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June primary delivers decisive wins, close races, disappointment

The recent primary election produced some interesting storylines across the board. There were some genuine surprises; several races “too close to call”; and a disappointing vote — from our perspective — on Measure C.

Thank the volunteers who bring us ‘Rope, Ride, Ribbit’

Over the next 10 days, our unique and special part of California is the place to be!

We’ll share in the excitement and spectacle of the Mother Lode Roundup’s parade and rodeo; followed by Sonora’s hosting of Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California cycling race; followed by the popular Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. All of this — family fun activity, sporting events and tradition — will be showcased under sunny skies and warm temperatures. It’s springtime in the foothills!


Support expansion of TOT; Measure C

Union Democrat gets new look, fresh start

Changes to our newspaper, promised six weeks ago in this editor’s column, are about to be realized.


All this week we’ll be rolling out a number of design and format changes, including the addition of new features and expanded leisure content. A re-packaged, free-standing TV section debuts on Wednesday; a new feature section, Sierra Living, appears on Thursday; and you’ll find some added content and enhancements to our popular Weekender arts and leisure section, publishing every Thursday.



Columbia trustees trample Brown Act, First Amendment

Who can say how far Columbia Elementary School District Board members will go in defending their superintendent, John Pendley?

How about attempting to subvert the First Amendment and the state’s Ralph M. Brown Act, which assures Californians’ right to speak openly and participate in public meetings?

Indeed, drawing on a paranoid, scheming mindset and some half-baked legal advice, the board majority Tuesday announced that the public will no longer be allowed to discuss at open meetings the campus’ 2010 sex scandal involving Pendley’s son, Brennan.

This is outrageous.

California’s prison-realignment plan an abysmal failure

California’s prison-realignment plan — Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature’s answer to a court-ordered reduction in the populations of the state’s 33 prisons — is just months old but has already proven to be an abysmal failure.

AB 109 has put the public at risk, diminished the punishment for some serious criminal offenses to mere handslaps, strained local law enforcement resources and gutted the state CDCR’s system of inmate firefighting camps — an important firefighting tool.

Four problems to offset one big, recurring problem: our lawmakers’ inability to balance the state’s budget.

Newspaper changes on the way for our readers

Union Democrat readers will notice a number of changes in coming months to the paper.

We’re adding new content, beefing up some existing sections, redesigning section fronts and re-organizing some material to help readers better navigate through the paper. We’re also cutting newsprint costs by slimming down the width of our pages.

The most apparent change will be the addition April 5 of a feature section dedicated to home improvement, gardening and crafting. Democrat Features Editor Margie Hiser is already designing the “Sierra Living” section, which will resonate with green thumbs, crafters and general readers alike. Among the features: Two gardening columns, plus expert advice on home decorating, repair and maintenance.

Govt., health leaders need to wake up to mental health crisis

If a community is indeed judged by how it treats its weakest members, Tuolumne County government, law enforcement and health care leaders are guilty of making us all look bad.

We are, of course, talking about what has happened to our county’s system of emergency psychiatric care over the past two years, highlighted in a Jan. 20 Union Democrat investigation.

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The Union Democrat print edition

The Union Democrat 09/02/15

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