Union Democrat staff

Negative impact

To the editor:

People don't just buy $13.5 million more groceries; they simply do not buy them from locally owned grocers.

Wal-Mart intends to siphon revenue and customers from our towns, increasing traffic from outlying communities and causing small towns to lose stores and jobs.

This project isn't a "complement to local retail." Safeway is in the same complex, Save Mart is within sight and PriceCo opened last year. Mervyn's is an adjacent blighted space. Wal-Mart's "Outdoor Living" department conflicts with Big 5 and its optometry department with local optometrists.

Wal-Mart has already inflicted urban blight upon Tuolumne and other areas. "Smart growth" policies indicate mixed use for healthy communities. Superstores create shopping sprawl, depleting shopping opportunities close to home. Sonora has higher sales tax than the county, so expect a drop in county sales tax revenue.

Additional traffic will have significant, negative impacts on emergency response, the proposed county law center, Sonora Elementary School, Sonora Regional Medical Center, Sonora Hills and local businesses in the area. Twenty-four hour retail stores experience an increase in crime and emergency calls, impacting Sonora Police, county jail and fire departments. Wal-Mart does not pay for this impact.

Wal-Mart has massive international purchasing power. Greater quantities of food will come from international sources not held to the same safety and sanitation standards. This impacts California economy and the safety of our food supply. This forces agricultural products into price ranges that undermine existing jobs in California, contributing to the national trade deficit and hampering American recovery.

This must stop and it must stop in Sonora. Local agriculture, merchants, butchers, optometrists, union workers and grocers will be negatively impacted.

Laurie Sylwester


(Laurie Sylwester is a Columbia College art professor and a former Tuolumne County supervisor).

Just absurd

To the editor:

I just don't understand why so many people are upset about the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing unrestricted donations from corporations to politicians.

Do these skeptics actually think that just because a corporation gives a politician a pile of money they are going to get what they want? That's just absurd. Everyone knows that American politicians, of either party, having taken an oath of office to be ethical, would never do what a corporate officer tells them to do just for money.

Do these people think if a politician made a campaign promise to the voters who elected him, that a pile of money to get him re-elected would sway him from his promise? I think not.

Many times we have been told by politicians that just because they take the cash, they will still vote their consciences and for the betterment of their constituents. Now how can that not be reassuring?

Further, do these people think that a corporation would interfere with what is good for America and Americans just so they could make more money so their officers could pay themselves huge salaries and bonuses? Again, that's just unbelievable!

Whatever happened to "my country, right or wrong" - when and if it ever does anything wrong?

Phil Gross