BARRY’S BLOG: TUESDAY MARCH 25th, 2014

Water, the most precious element we have on earth, when scarce, makes us all nervous as our officials must make hard decisions on which of us get it or not. Water also is the only element on earth that can be all three states, liquid, solid (Ice) and gas (steam). In this country, our water companies have built infrastructures that brings adequate and safe water into our homes, and we all assume that when we turn the knob safe drinkable water gushes out of the faucet every time. We are very fortunate since many countries on the earth do not have safe water and many people, particularly children die everyday because of it. This is not an issue in the USA.

Now, when the source starts to dry up, then we are asked to conserve, there is always two reactions. Those of us who understand, and those who get angry because they must conserve and suffer some inconvenience. I have overheard some talk lately: “I pay good money for that water, and I expect it to be there whenever I want it”. The other emotional focus on this matter is aimed at the politicians who have first helped provide storage of water with damns and reservoirs and now seem stalled at providing the storage systems needed to satisfy the needs of people growth and growing food supplies, our main economy driver in California. They blame environmental laws for the stall, but the political system approved these laws. Maybe a reassessment of these laws would be in order.

In the meantime, cutting 20% of water usage is really easy to do. Cutting lawn watering, less home driveway car washes, better use of dish washers and general turning off the running water when washing hands are all simple adjustments that can really make a difference. Dropping usage also cuts your expense for the short term.

By the way, there are some local governments that need to examine their systems and policies. There has been some interesting reports lately on how some cities are wasting major water resources.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

Retire….what does that mean?

BARRY’S BLOG: TUESDAY 3-18-14

KAHI Radio and I announced yesterday my retirement from the AM NEWS HOST position. Eight years ago, I started at 6:00 AM as the morning host, returning to an old career and love, talking on radio. KAHI was a perfect match for me because management philosophy is to serve the local market, and make the microphone available to anyone with something to say. Over the 8 years, we have brought on local political officials, community leaders, activists trying to change things, to Boy and Girl Scouts visiting the station.

I fell in love with radio as a kid back in Pennsylvania. I spent my Sunday’s listening to the old radio shows, usually on CBS, that covered Tom Mix, Mr. Keen, tracer of lost persons, Roy Rogers, The FBI, Jack Benny, Arthur Godfrey, and many others. As my interest in Radio grew, I was soon building my own radio station and broadcasting on the local radio set with voice, then with turntables, became a DJ in my own home.

One day, a Radio Station from another town came to my home town and I was there every day helping with stringing wire, lifting stuff, and opening boxes as they built our local home town station. I spent more time at the station than at home, and finally got on the air through the high school NEWS program as one of four NEWS anchors selected by the English teacher. I was then hired as a weekend announcer and then full time announcer the week after high school graduation. I was very fortunate to be given such a great break right after high school graduation.

I moved into management and was fortunate to work for some great creative people that gave me freedom to be creative also, and I became a pioneer in talk radio and local supportive radio. I moved on to Cable TV where again was invited to be creative in local television programming on cable. These were fun years, and I was on the front edge of having local cameras at high school football games, musicals and fundraisers in local home town communities.

I moved on in the Cable TV world as homes across america were connected to local CATV systems, and watched and participated in the creation of channels like HBO, Showtime, CNN and others. Today we have many more successful CABLE channels than Network channels. It only took 40 years or so to make FOX NEWS having more viewers than CBS NEWS.

Having the great fortune of being a participant in this communications revolution was a God’s gift. I wish all young people could get the same gateway to their career that I have enjoyed. I look forward to moving on to other things yet will still do special reporting for KAHI radio. How lucky can one be.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

DISASTERS

BARRY’S BLOG: TUESDAY 11,2014

Major Air Disasters like the missing 777 Malaysia Flight 370 last saturday bring us all to realize how most of us are afraid to fly. As a young person I had two conflicting emotions when it came to flying.

First I wanted to be a pilot from the first time I saw a John Wayne WWII movie. I was fascinated with model airplanes made out of paper or balsa wood. I took my first ride in a Cessna 82 private aircraft, scared out of my brains but so excited when the pilot let me handle the controls, and received my first “Bitten by the Bug” that all pilots experience. I then started a dream quest to fly anything that had engines.

