How silly and lame is your local news for your town?
So I was reading my local Paradise Post newspaper which comes out twice per week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The main secton is normally 6 pages in size. The second section with all the local sports, obituaries, blotter (all the calls that came into the police) and classified ads is another 6 pages. Well last Saturday's Paradise Post had 8 pages in the first section! Wow. There must have been a lot of news.
I wasn't disappointed. Normally I read the local paper to find out what nutty stuff our towns' big wigs are spouting. Since it's very red here, reading the paper serves to increase my blood pressure. Most of the paper is just filler from other conservative papers around the country. The Paradise Post is actually atrocious. Most of the local staff writers can't write. It's just embarrassing to read what they've written. I often yell at the paper, "Take an grammar class in high school!" Don't worry, I know they can't hear me yelling at them through my paper. Also, the paper has more typos than I make in an entire day on DailyKos. The difference is I never re-read what I write when I make a comment. I just write it and post it knowing anyone will be able to tell what I meant typos and all. However, when you are a newspaper and have editors, well, I don't know what to say.
Here in Paradise, which wasn't incorporated into a town until 1979, we have an interesting water company. It was created when there was no town but a bunch of apple orchards in the area years ago. The orchard folks got together and created the Paradise Irrigation District to get water around town and to their orchards. We have only one orchard left in Paradise now.
The PID is not actually part of the town of Paradise. It's a separate entity with five water districts. The citizens get to choose, by way of vote, who they want to represent them, but it's really the same small revolving cast of characters. They are all old white men who've lived here for decades.
Lately the severe California drought is a big issue. PID is planning to pump water out of Lake Oroville to the lower part of Paradise where I live. It will not go through their treatment plant which is at the upper end of town. They assure us it is safe to drink but we won't be getting the good quality water we are used to. They say it may taste and smell a bit funny.
The second big issue for PID is they have NOT been compliant with the Clean Water Act. The stuff they use to purify the water, is being dumped back into Little Butte Creek above legal limits. So they claim they'll have to spend $8 million to fix that by 2015 or PID will start being fined. PID charges it's customers for everything that needs doing because they get no money from the Feds, the State, the County or the Town. By way of example: our water bill last month was for $2.30 for water and over $60 for maintaining the system. The board wants to really change our water rates by jacking them up significantly to both pay for the $8 million project and to be a deterrent for water use.
Then things got so very local. A public member in the audience who goes to these meetings and knows what's what voiced the opinion that PID could easily take out a low interest loan and not jack up our water rates in one big move to pay for what needs doing. That person also stated the PID should actually get bids for the project and to find out what they need to finance before they jack up our rates. This public member also stated they'd done a little research of their own and found companies that do what needs doing charge from between $3 - $15 million and again told the board they should actually know what the project will cost before simply raising rates This caused some commotion on the board, so they voted 3-2 to shelve talking about it anymore.
Then a PID member brought up a topic for discussion. The topic was should they allow public members to be allowed to speak (they always have been able to). This, of course, was in response to what had just happened, which embarrassed the PID Board. One person said no. Another said there should be a short time limit. The person in the audience said if a person comes to the meeting having done their homework, they should be allowed the time to state what they have to say. Nothing other than some opinions were expressed about this matter.
Next on the agenda was a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new "corporate yard." Oh boy did this open up a can of worms! They want to have a nice public party with some music and some beer and wine. This passed again on a 3-2 vote. But the two that voted against it had to then say why they were against it. One person said it would be a liability for them to serve alcohol. Another said they should get the Rotary Club to do it so the liability would be on them. But the biggest complaint is that it shouldn't be called a ribbon cutting ceremony because people expect free food and gifts at one of those things. So the board voted to call it an "open house" so people wouldn't come expecting anything free. The alcohol thing was basically scuttled because they are worried about being sued if someone gets drunks and screws up. So basically, the ribbon cutting ceremony will end up being nothing fun enough that folks would want to attend. Perhaps some Shasta soda pop drinks and kazoos will be allowed.
The final big topic came back around to the rules for allowing the public to speak. I found this fascinating to read because they never voted on any new rules regarding that. So for them to add this last agenda topic made me LOL since they clearly seem to have pre-decided they are going to have rules controlling if and how the public can speak damn it! One board member wanted the rules printed on the front page of the agenda sheet. Oh no said another, the rules need to be on the back page of the agenda sheet because if you printed the rules for public speaking on the front page, there would be no agenda topics on the front page. The board voted 4-1 to have the rules for how the public may speak printed on the back sheet. Of course, there are no rules yet. I'm sure they'll figure something to keep the public limited to not being able to say much because that pesky public is often so much better prepared than the board members who pay themselves a salary in the mid-$150,000 plus severance and health insurance and vacation pay too. I suppose if you're the ones paying for all of it, you have a vested interest. If you make a great salary with perks, well you don't have to necessarily be all that with it. That would include one PID member who only lives in town a few months each year thus missing most meetings (boy he's really invested). He spends over 2/3rds of the year living in Nicaragua.
So, I just wanted to let you know what was worthy of being news in Paradise, CA. So funny.
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