Union Democrat staff

Angered, appalled

To the editor:

Mr. Obama recently remarked that the United States is not winning the war in Afghanistan. As a parent of two brave young men who have served six deployments between them in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I am angered and appalled by that irresponsible remark.

Each day, Afghan people can now go to work, go to school, and carry on life without Taliban goon squads pulling them off the streets and putting bullets in their head because their beard was too short, an ankle was showing, or a little girl was learning to read. With our military presence, they now have clean water, food, and are creating an infrastructure for their future. Little girls and boys now attend school and the Afghan people are learning food farming techniques that will sustain their families as well as helping them make a living without growing poppies that supply opium.

Mr. Obama's remark is evidence of how out of touch he is with what is really happening there and it only aids the opposition's cause. Remember Jane Fonda? I forgot, he was listening to William Ayers.

If our military leaders were able to do their job instead of having their hands tied behind their backs (conditions set by our Commander-in- chief, as well as by Congress), Afghanistan and Iraq would be much more stable.

Mr. Obama, go ask the Afghan people if we are winning. My sons hear it everyday. But then again Mr. Obama, you'd have to go there and I'm not sure if they have any gyms.

Barb Birks


Neon burns again

To the editor:

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

After almost two years of attempting to replicate the original 1943 neon sign at the Murphys Hotel, it has been done. I am very honored by the outpouring of support from the 250 or so individuals who stood out in the cold and celebrated the lighting of the sign.

A huge roar came from the crowd as the warmth of the neon sign lit the cool Saturday night sky. It was a touching piece of history shared by the community.

Your support for the hotel is greatly appreciated and will always be remembered.

Dorian Faught

Murphys Historic Hotel


Don Pedro support

To the editor:

I'd like to clarify the quote attributed to me in the March 12 Union Democrat: Speaking as a representative of the Big Oak Flat-Groveland School District Teachers' association, I made a statement that had been approved by the association as a whole.

The most important point of the statement didn't get printed - that the Teachers' Association supports Don Pedro High School.

We felt that we needed to show our support for our sister high school in the district, and that, as teachers, it's important for us to stand together on a variety of issues.

Emily Hanchett


Regiment's adventure

To the editor:

Thank you Sonora for supporting Sonora High School's Golden Regiment Band, whose members got to go to San Diego to play in a St. Patrick's Day parade.

They were great kids. It was my first time taking a high school trip and I was very pleased to see that the kids were so good. Also, I want to thank all the parents, the two nurses and other people who do not have kids in the band. They all did a great job ensuring the kids were safe and had fun.

I know it was a lot of work for them, but they also enjoyed themselves. But most of all I want to thank, the band and its director, Mrs. Yvonne Denton, and Mr. Tobin Denton (the drums were awesome).

The band took first place in the parade over all the other school bands, so give Mrs. and Mr. Denton a big hand. They made all of the parents proud to tell people our kids are in the Golden Regiment Band.

Susan McKay


Obscene bonuses

To the editor:

Before I retired from 45 years in the insurance industry, my employer provided bonuses based upon meeting corporate goals, profits, efficiency and customer satisfaction. Meeting these goals also meant acquiring new customers and added profitability.

Now we hear of employee "contracts" providing bonuses if you simply stay with the company. Yet, as was the case with AIG, 11 people who left the company received bonuses of a million dollars or more. Those folks who stayed obtained massive bonuses, even though all measures of the corporate performance pointed to abject failure. The rationale given is that the bonuses assure that valued employees will not leave.

In the current employment climate, are there not highly talented people waiting to fill the vacated positions? These folks would be highly skilled and highly motivated to replace people who had caused a major business to fail.

My bonus payments were earned and highly appreciated and represented a job well done by all the members of the corporate family. If we failed to achieve a bonus in a given year, we were satisfied to go home with the salary we had earned for our basic services to the corporation. Our lifestyles were based upon the salary provided for the job we occupied.

A bonus was a reward for participating in corporate success. It strikes me as obscene for a corporation to pay out bonuses to employees whose performance registers as total failure to the corporation, to the economy in general and to we taxpayers who are having to pay for keeping incompetents employed.

Raymond Malispina


Here for children?

To the editor:

I recently attended a local PTA-board meeting at an elementary school here in Tuolumne County. I went to this meeting to discuss the lunch menu being presented to the students, but much to my surprise, we had a bigger issue to discuss. One was the recent budget cuts that our education has been dealt. Now I understand the board and staff are doing all that they can to stay afloat and "what-not," but are they doing it for themselves or for the kids?

I'm sure everyone already knows about the art programs being cut from our schools over the past few years, but now they are talking about music and PE. They said that without having to pay a PE teacher, they will save money and the regular teachers can teach PE themselves. Sounds logical right? Wrong! When I stood up to discuss this issue, I did indeed mention the food program and urge the importance of physical education.

One teacher responded that they are in-fact trained to teach PE themselves, then stated "it just means less prep time for us!"

That quote shows me that they don't truly care about physical education, they just care about their prep-period and getting to sit in the teacher's lounge without having to deal with children.

Since when is "prep-time" more important than physical education, music, or even art? I've asked the board and superintendent to please reconsider the cut, or at least have teachers that are willing to teach some physical education without worrying about their prep-time. After all, aren't we here for the children?

Amanda Walker


Wonderful experience

To the editor:

On March 10 I attended the grand opening of Don Pedro's new gym. What a wonderful experience it was. So many happy faces. They finally have a place to eat out of the rain, to practice sports and to hold community functions, but it was also sad.

All of the Groveland community was invited to attend. Yet, the only people to attend were our county supervisor, John Gray, and his wife, board members and their spouses and the project manger, Travis Kirk, and his wife.

Where were the new candidates running for the school board? Where were the people who started the recall because they wanted change? I guess this is the kind of change they want, to continue to ignore Don Pedro.

Where was the newspaper? You sent a loud and clear message to the students, staff and parents of Don Pedro, that you have no interest in what happens at their school.

Lillian Cravens, president

Big Oak Flat-Groveland School Board


Meditation on war

To the editor:

As we reach the dubious milestone of our country's seventh year of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and mourn the deaths of nearly 6,000 Americans and an open-ended number of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, I would like to share my own meditation on the war:

What if ...

At a given moment all the soldiers in war stopped advancing, lay down their weapons on the ground by their feet, turned and walked away ... and went home?

And suicide bombers did the same and returned to their families?

And insurgents did the same? Just put down their weapons and walked away?

All that would be left in the dusty streets and hidden alleys would be piles of remnants of man's most lethal imagination.

Then the massive bulldozers could come through and bury the weapons.

What if ...

We buried weapons in mass graves instead of bodies?

For at least a little while no one would kill anyone else and the work of peacemaking could begin.

Peggy Kingman


Go girl

To the editor:

Re: Suzanne Taylor's letter ("Impeach Obama," March 18). You go girl! Glad someone finally had the guts.

P. Diane Crowe