Union Democrat staff

Overhaul the courts

To the editor:

Who do we appeal to when we disagree with a court ruling? You ultimately go to the Supreme Court, right? Well what if the decision is the Supreme Court's decision? Now what?

The recent decision of the Supreme Court giving unbridled rights to corporations to buy any and all elections is just such a decision. We have long heard about "activist" judges. It doesn't matter on which side of the aisle you vote, you expect unbiased judgements from our justices. The key word is "justice."

For too long the Supreme Court has shown it is not unbiased. So where do we turn for justice? It is time we held judges accountable for their judgments. If they are blatently partisan, they must be removed.

We need an overhaul of the court system. We can no longer trust it to elections or presidential appointment. We need public financing of all elections, and a merit system for lawyers.

Judges should have to work their way up to the Supreme Court and not be appointed. The term should be prescribed, not for life.

If they prove to be biased in any way, they should be removed. We have a right to walk into any court and expect the judge has not already made up his or her mind on our case before we even present it.

Is that too much to ask?

John Goodhart


Cutlers thanked

To the editor:

Your Feb. 24 obituary on Bob Cutler certainly captured the essence of this fine man-community leader, benefactor, businessman, friend of animals and distinguished veteran of World War II. But there was another aspect of Bob's life that also deserves mention.

Bob, with his wife, Grace, bought and restored the landmark Yosemite House (originally Yo-Semite House) building at 47 N. Washington St. in the early 1970s, long before historic preservation was as popular in Tuolumne County as it is today.

This two-story brick, stone and wooden building has housed many businesses during its almost 150 years, including a hotel, saloon, furniture store and restaurant, and in modern times a hardware store (Turman's), a travel agency and other restaurants.

Ironically, another vintage building, the Rehm home on Church St., got away from Bob and Grace. Outbid in a probate sale, this stately home was demolished by a local businessman and property converted into a barren, asphalt parking lot. Long-time residents still mourn its passing.

However, thanks to Bob and Grace Curler the Yosemite House stands tall in Sonora, rescued from the ravages of time by a caring couple.

Sharon Marovich, chairwoman

Tuolumne Heritage Committee

Corporations vs. humans

To the editor:

As I read Pearl Bladek's letter ("Free Speech," Feb. 22) a couple of questions came to mind.

Where in the Constitution does it specify equal rights for corporations and humans? And if it does so state, where is the equality?

There are limits placed on donations from individuals to politicians for campaigning. But corporations may freely give. If the downside to this scenario isn't self evident, that, to me, is disturbing.

And yes we can and should exercise our right to vote to effect changes that we deem necessary. It seems the elected ones don't take their orders from the people any more.

Maybe a little more ranting and name calling isn't such a bad idea, but only as long as the corporations are allowed to also.

Elkin Vogt


Buy American

To the editor:

The Sonora City Planning Commission, in its infinite wisdom, recently approved the Wal-Mart Supercenter expansion. This action slightly predated a survey showing that 63 percent of the respondents were in favor of the expansion.

With true short sightedness, the city praised the project as a revenue wellspring for our declining tax base and a source of potentially 80-90 new jobs. Unless the new Wal-Mart Supercenter and for that matter, the Lowe's project, which was approved under the same dream scene, can effectuate a mass influx of shoppers from Calaveras County, we will generate a zero-sum financial situation.

This means we have the same size customer base, however, we have to cut it into small profit profiles for each business. That is to say, no one gains - no new employment and no new taxes generated, just less money and fewer jobs generated at each competing business.

For those of you who fervently support the Wal-Mart center expansion and the Wal-Mart business philosophy, remember that you are supporting a mega-company that buys mostly products made in Third World sweat shops paying poverty wages.

Try buying American products, which will help alleviate our massive negative trade balance and put Americans to work.

N.D. Morrison


Get the facts

To the editor:

In response to Andrea Sanchez's Feb. 23 letter about Sierra Pacific Industries.

I worked at SPI when they closed the mill in Standard. You've got your facts wrong. They did offer almost all of us jobs at the Chinese Camp location, but almost all of us declined to work there.

The day we shut down we were no longer part of the union, so they do not have to call us back for work. Chances are if you know someone that worked at SPI Standard that didn't get hired on at Chinese Camp, they probably declined the job.

Get your facts together before you make assumptions.

Dustin Benner