Salute Mike Ayala

To the editor:

The recent retirement of California Highway Patrol Lieutenant Mike Ayala should be a true celebration. Instead of promoting to a higher rank within the CHP, Lieutenant Ayala chose to remain in the Sonora office, becoming one, if not the most, tenured lieutenant within the CHP.

The people of Tuolumne County were fortunate to have had Lieutenant Ayala, and I'm confident that the Sonora CHP officers felt much the same way. I just wanted to take the time to wish Lieutenant Ayala a hearty thanks and an enjoyable retirement. And now, the big dog can finally run free.

Betty Zimmerman


Officials failed, again

To the editor:

Our elected officials and the governor have failed, again, to meet the annual deadline to have a budget in place. Arnold Schwarzenegger failed to do what he promised and what, of course, spurred the recall of Gray Davis: provide for an approved budget by June 30.

Why? He and the legislature have had all year. There is now however, one great exception. Failure to pass the budget will now cost Californians an additional $7 billion; an estimate our state government itself provided, bringing our shortfall to an estimated $31 billion. Our governor has failed in his first and foremost duty, to bring the members of our state Legislature together as a team. Our legislators have let all Californians down by failing to use common sense, rather continuing at the behest of their special interests and ensuring they act and vote along party lines.

This behavior and total contempt for the welfare of California is absolutely reprehensible. I therefore am calling for the immediate resignation of and/or recall of the Governor and all state legislators. While this action will be expensive, it will cost far less than the potential financial impact resulting from the governor's and legislators' failure to act and in-fighting.

Additionally, I recommend an immediate emergency action stripping all perks and per-diem payments from legislators. Why reward our politicians for doing nothing?

By failing to take swift and severe action, the message we send to Sacramento is clear. We don't care how our elected officials abuse their power or responsibility.

Stephen R. Lampl

Twain Harte

Celebrity hype

To the editor:

Why is it that whenever a celebrity dies, the media decides to focus 24-hour news coverage to them? How many people know about Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking nine British Embassy workers hostage or the horrible drought in India?

Yes, these celebrities have entertained them, and yes, it's sad that somebody died, but these people didn't save anybody's life. They didn't do anything heroic. They didn't fix anything. They just distracted us from our sad lives for a little bit, and now that they're dead, the corporate media gets to jump all over it. Should we be grieving this much about these people? Why don't we turn off the TV and spend time with the people that really matter in our lives, the people we know and love?

Alex Phillips


Here's a challenge

To the editor:

Today I watched a sheriff's deputy watch a truck run a red light at Highway 108 and South Washington Street and do nothing about it. I am sick and tired of selfish actions like this that endanger everyone at that intersection. I have seen many instances of safety violations occur in front of different law enforcement departments and yet they do nothing.

Therefore, I am challenging all law enforcement in this county to start enforcing traffic violations such as running red lights or stop signs, passing illegally, not using turn signals, etc. I am also challenging all the other drivers in Tuolumne County to please slow down and stop when the light turns yellow to red, just like in driver's education. Make a complete stop at stop signs, use your turn signal, and yield, not merge, at the end of Stockton Road.

Clarice Shoyle