Union Democrat staff

Something's fishy

To the Editor,

In a recent article "Muddy Water No Fish Danger," that ran Aug. 28, it is stated by Forest Service biologist, Crispin Holland, that "Our native species are adapted to these kind of natural disturbances," in reply to the excessive amount of sedimentation in our waterways lately because of Sierra Nevada thunderstorms, downpours, and hail storms.

He also goes on to state this sediment introduced into the waterways is actually beneficial to certain species and helps keep the natural balance.

No, what is odd to me is it's supposedly sedimentation that us dredgers were supposedly causing that was evidently "harming," the fish, and the ecology of the water way?

As dredgers and the past studies have shown, we know that what we were doing was not harming the fish either, yet it was still banned. It is also odd that there has been record salmon runs the last few years?

What gives? Something smells fishy … and its not the fish.

C. Stemler


Safety is everyone's responsibility

To the Editor,

Regarding the Aug. 22 guest column from the Los Angeles Times, "How to make Yosemite Safer."

Thanks the Boy Scouts of America for making our wilderness national parks safer for so many years. Kids in scuffy blue and yellow uniforms experienced their first hikes and tents thanks to the BSA, and the uniforms they wore were insignias of safety: The scout bandana was a cravat - first aid!

Most of that technical know-how - how to survive in a wilderness place - has gone to the BSA wayside, but the main roads to wild places are still much traveled.

What we need to do is to rekindle an interest in the awareness of dangers and survival, as the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training of the American Red Cross does.

I say teach CERT in schools as a requirement for high school graduation.

Likewise, we need to instruct park visitors in routine safety.

More signs (a.k.a. speed limits) will be ignored. Handing out leaflets is asinine where functional illiteracy hovers at the rate of 1 in 2. What we need to do is to invent a comic strip feature that teaches kids (and adults) safety in the parks, Yosemite included.

How many people see in the depths of their mind's eye the slick-rock scenario that takes lives year after year and fall after fall - the same lesson pending ad infi-nauseum.

Blame the parks! How to make Yosemite safer, as if we can engineer safety into wilderness.

Bah, humbug!

We need to teach people painlessly (even those who read poorly) about the dangers inherent in nature and the need for personal survival skills.

Safety is not just the responsibility of those who wear the broad-rimmed hats - it's your responsibility too ... and yours ... and yours!

Bud Hoekstra

San Andreas

No such thing as 'legitimate' rape

To the Editor,

In regards to Todd Akin.

There is never, never such a thing as a "legitimate rape," as per Todd Akin.

Rape is a horrific crime with terrible consequence to the victim - sometimes venereal disease and even worse, a pregnancy.

For Akin and others of his ilk, I think a little middle-school sex education might broaden his intellect, if he has any.

If a woman is not on birth control and the cycle of her menses is at the fertile time when she is raped - pregnancy can happen.

As to what she chooses to do at that time is her business alone. Not yours, not mine and certainly not Akin's.

Nancy Czito


Electoral college

To the Editor,

I take exception to many of the statements in CB Maxwell's letter in the Aug. 14 paper.

First, "The Electoral College is a foundation of our republic and constitution" - Huh!

Isn't it just a method of electing the president and vice-president. This antiquated method may have been useful in the early days of this country when transportation and communication were primitive, but it certainly isn't needed today.

In most states, all of the electoral votes go to the candidate who received the majority of that state's vote. In effect, nobody else's vote counts. If you happen to live in a state where the majority of the votes are Democrat, for example, and you vote for a Republican or Independent presidential candidate, sorry your vote won't count toward electing the Prez.

It would take an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to change the system, and would be extremely difficult to accomplish. But, if enough state voting laws are changed, the method of electing the president could, in effect, be changed to the popular vote. This change has already been made in several states.

Let's encourage our state to do the same.

The means to accomplish this is very simple - have the state's electoral votes go to the candidate who receives the most popular votes (in the whole country).

Voila, the president (and VP) would, in effect, be elected by the popular vote (so, everyone's vote counts).

Another benefit of eliminating the Electoral College would be the elimination of "battleground states!"


Jerry Fueslein



An Aug. 15 letter from Dolores Kipp contained incorrect information regarding Union Bank of California and its advertisements. It also contained incorrect information about President Obama's chief of staff.