Veronica Ramos of Olivehurst, CA
Candidate for Yuba County Board of Supervisors

You know it’s gotten a little dusty in here, seems I can’t find time for posting on a blog in search of a title….  Anyway, there is a bit of a political scandal coming down the road in Yuba County. I have a few thoughts and questions concerning this particular part of the local political season.

I think that the District 3 race between Incumbent Mary Jane Griego and 33-year-old Olivehurst resident, Veronica Ramos is an interesting one to watch. The way I see it, the outcome of that race will be in the incumbents favor, nothing to worry about there, not today or before last week. However, I am quite interested in the challenger, Veronica Ramos. A local woman who appeared on the Yuba County political scene. She appears  to be new and relatively inexperienced with the political climate in Yuba County.

Question for me is this, who is Veronica Ramos? Who are her supporters, her mentors, her financial contributors and who encouraged her to try to climb an almost impossible mountain in District 3. Some of those answers may lie with current Yuba County Supervisor Andy Vasquez and  Lou Binninger who have both officially endorsed Miss Ramos who was also endorsed by the Yuba County Republican Party as recently posted on their Facebook page.

Anyway, yesterday, the Appeal Democrat broke the story about Veronica Ramos being convicted of welfare fraud. Yup, there it is, like a bandage coming off a cut. Shocking is it not?. Now that one statement on the face of it seems to sound quite serious. Well, in the grand scheme of things, probably not so much. I believe that most Californians, with a disproportionate number of them in Yuba County who have experienced California’s Welfare system may hold some sympathy for her story.

You know the story, the one about the young divorce’ mother. Struggling to raise her children and make ends meet. Who is unable to comprehend the complicated bureaucratic process to get access to taxpayer-funded entitlements. That confusion may have led to Miss. Ramos being arrested and charged with four counts of perjury and one count of fraud to obtain aid. A total of 5 low end felony counts. They may not be big felonies, but felonies none the less. Anyway, after her case had moved through the criminal justice system. The DA’s office allowed her to plea the felony charges down to a misdemeanor count of fraud to get aid. Now it would probably be beneficial, in a public relations sort of way for, the Ramos Campaign to characterize the plea deal as a last-ditch attempt by the DA to get a conviction on shaky evidence. I’m not buying it, I am more inclined to believe that American justice is merciful and partially blind. Although today some would just say that  justice is cheap and operating on a limited budget. In any case, just hear me out, if this was the first time she ever got into trouble. Then a one year suspended jail sentence with probation, restitution and community service would be par for the judicial course for these types of minor or petty criminal charges. Even the District Attorney Pat McGrath said it was normal.

As I began to paint the picture for myself, my first reaction was a little too judgmental. On the face of the specifically reported information and without any other relevant information, I would consider the public’s perception and level of concern with this issue to be of minimal value in making a voting decision. However, possibly other relevant information may alter the public’s perception and corresponding  level of concern with Miss Ramos’s ability to fulfill the office of Yuba County Supervisor. We will have to to wait and see if the story unfolds further.

You know the saying about where there’s smoke….. , which probably would not matter much at this stage of the game due to the most likely outcome of this election anyway. I guess you could say that it would be moot, from an electability standpoint though not from a public interest one.

Really, I need to step back and get some rest. I’d like to explore some of the other aspects of Miss Ramos’s campaign. There are few more questions out there and hopefully we can get some answers.

Miss. Ramos at the time of this writing has the endorsement of the Yuba County Republican Party. Given the recent events, that may change. I do wonder what they did to vet their candidate and make sure that they were backing someone viable. Perhaps, with limited resources the small local committees are unable to be as effective in their vetting processes.  I have heard that  her major supporters were well aware of the criminal conviction and that Miss Ramos was still on probation for it.

What I really want to know is if Veronica Ramos is in charge of her campaign and making her own decisions or, is she being led down a primrose path by some other person or entity?

Interesting information and questions to ponder don’t you think?

Looking forward to your comments, at least from the one guy who reads my crap.

Until the urge to blog rises again, that’s the way I see it.

Good Night and Good Luck!