Second, I was always surprised at the emotional stress I suffered when booked on a commercial flight. I didn’t sleep the night before a flight, and was nervous like a cat until I got inside the plane, and buckled up, The first few years of flying commercial, I always had nervous moments that the plane would suffer a mechanical failure of some kind and crash. As years went by, I became a lot more relaxed and found the hassle of airport parking, security, baggage handling and general mean people a lot more stressful than the actual flight.

I also started flying my own plane for business, and found the convenience for short trips was wonderful. In and out of airports on my own schedule was thrilling, and also made my business pressures so much easier as I relaxed and enjoying the flight from point to point. It became much more pleasurable to move around the Eastern corridor by plane than driving on the crowded and dangerous interstate highways that connected the major cities that I needed to go to. Don’t fly much anymore but had a lot of pleasure during those years I did.

Now back to the most recent disaster, Flight 370. I always think what a horrific way several hundred people confined in a plane helpless and often alone from friends and family must suffer in the last few minuets of their time here on earth. There can’t be many other ways that suffering is more with this complete loss of power over your destiny and realization of possible instant death. Man has created worse over past centuries but an air disaster is pure chance. I always feel sad for the victims and their loved ones that must deal with the loss. May their religious belief’s help them cope. Lets hope terrorism is ruled out since that would make it worse for the innocent.

Barry!

WATER—DROUGHT—

BARRY’S BLOG: THURSDAY 3-6-14

The recent rains have a lot of folks expecting the drought to be minimal, and with every storm wave, they feel better. Officials however say the drought is still serious and so far the storms have only helped some. We are still in a serious water shortage condition, and conservation is urged to help keep the impact down as much as possible.

One of the impressive stories coming out of this drought is our own Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) actions, plans and execution of these plans by Board, Management and Engineering staff. THe PCWA water network is very complicated being able to get water from various sources, and distributing that water to several thousand agricultural, commercial and residential customers. I picture the network looking like large tree laying on the ground with roots of the tree in various water supplies like the American and Yuba Rivers, different reservoirs and wells bringing the water to the trunk, then distributing the water to various limbs which then feed customers represented as leaves. Very complicated and needs lots of management and engineering to make it all work efficiently and balanced based on need. Droughts then are represented as a lack of supply at the root level which then affects the entire system. Our PCWA has engineered additional supplies to feed the roots which could save us some drought affect.

This further pinpoints the professionalism of our local agencies. Placer County has been a great growth county for several years, particularly in South County. Communities like Roseville and Rocklin have grown from 5 thousand residents to over 50,000 over the last 20 years. We have seen major communities like Del Web’s Sun Cities in Roseville and Lincoln. In addition, several thousand homes have been added adjacent to these Sun Cities, all demanding services like electricity, water, gas, and water treatment. With this growth, our agencies have keep up with demand. This doesn’t happen by accident. It takes prudent management, engineering, planning and execution. It appears we have that here. How lucky. Think of the disaster if we had the alternative.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

COUNCILMAN TO CHAMBER CEO…WOW!

BARRY’S BLOG: WEDNESDAY MARCH 5, 2014

The announcement by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce in selecting Councilman Kevin Hanley as the new CEO was exciting and somewhat a surprise. Kevin has been joining me on the KAHI Morning News the morning after the City Council meets in Auburn for several years, and I feel a personal friendship has been built between us. I have admired all the people that run for council, win, and dedicate their personal time and talent to running our city as well as it is. Kevin has passion and dedication to his service and the results show it. Now moving over to the chamber will be a challenge for him which he obviously has embraced. Chambers are representative organizations serving the local business community which is also funded by the members, and chartered to promote the community and help grow the local economy. Not an easy task. Kevin will do a great job because he has focus on what is good for the community.

Speaking of service, studies over long periods of time has proved that people that give of their talent and time live happier than those that do not. We are a nation that has been built by people that donate their talents and time through their churches and service clubs like ROTARY, Kiwanis, and others that do community projects, donate money and time for the community’s well being and future. A famous reporter said one time: All good work in the USA is done by service organizations”! I like the ROTARY statement credo: “Service above self”!

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy.

IS CUSTOMER SERVICE DEAD?

BARRY’S BLOG MONDAY MARCH 3, 2014

The old saying about March: “In like a lion and out like a lamb” certainly held true this weekend.

