Union Democrat staff

Community spirit

To the editor:

I was thrilled when my VP sent out a call to action over our workplace e-mail, soliciting volunteers to stand out in front of upper SaveMart on a Saturday for a food drive to benefit the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency's food bank. I was even more thrilled when the spots needed filled within minutes.

The health of a community can be measured against many factors, but its maturity and awareness can be demonstrated by a mere few simple factors:

• When a community need is announced - be it after a home fire or when local food bank inventories are dangerously low - people are quick to check their calendars and to see if they can participate. This really speaks to our community and its sense of responsibility.

• The quality and quantity of donations in relation to the size of our population attests to the community's socio-economic health.

• Even more importantly, in my opinion, is community spirit. Mother Lode residents have historically banded together with a rich sense of community spirit that helps those in need year round - without regard to situation or origin of need.

I have a good job, and have for many years now. There was one point, however, where my family knew hunger quite literally. The ATCAA food bank was there for me. I have since given countless hours in return.

This is another reason I recently signed up with ATCAA's Mentoring Works program. Many, like myself, do these things out of gratitude, and out of a sense of responsibility and accountability to our community.

Cryss BlackWolf


Don't listen

To the editor:

As a junior at Tioga High School, I would like your help in the Big Oak Flat-Groveland School Board recall.

You will be getting a mail-in ballot to vote for the new school board members. Please vote yes on recalling the old board members. Please do not let these board members ruin our school district any more than they already have. They don't listen to the public and simply do whatever they want to do (or what our superintendent tells them to do), even if it is not the best for the students.

These board members voted to make the recall as late as they possibly could, even though the county election officer said to have it on an earlier date because it might not be as expensive. They are trying to stay in their seats longer, so that they can use their power to do even more wrong. If they were so sure they did everything right, then they shouldn't have a problem setting an election date sooner.

But they had to go against the request of the students, staff and public once again. So please vote to get rid of this current school board. Check yes, that they should be recalled. Thank you.

Sheldon Crouse


No right

To the editor:

I continue to express my opinion on subjects that are in the eyes and ears of Americans.

Once again: "We have no more God-given right to poke our nose into the affairs of Iraq and Afghanistan than they have doing the same thing here in the United States. Our troops should be here - yes, at home - to maintain order in a scary time of social unrest.

I say look to the notion of terrorism. I think the invasion of Iraq was in the name of Bush, Cheney and big oil. Mainly big oil.

Larry Johnson


Hope and change?

To the editor:

Nominees for Cabinet positions:

Gov. Bill Richardson, issues with political donations and state contracts awarded to the people who made the donations. Oops.

Nancy Killefer, non-payment of taxes and a tax lien on her home since 2005. Oops.

Sen. Tom Daschle, oops, more taxes not paid and forgot the limo loan from a buddy. Plus the $2 million paid by a law firm, despite not being a lawyer and not being registered as a lobbyist. Oops.

Oh well, Timothy Geithner made it through the process, despite non-payment of taxes ($34,000), no oops here, since he was confirmed.

Then there is William Lynn, the former top lobbyist for Raytheon Corp., who was appointed to the position of deputy defense secretary. Oops: One lobbyist slipped through the no-lobbyist campaign pledge.

I understood the desire for change in Washington, D.C. I just couldn't believe Obama would provide it, with his background in Chicago thugster politics.

Then the Washington Insiders - Hillary Clinton was chosen for Secretary of State and Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colorado, as Secretary of the Interior, Rep. Ray Lahood, R-Illinois, for transportation secretary. And Eric Holder, the new attorney general, is left over from the Clinton administration and is known for his part in the pardon by President Clinton of Marc Rich, after Rich's wife made a campaign donation of unknown size to Clinton.

Hope and change? Are y'all sure this is what you were hoping for? Now I'm hoping for change, too.

Gary Swaffar


Shake off yoke

To the editor:

It is time for our country to shake off the yoke of the health care corporations and their lobbyists. All citizens should join the other industrial nations with universal health care. Contact Congress to support H.R. 676.

Dennis Schneider

Angels Camp