Someone asked me to write an article for them. The subject will be “Transportation”, a word used to describe a great deal of topics. I have some experience in transportation, but not in the topic of the article. This means that I must look a little deeper into the political side of Transportation on local, regional and state levels.

So, what do I really know about transportation from the political perspective?  It hasn’t been much of an issue for me. I got a car, I drive on roads. The way I see it, we pay a multitude of taxes to fund transportation infrastructure and operations. Those taxes are the resources the government uses to maintain, operate and improve transportation. Those resources are limited, with too few resources the system begins to fail. When that happens, resource needs increase higher and faster than if the system had adequate resources in the beginning. With too many resources waste will become more prevalent resulting in resource needs greater than if a balance was struck between too much and too little. The trick for policy makers is to be able to hit the sweet spot that allows adequate resources to keep up and grow the transportation infrastructure in the most efficient and effective way. Yea, I know, easier said than done.

I guess that would be in a perfect world. Everybody knows that nothing is perfect. If it was not for imperfections, mistakes, or failures how would we know which direction to travel in reaching perfection. Too improve a system is to identify the imperfections and make them a little less imperfect. Well that is the goal at least.

What questions do I need to answer, what do I need to explore to write an article. (hopefully, a short one)?

Always open for some comments and how others see it. At this point that would mean about two of you.😉

Levee damaged by cattle being repaired in south Yuba County | levee, hofman, cattle – Appeal-Democrat.

Story in tomorrows AD. This is a never ending story. A few years ago TRLIA paid to repair damage caused by the cows. I believe they were brought in special to annoy those responsible for maintaining the levee. The sad part is that Miss Hofman is not protected by that levee. The people that are protected by it have to pay to fix it. Mr. Eres, counsel for Hofman Ranch, trys to offer some sort of explanation to justify his clients actions.

Water is a relentless erosive force, from sand to granite, given enough time water will leave its mark . Erosion starts at the smallest level and progresses until larger parts begin to fail. Engineers recognize this impact on a levee system. In order to reduce risks of erosion several strategies are put in place, slope, grassy vegetation and a flat service that sheds the water evenly are ones that I am aware of. The damage caused by the cows will speed up the erosion process by directing water into larger rivulets that have a greater erosive force. Such damage increases the frequency and annual cost of maintaining that section of levee.

If Miss Hofman wants to graze her cows on the levee, then she can pay the costs above what it normally costs to maintain the levees.

OPUD Fluoride Decision

Posted: February 16, 2012 in Front Page

Tonight, the OPUD board split 3-2 in favor of continuing adding fluoride to the public water supply. Director Dougherty wanted to have the community advise the board of what they want. He voted against stopping fluoridating the water and wanted the community to vote for stopping it.  At the end of the evening he asked how much that would cost? The General Manager said about $25,000. With that Director Dougherty felt the cost was too high and did not wish to pursue it further.

Director Bradford and myself were the dissenting votes.

More to come later.

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Community Water Fluoridation Opinion

Posted: February 16, 2012 in Front Page

By Jeff Phinney, Director, Olivehurst Public Utility District

As presented to the Board of Directors Feb 16th, 2012

When this issue first came to us I was skeptical of Mr. DeVorss and his concerns. The question that I want answered is if the benefits of fluoridated water outweigh the risks.  

I take seriously our responsibility provide clean and safe drinking water.

Our decision needs to be based on the latest information. Our first concern should be with the public’s safety. Even if fluoridated water benefits a portion of our community, we need to be sure it will not cause any harm now or in the future.

There have been warnings from government and private sources regarding the adverse effects from using fluoridated water to reconstitute baby formula.  Doing so could result in our community’s children exceeding the maximum recommended daily intake of fluoride. Exceeding these levels in a child less than a year old could result in a mild to moderate fluorosis. Some researchers believe that fluoride crosses the blood brain barrier and may have an adverse effect on infant brain development. Numerous studies in China indicate lower average IQ levels in communities exposed to fluoride. With many sources of fluoride available other than water, risk of more adverse effects could occur. As an OPUD customer, a parent and grandparent, I am very concerned that I was not informed of the baby formula warning. My three grandchildren are really important to me. Since OPUD began fluoridating the water supply, the two youngest have had formula reconstituted with fluoridated tap water in my home. Had I been aware of these warnings, we would have had the opportunity to choose how we fed our grandchildren.

