Union Democrat staff

Definition of socialism

To the editor:

In response to J. William Novak's Feb. 5 letter:

Is single-payer health care (paid for by the government - that's you and me) socialism? Absolutely! As defined by Wikipedia, the most left-leaning definition, socialism "refers to the various theories of economic organization advocating public or direct-worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources ..."

I would like to say that government paying for everyone's health care is consistent with this definition. Just as taking a major ownership in GM is a socialist act.

Come on folks! Let's learn what these terms mean and maybe we will all know what is happening to our country.

Jay Bunten


Myron Ebell and CEI

To the editor:

Who is Myron Ebell?

Myron Ebell was the keynote speaker at the 2009 TuCARE Summit.

Myron Ebell is the director of Energy and Global Warming at CEI, Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Myron Ebell is a global warming skeptic. In Forbes magazine, Mr. Ebell stated "Given our obvious preference for living in warmer climates as long as we have air conditioning, I doubt that we are going to go on the energy diet that the global warming doomsters urge us to undertake."

Myron Ebell received the "Villain of the Month" award from the Clean Air Trust for his role in convincing the Bush administration not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Myron Ebell's CEI blasted the 1999 decision by the EPA to require cleaner cars, sport utility vehicles and low sulfur gasoline.

Myron Ebell wants to repeal the Endangered Species Act.

The CEI Web site (click events) features TuCARE's 2009 Summit program. Under "COST" it says "Thanks to the Sonora Area Foundation and other generous sponsors, the event is free of charge."

In addition to a $2,005,000 grant from Exxon Mobil, CEI is funded by grants from General Motors, Texaco, Amoco and Shell Oil.

I'm sure if Teri Murrison and TuCARE had known of Myron Ebell's background and who is funding CEI, they would have chosen a more balanced keynote speaker. But if they welcomed Myron Ebell extreme views, I suggest they not participate in the creation of our Tuolumne County Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

Ellie Owen


Fight for our rights

To the editor:

My granddaughter was taken by ambulance from Reno to Oakland Children's Hospital. She has major breathing issues and Reno, in my opinion and observation, is incompetent.

She is receiving Nevada Medical Aid since her father has lost his job due to our economic crisis. When Oakland found out that Nevada health care will not pay for her to be treated in California, she was discharged immediately.

What has happened to humanity? We can help other nations fix their problems, treat their people medically, rebuild their towns, yet our own American children suffer. Since when do our children become less important than any other children?

What has become of our great country? Stand up Americans, and fight for our rights. We are the ones that pay for everything. The government cannot survive without us taxpayers.

Shame on America.

Kathy Symonds


Democratic process

To the editor:

Comments have become heated in recent weeks in relation to the update of the Valley Springs Community Plan. Stakeholders in the community plan process have been accused of having hidden agendas, of being against private property rights, and have had labels and innuendo cast upon them.

The future of Valley Springs is rightly in the hands of the citizens of that town. While I do not live in that community, it is important and appropriate for me and anyone else in our county to offer support to those who have worked so long and hard to bring an inclusive, thoughtful planning process to their community. For at least four years, concerned Valley Springs residents have taken an active interest in planning for the future.

They have offered quality information on planning to all who took the time to show up. They obtained grants to make a comprehensive process feasible and worked with county and local agencies. They invited the community into a process and turned it over to a committee of stakeholders. They have done their homework and invested their lives, like no other citizens I know.

Planning is a requirement of the State of California. Survey after survey of residents of Calaveras County, in all towns, have indicated that those of us who live here value and want to preserve a rural quality of life. The Valley Springs Community Plan process is working to do that, in concert with all residents and with state law.

The democratic process includes bringing one's own opinions to the table, even minority opinions. It ought not to include name calling, vilification, and obstructionism.

Mickey Williamson