Union Democrat staff

Privatize Columbia

To the editor:

I enjoy Columbia State Historic Park, especially the Fallon House Theater and the fiddle contests. My Wife, Kyran, used to manage the theater years ago.

However, the state has not been a responsible landlord. It has problems maintaining the historic buildings and the lessees can't invest in the improvements due to their short-term concession contracts. In addition, there are issues in the operation of the park due to the crushing state bureaucracy.

Contrast this with the historic town of Murphys, where the buildings are privately owned and the community is a wonderful success without bureaucrats or taxes.

Columbia Park is unique, however, and the future would be much brighter if it were privately owned with CC&Rs for historical preservation and a property owners association. This privatization model possibly could work for other state ventures, such as county fairs etc.

While we slept, over the years, the state has created a bloated bureaucracy with a built-in lobby designed to overcome reasonable efforts at reform. It did the same thing to public education.

The only reason the state would close Columbia would be to teach the voters a lesson - not to oppose its continued expansion and plunder of the taxpayer. The lesson of Prop 1A is that the taxpayer can overcome the government spending lobbies, this in spite of wide spread public deception.

Perhaps it is time for us to wake up and use reason and good will to solve community problems - not bureaucrats and politicians.

Albert J. Segalla


Wake up America

To the editor:

For all those folks that feel Israel is being unfair in their dealings with shared-state existence; is it at all possible to see things through the eyes of the truly afflicted?

When the terrorist attacks were felt around this nation, on Sept. 11, 2001, all of America was up in arms and ready to kick some major butt.

When terrorist attacks take place against Israelis, and they retaliate, many Americans condemn their actions. Why is this? Tons of Muslims and Islamists, in the Eastern regions, have made it clear that they intend to annihilate Israel, due to their beliefs and history. The same factions threatened the U.S. with the same fate. (As well as any others that don't agree with their doctrine, per Koran).

Is it any wonder that Israel will no longer talk of sharing existence with such a threat? Hamas and others have been killing Israelis for a long, long time. Israel, as a state, held back any major retaliatory action for years.

America would never have stood for such a thrashing. We face the exact same threat against life and liberty as Israel, from the same like-minded groups. So why should there be any question of whether our country should stand behind/with Israel, in their battle of defense against a tyrannical terrorist faction, such as they and we face? Obviously, I speak of the extremist regimes, and not a religion, as the basis for this point. But I am tired of Americans chastising Israel for acting the exact same way as we homeland-folks would, if we were faced with the same threat and loss as them.

Wake up America. We're still on the list.

Wally George


Kennedy Meadows

To the editor:

The disposition of the Kennedy Meadows PG&E land, along with many of the other PG&E parcels in California, should be a "no brainer." I don't like that term, but it seems to fit here. These lands were withdrawn from the public domain (federal management), ostensibly for hydroelectric power purposes. The lands were never used for the purposes for which they were claimed. Ergo, they should simply revert back to federal management.

Tuolumne County has enough problems on its plate and doesn't need another responsibility. Its land management experience with landfills and mines doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, either. PG&E didn't do much "management" of this parcel, either. The previous owner of the pack station must have been trying to get in the Guinness Book for "Largest Manure Pile on a River Bank".

I'm sure that the present owners of the pack station will continue doing a great job. Their rebuilding of their main building after the fire was amazing and very well done. If there is a fear that U.S. Forest Service oversight of their operations will be a burden, I suggest that a five-acre parcel be split out from the rest and be under county (or whatever) ownership. The rest of the acreage needs to go back to the public domain.

Paul Desrosiers


Problem solved

To the editor:

Profits at 10 of the nation's largest private health insurance corporations rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007 - and you ask where we'll get the money to pay for health care reform? It must come from the unreasonably gargantuan profit and salaries paid to investors and management. Problem solved.

Bob Wetzel