Union Democrat staff

Undue influence

To the editor:

Referring to Teri Murrison's draft letter to the Forest Service regarding roads and trails: She should send her own letter rather than trying to get all of the other supervisors to sign her letter. She is trying to use the clout of her office to unduly influence the Stanislaus National Forest supervisor. Is that what we elect our supervisors to do? Don't they have more important business to attend to?

Individuals, not government entities, are supposed to make comments on the proposed Forest Service plans. As individuals, we should all have the same influence.

We all have different interests and desires in the way the forest is administered. For example, Ms. Murrison appears to want more roads and trails. Many others, such as myself, would like to see most of the illegal trails closed. We would like to be able to find some part of the forest where we could get away from the noise generated by the dirt bikers. They don't need to use every square foot.

As far as wet weather closures are concerned, I have seen what happens to wet roads when 4-wheelers use them

As opposed to Murrison's thoughts, I believe the plan is weighted too heavily in favor of motorized use. So, why should our representatives (the Board of Supervisors) try to determine what is best for us? Let the Forest Service weigh the input from all of us, and hopefully make intelligent decisions.

Let's hope the Forest Service will come up with a reasonable compromise that will protect the resources and allow pleasant recreation for all of us.

Jerry Fueslein



To the editor:

I attended the first of four Tuolumne Utilities District informational meetings regarding its proposed cumulative five-year, 160 percent increase in the "base rate."

The base rate will increase from the current annual amount of $239.64 to $623.37 by July 2012, which is a simple rate increase of 21 percent. That's a total increase of $5.3 million, not including water usage revenue. Astonishingly, little reason was set forth explaining the need for a rate increase. Even with the new five year $5.3 million proposal, the existing annual $5.8 million from residential rates and $713,000 annually in property tax revenues and special assessments, TUD is projecting negative cash flows from operations in years four and five.

Guess what's coming again? The TUD Board has abdicated its fiduciary responsibility, senior management hasn't a clue how to proceed, and our water system has become a dismal financial failure by the Board's inattention and inaction. Come to the May 12 meeting at TUD. The issue will be raised to seek a regulated professional water delivery, operations and management service firm, such as the California Water Service, with consideration to dissolving the current TUD Board structure.

Kent R. Johnson


About Limbaugh

To the editor:

The undersigned offers his reply to letters attacking the veracity of my facts that Limbaugh is not the GOP's best qualified "voice" of that party. First, permit me to add more facts: Rush Limbaugh is thrice married and divorced, contrary to the high bar set by the GOP on morality, compassion and "family values". He is insensitive: Remember his derogatory remarks about black quarterback Donovan McNabb and bi-racial candidate Barack Obama, now the President of the United States in a landslide victory? Remember his malicious gestures ridiculing Michael Fox's uncontrollable muscle spasms caused by Parkinson's disease.

Limbaugh is not Ms. (Sue) Piper's "very patriotic man" (letter, April 9). He has never served his nation in the military nor performed any act of heroism. Let him produce a copy of his military physical examinations stating the defect on his anatomy which disqualified him from being a soldier, sailor or Marine.

Let Limbaugh and his devotees produce credible evidence that disprove my charges. No, Ms. (Laura) Lorang (letter, April 7), I do not "love to hate him." I bear no hatred of the guy, only contempt and disdain for his style of political discourse which has exceeded the eight years of the Bush/Cheney administrations' polarization of our nation.

I have been a loyal liberal since I graduated from Cal in 1940, exercising the same freedom of speech guaranteed by the first amendment that Limbaugh and his minions use 24/7 against the dreaded "unpatriotic liberals."

Ray Mellana


Grief Share

To the editor:

I have just read in the April 8 paper of another fatal accident. My heart goes out to this grieving family (and many others who have lost loved ones). Unfortunately, death and grief are a part of life, but I feel that I have to let people know that there is a nonprofit organization called Grief Share that helps people to heal through their grief. It is a wonderful, loving support group. It is biblically based, but anyone is welcome to come. So, please, for anyone who isn't religious, don't feel that you wouldn't be welcome or that anyone is going to try to "cram religion down your throat." We'll just be praying for God's care and healing comfort for you.

Grief Share is a safe place for anyone who wants to share their feelings, thoughts, questions, or cry or just listen.

I lost my beloved mom (my best friend) over three years ago and thank God I was led to this group! I really believe that I would not be here today if I had not gone through the group sessions.

So, I just want to encourage anyone who has lost a loved one through death to come to the Grief Share group sessions. For more information about times and places you can call Sierra Bible Church or the First Baptist Church or most of our local churches.

Thank you for letting me share this.

Cheri Morton


Missed opportunities

To the editor:

The recent article about Bower Cave helps to make the public aware of the missed opportunities to make this nationally registered landmark accessible to the public.

An addition should be noted that in 1963 the people of California had a chance to acquire the cave through a parks bond which was defeated. Again, an underfunded Forest Service budget prevents access to this national treasure. Caroline Wenger was my father's maternal grandmother.

Though valiant attempts have been made by the family and others to preserve this site, it is time for the public and locals to insist on a plan to gain respectful and truthful historical interpretation, protection and access to this site.

The last time I entered the cave was in the early 1960s, and even then, there was considerable damage from vandalism. To continue neglect and lack of protection does not serve the public interest in its sacredness or its historical value.

Dan Porath

Gardnerville, Nev.

Outrageous treatment

To the editor:

I am deeply disturbed by the recent policies regarding the war. We should have learned from our experience in Vietnam that we can't fight and win a war through politicians.

Two fine soldiers are now on trial for "torture and instilling fear in a group of prisoners." The reason for this "horrible" treatment was to save lives. A few Afghans had been working as interpreters for the commander, and yet were also relaying information to the enemy that resulted in an ambush causing injury to my son, and the deaths of two fine brave soldiers.

Their guilt was confirmed when the commander later, gave them false information and another ambush was arranged by these men. The atrocities that our brave soldiers committed were to put a knee in the prisoner's chest and slap his face. They also fired a shot outside while a prisoner was inside. This is considered torture? I think not!

This "horrible" treatment produced information that prevented another ambush and saved the lives of 13 soldiers that day along with countless others in days to come. Physical examination of these prisoners by an independent unit showed no signs of injury at all. This was all documented by an embedded journalist that reported how these two soldiers saved their men's lives.

But under our new "kinder and gentler" policy set forth by our commander-in-chief, these two decorated combat soldiers are now facing court martial, trial for criminal acts, and possible prison time. I urge you to contact your Congressman and tell them that this treatment of Capt. Roger Hill and those of his platoon is outrageous.

Barb Birks


Loss of Gottschalks

To the editor:

It is a sad time in this economy to lose such a wonderful store as Gottschalks. Kathryn Taro, the manager, and her staff are a great team. Kathryn always promoted fun events for the red hatters and special events that were always a pleasure.

We will miss this fine family of warm and friendly sales people that always made it a pleasure to shop.

The best to you all. You will be greatly missed.

Roberta Ferrari

Twain Harte