Union Democrat staff

Shutter the Tuolumne County Jail project

To the Editor:

Tuolumne County's jail conditions are the "worst of any county jail in the state" in the judgements of jail officials statewide, according to remarks by Sheriff Jim Mele at the Oct. 15 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Considerable discussion ensued about funding prospects for the projected criminal justice complex. The Sheriff and his colleagues have prepared a proposal to Sacramento for $20 million for the project; the Board praised and approved it.

As planned, the facility is to cost $35 million. Chances for the grant seem modest to fair, in part because of the Democratic party control of state government. No consensus emerged as to where the additional $15 million would come from. Days later, the California Highway Patrol indicated it was likely to withdraw from the project.

In short, funding for the complex seems problematic at best. It may well be time for county to cut its losses, especially if the grant proposal is rejected.

Instead: renovate the land the county has already bought, for a spacious county park, comparable to Utica Park in Angels Camp, but with a swimming pool. Or an art museum, with studios and workshops for local artists. Or a facility providing office space for local nonprofit organizations. Complete the work over several years; pay-as-you-go, rather than borrow.

Any of these, or a combination, would be a real contribution to the community at large, and would be a fine legacy of our present county leaders as a jail complex would be.

Dick Peterson


Rep. McClintock refuses to tell to the truth

To the Editor:

I'm writing this letter in response to some of the statements made by Tom McClintock at the Town Hall meeting on Nov. 7. At that meeting, because he was either unable or unwilling to tell the truth since two of the statements were grossly inaccurate. The first inaccurate statement he made was that the Republicans did everything in their power to keep the government from being shut down which almost everyone knows is false. All the House had to do was send a clean budget bill to the Senate and the government would not have closed.

The second untrue statement was "We are now watching the destruction of what was the finest health care in the world due to Obamacare." Facts: According to the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators, from 1990 to 2010 (well before Obamacare), although the U.S. spends most per capita across all countries and lacks universal health coverage it falls behind other high-income countries in life expectancy. And according to Business Insiders 36 countries have better health care systems than the U.S. To name just a few, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Chile, Canada, Australia, Morocco and even Saudi Arabia have better health care systems than the U.S.

So to Mr. McClintock, do your research and if you have done your research and know what you are saying is untrue, then you are mistakenly assuming that the people in Tuolumne County are uninformed rustics.

Ann Leonard-Coyle


Jobs are not a liberal or conservative issue

To the Editor:

I have been reading the letters to editor. The Tea Party has been slamming Obamacare; the Democrats have been slamming the Tea Party. While it is great to have an open debate; no one is addressing the real problem here: jobs! I remember when we would send our Congressman to Washington and he would come back with something for his district (usually resulting in jobs). If he didn't, we got someone else who would! I am tired of all the hot air coming from our Congressman and nothing else! I know the knee-jerk reaction is to say the national debt is too high; we have to stop all the deficit spending.

Let me tell you about real deficit spending. A deficit occurs when someone has to make a choice "food or rent?" or "which bill do I pay this month and which gets paid next month, hopefully?"

Then there will be someone saying "What about our grandchildren? I don't want to leave them this debt." I am concerned with the kids that are here right now. If their parents don't have good jobs what kind of life do they have? What kind of future do they have?

Anyway the national debt will be paid off as more and more people get back to work and off government assistance. Right now we need a jumpstart in our economy up here!

Mike Dabkowski

Cedar Ridge