Union Democrat staff

How did the drought get this bad?

To the Editor:

We are in a drought.

But what happened?

In late spring of 2013, the weather folks were forecasting a dry winter for this season, yet until the last couple of months, the water flowed at an incredible rate out of Pinecrest Lake and Lyon's Lake, the source of the drinking water for many of us. I hike the area and was surprised at how much water was still flowing.

There is a method for decision making that the experts call: the consequence of being wrong.

If the weather folks were wrong and the water control folks had held water and there was a strong snowpack, water would be flowing out of the spillways of both of these dams. Consequence: might have a bit of erosion downstream. Unpleasant, but workable.

But…if the weather folks were right and the water control folks didn't hold the water, then the consequence would be…well, it would be exactly what we have: a panic level drought.

Of course, I am not an expert in water management and if there are reasons why squandering water seems like a good idea when drought conditions are forecasted, I truly would want to know because on the surface it is very frustrating.

So, now we are IN that drought. Water flows from Lyons Dam into the initial pipe which leads to the ditch which provides the water we need. But incredibly, at the point where the pipe meets the open ditch, a chunk is diverted into the dry riverbed below. Charging the river? No, because the flow is not sufficient for that, with the river ending up dry down stream. Wasted water.

Droughts happen. Of course. But by applying the "consequence of being wrong" protocol, the severity of these could be reduced.

Gerry Harrison

Twain Harte


Tea Party facts

To the Editor:

In regards to Mr. Ackley's letter:

You want some facts, here you go. The ACA has given over 2 million people affordable health care and growing by day. Cost of plans range between 3 and 5 percent of income with subsidies for local and middle income families. House Tea Party Republicans voted 47 times to repeal the ACA. What a joke! Here are some Benghazi facts for you Tea Party extremists: Tea Party Republicans cut billions of dollars from embassy security. Fact: Cut $128 billion in 2013 and $331 billion in 2014. Your gurus Paul Ryan and Darrell Issa cut $1.2 billion for 300 more security positions for "embassy's!" Who does Benghazi belong to now?

Just a few more quick facts. 1. Tea Party shuts down the U.S. Government to defund the ACA. 2. Tea Party votes to end unemployment benefits for over 2 million people. 3. Tea Party votes to cut military retirement benefits. 4. Tea Party Republicans espouse to send the first legally elected president (of color) back to Kenya. Really? 5. Tea Party Republicans can't win a legal election unless they destroy voters' rights.

I think it's time to stop. There's just not enough time or space to describe the endless dysfunction of the Tea Party. Oh, two more things. It's your association with the NRA that has almost destroyed the legal gun ownership in the U.S. Background checks are a good thing! Vote for it! The next time you want to blame the progressives of this country for name calling take a listen to your Tea Party favorite, Tea Party Nationalist Socialist, the insane Ted Nugent. The truth is out there!

Jim Hassay


Science explains evolution

To the Editor:

Evolution is the only current logical explanation for how we got where we are.

Gene Henry's letter (March 3) attempts the impossible by picking a microscopic billionth of the evidence for Darwin's theory when he found some text that seems to support his preposterous contention that evolution does not occur. Talk about cherry picking!

There are no serious, qualified scientist that refute evolution. None.

The "gradual appearance of life over eons" is fact, if you consider modern science authoritative.

Henry would have us believe that we appeared in a garden, 6,000 years ago with the most outlandish story anyone could imagine, one that puts science fiction to shame.

Regarding his claim that only 48 percent of people evolved from earlier species. He implies that 52 percent believe in Adam and Eve. Not so. Those percentages go up by a significant amount when the questions are rephrased to ask if the big-bang theory and evolution are scientifically accepted. Only 26 percent of Americans know the earth revokes around the sun! Americans are poorly educated and one of the reasons is biblical teaching.

We are falling behind everywhere. Only science will save us. Real science.

William Bergmann