Union Democrat staff

Stage 3 Board made big mistake

To the Editor:

I will not bore you with my theatrical resume which is easily found on any computer, but I know whereof I speak. Having worked in most of the best resident theatre companies in this country, I saw many internecine wars between artists (usually founding artists) and boards of directors. Sadly, from the beginning of my relationship as both a director and actor with Stage 3, I saw the same things beginning to stir.

After my work and experience one may ask how or did I find my way to Stage 3. There is a very simple answer, Don Bilotti: his vision and the excellence of production drew me.

Then I met Maryann Curmi and got the full picture. Don Bilotti, with Maryann as his partner, were the soul of Stage 3. However, if you remove the soul from any theatre, you most often doom the theatre to either complete failure or a sharp decline toward mediocrity.

The Board of Directors issues a press release regarding Mr. Bilotti's "resignation." To me it read like an amateur's immature, bad and very transparent joke. I think the board made a disastrous mistake in forcing Mr. Bilotti to resign and they will create many more questions of stunned disbelief and puzzlement than simple acceptance. Don's accomplishments of excellence in productions are almost endless, for example, in the limited space and talent pool available to him, I can't think of any artistic director, other than Mr. Bilotti, who would have chosen to put "August: Osage County" on his schedule. He did and it was an enormous success. In all my years in theatre, Don Bilotti is one of the best artistic directors with whom I've ever worked. And this board of directors let him go? Please.

Lloyd Battista


Unification seeks to lessen bureaucracy

To the Editor:

In the past few weeks, The Union Democrat has published two letters from Mr. Paul Howay. In his letters he cites his opposition to allowing the people of Tuolumne County a vote on whether we would be better served by a single unified school district.

The ballot initiative would call for one superintendent, not the current eight; one school board with a designated member to represent each school, not 50 five people on 11 different boards; and one district, not 11 districts.

Mr. Howay does support this effort when he states in his opening remark, "Bigger government is not always better." Strangely, this is the exact reason hundreds of our neighbors have already signed the petitions to eliminate the near choking bureaucracy that now governs our schools.

All the dozens of folks who got behind this effort want to do is to more efficiently use the money we have for our students and their curricula. We want to have the debate, let you hear and see the facts, and then let you decide what you think is best.

Some of what Mr. Howay has said is not correct. For example, there is no law or rule that states all teachers wages must be "leveled up." We also feel that local control in the current system is a myth, and plan to make this subject part of the debate. Estimates on the cost of the current salaries, perks, benefits and stipends range from $3 million to $5 million.

This is a challenging and unfair process. It takes 25 percent of the signatures of every registered voter in each and every district to qualify this for the ballot. This is significantly higher than other ballot requirements.

We need your help to get this on the ballot - so look for us and sign the petition.

Domenic Torchia