Union Democrat staff

Columbia El. needs new policies

To the Editor:

A new policy needs to be in place alerting parents of suspected perpetrators in their child's class at Columbia Elementary. The last perpetrator was not only working with tutored children for several years,he also met individually with each student in the second grade class of 2010 alone, in a small room ,unsupervised on two separate occasions before he was let go.

Parents have the right to know who there child was with and we may want to ask our child what interaction they had, in this case with an elderly man. As a professional forensic clinician I know that 50 girls are molested by a perpetrator before he is caught and 150 boys are molested before a perpetrator is turned in.There arent even that many kids in that second grade class. This is a serious health and safety matter and needs to be addressed with that class full of potential victims.

The Board, administration, and teacher were and are not transparent with parents, if they had been in 2010 a victim may not have been undiscovered as we just saw, as well as others may have been identified and helped.Now its too late to prosecute because the person is dead.The school sends letters about lice,or a pedophile out in a van off school property, but none to an entire class about a man suspected of lewd and lascivious acts on a child and who had extremely close contact with the children.They had two chances to send letters.

The school should immediately send out a letter so parents can check if their kids are ok if this happens again and parents should report any inappropriate contact to law enforcement.

Dante Sanchez


Citizens United and Tom McClintock

To the Editor:

Tom McClintock supports Citizens United and the influence of money on politics. I wrote to him about it. According to opensecrets.org he has received $6000 from Citizens United.

He thinks: "there remains a ban on foreign corporate or individual involvement in our elections; this is a critical safeguard." Not true. A million-dollar donation by a foreign-owned corporation, Odyssey Re of Connecticut, a "wholly-owned subsidiary" of Canadian insurance was given to super PAC, Restore Our Future, supporting Republican Mitt Romney's run for president.

"Individuals may now join together in voluntary associations and express political views without government censorship." How is it "voluntary" if I work for a corporation that supports a candidate I don't? The company has a lot more money to spend than I do and if I disagree I can be punished at my job with demotion or layoff. Citizens United presumes that corporations, unions, and non-profit advocacy groups are all equals in their abilities to spend money to influence elections. The more money, the louder the voice and that, sir, is not democracy.

Look no further than Walmart. They have donated at least $3,553,038 to candidates. Do you think their employees can compete with that? Do you think their employees agree with the choice of candidates?

Limiting the amount of money a corporation or wealthy individual can spend on political ads is not equivalent to censorship. If money is speech, then speech is no longer free. If corporations and ordinary citizens have to compete to have their voices heard, elections are no longer fair. The middle class worker has limited income. That is not democracy.

Debi Baron

Twain Harte

Sonora playing dirty pool

To the Editor:

I am surprised the phrase "playing dirty pool" hasn't been one of your headlines about Sonora High School's priorities for spending the recently approved bond proceeds:

On Aug. 28 and Oct. 5, 2012, The Union Democrat reported that the highest to lowest priorities identified by Superintendent McCoy (in consultation with the community, students, and parents) were: The humanities building, cafeteria, kitchen, library, science building, Centennial Hall, and an agricultural facility. An aquatics complex was "farther down the list."

In September 2012, a Sonora Water Polo Foundation Facebook page appeared in support of the bond measure and identified a local individual with close ties to the water polo program at Sonora High as spearheading the effort to pass the measure.

The page discusses how antiquated most of the buildings on the campus are, with the first five out of six bullet statements outlining the needed improvements to classrooms, technology, plumbing, heating, health and safety, and energy efficiency. The last bullet mentions "athletic facilities". How did a new pool suddenly float to the top of the priority list after the election?

I agree that sports facilities are an important part of the education infrastructure, but based on pre-election information available to the voters, there are higher priorities for the bond funds than a new pool. Those needs have been apparent for a long time and the excuse that the pool project is something that can be started right away while other projects need more design and planning time doesn't float.

My taxes should be used to benefit the greatest number of staff and students in the long term, first completing projects that are most difficult to fund from other sources. If there are leftovers after that goal is met, build the pool. If not, let the Sonora Water Polo Foundation fund it.

Kathy Aldrich