Ruffalo: Don’t look for board meetings on Lake of the Pines telecast

Looking Behind the Scenes
By: Jim Ruffalo
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There’s a very interesting question being asked over at Lake of the Pines. It goes something like this: Are there, or are there not carp in the lake? No doubt a pause is necessary while the Gentle Reader formulates a joke or two about carping at LOP. After all, sweetness and light have seldom been products produced within the Walled City. If the good LOPlanders aren’t busy recalling — or at least complaining — about their Homeowners Association Board of Directors, there’s always some sort of busywork created by LOP’s various committees and departments. Nevertheless, the carp question probably needs to be answered, especially if that particular fish has as voracious an appetite as some claim. Perhaps I can pose the query to the State Fish and Game folks, unless they’re still too busy helping the LOP busybodies oil some more goose eggs to keep them from hatching. Because more than one LOPlander has reported seeing carp, I’m a bit hesitant to file the report as a fish story. Still, it isn’t just a visiting fish causing some carping within the fences. It may not be well known that LOP has its own cable TV channel, although it has even fewer viewers than does MSNBC. On the other hand, with such a valuable asset one would think LOP’s leaders would jump at the chance to broadcast the board of directors meetings. Nope! Despite several talented citizens’ offers to voluntarily work the cameras and get the product on the flat-screen, the board continually denies such requests. Oh, it’ll televise its so-called news show ad nauseam. You can turn on Channel 7 within the lake at almost any hour — day or night — and the spiel never stops. Some residents have let the board know they’d love to be able to see the elected body in action. After all, those concerned folks insist, there’s no way they can make it to the daytime meetings because they’re too busy working in order to provide the hard-earned funds to pay the ever-increasing dues (which currently is just south of $2,000 a year and due for another bump upward). Former boards allowed such tapings, and I can say personally that when I attended those meetings, there was absolutely no distractions caused by the TV crew. Well, the board would pause during its due diligence form time to time in order to allow the TV folks time to change cassettes. But that was back in the pre-digital days, so even that wouldn’t be a problem today. To my way of thinking; not allowing such broadcasts is an admission that there is something to hide. Granted, not everybody desires to watch sausage being made, but the choice should be there for the residents. Cops and coffers: By now, Journal readers know that the City of Auburn does not plan to have new police chief John Ruffcorn fill the captain’s vacancy caused by his promotion. Instead, a yet-to-be identified sergeant will add some administrative duties to his already full schedule. Oh, the new guy will get a slight stipend for the extra work, but my city sources say the department will save about $60,000 under the new scheme. Turns out Sheriff Ed Bonner is also hesitant to fill the vacant slot caused by the recent retirement of longtime investigator Bill Summers. Bonner hasn’t exactly been hiring left and right, not when the county government continues to shrink departmental budgets. There is some grant money due to flow into Placer County for cop-work, but even then the good sheriff isn’t ready to list some job openings. “A lot of why we wind up doing depends upon what Sacramento (the legislature and governor) decide to do with the Vehicle Licensing Fees (VLF),” he said. “If Sacramento decides to quit sending the counties their part of VLF, then we may be looking at the eventual loss of 10 positions,” he said, adding that’s a reason why he wasn’t in such a rush to fill Summers’ slot On another note, the Journal earlier reported Bonner’s consternation over losing Summers. However, there is a bright spot for the longtime sheriff. “Bill put in 41 years here. I’ve been here for nearly 38 years, so I’m finally the big guy,” Bonner said Jim Ruffalo’s column runs on Sundays. Reach him at