Union Democrat staff

Plan land use responsibly

To the Editor:

It is time in Calaveras County to implement responsible land-use planning. The purpose of land-use planning is to plan for the needs of people while managing the natural environment through protection, enhancement and mitigation.

Current land-use planning practices place the natural environment ahead of the need of human habitat. By taking this approach, history has shown that the natural environment is constantly degraded. In addition, people have experienced lower quality of lives and great hardship through inadequate planning. Road realignment and redevelopment leads to costly relocation, disruption, congestion and a lower quality of life. All of these are more pronounced in the urban and suburban community centers.

The degradation of the natural environment has escalated due to not adhering to established planning principles. Population growth continues to spread unabated into viable farmland and countryside as peoples' land-use needs are responded to on a piecemeal basis. As the population continues to increase, there is a greater need for responsible land-use planning.

As we proceed with updating our Calaveras County General Plan this year, it is critical to adhere to the planning principles that were highlighted in the goals and policies of the Calaveras County General Plan Housing Element. This Housing Element was recently approved by the County and State. These land-use goals and policies encourage our future population growth to occur in our rural community centers and where there is existing water, sewer and roads that we can expand at lower cost and harm to the natural environment.

Responsible land-use planning considers the needs of people when managing the natural environment. This approach would have human habitats live and work in harmony with the environment. The results would lead to quality and prosperous communities along with a healthy and better natural environment.

Dave Haley

Vice President,

Castle & Cooke Calaveras


Lawmakers subject to violent aggression

To the Editor:

The Associated Press reports that "lawmakers are becoming the target of aggressive and sometimes threatening emails and phone calls as the debate over stricter gun laws escalates in state capitols." In Colorado police arrested the suspected author of such threats. Police arrested a man suspected of threatening a California lawmaker last week.

It appears that at least some gun owners, usually referred to as "law-abiding citizens", have a proclivity towards violence. This is exactly what the debate must focus on.

Let's assume this: Guns don't fire bullets but rays of light, like a flash in your camera. No booming sound, no recoil. But they could kill, like the laser weapons in futuristic movies (is that our future?). The guns would no doubt be useful for target practice and deer hunting. But would people still line up in stores to buy them because governments might require their owners to be licensed?

Most would laugh at such "toys" but I bet a few people still would want to own such life-threatening light guns. Because they crave the perceived power ("I can handle this dangerous weapon"). It's exactly those people who should not have guns, the real ones with the bullets, the boom and the recoil. Who like to threaten or frighten people. We cannot hope that all of them vent their emotions in traceable emails but harbor their anger until we have another "incident". Like another Gabby Giffords. Or JFK, RFK, MLK.

Klaus Kraemer


World War II vet grateful for kind act

To the Editor:

I wish to share a recent example of kindness shown to me by a total stranger. On Friday Feb. 22, I was shopping in Walmart. As I was checking, out a young lady came up and swiped her debit card. As she passed by me, she thanked me for my service in World War II. I thanked her but wondered what was going on.

I began to get out some money to pay for my purchase when the cashier said it was taken care of. I was still in a state of shock when she was finished and gave me my receipt; she assured me it had been paid for.

I was still speechless - which was very unusual for me as I always had something to say. I turned around and right behind me was the same young lady who had swiped her card. I thought about how I would have handled the situation if I were still in Mississippi. I just gave her a big hug and managed to say, "Thank you ma'am." Is Tuolumne County a great place to live or what? I want to say "Thank you ma'am" once again to this young lady for making this old World War II vet feel mighty good.

Bill Nabers