Union Democrat staff

Understanding the law process

To the Editor:

Reading the five responses to Sheriff Mele's letter regarding upholding the Constitution - I noted that four of them displayed an odd perception regarding what is "law." I can share a bit that I have learned and taught the last three years.

1. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

2. New laws have four steps:

A. Introduced from the people through their representatives in the "House."

B. Reviewed by the Senate

C. Signed by the president

D. Must be pursuant to the powers granted in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution.

Quote: "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution." The Bill of Rights was added as a supplement to re-emphasize the limitation of power placed on the federal government by the people through their Constitution.

Amendment II says, in part, "…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Very clear.

Note that the powers granted to the federal government are few and specific, whereas those retained by the states and the people are not so limited.

To summarize: If a bill passes through steps A, B and C (above) but does not pass step D, it is unconstitutional, it has no force and is a "non-law."

Our Sheriff seems to have a better grasp of "law" than his detractors.

Max Kernaghan


Pettiness is most unflattering

To the Editor:

I'm puzzled by the "petty" Letter to the Editor written by Genevieve Ceraban.

Was the point of the missive to inform us how talented her fourth grader is - or was it an attempt to embarrass the Sheriff?

Perhaps the real reason for her rude letter is her inability to grasp the meaning of the Second Amendment and proposed gun control laws. As to Sheriff Mele's recent position on possible non-enforcement of new federal gun rules, many constitutional law experts support Sheriff Mele's stance. Regardless of her position on gun ownership, there is no reason for the tone of her letter. Hopefully, she raises her oh so smart child to have more compassion for the feelings of others.

Linda Kofoed


Women don't belong in combat

To the Editor:

Can someone explain what putting women into combat roles is designed to accomplish? Engaging an enemy in combat isn't about equal opportunities, it is about achieving a national security objective as quickly and efficiently as possible with the least loss of American military personnel. The value proposition escapes me.

War is hell. Traditionally, more soldiers have died of disease (dysentery especially) than actual wounds.

There's a reason professional soldiers say that amateurs talk strategy and tactics, while professionals talk logistics. Three weeks or more in the field renders almost any unit completely non-combat effective, mostly for reasons relating to hygiene. Sergeants spend most of their time making sure soldiers at least wash their butts, change their socks, use talc, drink and have enough water, and generally take care of themselves than they do much of anything else.

Now, before you crank up your word processor, my guess is that it is not about "accomplishing" anything. It is about "fairness;" fighting "discrimination" in all of its ugly forms; "spreading around" the power and sharing authority; perhaps valuing symbolism over actual results. It appears that political correctness trumps common sense and human nature in Washington D.C. In other words, we are now, officially, insane.

Ray Anderson


Walking for the right to life

To the editor:

Many people are aware of the Walk for Life rallies around the country a couple weeks ago, timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that struck down state anti-abortion laws. Probably fewer people are aware the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, Norma McCorvey, became a Christian 12 years after that Supreme Court case and is now an active opponent of abortion. Her story can be found by searching the web for Roe No More, or by reading her autobiography, Won by Love.

Consider that the main motivation for abortion may be fear. For the young man, there is the fear of becoming a father and husband, the fear of changing his plans, or the fear of being unable to provide. The young woman may have the same kind of fears, plus the fear of being left alone to care for and raise her baby, and the fear of being judged and condemned. And the rest of us may be afraid to help support them, and afraid to hold up the standard of waiting for marriage to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

When there is an unwanted pregnancy, we search for an undo button or a backspace delete key. Abortion might provide that easy way out except for the critical fact that it kills a tiny human being living and developing in his or her mother's womb, as we once were. How, then, should we support our young people without encouraging them to do wrong?

Tom Durston


Task force findingshave merit

To the Editor:

On Tuesday the Board of Supervisors will review the Planning Commission's and Committees Task Force recommendations related to providing options for reforming the county's various planning commissions and other committees involved in the county planning and entitlement process.

California has some of the most demanding permitting requirements of any State in the nation and some county permitting requirements exacerbate those requirements. Over regulation results in unnecessary delays and increased costs for the applicant and county taxpayers and is a deterrent for viable economic development in these tough economic times.

The Task Force has focused on streamlining and simplifying unnecessary steps in the permitting process and reducing costs. The requirements covered by Design Review and Planning Advisory Committees can be addressed in design handbooks, established by local committees, that then are used by county staff when reviewing applicable projects. County taxpayers should not fund over a thousand dollars an application for staff to administer the meetings in the select areas with a Design Review and/or Planning Advisory Committee. Our current county budget and economy requires we find more efficient ways to achieve the same results.

It has also been argued that we need three additional Planning Commissions (four total) to better represent local community interests. In that our General Plan lists nineteen communities in Tuolumne County should each have its own Planning Commission?

Tuolumne County does not need to be the only county in the State with more than one Planning Commission.

We are well represented by our one Board of Supervisors (with a representative from each of the five districts). This can be achieved with each district represented on one Planning Commission as well.

Ron Kopf