I had a great experience this weekend, a friend’s Hybrid vehicle had a battery die, and also one bulb in the driver’s side light blew. After several days of discussions at the dealer, SEARS, Walmart, and others, most did not carry the battery and the prices varied, some which included installation costs. A visit to Battery and Bulbs however proved to be a great experience. A young man that had more energy that the energizer bunny offered to test the battery and pronounced it almost dead. Then running inside from the parking lot in front of the store came back with a battery, tools, and a packet with the headlight bulb. At the same speed he had demonstrated all along, he whipped out the dead battery, which is no easy task in these hybrids, put in the new one, and tested it…..worked great. He then attacked the light problem. Another friend with a light bulb problem, the dealer took off the entire headlight casing to change the bulb with a cost of several hundred dollars. Not this guy…he reached down to the side of the light casing, pulled out a plug, and reached inside, pulled out the bulb and then put the new one in, tested it, and then put the plug back into the light casing, problem solved. Cost of bulb was under ten dollars, installation free. At pay time, my friend ask about the specials being advertised, and the young man took 10% off the bill. My estimate of savings was about 200 to 300 dollars over having the dealer do the same job. Total time, 45 minutes. What an experience. If the company does not promote this young man they will lose one of the best customer services people I have met in years.

Customer Service in the last few years has become more and more frustrating. I recently had an issue with one of the Satellite TV services. They charged me for a football package which I never ordered, and could get reversed. We wrestled with this issue for three months, and after hours of working through various management layers at the company, I finally refused to pay them and they shut off the service. I was contacted by their AR people, and then I started up through the management chain again and finally got high enough to get the charges reversed and ended with a credit of 22 dollars. I sent all their equipment back, and terminated a relationship with this company that lasted over 15 years. They lost a long time happy customer, and I got back several hundred dollars of credit. They dinged my credit of course, but I can fix that facing another day long telephone battle with some incompetent boob probably in Barbados or Argentina.

In the meantime, I have connected to WAVE Cable TV and the experience so far has been delightful. I spent 25 years in the Cable Industry and am amazed at the new technologies available to us customers. Phone, TV and Wi-Fi all bundled together. Neat stuff. I also like all the channels available to me for Basic service.

Speaking of Customer Service….I am headed to my favorite breakfast place where they clear my favorite table, pour the coffee as they see me park the car out front. Love living in a small town.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself, and be happy.

FRIDAY 2-28-14

BARRY’S BLOG FRIDAY FEBRUARY 28, 2014.

This month certainly has passed quickly. It is a day or two short, but so many things took place that the time did seem to speed up. I personally had two major events in my life. I had major surgery on my left shoulder and bought a new home, and moved. One of these events would have been enough….but the two within days was exhausting. The good news is that both events have been right, and are both settling in. Doctors say I should have full movement of the left arm and no pain. Has been the most painful thing I have ever had….but healing well. God bless our Auburn Sutter Faith Doctors and support teams. They are the best.

A major announcement was made this morning that the Historical Landmark Marshall Hotel on 7th street downtown Sacramento will be rebuilt into a high rise boutique hotel to satisfy the expected high paying customers visiting due to the new downtown arena, which now appears to be on a fast track. Recent years, this old hotel has become the home for poor residents, many that have been homeless, and have very limited income. This segment of the community is now faced, again, with being homeless if they do not find adequate housing, somewhere else. This announcement is the first of many moves as major money and investment moves into the downtown Arena area.

On the National Scene, the Russian and Ukraine situation appears to be getting worse. Russia has made military moves by moving troops and equipment to the Western Border and now there are reports of military action at Airports and other military installations. Russia has also moved a warship with missiles to Cuba, Has a lot of similarity of the Cold War which we experienced in 1947 through 1991. It was called the “Cold War” because there was no heavy fighting on the ground according to historians, but I remember Korea and Vietnam which were pretty hot to me. I didn’t serve due to age, but did observe, report on and followed closely. This was also the time, right after WWII where the USA and RUSSIA established themselves as “Super Powers”.

With the healing on my left arm, and getting out of the sling next week, I hope to return to Blogging more often. Thanks for all your comments. Have a great weekend, be kind to yourself, and be happy!

