Just like clock work, there’s another ballot screw-up

Just as we’ve come to expect, there’s a screw-up in the ballots mailed to Nevada County voters for the November 8 election.


Count the pages

This time, some vote-by-mail ballots are missing a page, apparently the page listing nine of the 17 state propositions and three local measures being decided this year. “The page just didn’t get stuffed in the ballot” by the printer, explained Sandy Sjoberg, assistant county clerk-recorder/registrar of voters.

As usual, Sjoberg got to deliver the bad news while her boss, county Clerk-Recorder Gregory Diaz, was nowhere to be found. And to think he just recently reassured local voters that the election will be honest and the results legitimate.  Just make sure you have a complete ballot.

This follows a recurring pattern. In May, Sjoberg announced ballots would be mailed a week late because the printer was late getting them validated, and then again two years ago when a printing error delayed their mailing.

We seem to have an ongoing problem selecting vendors and then managing their work. No wonder there are rumors Lorraine Jewett may be gearing up for another run for her old office.

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Has Nevada Union’s football coach given up?

Nevada Union’s last good chance to win a football game this season comes tonight when the Miners visit Granite Bay, but it remains to be seen how motivated they are in the wake of coach Dennis Houlihan’s remarks after last week’s loss.

nevada-union-mascot“It’s just  a reminder of why we shouldn’t be in this league,” Houlihan told The Union after the team was thrashed by Folsom, 54-7. “We just got outmatched athletically and there’s nothing you can do.”

It’s no secret that NU is itching to get out of the Sierra Foothill League, where it have not been competitive with the other schools in the league. Among other dreary statistics, the Miners have lost 21 straight SFL games.

But even in the worst of times, coaches traditionally put up a brave front, trying to find something positive that provides the hope of better times. Houlihan appears to have given up; I won’t be surprised if he resigns at the end of the season.

Certainly Granite Bay is a beatable team. It’s the only team in the league with a worse season record that NU’s, has been shut out in its last two games, and gives up more than 34 points a  game. But you have to wonder how motivated the Miners will be after Houlihan’s remarks.

In the Sierra Foothill League, my projections show:

–Granite Bay over Nevada Union by 1.5 points;

–Del Oro over Oak Ridge by 5.5 points.

–Rocklin at Woodcreek, pick.


Bear River’s coaches figure the school needs to win two of its last three games to make it into the post-season tournament and–not coincidentally–extend  its record to 29 non-losing seasons.

br-mascot“Non-losing” may be the best they can hope for. The Bruins have been inconsistent this year–the essence of a .500 team. After winning its first league game last week, it stands at 3-4 for the season as it visits Colfax tonight. Each team is missing a key player for the game, but my numbers show Colfax the better of the two teams.

In the Pioneer Valley League, my projections  show:

–Colfax over Bear River by 6 points;

–Center over Lincoln by 18.5 points;

–Placer over Foothill by 7 points.


We have found three picks that hopefully will get us out of the hole we dug last week. (Two of our three picks were winners, but none of them covered the point spread.) None of these are marquee national games, but Roadkill is always searching for value, not glamour. We like the following games:

–Louisiana Tech (-16.5) over Florida International;

–Ohio U (-3.5) over Kent State;

–Memphis (-2.5) over Navy.


Two of our selections last week blew fourth quarter leads to turn what could have been a 4-0 week into a 2-1-1 week. We still like the underdogs this week, although these games are basically toss ups:

–Eagles (+3) Vikings;

–Redskins (+1.5) Lions;

–Raiders (+1) Jaguars;

–Ravens (+2) Jets;

–Niners (P) Buccaneers.


High school: We went 5-1 last week to bring the season total to 13-4, 76 percent. We should do that well where money’s involved!

College: We went 0-3 against the point spread last week. It’s only up from here–we hope.

Pros: A 2-1-1 week is respectable, but not great. Hopefully, this week’s picks can hold a fourth quarter lead.

