PIC PICK – Who’s that gent in the photo crowded by eager listeners? That’s Rep. Tom McClintock who was in Shingle Springs recently for a community meeting. His spokesman, Bill George, snapped the photograph. The congressman was back in his district to discuss the federal stimulus package (let’s say he isn’t a fan) and other issues facing the country and the state. While here, he stopped into our humble newspaper office for an impromptu conversation. He says El Dorado Hills is a nice place and he feels comfortable there. “EDH was strong support (in the election),” he said. “It’s a natural fit for me. Folks have been very hospitable.” When asked about the low level of Folsom Lake and the El Dorado Irrigation District’s plans to acquire more of the reservoir’s water rights, he chuckled. “What water?” He turned the conversation back to the essentially dead-in-the-water Auburn dam debate. “I hate to sound like a broken record, but the depleted condition of Folsom Lake ought to be a clarion call to every person in the area to build the Auburn damn,” he said. “It would supply 2.3 million acre feet of water and 800 megawatts of electricity. Not to mention, 400-year flood protection for the Sacramento plain and job creation. That would be available to us right now (if the dam had been built).” But water hasn’t been the top of the list for those seeking an audience with him. “It’s the old Clinton line, ‘It’s the economy, stupid,’” he said. The former state senator is displeased with California’s budget deal that raises taxes by more than $1,200 for the average family. “It’s the wrong thing, wrong time,” he said. “No government in the history of civilization has ever been able to borrow and spend its way to economic prosperity.” In my opinion, the Auburn dam is dead and buried and should stay that way. There are those who would disagree with me, of course. If you’d like to read Rep. McClintock’s opinion piece on some of the above, check out www.edhtelegraph.com and click on “editorials” under the opinion section. … * * * RAINY DAYS AND SUNDAYS – Sunday found me trying to fend off the rain with some warm comfort food at The Purple Place in El Dorado Hills on Green Valley Road. With the wife and baby in tow, the staff was very nice and welcoming. Hey, no one rolled their eyes when they saw us walk in, dripping wet, with a four-month-old infant. The Purple Place Bacon Cheeseburger was the perfect thing to warm this ol’ country boy. The half-pound burger was topped with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese (but you can opt for a different kind if you so choose) and all the fixings. My wife had the Reuben and the baby had his bottle. All in all, a nice afternoon, if you ask me. … * * * LOW LAKE THEORIES – I’ve heard ‘em all as far as reasons behind the low lake level. One claim is that the federal government is purposely keeping Folsom Lake low so they can work on raising the earthen dams around the reservoir. One letter writer indicated there are roads inside the lake bed for the big equipment to scoop up soil from the now-dry lake bottom and hoist it up to one of the many improvement areas. That same writer theorizes the feds are extracting the gold that has settled there over the years since the dam was built in the 1950s. He says that since the dam improvements are to go on until 2012, don’t expect the lake to rise until then. There is also the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s habit of releasing water for the Delta smelt, a small yet endangered fish in the San Joaquin Delta. As Folsom’s Utilities Director Ken Payne told me, “Whenever the Delta needs a good flush, they come jiggle Folsom’s handle.” The best reason I’ve heard for the lake’s depleted state is that a flying saucer crash-landed there and UFOs are flying in at night and siphoning off water so they can recover their lost ship. Or maybe, just maybe, there’s a three-year drought under way that has even forced California to call for 20 percent water conservation efforts statewide. … * * * ODDS & ENDS – The El Dorado Hills Library has a lot going on lately with programs, children storytime and book sales. To keep up with it all, either give them a call at 358-3500 or visit eldoradolibrary.org. Thanks to Librarian Susan Covington for helping keep me on track. ... Don Chaddock may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column publishes weekly.