Union Democrat staff

PG&E tree trimmers

To the editor:

Having been a wildland firefighter, I get it. Having my power off due to a fallen tree or branch, I get it. The "pruning" of trees near power lines is necessary to eliminate the potential hazards.

What I do not get is the "butchering" that is done to many of our local trees. Then there is dealing with the arrogance of the PG&E-contracted tree butchers (oh, I mean tree trimmers).

In 2007, four beautiful oaks that lined the street on my property were so unnecessarily and aggressively trimmed, that they did not look like trees. To add insult to injury, the tree trimmers, left debris and trampled my landscape.

After I filed a complaint, the tree trimmers returned to do additional cleanup and compensate me for a whopping $250.

This year, the butchers are back. Without notice, they butchered another tree on my property. This was needless, as the tallest tree branches were more than 15 feet below the power line. Branches of eight inches or more were removed, leaving unsightly stumps and another disfigured tree.

Clean-up was incomplete to none at all. Instead of chipping branches, they piled debris on adjacent property. Yes, we have filed a complaint.

The tree-trimming supervisor contacted my wife, and was very unprofessional. He called her a liar and was very mean-spirited in the conversation.

His most appalling statement? "I've been in this business for many years and I know what I'm doing."

Look around Sonora. How many of your trees or your neighbors' trees have been butchered? Let PG&E know that we will not put up with this.

Lee Mortier


Flag thieves

To the editor:

It's pretty sad when on our nation's birthday weekend in small-town America, flags that were put up by the local Boy Scout Troop and paid for by the veterans, have been stolen.

Those flags don't belong to you, and neither do the poles.

I don't understand why people have an issue with our flag being displayed. In Murphys alone (some were also taken in Arnold), flags were taken from poles next to Jillians, Chevron, Murphys Inn and the CHP weigh station.

Please leave them alone. I, for one, am proud when I look up Highway 4 and see them all waving. They're only up for three holidays - get over it!

Barbara Hecocks


Neighbors' duties

To the editor:

Regarding the suspicious death of Ruby Brown (Mill Villa Estates).

This death made me wonder, as one of her neighbors, just how far we should go as being good neighbors?

We are sometimes stopped by feeling that "their lives" are none of our business.

I know the neighbors worried and wondered about Ruby Brown's isolation and her health. But why? She had a caregiver. Isn't that good enough?

This makes one wonder where our observations become a material fact in someone's precious life. May Ruby Brown not be forgotten. Her neighbors and friends certainly won't forget her.

Perhaps this sad death will keep us forever vigilant about circumstances that may be our business. We have a wonderful buddy system in Mill Villa, but it only works if someone lets us in.

Sharon De Nunzio-Bein


Cavalier actions

To the editor:

The California Legislature has again failed to pass a budget by the annual due date.

The governor has repeatedly failed to do his job and bring everyone together to timely pass a budget. You and I would be fired if we did our jobs in this manner.

And, of course, the governor has again decided that most of the state's more than 200,000 workers should bear the brunt of the quest for cost savings to balance the budget by working at the federal minimum wage. Add to this, the furlough days he imposed on these workers to save the State $2.3 billion.

A CBS News report revealed the actual savings netted only $238 million - one-tenth of the expected savings.

Why so little? Because many of the positions which incurred the furloughs were federally funded. Fewer hours worked yielded fewer federal funds. Add to this the lost revenue returned into the economy, and the net savings to the California budget came out to nearly zero.

What's going to happen with more than 200,000 people who suddenly cannot afford to live here? They certainly aren't going to help contribute to the state's economy.

The governor's cavalier actions are risking a general strike. State workers and other residents of California are fed up - and tired of subsidizing ineptitude.

Stephen Lampl

Sugar Pine

Outstanding coverage

To the editor:

Re: Lions All-Star Football Game.

I want to compliment The Union Democrat Sports Department especially Allan Mandell, for the three articles on the game. The coverage on the players, coaches interviews and game summary was outstanding. His sports articles over the years have been good, but he outdid himself this time.

Thank you from all high school sports fans.

Felix M. Romo, Jr.


Past Lions District Governor, District 4-A1