Union Democrat staff

Dumbing down

To the editor:

The recently announced reduction in library hours does not speak well for our county's perceived priorities. While I understand that cutting county expenditures is necessary, significantly reducing library service is a step that should give us pause. Even a small library is, amazingly, a depository of the accumulated wisdom and experience of humankind, a record of science, reason, faith and all matters of the heart and mind.

Consider the impacts. Eliminating Fridays plus Saturday mornings at the main branch - prime times for students and others - directly affects the education of our children and the growth of an aware citizenry. Reducing library hours is to dumb down the community, and I do not think Tuolumne County needs dumbing down.

Richard Close


Morally corrupt

To the editor:

Prescribed burning is at best a highly dubious practice. And at worst, well just look at the Big Meadow debacle.

For 17 years, I've watched the air quality here become progressively worse since the forest bureaucrats erroneously concluded that the quality of the forest should take precedent over the quality of the air, and thus the quality of life of Tuolumne County residents. Not only is this thinking morally corrupt, but it also is in violation of both state and federal air quality standards.

Prescribed burns release thousands of tons of smoke particulates into the air. What happens if you or I were to fire up a burn pile on our property at this time of year? First, we'd be arrested for starting a fire during fire season, then we'd be cited for polluting the air. Yet somehow the forest bureaucrats continue to do this with apparent impunity on a staggeringly massive scale.

Historically, some of the largest and worst fires in the nation started out as prescribed burns. Our local Foresta Big Meadow Fire is another prime example: A planned 91-acre prescribed burn grew to a whopping 7,425 acres, creating serious air pollution as usual, as well as a massive cost problem. Over a thousand firefighters plus vast quantities of major equipment resulted in a staggering cost of over $15 million, which the taxpayers can ill afford at this time.

Can we the people somehow achieve "containment" on the discredited policies of the prescribed fire burning bureaucrats who found themselves once again trying to achieve containment on a major forest fire which they should have never started in the first place?

Richard Dagley

retired environmental health specialist


Afghan strategy

To the editor:

Regardless of the back door politics that took place during the Russia-Afghan war in the 1980s, the bottom line is that Russia got its butt kicked, royally, by trying to fight guerrilla warfare tactics.

The Afghans excelled at these tactics and now, with the Taliban and Al Qaida factions training and supplying their guerrillas, they are the best in the world. If America truly expects to dominate militarily, then we must go in with the mindset of fighting our own war.

Afghans have defeated every foe they've been challenged by to date because they have manipulated their opponents into fighting their own tactical battles. America will lose if we continue to deploy our resources with this mindset.

We must set aside worries of civilian casualties and concentrate on the task at hand: Take the power away from the insurgents with might. Use air and artillery on the targets, then hit with ground troop muscle to clean-up and secure. Yes, there will be deaths. This is war, people.

And, it's time Americans got back behind its troops. If you're not, it's called treason. Go back and read your history books. Citizens who fought against their military's objectives were considered traitors. There's nothing wrong with disagreeing, just keep it to yourselves.

Bottom line: Act now with impunity or lose the war.

Wally George


Slow down

To the editor:

If you drive on Soulsbyville Road, please slow down.

There are several spots that are critical to driving the posted speed limit of 25 mph. Now that school has started, most people are observing the speed limit. However as soon as the sun goes down, it is as if the speed limit no longer in exists. And Just because it is dark outside, does not mean we, as Soulsbyville Road

There are many accidents on Soulsbyville Road, and a good portion of those are hit and run, bouncing off the embankments, into the ditches, back onto the pavement again, thumping and crunching roadsigns and poles. I hear more get away, than those that don't get away.

Slow down on Soulsbyville Road. It is not a freeway, it is a quiet residential area with children and animals, people walking - or sitting in their yard, when a car decides to land in it.

Please, if you have cruise control, use it. Set it at 25 mph. If you don't have cruise control, just slow down, way down. Some mistakes in life cannot be taken back. You can't take back an accident with a fatality. You can't take back a bullet. You just can't. It is forever. Please slow down on Soulsbyville Road.

Diane T. Serrano


Shout down liberals

To the editor:

Re: Marilyn Pinnow's Aug. 28 letter ("Shout Down Crowds").

Ms. Pinnow seems to think all opposition to Obama's compulsive spending problem can be silenced by alleging that valid concerns over the national debt are based in fear and racism. She should be informed that racism is a serious allegation (made several times, with validity, against her president) and shouldn't be used lightly.

Second, I am a young woman who voted for the "multi-racial gentleman," as Ms. Pinnow referred to him when implying that all opposed to "Obamacare" are these stereotypical old, fat, fearful, white-haired, redneck racists.

My skin may be the wrong tone for her, and my libertarian views troubling, but I too oppose what this man is proposing and I will not tolerate her racially-tinged attack against these Americans. Despite my being the offspring an old, fat conservative guy with white skin and hair, I have a right to participate in the democratic process.

Her implication that elderly white men (who fought for her right to speak out) have less of a moral right to be a part of the democratic process is deeply troubling, considering their experience, wisdom and hard work to make this nation great. Yes, old people are fearful, and with good reason.

Therefore, I submit that the "shout down crowds" consist of "shout down liberals" like Ms. Pinnow, who will stop at nothing to silence dissent and the majority of the American people who oppose "Obamacare" at this juncture, and worse, to promote racial hatred and age discrimination to accomplish that.

Cindy Cromwell