Union Democrat staff

Highway 4 project a waste of tax $$

To the Editor::

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of taxpayer money our federal, state, county and city governments can waste on unnecessary projects. The latest is spending $65 million to straighten out Highway 4 between Angels Camp and Copperopolis. Area people listened and then voiced their concerns about costs, traffic disruption, impact on private land and noise. This project is to straighten out 6.5 miles of quite curvy road. I travel this road often and 6.5 miles of caution is a lot less expensive than the $65 million it will cost to straighten them out. The newly redesigned $4 million intersection at Highway 4 and Pool Station Road is another example of wasted money. Most of us live here because we love the rural setting and the historic background of the area. Making a straight line to Stockton so that people can drive 65 or 70 miles an hour is to me unwarranted. Lets face it, 6.5 miles isn't very far, and if we can't take our time safely negotiating these curves, then we should just stay home or take a different route. There are many miles of paved roads that need repaving. Why not concentrate on that.

Susan Fleming

Angels Camp

Provide better safety education

To the Editor:

Why not train all staff including teachers, parents, and students who are age and size appropriate how to do "talk downs and take downs?" These approaches are trained by special trainers to most professionals who can expect to deal with violent behavior, mostly by one perpetrator.

I had to take a class when I worked at a county mental health facility many years ago. This technique usually has one person to talk to the perpetrator in a calm controlled way. and two, or more (3 or 4 is better) others to come behind the perpetrator and on command by one person to take the person down by arms, chest and legs. You really must see this to get the impact of what takes place. Many have already seen this on TV. All people at the scene should try to remain quiet and exit or hide as quickly as possible. Screaming and running around just upsets the perpetrator. I know this is hard to do, or even to get a mental picture of but this approach does work and gives power to the people being attacked. Even the smallest children have been taught what to do in a fire drill .This type of training is good to have in many different situations.

Check with police, mental health units,or riot squads for who to contact for this type of training.

Emma L. George


In response to Friday's editorial

To the Editor:

Yosemite is a national park - not a local park. It is also one of America's show places - visitors come from all over the world to see Yosemite Valley's spectacular waterfalls and cliffs. One of its' greatest problems though is overcrowding. The NPS, to its credit, is trying to make changes to address the problem. One way is to eliminate activities such as swimming in a pool or playing tennis or floating down a river, all of which can be done just as well in many other places. Why should visitors be turned away due to some other people wanting to spend a week or more in the valley playing tennis, swimming, etc?

In Friday's Union Democrat "Opinion," the editors don't seem to understand this. Among other things, they accuse the Park Service of trying to keep visitors out. I'm sure the Park Service is not trying to repel tourists, as this paper suggests, but is trying to make it possible for everyone to visit Yosemite and see its unique features. As far as the Park Service trying to encourage more visitation, every park has brochures to inform the public, and by the way, what is wrong with having ranger-led 'interpretive programs'?

How might I ask is removing expensive amenities elitist? Just because someone can afford to spend over $500 for a room shouldn't make them more important than everyone else. Also, how does riprap control flooding, as this editorial suggests? Its purpose is to control erosion of the river banks? Removing the riprap is not going to create floodplains, they are already there.

I would suggest the editors really study the plans, learn what the planning is all about, and then send their comments to the park Service rather than just trying to influence others.

Jerry Fueslein