Union Democrat staff

Bring about change peacefully in U.S.

To the Editor,

Since last September a group of local citizens has been demonstrating support for the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

We gather Saturday mornings at Courthouse Square carrying a variety of homemade signs, many referring to "The 1% and the 99%."

While many people passing by understand the significance of these numbers, many others seem puzzled by them. The fact is that they represent the distribution of wealth in our country - the 1 percent being extremely rich, the 99 percent being all the rest of us.

Chuck Collins, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, sums up the situation. "The richest 1 percent owns 36 percent of the wealth in the county. That's more wealth than the net wealth of the (99 percent) combined. It consists of households with incomes that top $500,000 and wealth exceeding $5 million."

Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, writes, "The 1 percent has pocketed almost all wealth gains in the past ten years. The 400 wealthiest ... have more than the bottom 150 million Americans."

I certainly think it is worth noting that at the very bottom of this figure, the percentage of poor has reached its highest level in our history. This information reflects what Occupiers see as central to the current state of not only our economic, but our political systems as well.

By calling it to attention, I hope we can help people to think about this situation and support everyone working peacefully to bring about positive changes in our country.

Raymond Liedlich


Angels Trail Plan

To the Editor,

I want to congratulate the Angels Camp City Council, the City of Angels, and supporters of the Angels Creek Master Plan and Trail Project. The City Council unanimously voted to approve the conceptual plan at their June 5 meeting. Their positive vote sets the stage for our community to reach an important goal together and blaze a trail for others to follow.

In my humble opinion, the benefits of having a pedestrian friendly trail system is a win-win for our community. Residents and tourists alike are here for one big reason - A simpler quality of life that the Sierra Foothills provides.

As a resident of both Calaveras and Tuolumne counties for over 25 years and someone who was fortunate enough to start visiting the Sierra starting at age eight - my love for the outdoors will be a lifetime affair both personally and professionally. My letter to you is not about me though - it is truly about others. When people get a chance to view, visit, and recreate in scenic areas they appreciate their environment more, honor their surroundings more, and become stewards of the landscape more - like me.

The positive attributes of the Angels Trail Plan will help make our community and those that visit our region more appreciative and return with an attitude of gratitude.

Protecting our landscape starts with people getting outside to appreciate the landscape. Appreciating the landscape starts with people caring about things outside themselves.

Tonja Peterson


Cigarette tax ads

To the Editor,

We were victims of a huge con job this last Tuesday. California has the smallest percentage of smokers in the nation and yet we let the Tobacco companies off the hook. All those slick flyers we received in the mail were full of mis-truths and exaggerations on Prop 29.

Did any of you who voted notice the names of the people who funded those flyers? Prop 29 alone shows just how the unlimited money allowed by the Supreme Court decision impacts the political process. The tobacco companies spent $50 million dollars on their ad campaign and won a victory that is bad for us all. I personally was a smoker in the past and I quit smoking when a 7-cent tax was placed on a pack of cigarettes that brought the price to 25 cents. Think what a dollar tax would have done to prevent smoking especially with the young people who don't have the extra money to spend. This was only the beginning of the open purchase of our government by big money and corporations.

We all need to keep this in mind during the next five months. Check out who is funding the TV ads, political flyers, radio programs that we will be bombarded with.

Sanford Conley


Hospice helps

To the Editor,

On June 4 you published an article about hospice. My husband is a patient of hospice and has terminal brain cancer.

In the beginning I wasn't sure what they could do to help us, but to my surprise, now I don't know what I would do without them. This team of people are some of the most caring, understanding and generous people I have ever met - truly angels on Earth. They are not only there for my husband but for me 24/7, even if you just need to talk. They have been very helpful in pointing me in the directions I need for resources and even setting some of them up for me. They have helped and contributed to provide my husband with his dying wishes. He got to go on a gold mining adventure, and at the end of the month both of us will be going to a concert (my husband is 49 and has never been to a concert.Hospice) is providing us with all accommodations including transportation both ways in a limo.

I feel very blessed to have them on board with my husband's illness and for the support they give to families in this time of life. I would recommend them to everyone, and I would just like to thank them publicly for all they do.

Claudia Livingston