If we decide to continue the program, then I believe that we have a moral and ethical, if not legal obligation to fully inform our customers of any significant information related to what they are drinking.  The flow of information needs to be ongoing and effective. Effective public outreach will in all likelihood result in increased costs of service delivery of fluoride.

Another health issue strongly attributed to fluoride touches my family through the adverse effects to some endocrine glands. The NRC report from 2006 reported that;

“The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR 2003) discussed four papers on thyroid effects and two papers on parathyroid effects and concluded that “there are some data to suggest that fluoride does adversely affect some endocrine glands.”

My family currently struggles with Hypothyroidism, Parathyroidism, Graves and Addisons Disease. I wonder what effects may occur my family and other people that suffer from this disorders.

 The NRC report concluded that;

The effects of fluoride on various aspects of endocrine function should be examined further, particularly with respect to a possible role in the development of several diseases or mental states in the United States. Major areas for investigation include the following:

  • thyroid disease (especially in light of decreasing iodine intake by the U.S. population);
  • nutritional (calcium-deficiency) rickets;
  • calcium metabolism (including measurements of both calcitonin and PTH);
  • pineal function (including, but not limited to, melatonin production); and
  • development of glucose intolerance and diabetes.


Yes, I want to know that it is safe; But, I also want to know if it is effective. Does fluoride work as advertised? One of the primary reasons given to support fluoridated water is the reduction of caries in populations on the lower socioeconomic scale without access to dental care.  I have read a few articles from reputable sources that sought to answer this question. The first article titled “Community Water Fluoridation and Caries Prevention: A Critical Review” published in 2007. The researchers reviewed articles from MEDLINE published between January 2001 and June 2006. The article concludes that;

“For the past 50 years, CWF has been considered the most cost-effective measure for the control of caries at the community level. However, it is now accepted that systemic fluoride plays a limited role in caries prevention. Several epidemiologic studies conducted in fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities clearly indicated that CWF may be unnecessary for caries prevention, particularly in the industrialized countries where the caries level has become low. Moreover, the evidence of an increased prevalence of fluorosis, particularly in fluoridated areas, needs to be considered. Nevertheless, water fluoridation may still be a relevant public health measure in populations where oral hygiene conditions are poor, lifestyle results in a high caries incidence, and access to a well-functioning oral health care system is limited. Instead, topical fluoride offers an optimal opportunity to prevent dental caries among people living in both industrialized and developing countries, and the use of fluoride-containing products, particularly the toothpaste, needs to be maintained and expanded”

As recently as last month, a new research article was posted on the website titled; “Association of vascular fluoride uptake with vascular calcification and coronary artery disease” The study assessed fluorides effects to various major arteries, including coronary arteries. The scientists concluded that “An increased fluoride uptake in coronary arteries may be associated with an increased cardiovascular risk” As time goes by we will most likely see more studies along this line. This is just one more piece of information that places a cloud of doubt over the safety of fluoride consumption.

 In 2009 an article published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry titled; “Considerations on Optimal Fluoride Intake Using Dental Fluorosis and Dental Caries Outcomes – A Longitudinal Study”, reported;

“Today, evidence suggests that, although there appears to be some benefits from systemic/ingested fluoride, the benefits of fluoride are mostly topical. Therefore, with widespread water fluoridation and countless fluoride-containing products available, quantifying the intakes of fluoride is much more complex than it was several decades ago.”

A few weeks ago, I visited our family dentist of 26 years for my cleaning. I asked him what he thought of a fluoridated water supply. He told me that he has observed an increase in fluorosis amongst his patients living in fluoridated areas. He also shared that the majority of tooth decay occurs within the pits and fissures where food particles are trapped and provides a breeding ground for decay causing bacteria. He said fluoride has little effect in preventing decay in these areas and the most effective means of reducing decay is by frequent brushing and the application of dental sealants and. I found this interesting. A few days later I received an email from Maureen Jones with a group opposed to fluoridation. She cited a few quotes under the heading of Pits and Fissures. Those quotes help to validate what my dentist had said to me.

