Union Democrat staff

Compromise defined

To the editor:

Writing letters to the editor is not something that I ordinarily do. But, I feel compelled to address comments made by Bob Wetzel, of Murphys (letter, March 12).

Mr. Wetzel, why do you think that the political party that you endorse is without fault during these tough times? Why do you think that the party that you endorse is always correct and shares the thoughts of "thinking people"? It seems that if you really were a thinking person, with an open mind, you would see that there is enough blame to go around.

Both major parties can share and should share in the problems that face this country. Both are guilty of wasteful spending, but yet we continue to spend like there is no tomorrow. You mention "thinking people," when you yourself have not given much thought to what you wrote.

You write of "the language of compromise." Webster defines "compromise" in a variety of ways. But there is an underlying theme: "to bind by mutual agreement, to adjust or settle by mutual concessions; the process or a result of settlement by mutual concessions."

Do you see the word "mutual"? It takes two parties to arrive at a compromise, just as it takes two people to tango.

Dick Mannini

Twain Harte

Exciting proposal

To the editor:

The proposed Jamestown Mine project outlined in your March 13 article is exciting: turning an environmental disaster into a desirable attraction. Its 450 acres should be enough for all of the proposed uses. A biologist, Dale Keyser, gave a favorable report and mentioned a 40-acre site ideal for botanical parks and water gardens. It would be akin to Canada's Butchart Gardens, a converted cement quarry, which averages one million visitors per year. Thinking bigger, the county could consider moving the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, and integrating it into the project, with its 1000 parking spaces. This would free up city land for sale or use for the proposed legal center and jail.

According to the article, the Board of Supervisors commended the developer, Mr. Estell, for his efforts. It is unclear if they gave him any encouragement. One member said the project is not in synch with "modern times".

The Canadians don't think so - they get $18-$28 a ticket, depending on the season. Butchart Gardens employs up to 550 people, 300 year round, staffing restaurants, shops, etc. A clean industry, environmental salvage, many jobs, increased sales and property taxes - that's all very modern.

I am retired and not involved in the project in any way. I think it could be very exciting for Tuolumne County and hope members of the Board of Supervisors will give it their fullest attention.

Claude Giles


Up in smoke?

To the editor:

In this crisis, a brilliant new plan was hatched: Legalize marijuana and tax it. Wow! Has the California Legislature spent so much, incurred so much debt that this is now a good idea?

What about the War on Drugs? A better joke I do not know. Yes, tons of money could be made on a marijuana tax, but then the legislature would just spend more - tax and spend, tax and spend. And then it would run into another problem and legalize something else? Prostitution, gay marriage? Tsk, tsk, not gay marriage.

People used to live within their means, so why not the State of California? With government jobs on the rise as private sector jobs decline, is this the way to go? Tax ourselves out of everything? Now I must say to all those out there, I don't care if you smoke pot. If it were only a legal thing, I'm right there with you. But for government to once again prey on people's vices, or on the sick, so it can generate revenue is abhorrent. By legalizing marijuana, the government would do the right thing for the wrong reason. Let this not be the gateway to other taxes. Soda, candy, air? Where would there be an end?

We need to make the government officials accountable, not allow them to just give lip service to the throngs of voters. Let's kick 'em out now, recall the Legislature, both Republicans and Democrats alike. Oppression is easy. Freedom is hard.

Tom Griffiths


Burning defended

To the editor:

This is in response to Maureen and James P. Nolan's March 11 letter, "Burn day rules."

There are only a few days a month I am able to burn on my property. Every weekend I call to see if it's a permissive burn day, hoping to get the opportunity to burn unwanted vegetation.

I'm sure the reason why you didn't get results from your complaints was because you can play tennis at various locations within Tuolumne County. However, you chose to play tennis at that particular location.

By law, homeowners must clear a firebreak 30 feet away from their homes, and remove dry vegetation up to 100 feet, or they can be cited by Cal Fire. As we are three years into a drought, even the native vegetation provides fuel for a devastating wildfire.

This homeowner was not only doing what was lawful by burning this highly flammable vegetation; he was making his home and his neighborhood fire safe.

Might I suggest you call to see if it's a permissive burn day prior to playing tennis. Or, perhaps you could offer to help the homeowner's association to provide different measures to clear vegetation so the smoke will not interfere with your leisure activities.

You might, in the spirit of neighborliness and your earnest regard for air quality, offer to have this man's burn piles taken to the green waste recycle depot - at your expense, of course. To analogize, it's like choosing to go to Wal-Mart on the first day of the month and then complain to the management that it's too crowded.

Judd Houck


A vote for Lehrer

To the editor:

Per your new poll question "Who is the most credible and believable TV news journalist/anchor?" You omitted the most credible and believable choice, PBS anchor Jim Lehrer of "The News Hour." As opposed to sound bites, he and his colleagues report in great depth on the issues of the day. I wish to cast my vote for Jim Lehrer. Perhaps you might include a write-in line for future poll questions.

Rebecca Chimenti

Twain Harte

Watchdog needed

To the editor:

Calaveras Community Development Director Brent Harrington said, "We need a strong contract manager who keeps the consultant's feet to the fire." He was referring to Mintner & Associates, hired to prepare the county general plan.

As usual, Harrington is right on. Why is there no oversight now? Where is Mintner's office? What is happening and where? Mintner & Associates are making the rules for the rest of us. Can't we who will have to live with those rules have a peek at the process? Since the "visioning" meetings to create "consensus," I have seen and heard nothing revealing in the news or on the Web. I smell a rat.

Board of Supervisors, please appoint a watchdog with a good nose to keep Mintner honest and see that the consultant earns his fee. Lacking that, create an oversight committee, such as those watching public bond money expenditures. There will be plenty of volunteers, me included, among those who fear that the updated general plan will be a worse nightmare than the existing one.

Bob Mulvany


No on recall

To the editor:

The lies are slowly being uncovered. From fiscal irresponsibility to mismanagement of the Measure M bond to lies about Mari Brabbin.

In the recent auditor's report, the truth discovered was: Tenaya Elementary's inability to provide adequate documentation for another year gives the appearance that potentially fraudulent activities could be occurring. Similar activities are also occurring at Tioga. Could there be a cover-up, thus a recall? The audit also saw not one shred of mismanagement of the Measure M Bond moneys as stated by Students for a Better School District.

Mari Brabbin has received the Milikin Award Winner in Education. Criteria include: exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school; exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession; and an engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community. Imagine what she could accomplish here, if given a chance.

According to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Web site, Ryan Dutton has an emergency 30-day substitute teaching permit good for one year. This authorizes him "to serve as a substitute teacher for not more than 30 days for any one teacher during a school year in grades 12 and below." Ryan not only taught for an entire year on this permit, but received full teacher pay and benefits. Ryan was hired by Tioga principal Sandy Bradley, before Mari Brabbin or this current board was in place. Is this where Ms. Bradley's words "fight on" ring so loud? Was she trying to cover up her own mismanagement?

If you want a unified board that stands up to what is right, then vote "No" on the recall ballot.

Juliane Berger

Don Pedro

(Juliane Berger is the wife of Big Oak Flat-Groveland School District Trustee Bryan Berger).

Wet noodle

To the editor:

I think Liz Bass is correct to point out a sentence in a letter that contained "a preposition without an antecedent." How dare the letter writer do such a thing! Such gall! To send a letter to the Board of Supervisors containing a proposition without an antidepressant is sacrilege. The letter writer should be thrashed with a wet noodle.

Don Stowell