Union Democrat staff

Guns revisited

To the editor:

Recently our country has again been witness to mass murders of innocent men, women and children. I believe it is time once again to revisit the subject of guns in our society. We do not witness mass murders by knife or drive by knifings, these cowardly acts are committed by hand guns and automatic weapons.

Arguments for gun ownership include self defense or for hunting purposes. As to self-defense, I worked for several years in a Bay Area law enforcement agency and do not recall one case where an individual either protected themselves or another from harm because they possessed a gun.

As far as hunters go, I know this will not sit well with many but, I don't see "sport" in shooting an animal with a rifle. Hunt a bear with a knife, now that's sport. So let's have a discussion about solutions to a growing problem. Can we better monitor who possesses guns? Are automatic weapons necessary for private citizens? Is the constitution a living document and the right to bear arms no longer applicable? Reasonable people can disagree but certainly we need to discuss this matter in a mature, educated manner. Lives depend on it.

John Quartarolo


Hollow claims

To the editor:

Mr. Buckley's claims regarding ample timber supply and his endorsement of timber sales on the national forests (Union Democrat, March 25) ring hollow.

Mr. Buckley's group, the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, has worked in concert with other groups to limit supply from both public and private land. CSERC, Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch and others have consistently attempted to delay or stop almost every SPI timber harvest plan that has been submitted in Calaveras and Tuolumne County for the past eight years. In spite of this, Cal Fire and other state agencies have found that SPI's plans have conformed with the state's stringent rules to protect the environment.

Last December, after losing appeals against nine SPI THPs in the California Supreme Court, CSERC and EPFW filed yet another lawsuit to block a separate SPI timber harvest in Tuolumne County. CSERC's actions have also restricted timber supply from California's national forests.

CSERC has supported the unreasonable restriction on U.S. Forest Service timber sales of limiting harvest to trees 12 inches in diameter and smaller. Last year CSERC and others litigated more than 50 percent of Forest Service projects in California. Today, about 400 million board feet in national forest timber sales in California are held up by appeals and litigation, according to the Forest Service.

In the last decade, SPI has provided enough wood products to house nearly 1 million families in addition to providing tax revenue, payroll, wildlife habitat, clean water, and vibrant forests. Meanwhile, Mr. Buckley's efforts have produced a declining supply of forest products, unemployment, and reduced infrastructure needed to maintain healthy forests.

Mike Vroman,

registered professional forester



To the editor:

I am sure you've been awash with letters regarding the current budget woes and the local threats to edcuation. However, I have a unique angle on this, having taught for a dozen years in the area and connected to a few kids.

My sister, Joane Job, was named top educator for Tuolumne County Schools last year. Now she and her Cal-Safe program for pregnant minors faces closure. With everyone clamoring for dollars, I think it imperative we speak for those who need the money the most. The life chances of young mothers and their unborn children should weigh on our conscience and be a priority. Budgeting away from the most vulnerable is unbiblical and socially and fiscally irresponsible. Instead of empowerment and dignity, these students on the margins are often marked with a scarlet A and left to the labyrinth of our expensive courts.

We can do better. Make the cuts elsewhere - not a program like Cal-Safe, which is so close to the heart of the county - or should be.

Jim Micheletti


(Jim Micheletti is a former teacher at Twain Harte Elementary School and Summerville High School).