Union Democrat staff

Enough is enough

To the editor:

Why are we still blaming Bush for everything that is happening now? Obama has been in office since Jan. 20. Every president has things he has to deal with from the former president. When does Obama take responsibility for all the damage he is doing to our country?

One letter bashed some Republicans on their military background. What part of the armed services did Obama serve? It's time for everyone in America to grow up. America is in a lot of serious trouble and it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. More of you need to get on your knees and start praying for this country and our leaders and stop the "blame game." Enough is enough.

Patricia DuFur


Park problems

To the editor:

Closure of the state parks is a mistake. Closure will deprive communities of income they cannot afford to lose. Many have no other source of income.

Closure of the parks exacerbates the state's problems. I would suggest that the state park system is too costly - far too costly. But the problem is in the system itself, not the parks.

The state parks system is a law-enforcement bureaucracy, not a management agency. The two concepts are almost diametrically opposed. Further, it is not effective at law-enforcement. If an emergency occurs in the park, the rangers call for the county sheriff.

Retirement pay alone is absorbing a huge amount of taxpayers' money. The people receiving the retirement pay have not worked for that money (with a few notable exceptions). They accepted their jobs as sinecures. Additionally, their attitudes are incredibly arrogant. In most cases they have alienated the local populations. They are an utter disaster for any private business - but, apparently, not for a bureaucracy.

The solution to the problem is to dismantle the agency, and set up a new management agency. The personnel should have either a degree in business management, or proven credentials of management experience. All services should be contracted out locally. I have collected examples of the problems here at Columbia State Park, including apparent attempts at destroying old buildings. I am very willing to discuss the problem with anyone.

Let's turn the park system into a profitable organization.

Ed Swanzey


Lawmakers questioned

To the editor:

I've been deeply concerned about the current budget crisis in our great state. So I decided to find out what our local state elected representatives were doing about it.

I called State Senator David Cogdill, R-Modesto, (916-651-4014) and Assemblyman Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, (916-319-2025) to find out what their views are on budget cuts to education, state parks and their views on tax increases.

Senator Cogdill's office said he was really concerned about budget cuts to education. He also felt that our state parks are a precious resource and should be preserved however possible. As for new taxes, he felt that everyone should give a little to solve the budget crisis.

He did not take the Republican "No New Taxes" pledge, and lost his leadership position. I thanked his aide for his realistic positions.

I then called Assemblyman Berryhill's office and got a very different response. His aide refused to answer any of my questions. So I left my name and number and I'm still waiting for a return call.

Obviously Mr. Berryhill has some extreme right-wing views he doesn't want his constituents to know about. Does he spend his time working for Big Ag or working for you and I?

Polls show that most Californians support some new taxes on tobacco, alcohol and oil extractions. They also support closing tax loopholes that allow corporations to pay less property and revenue tax then the rest of us.

It's time our representatives step up and make the revenue increases we need to solve the budget problem. Please call them at their phone numbers above and let them know how you feel.

Patrick McGinnis

Twain Harte

War funding

To the editor:

The wars must stop now. I am personally and morally opposed to continued so-called emergency funding HR 2346 proposes. Adding other issues to an otherwise "clean" bill is a political practice that also must stop. Thank you.

Mark Bonar


Sky high debt

To the editor:

The U.S. has a major debt problem. Including future Social Security and Medicare expense, we owe $65 trillion. I'd like to put that number into perspective. Let's say you have a stack of $1,000 bills. A billion would be a stack 800 feet high (think of the Washington Monument). And $1 trillion would be a stack 142 miles high. Total U.S. debt, if laid on its side, would be a stack of $1,000 bills stretching more than a third of the way around the earth.

Elkin Vogt