Union Democrat staff

SCC Santas

To the editor:

On behalf of Parents by Choice foster family agency, I'd like to thank Dave Mason, Aaron White and the staff at Sierra Conservation Center for their generous and bountiful gifts to our foster youth this Christmas.

Each year we have been continuously surprised and overjoyed at the number of gifts that are donated for each child. Not just one, or two but multiple bags overflowing with gifts, gift cards and movie tickets - all given despite furloughs dipping into their budgets this year.

What a wonderful thing to have done for these children. Please know that there were a lot of happy smiles and joy as a result of your kindness. On behalf of all of our foster kids and the staff at Parents by Choice, thank you for playing "Santa."

Hava White, administrator

Parents by Choice


Save First 5

To the editor:

Less than seven months ago, California voters overwhelmingly rejected the governor's proposal to cut Proposition 10-funded critical local children's health and education programs by nearly 2 to 1. Yet he is asking for the very same thing this year.

What does this mean for Calaveras County?

•An increased risk of child abuse and neglect. Parent education has been cited as one reason for a 50 percent decrease of children in foster care since 2007.

•More than 380 children lose dental care, which has resulted in a 10 percent decrease in decay since 2005.

•More than 365 children will lose access to food bank produce vouchers. Twenty percent of Calaveras children ages 0 to 5 are living close to or under the federal poverty level in families who are not sure where their next meal will come from.

•More than 400 children will lose early literacy services, which have resulted in 100 percent of enrolled children increasing or sustaining literacy and language skills.

•At least 22 children will no longer receive home visits, developmental screenings, and parental depression screenings.

•A loss to Calaveras County of nearly $2 million dollars over the proposed five-year cuts.

Voters have supported Prop 10 through attacks in four ballot measures, including the most recent overwhelming rejection of California's budget package only 10 short months ago.

Tell the Governor and California's legislators to reject this recycled concept.

Karen Pekarcik,

Executive Director,

First 5 Calaveras

Dorothy Smith,

University Extension, nutrition, family and consumer

Science Advisor, and chair,

First 5 Calaveras

At a crossroads

To the editor:

I have always admired the conservationists of yesterday who as visionaries who helped preserve and protect the environment for future generations (John Muir and Yosemite, for example).

Today we call these individuals environmentalists and I, for one, greatly appreciate their efforts - like those of John Buckley locally. However, not all share my appreciation.

We live in a highly polarized and political society with a culture of sarcasm, putdowns and fear, boxed in assumptions, sensationalized news entertainment, complexities dumbed-down and propaganda ploys. This makes it all very difficult to discern the truth. We look for hidden agendas, yet this is colored by what we are already inclined to believe. Self entitlement and tit-for-tat seems to rule the day.

We humans are at a crossroads. Our activities significantly strain the natural earth systems and, with a growing global population, they will exponentially decline.

Our models of business as usual are what are called into question. We can debate climate change, call it "junk" science, even claim it's a hoax, but to serve what means? The oil and coal industries? Can it be denied that spewing fossil-fuel emissions into the atmosphere for 100-plus years has not adversely impacted the earth and affected its living systems?

As the skeptics fuel the debate, it takes our eyes off the great risks of non-action. I, personally, look to the broad array of scientists in the field observing and measuring the overwhelming evidence to draw my conclusions. As an individual. I can choose to self regulate my own consumptions, educate myself, and support sustainable human activities. Perhaps you are doing the same.

Jennifer Aguirre


Son's rebuttal

To the editor:

This is a response to Barbara Farkas' letter (Jan. 15).

It seems as I read the letter, her intentions are to try and discredit TuCARE, not the Sonora Area Foundation. She claims there was a lack of current and accurate statistics at the Natural Resources Summit. What research has she done to prove that the statistics aren't current or accurate?

The comment on the way the speakers in the film were dressed seems like an attempt to discredit with no real proof.

She mentioned that she wouldn't let her child participate, well I am her son and I support TuCARE.

Then, as she talks about the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, she makes comments to "vested interests' ability to profit from the use of public resources," but seems to disregard the fact that the plan is designed to benefit all Tuolumne County residents.

Sasha J. Farkas