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Ruffalo: Maki ponders post-hip-surgery supervisor run

Looking Behind the Scenes
By: Jim Ruffalo
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Wringing out the notebook while wondering just how high gasoline prices — and the state’s deficit, for that matter — have to go before we start drilling for our own oil ... By now the Gentle Readers know full well whenever I use “notebook” in the opening paragraph it means I have a bunch of items which are all too short to make a full column. Nevertheless, many are worthy, if for nothing else than to get a little conversation going in the village. For example, a few weeks ago I wrote that 3rd District Supervisor Jim Holmes was going to run for another term. Well, it’s doubtful he’ll run unopposed. Several local citizens are mulling a run against him, and one of them — Cheryl Maki — said I could put it on the record. We haven’t seen much of the one-time Auburn mayor, but that was because she finally found out that the bum knee she was favoring all this time was actually a bad hip. A hip-transplant later, and she’s again ready to rock ’n’ roll. “Of course I’m considering a run for supervisor,” she said, adding “but first I want to see how the reapportionment goes before making a final decision.” As most of you know, reapportionment comes after every nationwide census in an attempt to keep election districts relatively balanced by population. The dilemma at Placer County will be whether North Auburn remains in the 3rd District (likely), or gets shoved into the geographically growing 5th District currently represented by Jennifer Montgomery who is also seeking another term. By the way, if the Board of Supervisors thought the 4-1 vote casting Montgomery out of the Tahoe lash-up would hurt her politically, there needs to be a re-think. Judging by the letters to the Journal and through personal conversations, I have to believe that all the supes did was create a wave of sympathy for Montgomery. But then, this board hasn’t always fully thought through an item before rushing to vote on it. If North Auburn remains within the 3rd District, Maki would make a formidable candidate against Holmes. On the other hand, Holmes has built up a very strong base in the Loomis area, so such a race would be interesting ... Meanwhile, last week’s column dealt with the city of Auburn’s ongoing consideration of hooking up with Lincoln in a regional sewage-treatment program. In that piece, I kind of leaned a bit on Lincoln. According to Auburn Mayor Dr. William Kirby, I should also have taken Placer County to task. “Placer County staff was supposed to have brought us (the Placer-Nevada County Waste Water Authority) some hard-fast numbers on costs and the like, but failed to do so,” the mayor said. Kirby said he didn’t have a dog in this fight, but insists that Auburn cannot — and will not — make a viable decision on joining a regional operation “unless we have all the facts. Whether we go regional or exercise the stay-at-home option hinges upon us knowing full well what the (parameters) are.” Kirby has every right to be indignant. After all, the Authority earlier voted unanimously to have Placer County pony up the information. Why it hasn’t remains a mystery, unless it secretly has an idea of running its own regional system. “I don’t know what the county staff motive can be, but I do know that I and (county supervisor) Robert Weygandt want to see some county figures before any decision is made. Hopefully, we’ll see those figures at the upcoming meeting.” Hope — and sewage, for that matter — springs eternal ... Finally, a personal opinion. Granted every level of government appears to be headed to fiscal hell in a self-made handbasket, but nothing seems to have hastened that descent more than the ill-advised pension system. Now is the time we citizens need to demand from each form of government that we end paying for somebody else’s retirement. This is not to say that we unilaterally cancel any current pension agreement. After all, the bargaining back then was done in good faith and — more important — the affected employees did perform their part of the bargain by working. It’s just that we taxpayers can no longer afford such largess. So it’s time for elected officials to get off their largesses and end this insipid system It’s been correctly said in the past that the first thing to do in order to climb out of a hole is to stop digging. Jim Ruffalo’s column runs on Sundays. Reach him at jimruffalo@yahoo.com.