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Bravos to our veterans, voters, schools and Giants

    It’s time for the post-election edition of Bravos & Barbs, The Union Democrat’s occasional compendium of the good, the bad and, sometimes, the ugly in the Mother Lode.
    As usual, far more of our residents deserve bravos than we have the time or space to list. You heroes and Samaritans know who you are, as do your friends, neighbors — which probably means a lot more than recognition in this space.
    Our barbs found a few targets among the unworthy, but others — they know who they are, and so do what friends they have left — escaped their notice. But their time will come.
   

Reasons for optimism in Washington, Sacramento

    What if they threw a revolution and nobody came?
 Well, voters threw one across the nation, and California didn’t come.
 While anti-incumbent, anti-Democratic fever raged to the east, Golden State voters returned sitting politicians to office by the score — and most were Democrats.
 

Inspiring library mural a community success story

    The Tuolumne County Library has been the focus of controversy lately, as a since-removed political display in the entryway triggered a partisan dustup.
    But turn the corner and there’s something all political parties can agree on: the refurbished children’s library, spectacularly highlighted by artist Tracy Knopf’s wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor mural.
   

Homeless issue needs a community-wide solution

    Some would be tempted to dismiss last week’s Sonora Planning Commission rejection of a proposed winter-weather homeless shelter for men at the Red Church Parish Hall as short-sighted, insensitive and parochial.
    Others might see the commission’s unanimous decision as the final word on the community’s homeless problem. And a few might be relieved, thinking that this uncomfortable, difficult issue won’t be aired again in public any time soon.
   

Housing ordinance concessions make sense

    The Board of Supervisors has reached a balanced and needed compromise with its amendments to Tuolumne County’s affordable housing rules.
    To their credit, supervisors earlier this month resisted building industry pleas to totally scrap the two-year-old inclusionary ordinance or put it on indefinite hold. As originally adopted, the law requires developers of 10 or more lots to make 10 percent of the homes they build affordable by families earning the county’s median income or less.
   

Prop 23 over-reaches – it should be voted down

    Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown, as anyone who has heard their gubernatorial debates can attest, agree on very little.
 So it is telling that they have this in common: Both will vote against Proposition 23, which would suspend a 2006 law (AB 32) aimed at reducing California greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels within a decade.
    Assembly Bill 32 is a major concern to many Californians. After implementation, it’s expected to cause an increase in energy costs for consumers and businesses.
  

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.
   


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