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By Tim Hunt

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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Be patient with damaged citrus

Uploaded: Jan 30, 2014
Looking at my frost desiccated citrus trees, I called my friends at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore to ask their advice about what to do.
The direct answer: be patient. No pruning of apparently dead branches until the danger of frost has passed—early March. Pruning sparks growth so wait until we are relatively sure (no guarantees this year) that cold, cold nights have passed.
As for watering, give them a drink every two weeks—particularly if the amazing dry spell continues. Imagine, going through January with no rain. I have lived here all of my life and I can never remember a January without measurable rainfall. Last night's "storm" amounted to a bit more than a sprinkle at my house.
Incidentally, the same advice goes for other frost-damaged ever-green plants. No pruning until March and the threat of frost is nearly gone.
One additional note on citrus—the Alden Lane nursery woman said that during the summer months citrus only needs one deep watering per month. So, set your calendars for a deep watering on the first of the month and relax after that.

The president's State of the Union address contained much familiar rhetoric—he's good at that—what he has failed at is governing and wise policies. The country, according to the bean counters, has formally been in an economic recovery since 2009 yet the true employment rate is miserable.
Instead of focusing on the official unemployment rate, which routinely discards unemployed workers who quit looking for word, look at the labor participation rate. The recession officially ended in June 2009 with the ratio at 65.8 percent. The most recent report shows it at 62.8, the lowest rate in 35 years. More than 2.6 million people have been looking for a job for more than a year.
The rate was more than 66 percent in 2007-2008.
It truly has been a jobless recovery and to give the president a pass because of his policies and actions is naïve. What's needed is to get government out of the way and let the marketplace flourish.
Of course, with the president stating he will use his executive power or a great extension thereof (why the Republicans or other conservatives have not aggressively and consistently challenged his constitutionally doubtful actions is a question that should be addressed to the leadership.)
President Obama's stewardship of the economy has been a disaster—there is no other appropriate word for it.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Matt Morrison, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Matt Morrison is a registered user.

Mr. Hunt must think everyone has a short memory. I remember there was this fiscal stimulus in January 2009 that temporarily halted the economy's free-fall.

Then Republicans during the mid-term election won by pounding the President for working on health care rather than jobs.

Did the new Republican majority in the house of representatives worry about jobs? Ha, no, these Republicans began making demands for government budget cuts through threats to default on the nation's debt (twice) and shutting down the government (once).

Now four years into the recovery government spending has been reduced as a result of house Republican demands for budget cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. As a result public sector employment has dropped resulting in an increased drag on the economy.

We're talking about a serious drag on employment because if the public sector cuts a job then the private sector has to add two jobs before the economy adds one.

State and local government job losses could have been reduced with federal assistance, but President Obama's proposals were blocked by Republicans in congress.

Furthermore, 11 states where Republicans won the 2010-mid-term elections and took control of the state legislatures account for nearly half of public sector job loss, gleefully laying off teachers, police, and firefighters.

What is clear to anyone with modicum of memory is that policies of Republicans at the federal level and in states where Republicans control the legislature are the "disaster" hampering President Obama's stewardship of the economy.

(Thanks for the citrus tip, though. My poor lemon tree looks sad, but I'll leave it as is until March.)

Posted by John Maynard , a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jan 31, 2014 at 11:05 am

Tim: it is quite obvious that the problem with the economic recovery is Not that the government has done too much, but that it has not done enough. History will reflect that the Obamans bought too deeply into the GOP austerity orthodoxy, and cut spending at precisely the wrong time. Europe is repeating that error, and is sliding back into recession (which also makes things worse here).

The Recovery started off pretty well with the help of the Stimulus, and then stalled, due to insufficient demand, and has stayed stalled, because the middle class no longer generates sufficient buying power that constitutes demand, and the Upper Enders simply cannot spend lavishly enough to take up the slack.

Further, and akin to the GOP responses on Tuesday evening, all you do is complain, and caricaturize, and vaguely claim to have "ideas." There is no cogent plan, just catchphrases like "let the marketplace flourish." It's wrong-headed, ill-timed and unhelpful.

Posted by Michelle, a resident of another community,
on Feb 4, 2014 at 11:53 pm

In addition to a rather conspicuous paucity of ideas, the man's writing is atrocious. And get this, people: he's PAID to contribute these ongoing messes he calls ideas. He's a real exemplar of the private sector which is where we're supposed to find so much competence versus what we find in the public sector.

Look at the first sentence of his insipid screed on Obama. My kid's grade school teacher wouldn't even know where to begin. A newspaper man. Right. Private sector. Right. What a joke.

Let the free market flourish. Yeah, right. Like Bush let it flourish. No ideas from this guy, and no apparent ability to gauge the significance of a fact. But, hey, if he can't handle a simple sentence how is he supposed to ponder the historical causes of the country's recent recession? No, my question was meant to be rhetorical. Surely no one would want to take the question seriously.

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