BARRY’S BLOG-Friday 21, 2014

I observed a very interesting event this week. The Federal Government, through the Federal Communications Commission issued a memorandum that they were hiring contractors to enter America’s Radio and TV NEWS-rooms to monitor how subjects are selected for reporting on the air. It appeared the FCC wanted this to be quietly issued, but it was soon picked up and went viral in one day. Why this event was so interesting to me is I have been in the business so many years as a broadcaster and observer I see this as a return to the Governments attempt to control the airwaves which started in 1920 when KDKA was put on the air by Westinghouse Electric Company in Pittsburgh PA. Newspapers had been around for decades and were not controlled under the constitution’s guarantee of Freedom of the Press. Newspapers were very bias and were even called “Republican” and “Democrat” as they named themselves. They opined on Editorial pages but publishers in the early years kept NEWS rooms completely separate and often did great investigative reporting on political crime and dishonesty. Politicians both sought coverage from Newspapers as well as feared them. One astute politician was quoted as saying: “Never make the man that buys ink by the barrel angry”!

So when broadcasting was born in 1920, politicians were really concerned at this new medium, and started immediately to place many rules and regulations in place. First they created the Federal Communications Commission as an engineering based agency to assign frequency to new stations to protect from signals interfering with each other. Broadcasting also was mostly an entertainment medium for its first 20 years. It was World War II and broadcasters like Edward R. Murrow reporting from Europe that shifted Broadcasting into the NEWS business. By then, the Feds had placed many restrictions in place to keep broadcasters from becoming too powerful and having power over people by persuading them to oppose Government actions and policies.

As time went buy, in 1949, the Government imposed what was called the “FAIRNESS DOCTRINE “. In simple terms, the act said broadcasters had to present all sides of any broadcast feature including news, and it was their responsibility to do so. No such requirement was placed on print media so there was always some resentment they do so with the electronic media. This act was repealed in 1987 and left broadcasters to opine on matters of local and national importance. The political community has always tried to get ink and broadcast time but still over all fear opposition, and continue to find way’s to control it. This became apparent again this week when the FCC announced their monitor program. Broadcasters have reacted as expected with outrage.

In the meantime, major shifts have taken place in media. The obvious was the advent of Cable Television News Channels which were started by Ted Turner in 1980 which started an entire new path of news coverage and opinion without government control. the FCC has license control over broadcasters at the transmitter level but nothing over networks, none of which require license from the Government. These cable networks have evolved overtime and gained viewers that in some cases surpass the over air networks like NBC, CBS and ABC. In other words, left to its own devises and no Government control the audience chooses what they want to watch and listen to. Any doubt? How many of us know the names of icon’s like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. Name the Network anchors if you can.

The other massive shift that has taken place is the arrival of the Internet. The Government started development of this concept in the late 60′s but the system as we know it today was developed in the 80′s. It’s original intent was to stabilize engineering standards for the inter-connection of computers and provide a highway that would have adequate protections and allow all big and small computers to talk with each other and swap information. So in 30 years we have computers, telephones, IPads and televisions all merged together. This massive system also does not have any Government control over its content, and its size and systems may deny Government controls if attempted.

The constitutional freedom of speech does always seem to find a channel to communicate that is out of reach those in power eventually try to muzzle. God bless American genius!

Have a great day, be kind to your self and be happy!

BARRY’S BLOG TUESDAY 2-11-14

It has been a few days since I have written you all. The operation on my arm on the 21st of January was a whopper, and has been quite painful. That’s the bad NEWS. Good NEWS is I am in physical theropy as of today, and everything seems to be doing fine. Learning to live with one hand has been quite interesting. I was feeling a little depressed last weekend when going out to dinner and dancing with a friend saw a lovely lady with her left arm missing completely, and there she was dancing and enjoying the evening. Felt a little foolish and decided I had noting to complain about. It now will be a rebuilding the mussels and strength which I am told will be about three to four months. Met a man today who is now one year and three months, and still not fully functional. We are all different. There is little pain for me today, and good movement, so guess I am on the mend.

The surprise I have had is how many people have had this operation! Seems that as we age, the shoulders can give out from over use and stress. I miss Golf and so many other things I normally do with two hands…but looking forward to being back full strength.

This time off from Radio has been good, but I miss talking each day on the air. This week, I would have been on each day, but the weekend storm dropped a few inches of water into the radio station studios wetting the flooring and walls, and we have had to automate all week. SERVE PRO is attacking the problem, but for a few days, I get to sleep in.

The daily NEWS continues of course. The saving of “Ruth” from jumping off the Forest Hill bridge was incredible. The men and women that work in our police and public safety departments in this county are outstanding. They talked this lady back to reality and saved her life.

