Union Democrat staff

Destruction of rain forests and wildlife

To the Editor: 

Mr. Carabas's eloquent letter (Union Democrat, Feb. 20) has some interesting and informative points.

However, "Religious" organizations are not the only anti contraceptive organizations. The Republican Party is also. Cheap beef is not the only reason for rain forest destruction. These forests are also decimated for Palm Oil plantations and lumbar. The wildlife devastation is overwhelming. Animals are driven out of their habitat. They then are easy prey for poachers and brutal killing by natives. Infants and birds sold for the pet trade have a 90 percent mortality rate due to dehydration and lack of care.

Buying "legal" products does not ameliorate these atrocities as that increases demand and enables the black market to mix illegal with "legal" products and animals such as ivory and parrots. U.S. wolves are shot from airplanes. U.S. bears are poached for the Asian gall bladder trade (in Calif. by using radio collared GPS systems on hunting dogs) or caught for cruel bear farms in Asia.

Marine mammals are caught for marine park "entertainment." Many animals drown in fish netting. Frog legs are torn off while the animal is alive and they die in the sun. Turtles are shelled alive for food. The world increasing population only augments these grim pressures.

For Mr. Duncan and others of his ilk, I say that no wild animal will survive individually and as a species due to the increasing numerical demands by humans and the high tech modern search and destroy techniques used on them unless we as a society put a stop to both.

Jean E. Howard, MD, FACP

COL, USAR (retired)

OIF Veteran


AB 109; the goose 

To the Editor: 

What kind of bizarro, Alice's looking glass world has our criminal justice system taken us into? According to The Union Democrat's editorial on AB 109, the state dumps a third of its prisoners into our local communities and jails and then decrees that serious crimes like manslaughter and commercial burglary are no longer prison offenses.

Yet, a man gives food to a hungry goose who can"t fly and the system falls on him like a ton of bricks. Fish and Game spends the time and money to conduct an investigation and out District Attorney's Office has the time and means to prosecute him in court. Maybe he should have taken the goose to the AB 109 office for an ankle bracelet!

A salute to Judge Boscoe for letting common sense prevail.

Jake Jacobsen

Twain Harte

Costs of war 

To the Editor:

I urge those who oppose war with Iran to say so now before it is too late. The potential costs of war are huge, but the benefits are dubious. Sow the wind; reap the whirlwind. We have seen too many photos of parents grieving in piles of rubble. Have the courage to speak out.

John Watson


Lack of leadership

To the Editor:

Why are we still in deep debate over the issue at Columbia Elementary School? A serious violation of trust in keeping our kids safe while at school has occurred. Along with this failure, we also find a serious failure in administration that allowed for nepotism in hiring, reassignment of the individual after the reported incident and then followed up with negative reports by staff as requested by the administrator. To date, no action taken by the administration. (The convicted teacher's aide is now out of jail and on probation after serving eight months).

To top it off, we now have a class given to the students on awareness and sensitivity provided by one of the staff who (as reported) provided a negative letter in reference to the victim! What are you thinking? Who is teaching who?

The County Office of Education should take some immediate steps to correct this lack of leadership or perhaps the State Department of Education should come in with a full investigation. Do we need to make this a national issue to get anything done? This just keeps getting deeper and deeper and hopefully it will not be forgotten.

Ed Anderson


Columbia's values

To the Editor:

I am a retired teacher and, for the last 12 years of my career, taught sex education as a part of my district's mandated science curriculum. Teaching this subject requires dignity, sensitivity, sound judgment and a respect for the confidentiality of the student.

This spring Columbia Elementary will implement a course for seventh-grade students entitled Human Sexuality: Values and Choices. Principal Pelfrey's letter to parents cites the curriculum for the course will consist of determining values, setting boundaries, decision making and refusal skills.

I question the placement of Counselor Cruz in the role of instructor given her decision to write a letter to the judge defending the superintendent's son on the charge of illegal sex with a minor, her refusal to deny the superintendent's request to write that letter, the value she placed on her job above the welfare of a student and her breach of the boundaries of confidentiality regarding the student.

I urge the Board and Administration of Columbia Elementary to refrain from compounding the grievous errors they have already made.

Carol Biederman