Union Democrat staff

Obamacare not helping everyone

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to Klaus Kraemer's letter from April 2. In his letter, he expressed the opinion that Obamacare is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be - or words to that effect. I understand that Obamacare has helped some people immensely. However, I am not one of these people. I'm 35, and I am in that unfortunate income bracket where I don't qualify for assistance because I make too much, but I don't make enough to afford a lot of things. I am one of the "young invincibles" that is being made to foot the bill for the reduced costs of insurance available through Obamacare. My deductible, copayment, and the price that I pay for prescriptions has tripled since Obamacare came into effect. I am glad that certain individuals are now able to get the help that was denied them previously for whatever reason, but what happens if I or one of my kids gets sick? Think about it.

Bonnie McGuire


Sexual Assault Awareness Month

To the Editor:

The children and teens of today are our hope for tomorrow. It's important for us as parents, caring adults and communities to help set young people on the path for a healthy future and support them as they work to create positive change.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year's campaign is focused on youth. This April, it's time to talk about it!

Young people face many challenges during adolescence. Stereotypes and negative messages in the media don't make this process any easier.

By learning and talking about healthy adolescent sexuality, adults are able to support the teens in their lives. It's time for adults and communities to be a resource to teens as they learn and grow.

How can we support teens during this time of change and discovery? Young people need age-appropriate information about healthy sexuality and relationships from trusted adults. The first step is to start an open and honest dialogue. Ask questions and, most importantly, listen. We can all play a role in modeling healthy behaviors, promoting positive skills, and creating safe environments. It's important to empower the voices of youth and challenge negative, unhealthy messages.

It's OK not to have all the answers. It's more important to welcome questions and learn together. To create a vision for a future without sexual violence, every voice can play a role in a healthier, safer tomorrow for all.

You can use your voice to start the conversation. You can support the voices of young people, and together we can amplify our voices for a healthy future.

Yes, together, we can!

Mercedes G. Tune

Outreach Coordinator

Center For A Non Violent Community

Consequences to a free market society

To the Editor:

In response to Ray Anderson's letter wherein he castigates various "left leaning" local groups who oppose the expansion of Walmart as being against unlimited competition in business, we must consider the consequences of what he calls "a real free market capitalist society."

There were painful lessons learned with the "free market capitalist society" that began in the early 19th century with the birth of the Industrial Revolution. Very quickly huge monopolies developed which extinguished competition through the use of unscrupulous business practices that were allowed then.

These corporations thus were free to set prices without fear of competition thereby eliminating the opportunities for consumers to choose with whom they could do business.

We saw the results of these practices in vast forests denuded, rivers. lakes and streams polluted, labor practices that exploited women and children, working conditions that were dangerous and low wages arbitrarily set that resulted in poverty for working people and their families.

Interestingly, it took the efforts of two Republican presidents - Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft in the early years of the 20th century to challenge these monopolies through the use of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

We owe much to those who stood up to those monopolistic powers which include the many benefits that we live with today - national parks and forests and a middle class that, through organizing, was able to achieve wages that allowed workers to buy the products that they were building.

We must be wary of a similar situation developing in our small community if Walmart is allowed to expand which may cause the closing of the Safeway, and Save Mart stores along with the loss of many jobs.

Are we ready to lose the opportunity of having a choice where we shop?

Mahlon Conly

Twain Harte

Farm Bureau

ad disgraceful

To the Editor:

"Time to take the forest back!" proclaims the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau. "It's our forest," says Tuolumne County Board Supervisor Randy Hanvelt. The forest referred to is Stanislaus National Forest. "Our forest" is not a county forest nor is it a state forest. It is a national forest belonging to all the people of the United States and administered as such by the U.S. Forest Service in accordance with federal statutes. The problems facing our public lands deserve a rational and adult discussion; they do not deserve what seems to me a witch hunt by the Farm Bureau and Board of Supervisors against the Forest Service.

In the Farm Bureau's disgraceful ad attacking the Forest Service in the March 21 edition of The Union Democrat the bureau asks "what havoc will their mis-led policies bring to our community?" Why not be fair about this and demand the same thing of Congressman McClintock, the Tea Party extremist who voted to shut down the federal government and who also voted to reduce funding for our federal agencies, making it more difficult for them to properly manage our public lands? The federal government is not an enemy and it should not be treated as such. It is in the public interest for our county officials and our local Congressman to work with and not against the Forest Service and the other agencies that are involved in managing public lands, including the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

Daniel Connell