NOTE: The point spreads for the college and pro games are the consensus numbers from VegasInsider.com at 9 a.m. this morning. The high school numbers are my projection of the margin of victory.

Posted in Bear River football, Nevada Union football, Pioneer Valley League, Sierra Foothill League, Sports, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One reason The Union doesn’t endorse candidates

The Union reported in its editorial this morning that it has no intention of endorsing a candidate for president, mainly because there is no way it could achieve a consensus from the members of the editorial board.

“Rather than offering a ‘board approved’ list of candidates or measures, our role is to provide the public with content it needs to make an informed decision,” the editorial stated.

paper boy

It’s probably just as well the paper is abstaining from an endorsement because they just don’t pack the clout they used to have. Back when newspapers were the leading source of news and information for people, endorsement carried substantial weight–many times, they were the difference between winning and losing.

But as the influence of newspapers has declined, so has the impact of their endorsements. While they can still influence elections close to home, they have become the equivalent of a kiss from your sister: Nice to have, but something you can live without.

Sometimes newspapers can’t even influence local elections, as The Union found out the last time it endorsed a candidate in May 2006. That’s when incumbent county Clerk-Recorder Kathleen Smith was seeking election to a full term in office, and The Union endorsed challenger Gregory Diaz.

Smith was something else. The Board of Supervisors appointed  her in 2004 to complete the term of Lorraine Jewett-Burdick, who resigned. Smith proceeded to screw up several subsequent elections, turning the elections office into a true Keystone Kops operation. When she decided to run for a full term in 2006 against Diaz, The Union wrote in an editorial: “Ignorance is bliss, but not when it’s mixed with arrogance.”

Smith spend no money on advertising and did practically no campaigning, but was elected anyway. The topper: She resigned in April 2007 a week before The Union reported she was moonlighting as the city clerk of Rio Vista for a salary of $90,000 a year.

So much for the power of the press.

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NU, Bear River still looking for first league wins

The Bear River and Nevada Union football teams will be seeking their first league victories in home games tonight that will probably be mud fests.

br-mascotBear River has lost only one league game while the Miners are already 0-3, and I expect the Bruins to get their first league win against Foothill, the only school in the league with a worse season record. Of course, I thought they would have little trouble beating Lincoln last week, and we know how that turned out.

The Miners, of course, have lost 22 straight league games, and tonight figures to be number 23 when they host No. 2-ranked Folsom, fresh off a thrashing of then No. 1 Del Oro.

nevada-union-mascotNU supporters insist the junior-dominated team is getting more competitive, implying the pay-off will come next season when these kids are seniors. Well, yes and no. Last year’s team would have been 40 to 45 underdogs against Folsom, while this year’s edition is only 27.5 point dogs. Four touchdowns leaves plenty of room for improvement if they’re going to be competitive.

Since neither team has a dynamic passing game, the weather will keep the scores down but won’t determine the results.

In Sierra Foothill League games, I project:

–Folsom over Nevada Union by 27.5 points;

–Oak Ridge over Granite Bay by 20 points;

–Del Oro over Rocklin by 12 points.

In Pioneer Valley League games, I project:

–Bear River over Foothill by 12.5 points;

–Colfax over Lincoln by 8 points;

–Center over Place by 10 points.

If you’re looking for some college action, here are three games I think are winners:

–Notre Dame (-3) over Stanford;

–Ohio State (-10.5) over Wisconsin;

–Utah (-7.5) over Oregon State.

I also like these four NFL games:

–Chicago (-1.5) over Jacksonville;

–Atlanta (+6) over Seattle;

–Dallas (+4) over Green Bay;

–Indianapolis (+3) over Houston.

NOTE: The college and NFL point spreads are the consensus numbers from VegasInsider.com at 11 a.m. this morning. The high school numbers are my projections of the margin of victory.

