Election getting interesting for El Dorado Hills voters

By: Don Chaddock, Editor
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GET MOVING – Give a warm welcome to Tom Fossum. The mustachioed gent is joining the staff at the El Dorado County Dept. of Transportation. An engineer by trade, Tom was with the City of Auburn’s Public Works Dept. before going into the private sector. He’s going back to being a public servant and I’m sure the county will be the better for it. Welcome, Tom. * * * ELECTION NEWS –El Dorado County is represented by John Taylor Doolittle (R-Roseville), who is stepping down at the end of the year. His successor will be decided this November when Democrat Charlie Brown goes head-to-head with state Sen. Tom McClintock for the 4th Congressional District seat. Brown unsuccessfully sought the same seat in 2006 when he narrowly lost to Doolittle. At the last paper I worked for, I covered the race heavily and met both candidates more than once. After taking the editor post for the El Dorado Hills Telegraph, I phoned Todd Stenhouse, the guy heading up the Brown campaign, to let him know I’d still be covering his guy. “You’re not done with me yet,” I told him. His response? “Welcome back to the campfire.” This is quite a time to be getting back into covering the race. I met with McClintock campaign spokesman Bill George last Thursday, who said he believed Brown was dodging questions on a serious issue. Allegations are flying that Brown wore his military uniform to a war protest in 2005 that featured a soldier hung in effigy. Photos have surfaced which apparently show Brown wearing a camouflage jacket (featuring his name over the right pocket) and boonie hat. The “effigy” to which the McClintock campaign refers to is an empty soldier’s uniform hung on the side of a home. There was a sign on the empty uniform that read, “Bush lied. I died,” and was meant to represent one of the many fallen US soldiers who died in Iraq. Saying the representation of the soldier was “hung if effigy” makes it sound like there was a noose, pitchforks and torches. Not so. Protestors, angry at the display, showed up at the home to try to get the homeowner to take it down. Others, such as anti-war protestors, showed up to voice their support for the display. Still more showed up who believed it was a free speech issue. Essentially, there were three protests going on at the same time. Brown said he was there as an observer and wasn’t part of any particular group. That leaves the question of the military style outfit he chose to wear that night. He said he supports our troops and I know that he donates a portion of his campaign funds to veteran organizations. I have no doubt he supports veterans and soldiers in harm’s way. His unfortunate choice of clothing, though, is sure to be fuel for the “campfire.” The Brown campaign has some charges of its own, including that McClintock couldn’t vote for himself in the June primary election, since he resides in Thousand Oaks (or is it Elk Grove?), and doesn’t plan to vote in the November general election for the same reason. One issue that’s plagued McClintock’s campaign has been the per diem he accepted for maintaining a home so far away from the capital, and I’m not referring to his Elk Grove residence, but the one in Thousand Oaks. McClintock has run on a platform of no “earmarks” or wasteful spending, which could be interpreted as being in conflict with his per diem allowance. According to the McClintock campaign, he has done nothing wrong or unethical by accepting those funds. To be fair, he must maintain his primary residence in Thousand Oaks because those are the folks he represents in the state Senate. When I asked if he was planning to move to the 4th Congressional District, he said he would, if the voters chose him to be their representative. McClintock also supports the construction of the Auburn Dam, which Brown opposes. With water levels as low as they are in Folsom Lake, which is fed by the American River, how would another dam impact that incoming flow? We’ll be addressing some of these issues in upcoming editions of the Telegraph, so stay tuned. ... You can meet McClintock yourself at a forum on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Express located at 4360 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills. Be sure to bring your checkbook, as the admission charge is 20 bucks per plate. Reservations were due to the EDH Chamber of Commerce by Tuesday, but they may be able to squeeze in a few more chairs. Give them a call at 916-933-1335. Brown was unable to attend. * * * WRITTEN WORD – Longtime newspaperman Art Garcia should be making a return to the pages of the El Dorado Hills Telegraph soon. We met at length last week to discuss ideas for stories and columns. Garcia worked for the Modesto Bee years ago, which is awful close to my old stomping grounds, the Merced Sun-Star. I was in the employ of Dean Lesher and his family for three years, before they sold the paper when Mr. Lesher passed away. Under the new owners, a company called US Media, I was there another four. (It’s now owned by McClatchy, which also owns the Bee.) It’s nice to know EDH has a real newspaper guy calling the area home. If you have ideas for EDH stories, shoot me an e-mail at * * * PUSH AWAY FROM THE TABLE – The popular Masque Restaurant abruptly closed its doors last week amid rumors of call girls operating out of the joint and other shenanigans. But, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, those are just rumors. If there is an investigation into the business operations at the now shuttered eatery, they aren’t talking about it. “I have heard nothing about that,” said Sgt. Phil Chovanec. At this point, the rumor mill is churning, but that’s about all. Don Chaddock is the editor of the El Dorado Hills Telegraph. He may be reached at 916-351-3753 or by e-mail at