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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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November 28, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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November 28, 2001
 

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lib Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2001 Bulletin, Progressive, \ f m The Plumas County Board of Supervisors has sent the local unions a proposal that would bar employees from driving a county car ff they have used alcohol within four hours. While the propos- al is a good idea in concept, since public employ- ees should avoid dangerous behavior while on du- ty, there are serious problems with it. For starters, the su- pervisors themselves are less than thrilled with the plan, for com- mendable reasons. The supervisors' chief complaint about the plan, which was drafted by County Counsel Rob Shul- man, was that the proposed policy appears to be an empty, symbolic gesture that would accom- plish very little. Meanwhile, the unions are not expected to en- dorse the plan as it is currently written. Since the unions' support is imperative before the supervi- sors can sign off on the new policy, the current plan is doomed to failure. They are expected to mr- gue that the current policy, which already pro- hibits employees f 'om being intoxicated while they are working, already covers alcohol-related transgressions. Because it was drafted as a political response, rather than as a functional solution, to a per- ceived problem inside the courthouse, the propos- al's motives are dubious. There may be some truth to that perception--that there are employ- ees with alcohol problems who cannot control their behavior. Even so, the fact that the county administration failed yet again to consult county employees up front before drafting a plan speaks volumes about the continued deficiency in communication be- tween management and the employees. The ad- ministration's unpleasant attitude toward employ- ees played a part in two county supervisors being ousted from office in last year's election and in bad feelings toward the former county adminis- trative officer, Jim Stretch. Sometimes it appears that it has not ~. You've Bot t~ wo~ : ,' wheth tlle' Ot ty's administrative core, w hlcli is largely the same despite several political changes, has learned any lessons. Just consider that Shuiman called the employees' support of the policy "a ritual" rather than a legal obligation. The proposed policy also seems arbitrary. It proposed a four-hour cooling off period between drinking and driving. When Shulman was asked by the newspaper how the four-hour figure was reached-through science, some set standard or some other guideline--he said "four hours sound- ed about right." Four hours may be too long for one glass wine, while four hours may not be long enough for someone who has guzzled down a six- pack of beer. The policy also retraces old ground. If the coun- ty wants to lay out a set of rules, with possible consequences, it also needs to develop an explicit mechanism that provides assistance for troubled employees. The supervisors always appear ready and able to penalize employees for improper be- havior, typically after their lives are ruined and the damage is done. But, time and again, the county, in its role as employer, does not have an authentic strategy for dealing with employees with drug and alcohol problems. You would think the supervisors would have figured it out by now. Moreover, the policy, ffa new one is really needed, should be reasonable, thoughtful and carefully designed. It should include feedback from the employees, since it's the law. Otherwise, the county is wasting its time. Does the First Amendment limit the ability of states to restrict politi- cal speech by judicial candidates? That's an interesting question, perhaps not as interesting as the de- bate over whether Princess Fiona was really an ogre or a human, but still an important question. Although most people have never asked the question, it's pivotal to the controversy over states' at- tempts to reform judicial elections. That controversy, in the form of a legal inquiry, has been placed in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court met last week, and will meet again behind closed doors, to decide whether it will hear a series of cases. Some people remain apprehensive about the Supreme Court since its decision in December to halt the Florida recount. We recently learned that, had the recount continued under the ground rules proposed by A1 Gore, George W. Bush would be the presi- dent anyway. One of the new cases the Supreme KHIH Court is examining is a Minnesota federal matter in which the ques- tion of judicial candidates' First Amendment rights are directly ad- dressed. Minnesota and many other states, including California, prohibit judi- cial candidates from expressing. their views on issues they may face if they're elected judge. In California, we have an interest- ing story to tell, because Gray Davis, our unenlightened governor, believes that the judges he appoints should reflect his points of view in every instance. In 2000, Davis said all the state's judges need to agree with his poli- tics and his points of view. Other- & Postcard courtesy of Diane Kleine wise, they should resign. "All my