Union Democrat staff

Four-day week

To the editor:

As Calaveras County careens toward the July 20 budget deadline, time for negotiating personnel cuts is short. There is one option that might ease the pain for all parties. That is the four-day workweek. Subject to the final labor-management agreement it might work like this: County offices and shops would close one day a week and employees would work four nine-hour days. This means a 36-hour work week with only a 10-percent cut in pay in lieu of layoffs.

If you Google "four-day work week" you will find few, if any arguments against it and many obvious advantages. The "greenies" have to love it, too (less commuting and time to grow a vegetable garden). I challenge both the union negotiators and the administration to put the four-day week on the bargaining table. Fewer workers will be laid off, and the county's work will still get done.

Bob Mulvany


God would approve

To the editor:

Re: Gil Fryer's June 9 letter.

I agree with Gil on one point. We have a moral and ethical calling to be wise stewards of this Garden of Eden. But that's where Gil and I run out of common ground.

I believe that the laws the Forest Service follows are a reflection of the ethical will of all the people. Two good examples: The Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960 directed the Forest Service to manage the national forests for timber, range, recreation, water and wildlife in ways balanced and sustainable - forever. I don't know about Gil, but I'm pretty sure God would approve. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 has the stated purpose to "protect all species and the ecosystems upon which they depend." If Gil believes the Bible is God's word, then he know the story of Noah's Ark. God makes it clear that all his creations are worth saving.

Sawmill closings over the past 30 years have been primarily due to automation and corporate buyouts (monopolization). Environmental controls are convenient corporate cover, but look a little closer and you'll see that this charge is ridiculous.

National Forests are the people's forests - nearly 200 million acres of America that we all hold in trust with excellent land management laws and an excellent land management agency to administer those laws.

These lands are managed in ways that my God would approve - for the greatest mix of uses and benefits to the greatest number of Americans in ways which will allow us to pass them to future generations in as good or better condition than we found them. Amen!

Bob Wetzel


Get rid of 'em

To the editor:

I am writing this letter for two reasons: to show my displeasure with both the U.S. Congress and the California Legislature.

Recently we lost three very public individuals. First we lost Ed McMahon. He was a fighter pilot for the Marine Corps during World War II, then served in Korea. He retired as a colonel and later became a television personality.

Then we lost two more entertainers: Farrah Fawcett, a star who found out she had cancer in 2005, underwent chemotherapy, surgery, plus other treatments until she finally lost her battle. And Michael Jackson, a rock star icon. Unfortunately, he was in and out of court during the past years, accused but not convicted of sexual child abuse and other charges.

Guess who Congress honored?

And, if that's not embarrassing enough, along comes the California group, led by the big-business governor and the do-nothing Legislature.

Arnie is against higher taxes, especially if they're levied against oil or beer companies. And the do-nothing legislators, led by Democrat Karen Bass, are too busy pointing fingers to act. They're blaming the other party, but they are really protecting themselves. They receive annual salaries of $116,000, health benefits, free cars, car maintenance, insurance, $175 per-diem payments, free postage, taxpayer-paid travel, six to eight weeks of paid vacation each year, plus numerous other perks.

Here's an idea. Get rid of all incumbents. It will take a few elections, but it's doable. The sad part is that California will be bankrupt long before that happens.

J. A. Cole


Protect small farmers

To the editor:

The proposed "food safety" bill HR 2749 does nothing but grant the U.S. Food and Drug Administration massive new police powers without actual policy oversight. And it would do nothing to solve the actual problem: stinking cesspools which call themselves "modern" factory farms. They are the sole source of whatever filth there is in our food supply. We don't need burdensome new tracing regimes to drive small farmers out of business. We already know exactly where the problem is.

HR 2749 would give some FDA administrator (read self-serving corporate lobbyist) the power to dictate what farming practices must and must not be used nationwide (read enforced GMOs - genetically modified organisms), growth hormones, and weird chemicals in our food. This bill doesn't even identify the specific problems it is designed to solve, yet it prescribes 10-year criminal sentences and $100,000 fines. Please help kill this evil bill by contacting your congressional representatives now. Protect local farmers, organic farming, farmers markets, and your health.

Pete Eakle

Big Oak Flat