Union Democrat staff

Save the music

To the editor:

We are hearing that music programs in the schools are being cut or eliminated. I understand that money is very tight. However, music is what keeps lots of kids in high school. I know very difficult decisions are being made, but remember that the arts enrich our lives and have many beneficial consequences for students.

My children and their friends participated in these programs throughout their schooling at Soulsbyville School and Sonora High School. Much of what made school interesting and rewarding for them came from music participation. School boards, please do what you can to keep these programs intact for the children in our community.

Dawn Leibold


Pet responsibilities

To the editor:

Recently I was walking with my leashed pup near my home when a large, unleashed dog stormed across the street and attacked her. I yelled. The owner, who was not with his dog, finally appeared and hauled his animal home. The attacking dog was huge - my dog is a small pup - and it took her some time to recover before we could head for home, both of us quite shaken.

Several years ago my husband was attacked, also by an unleashed dog. The result was six weeks of hospitilization due to concussion and several broken bones. Six months of recovery were required.

Tuolumne County has laws requiring that all dogs be kenneled and/or leashed. This is important where there are not only streets but airports, such as here at Pine Mountain Lake A number of folks walk their dogs at our airport, but, sad to say, not all of them carry equipment for picking up their pets' droppings. I assume there is a law about this. It is an ugly, dangerous situation. The parvovirus is spread through contact with feces, and can survive on clothing, food, floors, and shoes for up to five months, depending on conditions. It can be picked up by insects that like to visit dog droppings, such as flies, who migrate. Not a pretty picture, is it?

And so there are two issues to address: leashing our dogs on walks and cleaning up their droppings. I suggest we do both for the sake of our pets as well as ourselves.

Mary E. Kelly


Park closures

To the editor:

I am absolutely appalled by the governor's recommendation of closing, once again, a long list of California's parks. These parks bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to local economies each year. And what about respect and consideration to all the small businesses that rely on these tourist dollars for survival? That has a direct impact on families that reside in these local areas, as well.

Why don't we just go ahead and close Yosemite, Pinecrest, Dodge Ridge, and Kennedy Meadows, while we're at it? Or how about this: Why don't we just close-down the governor's office? Don't they cost us as much or more to continue operating? California is a tourist state. If you close off the tourist attractions, you close off the state's most precious resource.

Sorry, I guess I'm just a little defensive when it comes to some of my own favorite places to hang-out.

Wally George


Mainstream Americans

To the editor:

Recently I met an acquaintance who mentioned she had seen a picture of my wife and I on the front page of The Democrat, proudly participating in the tea party held in Courthouse Square. Not surprisingly, she said she was required to take the opposing position, insinuating it was just something she and her friends had to do in order to level the playing field with conservative ideologues.

Because I wanted to enjoy my morning, I did not engage her in a debate over the issue. Had I engaged her in debate my first comment would have been to question her rather elitist remark labeling me and other conservatives as ideologues. What facts did she have to base her conclusion? But then, of course, the answer would have been quite simple; liberals don't deal in facts, they try to diminish and marginalize anybody who does not subscribe to their world view.

Patriots who subscribe to conservative principles are mainstream Americans. Having conservative values does not make us ideologues who rigidly "cling to our guns and Bibles" as so disparagingly put by candidate Obama during the 2008 campaign. Conservative thought is based on values established by our forefathers and immortalized by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We believe in God, we believe in the rule of law, we believe in limited government, we believe in free enterprise, we believe in individual rights, and we believe that all men and women are created equal.

Do these beliefs make us ideologues? I think not. General George S. Patton once said; "If we are all thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." Are we all to think in lock step with an administration that regularly operates outside the constitution while burdening taxpayers with trillions in debt that can only be repaid with ruinous inflation and higher taxes? That is where our country is headed? Is that the direction we want to go? God forbid.

David Wynne