appointees, judges, have to, more or less the views rveexpressed in my1 tion," Davis said. "Otherwise, democracy doesn't work." Of course, Davis also belieVe education must face budget fore anything else is scaled cause he sold his soul to the industry in order to from the public's political graces. Anyone who sells his soul fort sake of politics is required, or later, to pay the fiddler. Aside from the irony in that Davis's own points of view day to day on a whim, thus it impossible for judges else to mirror his remarks sparked an uproar. California's legal communitY has not forgiven him for beingJ ridiculous. What states try to do, nia is no exception, lor restrictions on judi( dates' freedom of speech. They argue that such stem from protect the independence diciary from political, and social pressures. That's a pretty good bdt it's not the only one. Opponents of such contend that voters important dates. After all, they voterS should know a j views. These are conflicting one favoring unrestricted free speech regardless of the consequences and the ins the pre rvation of the judiciary The right way to easy answers. Just don't Gray Davis to solve it. ;KI HISTORIAN 71 Years Ago ............ .1.926 The mystery of the whereabouts of Clem Taylor, sought by officers for the murder of his wife, proprietoress of a Portola rooming house, Oct. 14 of last year, was solved Sunday morning with the finding of Taylor's skeleton, cloth- ing and pistol on a hilltop about one mile north of Portola. SO Ago ............. 19Sl Advertisement: Now open .... Canyon Inn, Johnsville. Hotel accommodations, dining room, cocktail lounge, dancing. Fireside suppers served by reservation $2.5o. Louis De Armond of Portola was elected president of the newly organized Plumas Ski Club at a meeting held in Johnsville this week. Ago ............. 1976 Douglas S. Redstreake, Plumas Coun- ty's Treasurer-Tax Collector for the past 13 years this week submitted his resig- nation to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors effective February 28, 1977. At the same time, a letter was received from his chief deputy, Lois Alexander, seeking appointment to the post. The supervisors declined to take any at this time. 10 Years Ago ............ A notice of intent to circulate petition against Plumas Attorney Michael Crane was the first term District l'fled in the Plumes County by recall proponent Joe Almanor and co-proponent Young of Chester. NOTE: Items included in the member When column are our bound edition newspaper and represent the writing particular period. The spei grammar are not edited, so presented as it actually original newspapers. Feat] ishing paper Michael C. Taboreki Publisher Keri B. Taborski Legal Advertising Department Debm CoatN Managing Editor Alicle Hlgbee Indian Valley Editor Terri Daoust Portola Editor Marian Uddell Chester Editor Shannon Morrow Sports Editor Jenette Meneely News Proofreader, Kid's Page Editor ii Staff writers: Dave Keller, Victoria Metcelf, Will Fards, Pete Margolies, Rob Brockmeyer, Shayla Ashmore, Sam Williams, Kelly Dachenhausen, Melinda Visser, Barbara France, Tom Frederick, Susan Cort Johnson , , p STAFF WRITER You probably know someone who is a worrier. Rarely do worriers need help, but when they do, they are in re- al need. Can you imagine being a worrier and having nothing to worry about? Just last week, there I was worry- ing. Would we have enough turkey? We had a 12 pounder; there are only two of us. Would there be enough pumpkin pie? We had two of those. Enough mashed potatoes? We had 10 pounds. What about stuffing? A fami- ly-sized box of mix. That was then, this is now. ;l lay, I am worrying about greeting cards for the holiday season. Not too long ago they were called Christmas cards and New Year's cards. I don't remember the exact date. It was a few years ago, I was working in the corporate world, we started re- ceiving and sending a new kind of card. Lots of gold and silver foil with envelopes that were green or red in- side. They were big cards, expensive cards, beautiful cards. So politically correct, they said things like: "Have a Happy Holiday," "May You Prosper in the Coming Year," "Rejoice," and oth- er such innocuous statements. Suddenly, we could no longer say "Merry Christmas." We might offend someone. We were told to be careful about what was said to our Jewish friends and customers. In fact, we were instructed to even be careful with Happy Hanukkah or Chanukah because they might be Jewish by birth, but not religion. One day, I saw my In'st Kwanzaa card. The holiday begins Dec. 26. I guess those non-Christmas cards we received were just the leading edge of being PC. So what hints could you offer your worrying friends and family? Should I send my daughter-in-law a Christ- mas card or a Happy She is Jewish by birth and have twin girls. What about t thers of my three who are black: Happ) For the last few years, I chased cards from the seum for Christmas. As I may be one or two that say Christmas." Most ditions of trains, ties, all with lots of snow ful decorations. Man) Claus holding a model or playing with toy trains. happened to Christmas? A guide for consider yourself to be Jan faith, send you are of the Jewish faith, Hanukkah cards; if you Kwanzaa, send your messab'" I guess it all mas became Xmas. Yes, of the reasons why Xmas OK, but for me and my to be a witness to my faith, Christmas" to you and yourS-