Union Democrat staff

Narrow focus

To the editor:

Your paper recently ran an article concerning a letter sent by the Tuolumne County supervisors to our non-profit organization (the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center). The article correctly noted that the supervisors both praised and criticized CSERC in their letter.

Sadly, neither CSERC nor any other environmental organization that works to protect the environment can worry about whether or not we please Tuolumne County's supervisors. We wouldn't be doing our mission if we did. The board has never been balanced or neutral on conservation matters.

Three of the supervisors are closely aligned with the local logging, mining and development forces of the area, and they repeatedly vote in favor of less environmental protection and more logging and development. A fourth county supervisor just wrote a long guest opinion complaining about overly strict environmental laws and regulations. His views are echoed by the majority on the board, as reflected by their votes and statements made during board sessions.

In the 20 years that CSERC staff has repeatedly testified at county board meetings on water, wildlife, forests, air quality, development, and planning matters, the board has consistently favored development and resource use. That is certainly the right of politicians - to vote for economic interests, rather than environmental concerns. But trying to please such a narrowly focused political body simply can't be a priority for a conservation group when there are so many important environmental problems affecting this local region.

CSERC staff looks forward to the day when a majority of supervisors in both Tuolumne County and Calaveras County do make environmental protection a true priority. Then their criticism or views might earn greater consideration.

John Buckley, executive director

Central Sierra Environmental

Resource Center

Twain Harte

Get over it

To the editor:

I live two houses above the bridge on Phoenix Lake Road and, yes, I am going to have to go around. Who cares? People need to get over it. Just leave 10 minutes earlier than normal. This isn't the big city. Just relax and take your time. Enjoy the scenery.

Christine Lazye


Burden to all

To the editor:

As the number of unemployed persons in our country and county continues to grow with no real end in sight, I would like to know how the people of Tuolumne county plan to pay for the proposed justice center?

Reduced jobs equate to reduced tax revenues. We the people are already on the hook for more than $50 trillion of debt and there isn't much to show for it. The government is already the largest employer in the nation and this arrangement is not sustainable.

This is truly a case of the tail waggin' the dog. Don't be fooled by the notion that the funds for building this pink elephant is coming from the state or the feds, for these two enterprises are financially destitute. Maybe someone from our local government can tell us what is going to change over the next several years that will allow us to pay for this "Taj Majustice."

I think that as things get strained fiscally that we the people need to be diligent in choosing those that will be spending our money. The county has locked into a price for the site it wants to build on, and did so at a time when residential property prices were falling through the floor, and surely someone in that think tank would have known commercial property prices were headed down. I just trust that the price has been haggled down to a more suitable cost for us the taxpayers. Do you? The project is a bad idea and will burden all of us.

Elkin Vogt


No excuse

To the editor:

There is no excuse for the disrespect shown to the president that was exhibited the other night during the address given to the House of Representatives and Senate.

We are not British, and we as a people should not, nor should our representatives stoop to the level so low as occurred the other night.

We cannot and should not ever agree with everything said by a politician, but this was a massive step - not backward, but merely off the edge of decorum. There have been many times in my lifetime when our "leaders" have made statements that I may disagree with, but I as a private citizen have a right to espouse my opposition.

Believe me when I say that I can barely tolerate most if any politicians at our state and federal level, but we get what we vote for. The three-ring circus and its carnies are more reputable than most of our current leadership. At least when we go for a ride at the carnival we can decide whether to go back or not, but with the lock that the Republican and Democratic parties have on our system it has become a matter of kiss my rear end if you (we the people) don't like it.

It is time for a viable third party to rise up with the respect, dignity, faith and intelligence that this proud state and nation were based upon. We should not tolerate any supposed "representatives" who cannot engage in an intelligent productive dialog.

Besides who is so damn naive to believe a politician won't lie? Will Rogers must be once again rolling in his grave.

Jerry Gonzales


Read Constitution

To the editor:

Re: "Letter to Lungren" (Albert J. Segalla, Aug. 31).

If you are going to speak about the Constitution, please take it in whole, not part. For example, Proposition 8, the California same-sex marriage ban, violated Article 4, Section 1, by not allowing out-of-state gay marriages to be recognized under Full Faith and Credit, violated Article 6 by ignoring the fact that the U.S. Constitution supersedes the California Constitution, violated the First Amendment (separation between church and state) by allowing religiously-motivated beliefs to become law, and violated the 14th Amendment (anti-discrimination laws).

This just names a few violations of our nation's Supreme Law of the Land by Proposition 8. If you disagree, you are clearly being a hypocrite and have lost your credibility. Please, take the U.S. Constitution in whole, not in part, and don't twist its words to suit your own political agenda. If you think forcing women to have unwanted children and telling you who you can't marry is very "big government," you are also being a hypocrite. This is why the Republican party has lost the last two elections - the lies, distortions and hypocrisies of the right wing have been exposed.

Michael Herman


Where is justice?

To the editor:

I would like to comment on the Aug. 26 story, "Police: Sonora man robbed seeking sex."

I see the picture of an 18-year-old girl, most likely victimized and forced by a pimp to prostitute herself, but where is the picture of the 54-year-old "victim"? What if she had been 15?

What many law enforcement officials and the public at large fail to see is the profile placed on the "prostitute." Children and young women viewed by authorities as runaways or troublemakers are often found kidnapped and yes, sold into prostitution right here in the United States. The victims are drugged, brutally raped and brainwashed by their captors.

Where is the justice in the police declining to name the 54-year-old "victim" and not put a picture of him in the paper for soliciting sex on Craigslist?

Pat Atkins


Off ramps

To the editor:

With all the buildings being planned such as Lowe's and a new justice department being built off Old Wards Ferry Road, wouldn't it make sense to build a on-off ramp on both sides of the highway bypass?

Wendie L. Jackson