Union Democrat staff

Drug-free forest

To the editor:

In reference to John Buckley's June 22 response to Melinda Fleming's June 15 letter urging environmental groups to switch their focus to stopping pot plantations and drug cartels rather than spending their money fighting the U.S. Forest Service and other groups that use the forest:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture spends taxpayers' money to manage our forest lands. It is spending millions of dollars to employ environmental specialists, biologists, and managers highly experienced in land planning, forest management, wildlife, water resources and timber management. I question the background and educational credentials of the staff of Buckley's Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center and other environmental groups who question many of the decisions made by the Stanislaus National Forest managers. Are they really qualified for that?

It's about time that the many environmental groups in our country started to work with the Forest Service and the many other forest user organizations, rather than spending their time and money on lawsuits against the U.S. Forest Service.

A drug-free forest should be the mission of all environmental groups, rather than spending their money fighting court cases and preventing management of our forests. Drug cartels poison soils and waste irrigation water, which is one of our resources.

It is time for environmental, recreation, and agricultural groups and the timber industry to sit down together with the Forest Service and find ways to use the public's money to complete successful projects that help to manage our forest resources instead of using it to pay attorney fees and court costs.

Gil Fryer


Propane costs

To the editor:

I noticed the recent letter regarding propane companies and their high-handed treatment of customers. That family's situation sounded awful. It is bad for folks with tanks, but even worse for folks like us, living in developments where the developers put in underground piping and then we get stuck paying outrageous propane costs, and for 20 years we can't change vendors.

Our propane company has been ripping us off and will continue to do so for 17 more years. We all turn off our water heaters and use space heaters in winter. As a Public Utilities Commission regulated entity, PG&E at least offers payment plans that even out utility costs. Our propane company doesn't do that nor do any propane companies.

Susan Rich


U.S. Constitution

To the editor:

Watching the Calaveras County supervisors in action on June 22 was revealing. An important part of the General Plan - the Housing Element - was discussed. The public brought up pivotal points on why the plan was flawed and impinged on basic property owners' rights. Their questions were answered, if at all, with non-answers. The board appeared to listen, but minds apparently had already been made up. It seemed like the public was talking to a stone wall.

The two socialists (more government is always better) and the two wimps (have misgivings, but will vote for it anyway) voted in the affirmative. The only supervisor with serious misgivings, Tom Tryon, voted "No," the only way one who distrusted the document's implications on property owners could vote.

What does the fact that the state and county are broke mean with regard to implementation and enforcement? You can't get blood from a turnip or more tax money out of an unemployed or fixed-income property owner.

The Calaveras County Council of Governments and Mintier-Harnish and its "Smart Growth" plan have got to go. The costs are way out of control. Maybe supervisors have to be replaced, too.

People, give us supervisors who will do what is right (Constitutional) and who are not motivated by whether they can be reelected. I'd rather have a one-term supervisor who did what is right constitutionally. Enough of the "entitlements" and special favors to some and not others. Read the U.S. Constitution. This goes for the people too. We are quickly becoming slaves to the government by not knowing what is in our "Document of Freedom."

Cathy Mason