Union Democrat staff

Where were you?

To the editor:

Response to George Durkee's ("In a cave," Feb. 4).

We the people were not in a cave during the Bush years, nor a bunker - but we need to find one now as President Obama and cabinet will leave us no money to live anywhere else.

As far as the banking deregulation goes, a guy by the name of Greenspan did that earlier than the Bush years - even though people proved to Congress that his policies were wrong and not working. He himself said, "I never saw it coming."

He and his pals, (tax cheat) Timothy Geithner and Eric Holder are the ones to look to for all the deregulation.

By the way, 9/11 was caused by the al-Qaida nuts, not Mr. Bush. Talk about living in a cave, where were you all this time? You must be the most ill informed of all.

Constance R. Dresbach


Kudos to Congress

To the editor:

The 111th Congress enacted a number of laws benefitting our nations veterans.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment (stimulus) Act provides $2,400 tax credits to businesses who hire unemployed veterans.

Funding for VA health care has increased by 60 percent over 2007, leading to 17,000 more doctors and nurses, 145 community-based outpatient clinics and 92 vet centers for mental health screening. It also decreased by 266,000 the veterans who fall under the despised income bracket, Category Group 8.

A very big improvement was giving Congress the power to authorize appropriation one year in advance of the beginning of a new fiscal year. This allows for better budgeting processes.

Another biggie was improving VA health care services for our female veterans. Long overdue.

Legislation was also passed providing greater support for caregivers of wounded, sick or injured veterans.

The DOD's Homeowners Assistance program was expanded and provided $555 million to help military homeowners who may be forced to sell their homes at a loss because of orders to relocate, injuries or illnesses.

Each disabled veteran was paid $250 last year to help make ends meet during the economic downturn.

Congress also established mandatory and confidential one-on-one mental health screening for all returning veterans.

Is Congress finally beginning to understand the plight of our veterans?

Kudos to the 111th Congress for its actions on behalf of America's men and women veterans.

Keep up the good work.

P.S. The VA Memorial is coming, hopefully in March.

Frank M. Smart


Democratic process

To the editor:

Here are a few thoughts on Proposition 8.

Regardless of all the rhetoric and activity that preceded the vote, the overall picture must be examined.

The proposition was compiled and launched, due to deemed necessity. Arguments in all forums were brought to public light, to reveal what the majority impressions and preferences might be. A vote was held and Proposition 8 was passed.

This comprises the democratic process which we in America hold onto with our life-blood. If we undermine and second-guess this process, aren't we in effect tearing apart the foundational fabric that protects and assures the very function of this process?

What then happens on a grand scale, if this process ceases to function? Regardless of the related issues, the true concern here should be a specific focus on the process itself.

I understand all the emotions and concerns. People have lost their personal rights on various levels as a direct result of this process. But if the choices of the minority are allowed to outweigh the choices of the majority, what harm is imposed on the democratic process and its defenders?

If the voice of the majority is abandoned and silenced, then where is the hope of a democratic society's survival? And, what will be its replacement?

Wally George


Wonderful service

To the editor:

I am not sure that Tuolumne County is aware of a wonderful service that is provided through the Distinct Attorney's office. It is a group of trained professionals to aid a person who is a victim or a witness of a crime.

Last February, my son was assaulted by a mad parent (a case of mistaken identity). It was a disturbing time. I had many feelings and questions of what would happen next with this man and the legal system.

That evening I got a call from Christine Miller of the Victim-Witness Assistance Center, offering help. She informed me of my rights and told me what would be happening next with the District Attorney's office. She stood by me as I waited many months for this man to turn himself in and she was the one who called me to let me know that he had.

She went to the many court hearings and helped me with any questions I had about them. She was there with me when the man pleaded guilty.

This whole process took ten months. It was a blessing to have an informed individual beside me. This is a valuable service. I am very grateful for this person's knowledge, patience and lending ear to vent to.

Jill Willis