Union Democrat staff

Good steward?

To the editor:

Is the local government a good steward of taxpayers' money?

The answer lies in its role in society. Someone told those involved to run the government like a business, so they think their role is to run a business. The fact is they are a nonprofit service organization paid with profits from businesses and people that earn money from private industry, not government industry.

Government does not make anything and does not earn income. It cannot pay off debts with anything other than profits from the private industry.

A bond is a government credit card, not free money. It must be repaid with interest (usually to foreign countries like China.). It can't be used as another avenue for revenue when the taxpayer's can no longer support the government.

The government needs to quit spending money. Thanks for the useless $1.5 million bicycle lane on Mono Way. We're still waiting for stop signs at Woodham Carne-Black Oak Road.

Thanks for not giving Tuolumne General to Kaiser. Now we only have one choice for medical care. We couldn't handle choices and love standing in lines.

Also, thanks for borrowing money to hold vacant land for a new government center when the real estate market is so depressed. And by the way, gold is at $1,000 per ounce, so thanks for closing the Jamestown Mine. We didn't want any gold dust floating around here.

With all the businesses closed downtown in Sonora and Jamestown, I guess Rick the Cobbler will be the only one left to tax!

Tom Birks, Sonora

Football at best

To the editor:

Normally, I don't even watch the "Stupor Bowl." I like football too much. It's not about football. It has too much other garbage in it. It's the playoff games leading up to it that are extraordinary.

But this Cardinal-Steeler game compelled me to write something. From the singing of the National Anthem, which sent goosebumps down my spine, to one of the best games I've ever seen, and Bruce Springsteen in between, this was football at it's best. This is what USA is all about.

Steve Tucker


Get the facts

To the editor:

I would like to urge the citizens of Tuolumne County to wake up and pay attention to some of the manure that we are being spoon fed by our county's officials.

In these trying financial times it appears that our county has not really been affected by the economic downturn that the rest of us are experiencing. One way for the citizens to get the real financial figures for government accounting is to request from any government agency a copy of its consolidated annual financial report.

The annual budget is only an accounting of monies allocated to be spent. It is not the whole story whatsoever of the overall financial picture. A checkbook register if you will.

All government agencies must produce these consolidated reports. Go online and enter any government agency's report and study it. I would suggest requesting a local hard copy.

Public access is required by law. I urge all of you number crunchers in the county to get these reports and educate your neighbors. When we are armed with all of the facts, we can better understand the decisions that our government leaders are making and whether they are good or bad financial decisions.

Elkin Vogt, Jamestown

Jamestown move

To the editor:

Mr. Ellefsen (letter, Jan. 28) thinks it might be a good idea to move the county seat to Jamestown.

The infrastructure problem comes from having to build or purchase buildings in which to house county government. This is not the economy in which to do such things. Finding space to expand the Jamestown Sanitary District would be difficult, as no one wants a sewer in their backyards and building a new sewer plant would involve millions the district doesn't have.

The new justice center is being planned around funding that, to the extent possible, will not come from the county general fund. It is expected to be built out over 20 to 40 years.

The idea of moving the fairgrounds sounds simple, except the fairgrounds belong to the state not the county. Therefore the state would have to purchase land from the county and build a whole new site for the fair.

With a $42 billion deficit, the state is looking for cuts, not expansion of facilities. The building of courts was taken over by the state in 1997. The California Judicial Council decides where and if to build more courthouses.

The courts are not taking over any existing historic buildings, due to the expense of expansion or renovation.

The concept of having all justice-related facilities at the same site makes sense for far too many reasons to list in this letter. Court facilities built at the justice center would be paid for by the Judicial Council, which would either purchase or lease the land it sits on.

Chuck Wagner, Mi-Wuk Village