Union Democrat staff

Pendley should go

To the Editor.

For months I have watched the scandal in the Columbia School District, expecting that the school board eventually would do the right thing, but John Pendley continues to hold his board in thrall. Mr. Pendley may be a charming guy, and his administrative skill even may be worth his $175,760 salary (which is doubtful), but he needs to be let go.

In any big city he would have been dismissed months ago over the scandal surrounding the improper hiring of his son and of his son's crimes. Now we learn that Superintendent Pendley has academic credentials that The Union Democrat correctly describes as "dubious."

Will this revelation finally awaken the members of the Columbia School Board who so far have failed in their duty to provide moral leadership for their community and its children? So far they have seemed oblivious to the stain spreading from Pendley's transgressions onto their own characters.

Michael Ackley


No to Romney

To the Editor,

When did we become a nation only as good as its freshest bread crumbs? Many say we're the "greatest" nation; the envy of citizens around the world.

Well, I love America enough to be embarrassed at what we've allowed ourselves to become. Shame on us! With all our resources, money, power and fabulous minds, we should be the best. But today, we'll be lucky to beat out the Peso.

Media has people so brainwashed and divisive that they don't see that it's not about Right vs Left, it's about Right vs. Wrong. Healthcare for all is right; denying those who can't afford it is wrong, especially by politicians who have the best insurance our taxes buys.

Government for the People, by the People, is right, but obscene wealth allowed to give unlimited and anonymous campaign contributions is wrong; then government becomes for the rich, by the rich.

Like giving wealthy tax breaks - they don't create jobs, they outsource them.

A womans right to choose should be her right; denying healthcare, especially based on religious opinion, is wrong. Pro-life is really only pro-pregnant, since once life is out, you're on your own.

I've traveled around the world and as other countries progress forward, Republicans are taking us backwards - hunting for witches to burn at the stake again.

Just read about what laws they want women live by in our own backyard! Ideologies are too personally ingrained to allow all people to agree to all things - but we can coexist.

Yet the powers that be want us fighting each other because it keeps eyes off what's really going on. Pay attention. Don't make a Mitt-stake in 2012.

Maria Cristina Long


Support Measure C

To the Editor,

Tuolumne County has a rich film history, spanning close to a century. Over 300 feature films and television series episodes have been produced in our area, leading to millions of dollars spent in our community on salaries, services, equipment, and supplies. The films created now serve as our greatest calling card, bringing tourists from around the world. None of this could have happened without the Sierra Railroad, its Jamestown depot now known as Railtown 1897, and its steam locomotives, led by Sierra No. 3 (The Movie Train). Sierra No. 3 truly is our movie star.

It was featured in the first "talkie" filmed on location, the 1929 film The Virginian, featuring a young Gary Cooper.

For many people its whistle was the first sound they ever heard from a motion picture. No. 3 played a starring role in perhaps the greatest Western of all time, High Noon.

In the 50s and 60s nearly every Western TV series came to Jamestown to use No. 3, featured weekly in the opening of Petticoat Junction.

It continued its great service to this community into the 90s in another iconic Western, Unforgiven, and the blockbuster, Back to the Future III.

Railtown and its steam locomotives continue to draw film production to the area along with fans of past films. Iron Horse siblings No. 28 and No. 2 stepped in for No. 3 during her long rehabilitation and also have an impressive list of credits.

With No. 3 back in service - thanks in large part to donations from our community - I expect more starring roles. Please support Measure C and our community's efforts to keep Railtown open - for film, for tourism, for history, and for pride.

Jerry Day

County Film Commissioner