“Fluoride primarily protects the smooth surfaces of teeth, and sealants protect the pits and fissures (grooves), mainly on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.  Although pit and fissure tooth surfaces only comprise about 15% of all permanent tooth surfaces, they were the site of 83% of tooth decay in U.S. children in 1986-87.” Selected Findings and Recommendations from the 1993/94 California Oral Health Needs Assessment.

“Nearly 90 percent of cavities in school children occur in the surfaces of teeth with vulnerable pits and grooves, where fluoride is least effective.” Facts from National Institute of Dental Research. Marshall Independent Marshall, MN, 5/92.

“Because the surface-specific analysis was used, we learned that almost 90 percent of the remaining decay is found in the pits and fissures (chewing surfaces) of children’s teeth; those surfaces that are not as affected by the protective benefit of fluoride.” Letter, August 8, 2000, from CDC Director Jeffrey P. Koplan, M.D., M.P.H.

As we have been told, the CDC is the organization that ranks Fluoridated water in the top 10 health achievements

There are studies comparing fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities in industrialized countries. Those studies observed similar declines of tooth decay within their populations. Some studies also observed that some communities ending fluoridation programs continued to experience a decline in dental caries. The conclusion is that industrialized countries have better education, dental care and fluoride product availability that has a significant effect on caries rates.

The next debate is decidedly an American one. That is the concept of freedom of choice. Even though no legal decision invalidates the practice there are some ethical and legal concerns in this area. I also share those concerns in that I agree with what President Reagan once said; “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not to run their lives.’

Based on my personal review, it is apparent to that fluoridated water is not as effective as first thought 60 years ago and that there are serious questions needing to be answered as to its safety and effectiveness. We have also seen over the last several years, many communities like Fairbanks Alaska that have systematically and carefully studied the issue, which led to an informed decision to stop adding fluoride to the water.  

Tonight, I am urging my colleagues to take support and take steps to wind down and terminate OPUD’s fluoride program. I am also going to urge Yuba county health and social services to initiate simple programs to identify and educate at risk people within the community.  I will also encourage local dental health professionals to become further involved with their community by working with the appropriate county departments and school districts to develop and initiate programs that will help to reduce tooth decay in at risk populations.

Association of vascular fluoride uptake with… [Nucl Med Commun. 2012] – PubMed – NCBI

This article was posted just last month (Jan, 2012) on

OBJECTIVE: The feasibility of a fluoride positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scan for imaging atherosclerosis has not been well documented. The purpose of this study was to assess fluoride uptake of vascular calcification in various major arteries, including coronary arteries.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the imaging data and cardiovascular history of 61 patients who received whole-body sodium [¹⁸F]fluoride PET/CT studies at our institution from 2009 to 2010. Fluoride uptake and calcification in major arteries, including coronary arteries, were analyzed by both visual assessment and standardized uptake value measurement.

RESULTS: Fluoride uptake in vascular walls was demonstrated in 361 sites of 54 (96%) patients, whereas calcification was observed in 317 sites of 49 (88%) patients. Significant correlation between fluoride uptake and calcification was observed in most of the arterial walls, except in those of the abdominal aorta. Fluoride uptake in coronary arteries was demonstrated in 28 (46%) patients and coronary calcifications were observed in 34 (56%) patients. There was significant correlation between history of cardiovascular events and presence of fluoride uptake in coronary arteries. The coronary fluoride uptake value in patients with cardiovascular events was significantly higher than in patients without cardiovascular events.

CONCLUSION: sodium [¹⁸F]fluoride PET/CT might be useful in the evaluation of the atherosclerotic process in major arteries, including coronary arteries. An increased fluoride uptake in coronary arteries may be associated with an increased cardiovascular risk.

It will be interesting to see where this goes. If it is accurate then here is one more item of concern. – Jeff

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Fluoride Free Sacramento

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Front Page

Fluoride Free Sacramento – Safeguarding Sacramento’s Drinking Water

Just came across this site that highlights local opposition to Water Fluoridation

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