Union Democrat staff

The way to go

To the editor:

I read with dismay the confused voices about the current health care bill we need so badly.

America has the most expensive system in the world, and in spite of that it isn't insuring everybody. What is wrong with this picture?

Does private enterprise - meaning the drug companies and the insurance industry - hold the answer? Apparently not.

Do we want to go there again? Our congressmen and women haven't gotten the message and they keep trying to include the two industries that put us into this expensive mess in the first place.

Single-payer is the way to go, according to the respected researchers Dr. Sidney Wolfe,and Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, both of whom testified before the Health Subcommittee at a Hearing on Health Insurance. Single-payer reform is approved by the respected AARP staff, and the non-profit Public Citizen Health Research Group.

The Christian Science Monitor just did a global survey of health care around the world. It's an eye opener. There are lessons to be learned, the major lesson is that not insuring people, allowing the sick to get sicker and going through your emergency system is very costly to all of us. And allowing insurance companies and the drug industry to participate in decisions where they make a profit is good for them, but not for us.

Mary Matzek


Good ol' boys

To the editor:

As I read your Oct. 13 editorial about the Tuolumne County law and justice center project, I could not get the phrase "good ole boy network" out of my head.

I appreciate that John Gray and Teri Murrison had the good sense to vote no. I do not appreciate the fact that you chose to publicly chastise them for doing their job. I don't believe that they are against the project as a whole but, like myself, have concerns about the price of the Gardella property as it stands.

In general property values have dropped approximately 50 percent in the last year and I cannot believe that 50 acres of land in Tuolumne County is currently valued at $4.2 million. That is $84,000 per acre.

Even at the peak of the fictitious, not to mention unsustainable values of property in this county over the past few years, this would have been too much to pay. At the very least a renegotiation should take place, or the county should look for a more reasonable property.

If $100,000 earnest money is lost, that will be better than paying a minimum of $42,000 in basic property tax for the next 20 to 30 years on overinflated property.

Oh, by the way, I have 25 acres on Groveland, a contract and a pen. You bring the $2.1 million.

Janis Schreiber


Courage, foresight

To the editor:

I was doubly pleased last week that Tuolumne County supervisors unanimously extended Craig Pedro's contract for five years, and then by a 3-2 vote certified the EIR for the law and justice center, thus allowing that project to move ahead.

These two actions are related, of course, because Mr. Pedro led the team that prepared and presented the plan to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. The concerns of two commissioners and two board members regarding lack of finances to pay for parts of the center were appropriately raised but, fortunately, the majority who voted for the project shared the vision of Mr. Pedro and his team. As Eleanor Roosevelt once wisely stated, "If we wait until we're ready, we'll never get started."

Without visionary leadership, nations, organizations, and communities languish in mediocrity and never achieve greatness, or if greatness once was achieved, sink into oblivion when such leadership evaporates.

I believe the courage and foresight of Mr. Pedro and his team as well as those who voted to approve the Plan and EIR will be vindicated within the next two decades. I also believe that money will become available from known and unknown sources when those in charge see that our leaders have have made the decision to move forward. In addition,I predict that other public entities will look at our Law and Justice Center as a model to be emulated.

Lastly, in addition to improved staff morale, money, time and energy of the agencies and employees involved will be saved and will be used more efficiently because of their close proximity to one another on one campus.

John Richard Arndt