SCOREBOARD: I went 3-2 on the high school games last week, bringing the season record to 8-3, 73 percent. Bear River let me down and 4-1 Colfax lost to 1-4 Placer, another reminder of why they play the games.

Posted in Nevada Union football, Pioneer Valley League, Sierra Foothill League, Sports, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump shows he’s a first-class sumbag

As is his custom, Donald Trump keeps digging a deeper hole by repeatedly claiming his lewd tape is “just locker room talk.” One of his dutiful sons claimed yesterday that this is what happens when two alpha males get together.

I’ll let you decide if Billy Bush is an alpha male while I object to Trump’s claim that his crude remarks are just typical locker room banter. If they are, I’ve led a sheltered life.

I played four years of sports in high school, spent two years in the Army, and I’ve been a regular at gyms for over 40 years, putting me in thousands of locker room settings. I’ve heard plenty of sexist jokes and crude comments during that time, but I have yet to encounter anybody who bragged about sexual assault.

Do I think such conversations never take place? Of course not. But anybody who thinks they are commonplace is clueless.

But as the father of a daughter, I really object to a conversation he had with shock jock Howard Stern in 2004 that surfaced about the same time as the tape that’s getting all of the media attention. The subject was Trump’s daughter Ivanka, then 23.

Trump agreed with Stern that she was “voluptuous” and said it was okay for Stern to refer to her as a “piece of ass.” Only a first-class sumbag would find such talk  about his daughter acceptable.

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Is Bear River good or bad? Who knows?

It’s hard to get a good read on the Bear River Bruins as they begin Pioneer Valley League play at home tonight against Lincoln. They looked impressive dominating then-No. 20 El Dorado two weeks ago, only to get clobbered by Sutter last week.

br-mascotBut league play is always an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and get a fresh start, and my projections show Bear River (2-3) starting PVL play on a positive note, 9.5 points better than Lincoln.

In other league play, I like:

–Center over Foothill by 25 points;

–Colfax over Placer by 33.5 points.


nevada-union-mascotNevada Union, already 0-2 in Sierra Foothill League play, travels to Woodcreek tonight for just one of two winnable games left on the Miners’ schedule. My projections show Woodcreek the better team by 2.5 points, which makes the game a virtual toss-up.

If NU can beat Woodcreek and Granite Bay, which actually has a worse record than the Miners, they can finish the season 4-6 and finally end their 21 game winless streak in the SFL. That ain’t much, but it’s an improvement over the last couple of years.

In other SFL games, my projections show:

–Oak Ridge over Rocklin by 9 points:

–Folsom and Del Oro, toss-up.

THE SCOREBOARD: My picks went 3-0 last week to bring the season record to 5-1. (I had Sutter a one-point favorite over BR, which qualifies as a toss-up so I didn’t count the game in the results.) Next week I’ll also offer some pro and college picks.

Posted in Bear River football, Nevada Union football, Pioneer Valley League, Sierra Foothill League, Sports, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I got the horse right here, the name is Paul Revere

Did you know that Podunk Pelline in going to the horsey races at Santa Anita Park? Not only that but it’s the Breeders’ Cup, an annual day of racing designed to prop up a dying sport.

There’s a certain irony here. Podunk loves to trash old white guys in Nevada County, but no sport exemplifies old white guys like horse racing. Even they are abandoning the “Sport of Kings;” the only tracks that make good money these days are those with card rooms, slot machines and other forms of gambling–racinos, as they’re known.

Horse racing is a sucker’s play anyway. Assuming the races are on the up-and-up (not always a given), the state and the tracks in California take anywhere from 15 percent to 24 percent off the top of the betting pool. In other words, you risk a dollar to win 76 to 85 cents. Only an idiot tries to buck those odds.

Given Podunk’s track record in making predictions, I’d advise him to stick to $2 show bets.  Or he might want to listen to Stubby Kaye. While they have similar girth, Stubby actually had talent. Here’s the man at the top of his game.

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