The several inches of rain we received over the weekend brought spirits up. Officials are fast to say however this was only a “drop in the bucket” compared to what we should have. I along with several others are watching the management of this new 6+ feet of water in the Folsom Dam, hoping we don’t give it away too. Congress and others are holding hearing with the Bureau of Reclamation hoping to get better understanding on the release of water this past summer. The Bureau is saying they are just following the rules and regulations set in place over many years driven by environmental and Fish and Game pressures. One of the statements from members of congress is they knew this was happening last summer when the Sacramento River was cresting higher than normal for several months as these releases were taking place. A good question is why weren’t the hearings staged then, and maybe we could have adverted this mess we appear to be in. What I am afraid of is a few doses of Pineapple Express storms, and everyone will get amnesia, and nothing will change to prevent this from happening again. This is the history of this situation. Maybe Mother Nature will bail us out one more time, so to speak. The numbers released by the BOR show 18.5 thousand Acre Feet in and 294 out of Folsom Dam which appears to be the right thing.

The Weather back East is roaring again. Atlanta is in serious trouble with massive ice and wind. They predict over 200 thousand people losing power over the next few hours and no power for several days or weeks. Panic at grocery stores is becoming a problem. Snow, Ice and Winds will dominate the entire East Coast from Florida to NY as they get pounded hard again. These coastal cities have no equipment or enough people with experience to get them back to normal for what could be weeks. I have many friends back there and we are talking daily. Some are “Old Hands” at this and others are asking me if I have a spare room?

The Olympics in Russia appear to be almost “Ho Hum”! Political overtones are playing a part, and the TV coverage is not getting the viewers. I remember when the Olympics at anytime of year got major ratings. I guess we are losing interest! Nice though to see some local “Sierra” names in the Gold columns.

Losing our Auburn new financial person was a disappointment. This is one of the most important jobs in City Government because it monitors the money. Our past auditors, like Andy, did a great job steering the city through tough times and we stayed fiscally sound. Hope we can find a good replacement. Looks like Mayor Bridget has hit the ground with some major challenges with the loss of Bob Richardson as City Manager and now the Auditor. She is a tough lady and I believe she will weather the storm, so to speak.

I hope the SERVE PRO people give me back “Studio One” soon and feels good back in the “Blog Chair” tonight. Have a great day, be kind to yourself, and “Be Happy”!

BARRY’S BLOG FRIDAY 1-31-14

The PETER PRINCIPLE appears to have integrated into our school system. This Principle of management was introduced in 1969 by Lawrence Peter in a book that stated all management, and particularly at that time, the Railroads, had achieved positions in their careers that were above their training and capability. Therefore, most companies and services are being managed by people that are incompetent in their jobs.

The incident in Salt Lake City this week when students in the cafeteria got their lunches and when at the last stop entered their PIN number to have the lunch paid for out of a parent funded account showed them below the level of funding. Now here is where the Peter Principle kicks in. In marches the School Principal who rips the food from the students, and throws it in the trash.

Now here comes the beautiful part. He apologized saying that since the food had been touched by the students, it therefore was contaminated and could not be given to anyone else, so in the trash was the answer. WOW! What a compassionate executive.

Now lets see what the board of this system does. If they do not fire this boob immediately then I am right. The Peter Principle has taken over.

Where is the political outcry that a large-power freak manager shamed over 40 students by ripping their lunch from them in front of the other students….gads man, these kids are hungry and none of this is THEIR FAULT! Self esteem damage…..not one political person has even weighed in!

And the PPP (Peter Principle Principal) should have tried to figure out the problem, let the kids eat, get to the root of the problem, then deal with it in his office where he should have stayed. Maybe a computer glitch? Maybe a notification failure? Maybe another PP could have misplaced the money? None of these in any way at fault of the students.

Now a political type has weighed in….wait till you hear this! His suggestion is the school could have given these students a lessor lunch. Gads…..PP has hit the house too!

Let me get this straight. 40 some accounts are low on money. We find out AFTER the kids get their lunch and are at checkout line. Management explodes and runs to cafeteria and rips food from their hands, throws it in trash. Shouldn’t management know these accounts are low BEFORE lunch is served? Bet the PPP will next say: “But we recycle our trash!”

Have a great weekend! Be kind to yourself and be happy!