Union Democrat staff

Corrupt politicians

To the editor:

Recently, I, along with most other state employees, were forced to take a 10 percent pay cut. The elected officials that imposed this program were not included in the pay reduction.

I am a 26-year employee of the Department of Corrections. During my tenure I have watched politicians enact "tough on crime laws" to retain favor with voters. The truth is that they are responsible for the current overcrowding conditions and cost overruns in prisons. We lock up non-violent drug offenders and violate those on parole more than any other state. Every so often these lawmakers throw money at "programs" to appease skeptics. To repeat the same behavior and expect a different outcome is the definition of insanity.

Our state continues to lock up these aforementioned individuals without any behavior change or benefit to society, creating a burden on the taxpayers. When do people say, "Maybe this isn't working. Shouldn't we try something different?"

My opinion is unpopular with the correctional officers union, which is just as corrupt as the Legislature. It is not just ripping off the taxpayers, but also the workers they represent. In the real world, if you can't do your job, you are fired.

Let's fire the arrogant legislators that have caused this mess. I have been a loyal and dedicated state employee for almost three decades. I have performed my job diligently and ethically and will continue to do so. Perhaps the lawmakers that find it necessary for all of us to fix their mistakes should be replaced with people that are willing to do what is right.

Get rid of the corrupt politicians in Sacramento.

Steven Oliveira


Taxpayers punished

To the editor:

Re: AIG. "Retention bonuses" are today's illegitimate stepchildren of the "golden parachutes" that gained popularity in the corporate takeover crazy '80s. The purpose of both was alleged to be to "attract and retain the best and the brightest." Add to that, the "greediest."

Golden parachutes had two additional purposes. First, corporations used them to attempt to deter takeovers by corporate takeover artists. The corporations most vulnerable to takeovers tended to be the poorly managed ones. Second, parachute payments were a form of punishment to be inflicted upon successful corporate takeover artists, by depleting the corporation's treasury. That punishment spilled over on to the corporation's shareholders who were also deprived of the depleted corporate assets.

Sad to say, those who have been punished by the AIG bonus payments are simply we poor taxpayers.

Jerry Cadagan


Barrier proposed

To the editor:

Oh my! Seems that every time there's an auto accident on Highway 108 someone gets killed. Have there been more deaths on Highway 108 this year, or does it just seem that way?

Head-on crashes. Families wiped out. Agony. If you're lucky enough to swerve out of the way of the oncoming traffic and avoid the head-on crash, you could lose your life because you hit a tree.

Something has to be done about this. My wife and I drive up and down 108 several times each day for work and errands, just like the most of you. I suggest a center divide barrier from the Standard signal to the "Tin Man." It will save life and limb. Now this is something I don't mind spending my tax dollars on.

Rick Hoag

Twain Harte

Call for boycott

To the editor:

These people in power keep insisting on pushing the concept of a global economy. The balance of trade figures blow that theory to bits. You (the government) can dump $800 billion down a sinkhole but it's nothing more than a stab in the dark.

We need our jobs back here in the U.S. The big boys have shipped them to cheap labor sources, where they manufacture the stuff we buy here.

What to do? A national boycott of all that stuff. Leave it on the shelves to rot or gather dust. The cheap labor places don't pay taxes either. Deficits anyone?

Larry P. Johnson


Save our schools

To the editor:

Education is the backbone of our future. When government is handing out millions of dollars to help turn around the economy, it is no time to cut back on our schools - teachers, as well as supporting personnel.

I believe our representatives must first of all change the two-thirds' rule, then find a way to save our schools.

Frances Harden


Liquid gold

To the editor:

Do you have a source of liquid gold in your home? That seems to be the opinion of our water supplier. Tuolumne Utilities District intends to raise our monthly water rates from $19.97 to $51.95 over five years. (That's in addition, of course, to the nearly $60 I pay even before I use the first drop of water, just for the right to have a faucet).

Maybe you don't have your calculator ready, here is what mine has figured: It would be an increase of 21 percent - this year, next year, every year! I hope your income is on a similar trajectory. Is it?

I am sure TUD staff members would know how to spend that money, they certainly have a lot of good, almost necessary projects in its drawers that they would like to implement.

But that is only one part of the story. The other part is: Are we able and willing to give them that kind of money? Oh, before you get upset: They do have a sweetener in their plan that they call a "cap." TUD's thinking is that when its demand reaches that "cap," its board must make a decision: Do we really want the money, yes or no?

Can you imagine which way, after many gut-wrenching discussions, the decision will come down? The first public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, 7 p.m. at the TUD Board Room, 18885 Nugget Boulevard, off Tuolumne Road. I hope it will be a very public meeting!

Klaus Kraemer