Union Democrat staff

Thanks, firefighters

To the editor:

I would like to express my gratitude to the great fire crews that were at the house fire at Parrotts Ferry Road and Valparaiso in Columbia on Aug. 10. I watched them work so fast on the very dangerous rocks in the area of the burning structure. I must say that I was so thankful that no damage was done to the adjacent properties. My home is just a short distance from the burn area.

I pray for my neighbors in their time of loss: May God Bless You and give you strength. Carry on, and thank you God for watching over the great fire crews.

Anna DeRouen


Let's be fair

To the editor:

Is it fair to ask government employees to take days off, without pay, while department heads and politicians continue to receive full compensation? Wouldn't it be appropriate for them to take a comparable cut in income? Why should working class people always take the hit?

Because much of the problem is due to the politicians in Sacramento, they should not receive their pay while they fail to pass a budget. We passed an initiative to prevent pay increases while the state is having financial difficulty - maybe we need more initiatives to control our elected representatives.

It's time for the people to take control. Congress, the president and the military receive free health care, so why shouldn't all residents? A majority of the voters would like to have single-payer health care, so why do the majority of our representatives think we don't need it?

Do you suppose huge campaign contributions from drug companies and insurance companies have anything to do with it?

Compared to average wage earners, the wealthiest people in the country now have a disproportionately larger income than just a few years ago. Remember the graduated income tax, where the highest tax bracket was 92 percent? Maybe we should go back to that system, so the elite, those who can afford it, would have to pay more tax. At least until the economy recovers.

Howard Zinn in his book, "The Peoples History of the United States," explains how wealthy politicians (the elite) have taken advantage of the common man ever since the Europeans first invaded America. Everyone should read this book - it is a very good read!

Jerry Fueslein


Gas offered

To the editor:

In response to Aileen Johnston, regarding "Busybodies" (letters, Aug. 12):

I am not a member of the group referred to by you as "busybodies." Citizens For Responsible Growth is exercising its Constitutional rights.

I believe that you, Ms. Johnston, should move to Modesto, where you state you must go to shop. Since smog and traffic and long lines appeal to you, I wonder what keeps you here? Please don't stay here and contribute to the ruination of our uniqueness.

I will pay for one tank of gas for you if you should decide to relocate permanently to Modesto in the near future. It will be enough gas for a one-way trip, but please don't expect me to buy another tankful when you decide to return to Tuolumne County to "get away from it all."

C J Deming


Basic questions

To the editor:

I recently read an article that mentioned how stupid Americans are and I thought I would ask readers of The Union Democrat if they could answer some of the questions on a recent survey of these stupid Americans:

• Can you name at least one branch of our government?

• Can you explain what the Bill of Rights is?

• Do you know who America fought in the Revolutionary War?

• Do you know what is in Roe vs. Wade?

• Do you know what the Food and Drug Administration does?

• How many senators does each state have?

• Can you name your congressman or congresswoman?

• What is the name of our governor's wife?

• If you are on Medicare, did you know that this is basically a government-run health care program that does an excellent job?

My own questions for you are the following: Can you name even one person on the United States Supreme Court? And did your mother or father ever teach you that it is not polite to yell and scream and lynch people in effigy at meetings?

Therese Van Tuyl


Crisis time

To the editor:

The State of California is making the schools spend much $$$ on new textbooks (millions statewide) - that we don't need (a new English Language Arts Adoption, for instance). Yet we had to lay-off teachers and eliminate class-size reduction.

Not a lot of learning is going to be "a goin' on" in most of California this year! Thank heavens for the devoted, talented and innovative school districts, families and businesses in Tuolumne County. The people of the Mother Lode have always come together during times of crisis. This is a crisis time for our schools! With continued community involvement and support, maybe many of our wonderful school programs will continue, despite the huge class sizes and lack of state funding.

Sue Bondurant