Union Democrat staff

Frog protection plan overreaching

To the Editor:

I am amazed at the alarm of some people as to the decreasing population of frogs. It is not hard to figure out. They love moist environments. You could protect 10 million acres of land, but unless you can make it rain within a more consistent schedule, this cannot be the type of environment to allow them to thrive. We need to be realistic. The reality could also be that they are becoming extinct. That is what happens when the ambient temperature and overall ecosystem changes through warmer drought-type situations.

I read the article about the meeting held to discuss the proposal to make the frog an endangered species. From the picture in the paper, I could tell that many productive men and women that use the forests for their livelihood were concerned about trying to protect a species that is threatened by the current climate of this area. These people love the forest, its environment and the many animals that exist there. They also lovingly manage the environment so that it can also produce a livelihood for them and at the same time sustain the native creatures that live there.

A statement was recently made as to using frogs as gauge for indicating fatal ecosystem conditions, much the same as the canary in miner's tunnel. The difference is that toxic gases were a gander to both the canary and the men doing the work in those mines. This gauge of using the population of frogs is flawed. The current, hot, dry climate is certainly uncomfortable to us and we take precautions to stay out of the sun and use mitigations such as air conditioning and impounding of water with dams for times like this. It is much more of a sure and present danger to frogs.

Don Nessl


Government went to work on Rim Fire

To the Editor:

Our county is on fire; Congressman McClintock is absent. It's difficult to grandstand about the subversive "lefty" environmentalists and the incompetence of "socialist" government right now.

It's a good time to reflect on what we really believe. Do we believe in small government and cutting taxes, as the Rim Fire bears down on us? Or in a social contract that makes us a nation whose main idea is not profit but people.

Do we believe in promoting forest management and sustained harvesting of our forests - a long-term investment in healthier forests more capable of resisting fire and the jobs to do that work - or short-term profit-taking, leaving the forest in whatever conditions result? Are we the stewards of our land or profit driven? What is best: long-term employment in forest management or being too harassed about a job today to plan a future for the forest and us?

The McClintocks of government don't believe in government; they deride it as incompetent - a waste of tax dollars - and they're out to prove it.

But who is defending our towns and private property now? Could we have fought this fire alone? Every business and home from Tuolumne City, to Pinecrest was at risk. Those firefighters are our government; those planes, bulldozers, and fire trucks are our government. And they sure look good right now. Our government "for the people" is picking up the tab money from the rest of the nation to protect us. Are we citizens joined in social contract or "moochers?"

When the firefighters leave, will we forget our gratitude and obligations to the rest of the country? I am proud of our government of the people. I am grateful to my fellow Americans and the social contract that says we are here for one another.

Robert Carabas