Union Democrat staff

Brown is out of touch with state

To the Editor,

Governor Brown is out of touch with California's financial crisis. While he is all about generating revenue with tax initiatives, pension reform, and cuts to education and state employees, he has missed the big picture. Governor Brown is pushing forward with his plan to provide high speed rail service in Central California - something most of us Californians don't want or view as too expensive.

There simply is or will be no infrastructure to support the completed segment when it is built. What is this high speed rail segment going to connect with? This will leave local communities and counties to bear the additional expense. While Californians approved transportation funding through Measure 1B, the bond only provides for $9 billion of the expected (in today's dollars) $42 billion cost of the segment.

Federal funding is supposed to provide the remaining $33 billion, but as (and if) the project gets underway; costs will most certainly go up.

What about his tunnel project to carry water from the Central Valley to Southern California? The Governor states that this project will only cost California $14 billion, yet projections have already shown that a realistic cost for the completed project is more accurately placed at $54.8 billion.

We simply do not have this kind of money, nor can we realistically generate it through bond measures, taxes, or cuts to other programs. California's education system and many other important programs have already suffered serious cuts in funding, and more of these are looming in the future - all so we can fund projects which we can't pay for or make no sense?

Stephen Lampl

Twain Harte

Agenda 21

To the Editor,

Regarding, Letter to Editor from Sept. 12.

I don't know when or where the public information sessions were held regarding the "Distinctive Communities as the Preferred Growth Scenario" of the Tuolumne County Regional Blueprint. Clearly, the true facts were not presented.

This program is right out of the United Nations Agenda 21 (Rio+20, The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, addresses a range of global issues that includes access to clean energy, food security, water and sustainable transportation).

The resolution approved by four county supervisors reads (in part) bold emphasis is mine. Whereas, within the Distinctive Communities Growth scenario, each community contains a well-defined, cohesive and compact community built around an appropriately-scaled urban core and community gathering places, the size of each community is based on a locally defined urban development boundary area, the existing urban development boundaries may be expanded to allow dense growth to occur near existing community nodes, infill, redevelopment and mixed-use are used to take advantage of existing public infrastructure and services, residential and commercial areas become more compact within new urban development boundaries promoting mixed-use and higher density residential development to supply housing demand.

That's right, no single family dwellings, "high-rise residential equals population control." Two brave men stood up for our constitutional rights, Evan Royce and Randy Hanvelt.

Thank you gentlemen. Personally, I am not ready to concede any of my God-given American rights to the United Nations.

Where in the U.S. Constitution does it give elected or appointed officials the responsibility for planning "sustainable" communities for the citizens? Nowhere. Our rights are being eroded by resolutions that are passed by misinformed officials. Supervisors, rescind this resolution!

Grace M. Alvarez

Twain Harte

Gov't should be ashamed

To the Editor,

The Democrats in the state legislature and the governor should be ashamed of themselves for passing such mean-spirited and divisive legislation. Under the legislation, cities are exempt from the new $150 per year fire tax thereby protecting their elected representatives who voted for it from certain removal. Need I add that all those representatives are Democrats. And what do typical city homeowners pay on their property tax bill for fire services? Nothing, it all comes out of the 1 percent of assessed value. It's the same 1 percent that rural homeowners pay on their property tax bill.

So why would democrats who present themselves as being for the poor people in our state, pass legislation that affects those very people in the poorest counties in the state? Put simply, they just don't care. Our state capitol is jam-packed with big city fat-cats from San Francisco who could care less about our rural lifestyle. Governor Brown, Lt. Governor Newsom, and State Attorney General Kamala Harris all hail from the San Francisco Bay Area, just to name a few.

As it stands now, 826,000 rural homeowners are affected by this new tax which will generate approximately $124 million per year for the state. Since Cal Fire is already state funded what we pay will not get us anymore service than we already have. The new fire tax money will find its way to the general fund, one way or another. By the way, who is collecting this fire tax? Last I heard it was the state Board of Equalization, which should explain the money's destination.

Additionally, keep in mind that 90 percent of the land in Tuolumne County is owned or under restricted development by the government. Why should rural homeowners be singled out to fund the CalFire services when most of the land is government owned?

Roy Bisi