Jim Holmes pooh-poohs party switch

Looking Behind the Scenes
By: Jim Ruffalo
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Before we pry open the notebook, let me thank those who keep track of such matters better than myself for pointing out that Jim Holmes “remains ensconced” ensconced in his 3rd District Supervisorial seat until 2012, not 2010 as I scribbled. … Speaking of Holmes, I’ve heard from two more sources on the left-side of the aisle claiming that they, too, were led to believe that a change of parties was being contemplated. Homes, who was absent from this week’s Meddlers meeting (there was a suggestion that he was at the County Clerk’s Office filing for a change of parties), but his previous denials were strong enough to be convincing that he intends to remain a Republican. By the way, several sources also insisted that neither Holmes nor 5th District Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery should expect to run unopposed. … Cop Shop: Earlier, and correct reports pointed out that the Auburn Police Department was forced to lay off two bright and promising officers. That economic move took place despite a forceful effort by the city to keep them employed, if only the police officers’ union would agree to a temporary give-back of 10 percent in wages. The union — with or without a real vote, depending upon which faction one wishes to believe — allowed the two to be laid-off. Well, those two guys must have impressed the brass because both have been rehired. The Journal earlier had the story of Capt. John Ruffcorn securing some federal grant money to bring Mikhail Yarmolyuk back to the fold. Now Mayor Mike Holmes says that Joe Almeida will return, thanks to a creative funding source. According to Police Chief Valerie Harris, there was a funded vacancy on the county’s Special Investigative Unit, a small and specialized force made up of representatives from the county’s various law-enforcement agencies. Soon, Auburn will dedicate one of its own officers to that unit, although Harris says the department is still evaluating which one it will be. Then that ensuing local vacancy will be filled by Almeida at least until the end of June. ... Our Darlin’ Clementine: Last week’s column reported that Mayor Holmes was “cautiously optimistic” that some funds would show up in time to keep local Lake Clementine available for recreational use. Well, as he told the Meddlers, federal funding now has been set aside to keep Clementine open for the upcoming fiscal year. “We’d been told by a staffer from Congressman (Tom) McClintock’s office that he might know of some unspoken-for funds,” the mayor said, adding that the staffer knew of another staffer in an unidentified federal office who knew how to latch onto those loose funds. Apparently Washington D.C. is similar to the Placer County governmental offices in that elected officials come and go, but staff continues to run the system. ... Modern art: Nobody at City Hall will go on the record with this, but rumors from the usually reliable sources say the City Council may soon take a close and careful study of city commissions. Nobody is accusing anyone of anything nefarious, but it’s no secret that Mayor Holmes and the commission of the arts probably won’t share the same turkey and pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving. In fact, at the most recent Meddlers gathering, Holmes blurted out “There’ll be some changes made” when alerting the assembled that — again — a high-ranking arts commission member failed to keep her appointment with the City Council. Commissions serve a very vital function, and many times produce efforts that could not — and should not — be expected from government. On the other hand, commission members should remember that their function is always and only advisory. ... Local transparency: Because the agreement has not been finalized, identification of the sources cannot be revealed, but when it comes to pass, I’ll tell you who it was that got Placer County government to place all of its public matters online. And — should the agreement be broad enough — that vital information would include preliminary decisions and findings from all of the county governmental departments, especially those involved with planning. Such a move will be beneficial for all, even including county government itself. For example, a concerned citizen might see something of interest, then inquire and perhaps even provide corrections, all without having to haul the matter in front of a judge to say nothing of the money saved on legal fees. Jim Ruffalo’s column runs Sundays in the Journal. Reach him at