Giving thanks

To the editor:

Thank goodness for snow maggots. There aren't any. There also

aren't magic genies taking away what we throw away. We have garbage

men, who cannot provide service in winter like summer. In mountainous

Sonora, garbage men aren't robotic arms coming out of trucks like

Transformers, lifting hundreds of pounds off flat land daily. They are

husbands and fathers keeping neighborhoods clean.

Consumers have power, but unless we recognize the waste of our

consumption, we won't escape a garbage crisis. It has to go somewhere

and hauled somehow. Though we think about garbage about as long as it

takes to toss Kleenex away, it doesn't just disappear. It takes manual

labor working in freezing weather, while we stay warm by the fire, and

innovative ways of keeping garbage at a minimum - such as composting,

recycling and re-using, to keep our streets pollution-free.

Tuolumne County's recycling program is at best limited and costly,

but nothing worth something comes easy. Patience, diligence and the

belief that one person really makes a difference is key. After all, the

ocean isn't one drop of water alone- - it is a body of water. And a

community is a body of people who depend upon each other and our public

servants, such as garbage men. Giving thanks should be year-round, by

maintaining a healthy environment for the planet we live on and

appreciating more what we take for granted.

Cristina Long, Sonora

Protecting youth?

To the Editor,

In an article from the Dec. 12 Union Democrat entitled "Juvenile

lockup needed ... " Shirlee Juhl, Tuolumne County's chief probation

officer, sounds the alarm for the construction of a "juvenile detention

facility" in our county. Supposedly this facility is needed to keep our

criminal youth from being sent to other counties for incarceration,

where they are negatively influenced by gang elements. As a solution to

the supposed problem, however, this proposal is a failure.

It is stated in the story that the facility would be built with 30

beds, currently more than necessary to meet Tuolumne County's needs.

How would these beds be filled until these supposed future needs

materialize? They would be filled with juveniles from other counties,

according to the article.

The only assurance we receive that our youths would not be exposed

to gang activity via the youths being transported in from other

counties, is the pallid hope of Ms. Juhl that only youths from other

"foothill counties" would fill these beds. What assurance do we receive

that this would be the case, or that the youths from other foothill

counties who would be incarcerated here are not involved in gang

activity? None.

It seems to me that constructing a juvenile detention facility for

the reason of protecting our criminal youth from gangland influence,

while not offering any reasonable assurance that the facility will

accomplish its stated objective, would make that proposed facility a

waste of taxpayer money.

Shane Proctor, Sonora

Bad business practice

To the Editor:

Has it struck anyone odd that, a few years ago, at the urging of

credit card lobbyists, our bipartisan Congress revamped laws so private

citizens couldn't use bankruptcy to dump debt they had incurred? Now

Senate Republicans are advocating that GM file bankruptcy in order to

do just that.

Three Republican Senators - McConnell, R-Ky., Corker, R-Tenn.,

Shelby, R-Ala. - all advocate that GM cut wages, benefits and pensions.

or use bankruptcy to do it. Under their goal, to drop manufacturing

wages to a lower level, workers and pensioners lose.

Last month the Bush administration urged a bipartisan vote to pass

the bailout as fast as possible, and it was done. Paulson then cherry

picked firms to be saved.

Lehman Brother was allowed to fail - no restrictions on CEOs,

golden parachutes, wages or bonuses. No Republicans screaming wages and

benefits were too high. Wall Street firms, Freddie, Fannie, and banks,

all failing due to bad business practices.

No conditions from Republicans when TARP funds were passed out.

After years in Congress, no senator wants to lose pensions or medical,

but they can't balance our budget. Bad business practice! I want my

children and grandchildren to have pension and medical benefits, and

I'll bet we all do.

Pensions have gone to 401Ks, and hows that working? Do your working

children have medical? City, county, state and federal workers are the

only ones with pensions and medical any longer.

Will these same Republican Senators demand wages to compete with

Mexico next? When the GM thing is done, I'll bet GM workers can't buy

cars they built with the new, lower wage rate.

Dennis Del Corno, Sonora