really trying not to disappoint either those who enjoy my columns or those who can't wait to pounce on my every utterance. Ah... there we go, an opinion has formed and it's about my right to have an opinion! This column, which is entitled "My Turn," is just that, a forum that let's me, individually, have an opinion about most anything. The column is called "My Turn" because it is precisely that -- it's my turn to say how I feel about any given topic. If someone else feels differently about the same topic than I do, he or she also has a fo- rum to express his or her opinion and it's called a "Letter to the Editor." I think one of the most interesting things about writing opinion pieces for our publi- cations is that they stimulate a variety of reactions. Whether negative or positive I do ap- plaud those reactions to my Columns. While I don't necessarily care for the too personal attacks on my First Amendment rights, I do appreciate the energy and re- sources that are often expended to provide a good counter opinion. As an independent thinker:, I can learn from an opposing point of view. Ifa fact is well presented and makes good sense as I'm mulling it over, my mind can be changed. I think it takes that kind of openness to make sound decisions. IfI thought I was al- ways right, I would likely be wrong. I would hope that I have lived long enough to have learned how not to jump to conclusions,, to generalize by lumping everyone or everything together, or to not make assumptions without all the facts. Can I make a mistake? You bet! Does my being Irish interfere with my ability to apologize? It can sometimes cause a delay in the process... Can I nicely agree to disagree with your opinion? Yes I can. What say you?