Union Democrat staff

Last on the list

To the editor:

Your (Web site) poll results on the most effective 20th century president are hilarious.

Reagan? His top accomplishments are his "aw shucks" smile, his trillion dollar giveaway to the banks and S&Ls, followed by his awarding citizenship to millions of illegal aliens. Add to that the countless homeless mental cases wandering our cities because he wanted to save some money and you have his legacy.

Thanks to a dishonorable turncoat in his administration, Oliver North, he avoided impeachment. He comes in last on my list.

William Bergmann


Raised to spend

To the editor:

So the end result of the bailouts is to get people to spend money, right? The bank created interesting ways of financing. Mortgage companies, builders and real estate agents pushed these great deals, where no proof of citizenship or even income was required to put you in a house.

Idiots bought into the idea of a $500,000 house for $900 a month - for a while. Now it all falls apart and the middle class is going to foot the bill. And throw in some gasoline gouging too.

Now the plan is to throw more money at the banks when they refuse to account for what they've already gotten. Hey government, throw that money at the people directly! Americans are raised to spend rather than save. They will go to Circuit City, Mervyn's, GM and all sorts of other places and spend.

I know I can give you an accounting, because I have to balance my checkbook or I'll be out on the street.

Robert Hertz


Alternatives sought

To the editor:

The Justice Center's projected costs are so far beyond what this poor county's population can support, and we don't need another multi-million dollar mistake.

I understand that some people are reluctant to move the county seat to Jamestown to build the Justice Center at the mine site. But I don't understand the hogwash about no infrastructure and the Jamestown Sanitation District being at capacity as deterrents. Does that mean the proposed recreational developments don't need the infrastructure and the Jamestown Sanitary District doesn't want to grow?

It is sounding like any excuse can be used to favor the Old Wards Ferry Road site.

Try this alternative: The Mother Lode Fairgrounds needs more parking and space, so move it to the mine site. It will blend with the recreational proposal. Build the new jail at the current fairgrounds, which has close proximity to the courts.

Could the old jail be used for the Juvenile Detention Center? The Francisco Building is being studied for a $2 million remodel. It's across the street from the original court house, so why not make it expanded court facilities?

Downtown Sonora won't lose the justice support businesses and the businesses won't have to bear the cost of relocating. Tuolumne County has property. Let's get creative and use it. Let's hear other suggestions. We can't give in this easily.

On another note: The landfill capping is finishing up and the trucks have taken their toll on Campo Seco Road. Can we hope that this road can be resurfaced this spring as reward for the beating it has taken?

Ed Ellefsen


One choice

To the editor,

Corrupt greed, scams on home buyers, interest rates, Realtors, banks and all who partook of their flexible rate nothing down, should be tried.

Look at rentals and land - Realtors set those prices so they can have 20 percent or more from sales.

Make cars that go more miles on a gallon of gas. Now they want to raise gas taxes in Washington to 50 to 60 cents a gallon - so as to have more revenue for roads. What did they do with what they had? Accountability in all departments is needed.

They want to put tracking devices on your cars so they can monitor how far you drive to tax you for miles you drive. Talk about freedom. Computer chips in TVs and cars so they can take control of us when they are ready. They already can listen in or see what we do if they want to.

Bailouts should go to pay back money borrowed from Social Security. Fix what worked for centuries, so you and your children will have retirements.

Global warming! Think about it, every time they send a missile or space ship through ozones to outer space they tear a hole in the ozone. Each year getting hotter and hotter.

Explore the universe burn up earth and gardens. HDTV: one broadcast signal, a monopoly, no freedom of choice, maybe computer chips in new TVs. One satellite equals control. Euro dollars watch out.

When antichrist comes, one choice, Jesus and eternal life, or hell. We all have to die, I chose Jesus.

Barbara Melchor


Case for 3-50

To the editor:

I see people complaining about 3 percent at 50 retirement plans for public safety officers.

There's good reason why these plans have been adopted by many government agencies. Law enforcement officers and firefighters, by the nature of their jobs, have relatively short careers compared to other professions. Public safety is a high-stress job, requiring strength, physical agility and coordination to perform the duties in a safe and effective manner. A lot of people can't go many years past their fiftieth birthday and still climb a two story ladder, run a city block, drag a fire hose up a hill, go hand to hand with a fighting subject, or safely drive a motor vehicle at the speeds necessary to do the job.

Most people retiring at 65 have their house paid for and qualify for Medicare, but many public safety officers do not have their work-related health insurance follow them after retirement. They must purchase private insurance until old enough for Medicare. Many still have payments not common to older retirees.

If you think a 3 percent at 50 plan is not affordable, just see what the cost of workers comp and lawsuits will cost if these guys are required to work years beyond their skills and ability. These plans are also bargained into a wage and benefit contract, so I guess a choice could be made whether to pay a higher wage now and a lower pension later, or whether it is better to put the money into a pension account where it accrues interest before being paid to the recipient.

Maybe there's a better way, but I can't think of one right now.

Dave Bird