Union Democrat staff

Quality care

To the editor:

Wow. Kathleen Kracy obviously was not on a fact-finding mission when she wrote about Sonora Regional Medical Center "taking over" VNA and Hospice.

Is she aware that Tuolumne County needed to drastically shrink its budget and that health care is rarely managed well by county governments and does better in the private sector? As a 10-year employee of Community Home Care (SRMC), I find it insulting that she would assume "employees to be robotic and unemotional, to do their job, clean up and leave."

I have worked with the highest quality of individuals since I began my career 28 years ago. I have also worked in the past with several VNA employees of the same caliber. It is not an us-versus-them mentality. If the county can no longer support VNA/Hospice, then I welcome SRMC's move to keep a good thing going. And I doubt if any of us will be robotic and unemotional as we do our jobs.

Dee Heglie


Pursuing answers

To the editor:

Re: "Sonora Police Officer Recovering" (June 15).

I am not criticizing Officer Jeff Aitken, as officers make split second decisions under extreme circumstances. However, it may be time for local police agencies to reconsider when to pursue.

As a paramedic for over 15 years and a police officer for over 20 years in the Bay Area, I have driven "Code 3" thousands of times and been involved in numerous high speed pursuits. One resulted in a collision causing serious injury to my partner and another resulted in two suspects being killed, two being injured and four innocent citizens being injured. I speak from experience.

Maybe it is time for local police agencies to consider changing their pursuit policies to come into line with most departments in the state, which only allow pursuits of "violent felons."

Studies have shown that pursuing most reckless drivers fleeing crime scenes causes them to drive more recklessly than if they were not being pursued. Suspects being pursued will most likely abandon their vehicle when they feel that they are no longer being chased (which was the case with the suspect Officer Aitken was chasing). After abandoning the vehicle a perimeter can be set up to possibly capture the suspect. The roads in the foothills have many curves, have single lanes, are of older design and not well maintained. Maybe it is not a good idea to conduct high-speed pursuits for traffic violations/misdemeanors that jeopardize the safety of our officers and citizens. An option would be to train the officers in the Pursuit Intervention Technique (P.I.T.) and, when safe, use that more liberally.

Joe Riva


Planning misery

To the editor:

Congratulations on reporter Sean Janssen's well-done and accurate coverage of the housing element workshop in San Andreas last week. Also, your editorial on reducing the scope and size of government in the same issue was timely and revealing. It is essential that we examine these issues in depth and act appropriately.

If the Legislature would attend to business of state and leave the people free to manage their individual estates, it would avoid a lot of grief for all Californians. The billions being spent on planning, regulating and consultants in this state would then be available for legitimate government purposes like public safety, roads and parks.

State planning of private land does not work. That includes county general plans. At its best it wastes money and time. At its worst it destroys jobs, stifles business and violates property rights. The final result is a failed society with all its dire consequences.

The American Planning Association, smart growth advocates and their allies will disagree, but the misery central planning has brought upon people throughout the world (a la USSR and Cuba) speaks convincingly against attempts by government to plan the lives and business of the people.

There is a better way. It is called freedom. Let's give it another chance.

Bob Mulvany


Be responsible

To the editor:

If you take prescription medications for pain or muscle spasms, you should not drive or operate a motor vehicle. This seems simple but some people forget. Prescription pain medications are sedating and impair the ability to drive. Be responsible and be safe, don't drive.

If you are medicated then be dedicated to your safety and those around you and don't drive. Driving under the influence of prescription medications is still driving under the influence and you will be arrested and taken to jail. Also, don't mix alcohol with your prescription medications. That can be deadly. Be responsible.

Rodger Orman, MD

Pain Management Center,

Mark Twain St, Joseph's Hospital

San Andreas