Union Democrat staff

Writer thanked

To the editor:

Re: Kay Crook's Feb. 1 letter ("Just Tricky").

I cannot speak for Ellen Beck regarding her Jan. 18 letter ("Answers wanted), but I assume she was giving information to the community that it might not be aware of.

I for one, didn't know that Supervisor Teri Murrison and TuCARE played such a prominent role in crafting the new Tuolumne County Land Use Policy. I think Ms. Beck values transparency and is protective of Sonora Area Foundation's reputation and integrity.

We should thank Ellen Beck for bringing this issue to light.

Deborah Kalkowski


Finish the job

To the editor:

We are incredibly close to passing real health care reform. I stand with President Obama in calling on Congress to finish the job.

My parents worked hard all their lives, and at 62 my dad had his first heart attack, when he had no health insurance and was too young for Medicare. He was almost forced into a convalescent home, deemed "custodial care." I was able to find a way for him to get rehabilitation therapy that gave him and my mother another another seven years of quality independent living.

My adult daughter has just left her full time employment to pursue a graduate degree and is meanwhile uninsured. She has a pre-existing life threatening condition.

My brother-in-law has worked hard as an independent contractor his whole life and is now in Stage 4 prostate cancer at age 60. He was able to get a small amount of disability income, then the state where he lives determined that this makes him ineligible for health insurance. So what kind of quality of life can he look forward to in his remaining months?

This is not some kind of luxury hand-out to people who choose not to work for a living. It is a sad fact in our society that hardworking people cannot afford health insurance and can end up losing their lives needlessly or dying in unnecessary pain and suffering.

We're so close; let's get it done.

Connie Corcoran


Super Center

To the editor:

Rumors abound that Wal-Mart is trying to get permission to expand, become a Super Center.

Quietly the powers that be want to bring this expansion in, ignoring what would happen to businesses here. Our grocery stores, pharmacies, and vision centers will be directly effected, especially the grocery outlets that are affordable to many. The Wal-Mart store would be open 24/7 and would require more police and fire to be on patrol. More traffic would be on the roads.

Some Wal-Mart Super Stores close an average of seven years after opening, leaving a large empty space as well as hundreds of unemployed.

Let's be like Turlock. Its residents stopped Wal-Mart from entering their community. We can stop the Super Store from coming to Tuolumne County.

Lane Willey


Gas solution

To the editor:

I'm glad that the topic of Peak Oil was brought up by Cooper Kessel during the county's five-year planning meeting.

The future is notoriously hard to predict, but the numbers around oil should make anyone worry. The experts certainly do. At last year's Petroleum Geology Conference in London, two-thirds of the 500 oil geology experts present voted that Peak Oil is a real problem.

The International Energy Agency recently revised downward its supply outlook for oil production in coming years. It seems likely that natural gas will replace oil for many uses, but the transition may still be wrenching for our society.

At a county level, we can look for opportunities to transition the county's vehicle fleet, especially trucks, to natural gas. This is precisely the approach advocated by a remarkably bipartisan group of senators and congressmen (Orrin Hatch and Harry Reid collaborating - who'd have thunk it?).

Hatch, Reid and others wisely feel that as long as the U.S. truck fleet can roll using our own energy sources (natural gas), America should be able to at least continue to function if there is a collapse in oil supplies.

I highly recommend that line of thought to our county supervisors. Remember, too, that every dollar spent on natural gas for our transportation fleet is money that stays in this country, and not funneled to people who hate us on the other side of the world.

Cole Thompson