Letters to the Editor for February 21, 2014

Union Democrat staff /

Water balloon fight an unwise choice

To the Editor:

Nearly every day, The Union Democrat publishes articles about the severity of the drought, and discusses measures to take to help save water. The headline in today's paper (Feb. 19) was, "Water measures likely expensive." Another excellent article on the scarcity of H20 and measures we must all take to deal with it.

Then my eyes fell to the full color feature entitled, "Water wars" which took up the majority of the front page. All about Sonora High School students participating in a Future Farmers of America water balloon competition. A water balloon fight? As in filling balloons with water and tossing them until they fall and burst on the concrete? Can someone please explain this to me?

I don't know how many articles I have seen recently in print and on TV, about the plight of farmers, being harmed by the drought. And the FFA sponsored this event? Please tell me that someone at the event sponged up all the water and took it home to bathe or wash dishes!

Mark Heimlich


Debating the merits of unification

To the Editor:

Recently The Union Democrat ran a letter from an elected school official, Mr. Spisak. For many reasons, his letter was troubling.

Foremost was that Mr. Spisak's letter contained mostly erroneous statements.

The quotes below were said to be untrue by state and county public school departments and officials. The following statements are not true:

"...you have to pay the principal one-third to half the cost to take over duties of running the school."

"...you have to raise all teacher's salaries to the highest in the county."

The following statements are basically nonsensical:

"What about emergencies such as active shooter incident, fire and others? (This is why we have principals, teachers, staff to help evacuate. This is why we have firefighters, EMT's and law enforcement officers.)

"There may be added debt to your taxes." (You must have an election to pass school bonds.)

The one thing that Mr. Spisak had correct was "So, before jumping to conclusions, research the issues, get the facts, and make an informed decision…." Too bad he did not follow his own advice.

Here are some additional facts:

The issue of school unification has never been on a ballot in Tuolumne County

This current unification ballot measure will save from $3 to $5 million dollars - it is what the administration will do with the savings that can be debated.

Nothing in this initiative will result in the closing of any schools, the combining of any schools, or any change in student enrollment areas. Any or all could happen anytime, but those decisions are separate and apart. Ironically, if done correctly, unification savings could result in schools staying open, classroom sizes being reduced and more classes offered.

Please, sign a petition and get this on a ballot. Then we can debate the merits before you vote.

Domenic Torchia


The Union Democrat
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