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Voters should reject Propositions 22, 24 and 26

    California’s Nov. 2 ballot, as usual, is packed with initiatives put to a vote via petition campaign. With armies of circulators stationed at shopping centers around the state, gathering the more than 400,000 signatures necessary to qualify a petition for the ballot is just not that difficult.
  

School bonds deserve support: Yes on G and H

    No, it’s not a good time to be asking voters for money.
    But for two of Tuolumne County’s school districts, it is a necessary time. With budgets stretched to the breaking point, the schools have no way to pay for needed campus maintenance and improvements. Help from the taxpayers is essential.
    Measures G and H, before Summerville High School and Sonora Elementary School district voters on Nov. 2, deserve passage.
   

Voters should reject legalizing recreational pot

    California Ballot Proposition 19 is also known as the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.” It would legalize the limited, personal cultivation and use of marijuana; legalize recreational use by Californians 21 and older; and allow cities and counties to control, regulate and tax commercial marijuana enterprises.
    This is not a well-crafted measure. It provides no structure, no guidance, no taxing mechanism and no upfront funding for cities and counties to regulate, control and tax marijuana. Even if Prop. 19 passes, the sale of marijuana will remain illegal under federal law. It will create chaos, confusion and conflict with federal enforcement agencies.
   

Budget reform via Prop 25 deserves support and passage

    In a perfect world — a world of reason, give-and-take, compromise and cooperation — California’s two-thirds budget requirement would work.
    Sadly, today’s political world is far from perfect and it doesn’t work. Now gridlock, standoff and refusal to compromise are the norm. Budgets are always adopted late, often adopted very late or, at least so far this year, not adopted at all.
   


Community services district needed

    If there ever was an idea whose time has come, it’s formation of a community services district for the town of Tuolumne.
    Even under the best of circumstances, consolidating districts now responsible for fire protection, sewer services, parks and recreation and cemeteries makes a lot of sense. Why have several boards and agencies when one can do the job?
  


Vocational education programs deserve funding

 How many times have you heard the refrain, “How can I find a good mechanic around here?”
 Anyone who has lived in Tuolumne or Calaveas county for awhile knows that plenty of well-qualified mechanics are doing business in the Mother Lode, and are happy to tell anyone who asks about their favorite.
    But here’s great news: That list of excellent auto mechanics has just grown by at least a half-dozen.
    Six of Calaveras High School auto shop teacher Chris Sedler’s students just carried away top honors at a Laguna Seca Raceway competition sponsored by the Edelbrock carburetor company.
   

Garden plan for Jamestown mine worth cultivating

 Preposterous, pie in the sky, far-fetched, unrealistic.
    These are but a few of the adjectives that describe to Modesto developer Vince Estell’s vision for the arid, toxic remains of a 1980s open-pit mining operation west of Jamestown.
    These days, with temperatures nudging the century mark and shade in short supply, the 765-acre mine — close to 500 acres of which are owned by Tuolumne County — seems as unlikely site for one of Northern California’s premiere tourist attractions.
   

Local schools prepare for 2010-11 challenges

    More than 11,600 Tuolumne and Calaveras county public school students began classes this week.
    It’s an end-of-summer ritual that dates back generations and decades. It’s a chance to renew friendships, meet new teachers and begin or build on a years-long learning process that, ideally, will lead to careers, accomplishment, and even fame and fortune.
    But the 2010-11 school year also begins with challenges unlike those faced here in the past. They are challenges and could impact the very mission of our schools.
   

Smith leaves record of achievement at Columbia

    Joan Smith, Columbia College’s president, is leaving the school after just four years to become the Yosemite Community College District’s interim chancellor.
    But, as her impressive promotion might evidence, Smith’s tenure here was productive:
   

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