Union Democrat staff

Advice from a reader

To the Editor:

These excerpts are important because they are pertinent to our current time:

William J. Bennet was formerly head of the U.S. Department of Education. This quote is from his book, "The Moral Compass:" "I know three things must always be to keep a nation strong and free. One is heartstone bright and dear with busy, happy loved ones near. One is a ready heart and hand to love and serve and keep the land. One is a work and beaten way to where the people go to pray. So long as these are kept alive, nation and people will survive. God keep them always everywhere - the home, the heart, the place of prayer."

Another quote is from a letter by William J. Murray, son of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, an outspoken atheist in the 1960s and 1970s. He wrote it as an adult after realizing the futility of his mother's many battles against religion, and after his conversion to Jesus Christ. "Our nation, our people, now face a trying time in this world of chaos. It is only with a return to our traditional values and our faith in God that we will be able to survive as a people."

Ken LaBarge


Sierra Club counters board

To the Editor:

The Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Water Management Plan (IRWMP) and Sierra Club were mischaracterized by some people quoted in a recent news article.

The article described several reasons Calaveras County ended participation in IRWMP. In a recent meeting the county told us they did not have enough money to participate. Comments by supervisors listed a host of reasons for the departure that had nothing to do with finances.

One complaint by the supervisors was that an agreement to utilize consensus for decision-making was "unworkable." This method had been tedious but it was working until several of the utilities got cold feet and demanded a change. Greater trust might have led to more buy-in for projects. It is clear that developing that level of trust has failed.

The local Tuolumne Group of the Sierra Club was concerned by the comments of supervisor Darren Spellman. He commented that the sierra Club had an agenda to take us back to the stone age and that unelected groups should not participate in IRWMP.

Mr. Spellman claimed that if unelected members of IRWMP were removed he might favor of Calaveras participating in the IRWMP. Would he favor removal from the IRWMP of the Forest Service, Farm Bureau, BLM, DFG and others? I hope not.

In the past, elected officials often made decisions in smoke-filled rooms instead of in the open. The charge received by IRWMP from the DWR was to have all stakeholders try to work together. The goal of DWR was to reduce lawsuits and controversy. It is time to move into the future with an inclusive process. Working collaboratively with many stakeholders is the goal of the Tuolumne Group of the Sierra Club, as we work together to meet the needs of everyone who lives in our watersheds.

Jon M. Sturtevant