Union Democrat staff

Approve Trinitas

To the editor:

The Trinitas controversy reminds me of several quotes by Sam Milam III in his newsletter, "The Frontiersman."

• "The difference between freedom and permission is usually overlooked."

• "When permission is requested, freedom is surrendered. When permission is granted, freedom is denied."

• "The extent to which you are licensed is the extent to which you are controlled."

• "People have rights. Society doesn't."

Economic freedom is the right of individuals to use their private property as they see fit, so long as they do not infringe the rights of others. A letter from a county official is not law. A planning commission ruling is not law. Opposition by Keep It Rural is not law.

If the county has found any violation of law, why have the Nemees not been cited? Due process and fair play requires that the accused be informed of the charges against him and be granted a fair trial.

Regardless of how they feel about Mike Nemee and his golf course, unless supervisors can find factual violations, they must approve the Trinitas project. To drag this out one more day is a travesty and a violation of due process and property rights.

While I'm at it, government planning does not work. It stifles freedom and economic activity and does not benefit to the general welfare. But we knew that when the Berlin Wall came down, didn't we?

The failure of government planning is well documented in Randal O'Toole's book, "The Best Laid Plans." (Tom Tryon, have you read the copy I gave you? Pass it on to your colleagues when you finish.)

Bob Mulvany


Shoddy work

To the editor:

Phoenix Lake Road's small bridge replacement nightmare pales in comparison to the shoddy road restoration: inadequate shoulder areas, no bike lane, curbs that are far too close to the yellow lines, etc.

Did they run short on asphalt? Allegedly, on certain weekends during the resurfacing, county asphalt and equipment was used to do private residence driveways. On one hand, bravo to the clever residents who got a fantastic driveway for short money. But when bicycling, clinging precariously to life at every car's passing, where did the shoulder and bike lane go? It seems impossible that lanes weren't widened for bicycle traffic.

Tuolumne County is as forward thinking as a fence post. I'll bet half the reason the bridge will take an entire year is the wheelchair lane (pedestrian passover). Residents need to get this boondoogle back to the planning room.

Newsflash - more deer die here than any other county road. Stop feeding the deer. I have seen more than 50 deer at feeders in plain sight on Belleview Road. Now Animal Control knows too. Ticket the feeders, or call the road Deer Kill Road.

Dave Maloney


Forgo stipends

To the editor:

Twain Harte is a very talented and generous community. Even those who own homes but do not reside here year-round do frequent the restaurants, pay their taxes, and shop the remaining businesses in town.

We, including those who do not live here for many months of the year, manage to support the numerous fund-raising events. We also pay a park assessment and a very high monthly water and sewer bill, even if no water is consumed for months.

After the park assessment was imposed, we all received a letter requesting more donations for some of the same items included in the assessment. Just after learning our water bills would be increasing, another letter arrived asking for donations to match a $35,000 grant for brush removal below the lake area to protect the surrounding homes in the event of fire. Seventy-thousand dollars is a substantial amount.

The Partners for Twain Harte consists of seven associations, all of whom have excellent organizational and fund-raising abilities. If each of these seven groups donated $5,000, there would be no need to spend time and money printing and mailing fund-raising letters.

It may sound, to quote one of the Twain Harte Community Services District directors, "phony and political" to suggest that board members forgo their monthly meeting stipends and/or donate that money as part of the matching grant. After all, "it's only $14,000."

Vivian McCarthy

Twain Harte


To the editor:

I am puzzled. My right-wing friends are confusing me. First they paint Hitler mustaches on our president's face and proclaim him to be a Nazi. Then they say "we have a socialist in the White House" and proclaim he is turning the country into a socialist state. I believe it can't be both.

In fact, Hitler rounded up socialists together with Jews, communists, gypsies and homosexuals and murdered them in his concentration camps - and Catholics and Protestant ministers were not immune either.

So, to my right-wing friends I ask this simple question: Which is it, fascist Nazi or socialist? Or if in your minds it is both, please explain in detail how this is possible.

Donald Stowell


Not your friend

To the editor:

I'm one of those who's also seen a notable increase in PG&E billing since our service was "SmartMetered."

The two billings I've received since the change were 10 to 15 percent higher than the historical record in my computer. If anything, they should have been lower: It's been a comparitively-cool summer, and we're out traveling with our RV on weekends.

Speaking as a retired electrical engineer, I suspect the new meters may be reading power-factor energy use, not true wattage. Whatever's happening, it's clear that this change is not benign, and the Public Utilities Commission needs to investigate.

And by the way, one wonders: Are these SmartMeters truly read-only?

There have been numerous articles written about the so-called "Smart Grid," in which the utility company can turn on or off one's electrical service remotely, ostensibly to help prevent overloads. The thought of some nameless button-pusher - in what, India? - being able to turn off my power gives me goosebumps.

This whole program needs a whole lot more looking into. PG&E is definitely not your friend.

Al Lockwood

Angels Camp

Patriot Act

To the editor:

On Saturday, Sept. 12, I noticed a "Tea Party" demonstration in Sonora's downtown park. The demonstrators were carrying signs that linked big government to tyranny. Apparently they are mobilized because they are of the opinion that health care reform would lead to tyranny.

Many of the gray-haired participants seemed to be of the age at which they would be drawing Social Security and relying on Medicare for their health care. I did not see them volunteering to give those up in the name of ending governmental tyranny.

Amazingly, there were no such demonstrations when Congress took away our rights in 2001 and again in 2006 under the Bush administration, with the passage and reauthorization of the wrongly-named Patriot Act. Far from being patriotic, the law took away many constitutional privacy protections. This is the real tyranny.

The Patriot Act was pushed through Congress by George Bush, and it was supported by our congressman, Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa. It allowed government agencies to search our telephone, e-mail and financial records without a search warrant. In short, it allowed government agencies to invade our privacy and deprive us of our constitutional rights in unprecedented fashion.

Where were the Tea Party demonstrations when our rights actually were being taken away? If the Tea Party folks are sincere about protecting us from what they call tyranny, they should throw George Radanovich out of office. He voted for the Patriot Act and its reauthorization. If anyone is responsible for loss of our rights to government, it is Mr. Radanovich.

Health care reform will not take away our rights. The Patriot Act did, and Mr. Radanovich supported it.

Kevin Williams


Lighten up on tourists

To the editor:

Tuolumne County is the butt of a joke!

"Visit T.C. on vacation. Leave on probation and return in violation." This is very disturbing and only perpetuates the "unfriendly county" view held by many.

Most jokes are based on fact. Do we have an over-zealous county/city government (police department, sheriff, DA)? Is there an ulterior motive? A motive that will ultimately be counterproductive? I think so.

Please lighten up a little on the tourists. We locals know how to stay out of trouble, for the most part, because we know how to act here.

Paul McNaul

Cedar Ridge

Beyond psycho

To the editor:

This is beyond psycho talk. There is no way anyone would support such an outrageous health care plan. Sen. Baucus needs to pack up and go home. We do not need idiots like him having anything to do with decision making for our country.

Carol Keltner