Union Democrat staff

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

To the Editor:

Tom Whittlesey, of Groveland, wrote a letter Friday defending the essentially illegal Hetch Hetchy Reservoir because it is so needed. He said he liked to hike across the dam and that too much money has been spent on studies! He might enjoy dinner at a McDonald's in Tuolumne Meadows too. What a ridiculous idea. A restored Hetch Hetchy Valley would be an absolute bonanza for this area in addition to bringing back one of the Sierra's premier recreational valleys. The storage requirements can be met by using others existing facilities and adding some more along with responsible water policies in the bay area. They have lived the freebie life long enough. Individually, the bay area residents are conscientious citizens and if given a chance will re-create the magnificent valley as a resource for the world to enjoy. This project should start immediately without any further studies!

William Bergmann


Presidential candidates

To the Editor: 

I must admit, Obama has been somewhat of a disappointment, as far as his campaign promises are concerned, but just look at his possible competitors for the presidential contest! Look at their character flaws, and look what their party stands for - tax breaks for the wealthy, anti-environmental regulations, anti-governmental regulations, and just plain anti-government! Are they just plain unpatriotic?

The best feature of the American government in my opinion is: "of the people, by the people, for the people." Why are the Republicans so against our government doing anything to help its people or regulating the corporate despoilers? No, corporations are not people!

The only possible Republican candidate who has some sense about the United States not making war is Ron Paul, but look at his other far out ideas about taxes, the economy, etc!

Jerry Fueslein


Internet privacy paranoia

To the Editor:

I'm noticing some paranoia with regard to Internet privacy. The March 1st article "Google to dig deeper into users' lives" is an example. Do you watch NBC-TV or listen to radio stations? Do you use a drug store or supermarket club card? Do you browse the Internet on media websites? Do you use any of Google's online services?

There is a common thread. Some of these are free and all of them save us money. What do they get in return for being so good to us? They either sell the information in aggregate to advertisers or they advertise directly to us. On the radio and TV, programming is interrupted periodically with ads. With the discount cards you save money. On the Internet, they track your usage (once again in aggregate) so advertisers know that people are looking at their ads. It's all essentially the same … and, I would argue, not an invasion of privacy.

Aggregate means a total or gross amount. In other words, these companies don't really care about you or me, they simply want to know what appeals to, say, women in Tuolumne County in their 30s. Their time wouldn't be well spent if they concerned themselves with each individual. If they determine using their software algorithms that you fit into this certain category, they tailor their ads with specific appeal. Without information about you, you'd see a generic advertisement which might not benefit you or the advertiser. If that bothers you, ignore the ads and don't sign up for free Internet services. It's nothing new - Apple, Google, Facebook all do it.

Dick Chimenti

Twain Harte

Free at last - behind bars

To the Editor:

Don't lose your head only because you are shaking it so hard: A Canadian Goose, for some reason, "adopts" the Plummer family of Tuolumne. They take care of the goose and make sure it can leave anytime it so chooses. Then some alert citizen wants to liberate the goose from the perceived captivity and alerts the authorities who turn the goose over to a "Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center." Now the taxes-paid District Attorney springs into action and indicts the Plummers for "unlawfully keeping a wild goose" and issues a warrant for their arrest. So far, so crazy. But it gets wilder.

A trial is held and the Superior Court judge listens to witnesses for the prosecution as well as for the defense. At the end, he is wise enough to find the Plummers not guilty. This is the way I see it: The goose was free while in the care of the Plummer family. Now it is in custody - probably behind bars. My thanks to The Union Democrat for reporting the story (March 5). This county really is something special.

Klaus Kraemer