Union Democrat staff

Athletics pays

To the editor:

Want to know how to keep the state of California paying Sonora High School's general fund over $100,000 every year?

Keep athletic programs.

According to Roger Blake, associate executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation, student athletes have six to 10 fewer absences a year than non-athletes.

The state pays the school an average daily attendance rate of $33.40 per day per student for each day the student is in class. There are 180 days of school. Sonora High has over 510 student athletes. Now, do the math: 510 athletes times six days attendance times $33.40 equals $102,204. This is money that will be lost if sports are cut!

In addition to bringing in more funds, athletics is a valuable part of the overall high school experience. Athletics support the academic mission of the school because students who participate in sports tend to have higher grade-point averages, lower dropout rates, fewer discipline problems and better attendance records. Athletics are inherently educational because, through participation, students learn self-discipline, build self-confidence and develop skills to handle competitive situations. These are qualities the public expects schools to produce in students so that they become responsible adults and productive citizens.

Lastly, teens who are unsupervised during the hours after school are far more likely to use alcohol, drugs and tobacco, and engage in criminal and other high-risk behaviors than students who have the opportunity to benefit from constructive activities supervised by responsible adults.

Athletics pays in more ways than one.

Craig and Susan Campbell


Ayers vs. Palin

To the editor:

I noted the following:

News item (Mar. 31): University of Wyoming cancels speech by leftist Bill Ayers, citing adverse impact on the university's reputation.

Numerous media reports: Sarah Palin to speak at Stanislaus State University fundraiser. Its reputation thus established, the relatively unknown campus is now in the limelight.

Modesto Bee (Mar. 29) editorial head: "A university should welcome all views."

This would include Palin's, but Stanislaus State, the editorial goes on, should also welcome speakers "at the other end of the political spectrum."

Bill Ayers perhaps. I can imagine the uproar.

Dick Peterson


Affordable coverage

To the editor:

I wasn't old enough to appreciate the establishment of Medicare or even born when Social Security began. Now I know what it must have been like to see powerful special interests ramp up their best friends in Congress. Thanks to Senators Feinstein and Boxer for standing up to them.

Now, working families won't face financial ruin due to inadequate health insurance. Millions will now get affordable coverage through marketplace exchanges, small businesses will be able to afford coverage and insurance companies won't mess with us at every opportunity.

Cindy Lavagetto

Angels Camp


To the editor:

An open letter to parents.

I am particularly concerned for the parents of the "children" that vandalized our property Friday night (April 16) in Twain Harte, but all parents take heed.

You may not care where your child goes and what they do, but I'm sure your attention will rise when that officer knocks on your door with a bill for you as a result of your child's action. I would address this info to the children, except they won't be paying for the repairs for the damage they caused.

Gary Pendleton

Twain Harte

Post Office delivery

To the editor:

As a former vice president of Branch 193 Letter Carriers (covers San Jose and 6 other cities), I understand the issues surrounding the controversial USPS proposal. It could affect around 25,000 carrier positions. But since there is anticipation of around 30,000 new retirements a year, layoffs could be avoided.

Also, who says the transition has to be on one given date? It could be gradual, by city or zip code over many years.

It is no secret that mail volume has been reducing due to the computer. Not delivering on Saturday seems to work for UPS and many other delivery services. The positive features of no-Saturday delivery has not been discussed.

The National Association of Letter Carriers Union has their heads in the sand, and are only interested in potential loss of union dues. Letter carriers would benefit with Saturdays off to spend with their families attending weddings, little league and soccer games, etc. The public would benefit from fewer misdeliveries when the regular carrier is off.

A few letter carriers on Saturday could retrieve mail placed in central deposit boxes and also deliver Express Mail. Congress is not necessarily interested in five-day delivery, as its political mailings would have one less day and letter carrier unions and members are placing pressure on them.

Only a dinosaur would continue Saturday delivery.

Dennis Schneider

Angels Camp

Chinese fish

To the editor:

In this country it's illegal to hurt or kill an animal, endanger or kill a child, and sell anything that could injure or kill people. Huge penalties, jail time or both usually are the outcome. We read or hear about it in the media everyday.

So far, China has sold us poisoned dog food, tainted Heparin, poisoned baby formula, lead contaminated toys and now poisoned fish. Over 70 percent of our nation's fish is now imported from China. U.S. fish suppliers face strict regulations and testing, yet only 1 percent of imported fish is ever tested. Most of those tests reveal poison, antibiotics and even carcinogenic chemicals.

So where's the outcry from the media?

Documented evidence has shown fish being raised in sewage-laden ponds and tanks filled with polluted water. If these items were raised or manufactured by any company on U.S. soil, the media would have crucified them, putting them out of business.

Each day in China, innumerable items headed for the U.S. are produced without the strict controls that have been placed on US companies.

Media outcry is the only tool we have to inform people and incite a call to action. I guess Tiger Woods and Bush bashing are more important.

So, the next time you bite into a fish sandwich from your local fast-food favorite or order a fish dinner from a restaurant, ask yourself this: "Where's the media when you really need them?"

Barb Birks


Acre and a mule

To the editor:

You recently published a letter about all the bad news you print (Brian Winters, April 5).

I'm sorry, it's only going to get worse. Listen to "Spengler" of Asia Times Online:

"By 2014 the debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of the Group of Seven countries will reach 100 percent, and the governments of the industrial world will carry the highest debt burden since the end of World War II. We have never seen anything quite like this before."

Now that the whole world is buying U.S. government debt on borrowed money, it makes no sense to own it. It will end badly. There is no money.

Yes, Obama prints and shovels it about, but that will cease. Within months, Washington will reject California's begging bowl, Sacramento will kick Tuolumne County's down the road, local merchants will thrust theirs to customers who have nothing to clink on the bottom.

Nothing left but to: 1. Aggressively tax all earnings, savings, plus every stage of production; and 2. Violently, violently slash all entitlements by 40 percent plus - yes, CALPERS too.

I'm serious, it's over - unless one accepts the notion that wars tend to get us out of our messes.

Don't worry, President Obama has one up his sleeve. It's all a go: American troops in the West Bank to make Old Jerusalem Jew-free and begin the great leftist/islamist dream of pushing Israel into the sea. Obama against the Jews.

Now there's one to warm the cockles of any Storm-Fronter in the county. In short, go purchase an acre with a mule and plow.

Steve Golay