Union Democrat staff

Doubt over bond money uses

To the Editor:

I am pleased that both Summerville and Sonora high school bonds have passed, even by the narrowest of margins. I hope these two school districts spend their funds wisely by funding project which will enhance their students' educations. Let us hope they don't follow Columbia College's lead by spending their funds on their own administration's offices with dubious benefits to their students.

The Manzanita Second Floor Remodel project at Columbia College will waste $10 million on administration offices and not even address the problems of the Manzanita first floor which houses the only teaching areas within the building.

I hope the new Measure E Citizen's Bond Oversight Committee members being recruited will see wisdom in spending the Measure E funds on a more worthy project or will seek to return the funds back to us, the generous taxpayers.

Tami Grandstaff


Government waste continues

To the Editor:

Why did the Tuolumne County Administrator and the Board of Supervisors "give away" millions of dollars worth of our property and assets?

I speak to the pending "sale" of our 300 acres of the Jamestown Mine parcel. In comparison, contrast that sale with the obscene amount of money spent on the law and justice center "deal." Most importantly remember, there was no pressing need for them to push through either of these deals.

Our county leaders "gave away" 300 acres of very valuable land for $565 an acre. This initially occurred behind closed doors, with no real fanfare, just some "friends" getting together to share our tax revenues and assets.

Here are some facts about the property:

Much of our Jamestown Mine land is buildable. It is all easily accessible, not requiring many road improvements.

Unimproved former Ag land just four miles away, we taxpayers paid per acre between $88,000 (44 acres) and $275,000 (4.2 acres), http://www.courts.ca.gov/17483.htm.

We have at least $10,000,000 "invested" in the Jamestown Mine land. That would be $33,000 per acre as our cost. They sold it for $565 an acre - but only have received a "$5,000 deposit" to hold it for two years. That is like you selling a home that you paid $160,000 for only $2,800.

For our Jamestown acreage there is value in the land, there is value in the potential development of the land, and there is enormous value still in the mineral rights - lending intrigue to this particular transaction. I am told the County owns the mineral rights and those will transfer to the new owners.

The Environmental Impact Report on this project has been put on hold by the buyer. This may be our chance to get our land back and then wait until we can get fair value for it.

Domenic Torchia