Union Democrat staff

Kudos to KASA

for arts camp

To the Editor:

Kudos to Tuolumne County Arts Alliance for its Spring Vacation KASA Arts Kamp debut! These kids enjoyed an enriching, wholesome option of creativity during their time away from school, and their parents could rest assured that their children were well cared for. I had the chance to visit one day to see exuberant young faces ready for playful learning and to meet the talented cadre of arts instructors.This program was affordable, well-designed and centrally located on our beautiful historic Sonora Dome campus. Thank you to the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors for including TCAA in their budget. And thanks to TCAA's Board of Directors for their vision. This is an example of great leadership and innovation in the arts. I hope that we will continue to support TCAA in the county budget!

B.Z. Smith


Thanks you Blue Mountain Minerals

To the Editor:

To the people at Blue Mountain Minerals:

We would like to thank you for your generous donation for the rock on March 14, 2014, to spread on our friend's grave, Spc. 4 Mark P. Collins, killed in Vietnam May 21, 1968, and his good friend "Uncle" Frank Noel, who was a first lieutenant in World War II and passed away in 1973. They are buried in adjacent plots in the historic Columbia Cemetery.

Mark was one of seven of us that were close friends as we were growing up at Sonora High and as we advanced into young adulthood.

The rock you donated looks very nice and will keep their graves looking nice for years to come.

Thanks again, Chuck Holland, Jim Hicks, Jim Phelan, Mike Cilenti and Wayne Kizer.

Jim Phelan



the poor

To the Editor:

Ray Anderson (April 1) believes in a "free market" that has never existed. Imagine a football game with no rules. Which way would you run?

When conservatives demanded deregulation, a "free market," for banks. Bankers got bonuses while Americans got a recession. And Conservatives didn't learn a thing, urging us to do it again.

Anderson decries lawsuits by "obstructionist." Every lawsuit brought against business and the Board of Supervisors has been for the same reason ignoring the laws requiring an Environmental Impact Report. It's like the speeder caught again and again then grandstanding about innocence and unfair policing. They lose in court because they're breaking the law-- at taxpayer expense, and they'll do it again. Let's consider, Wal-Mart's desire to expand into the food market.

Anderson claims we get better products or services at lower prices from "free market" capitalism. However, Wal-Mart's low prices are subsidized by low wages and unfair labor practices. If Wal-Mart goes into the grocery business every food market in our county must compete with those substandard wages, which makes employees poorer thus our communities poorer.

If we paid just one-penny more for every dollar spent at Wal-Mart or McDonald's it could fund a 3-dollar an hour raise for every employee. Many full time employees can't feed, clothe and house their families. 20 percent of Tuolumne County's children are being raised in poverty.

Further behemoths like Wal-Mart game the system. They pay a low wage and limit working hours forcing employees into Medicaid, food stamps and subsidized housing costing California taxpayers $5,800 per employee subsiding Wal-Mart.

Consumer Reports (March 14) ranks Wal-Mart the worst grocer among 55 stores surveyed on issues like cleanliness, quality of perishables, service and prices;

Anderson's "free market" crashes again. Citizens have every reason to question even sue for Environmental Impact Reports. We need those facts.

Robert Carabas


Good times

are coming?

To the Editor:

The current model does not hold, expansion i.e. growth in this county is a pipedream that has never materialized and may never. In this multi-year drought that vexes agriculture interests and expansionists alike, what are the answers given to solve the problem? How much water do we really need for right now, not some dream of future growth? Charging more to hook up to the system now doesn't solve the problem of the fact that there is not enough water in these times. So will there now be a gold level for preferred rate payers and the rest get to fight for the scraps? Is this a sleight of hand to expel the low end income people from this county so that the coffers will overflow with money from those that can afford the privilege of water? This county needs a no growth mindset. Yes, that's right read it again. Blaming the ditch miners from over a hundred years ago for the current water issues doesn't fix the situation. And of course this last spurt of rain won't solve the panic either, although if we all had to build boats to survive, the officials would still scream crisis! Now that's not to say that we are flush with the wet stuff, but is all really being done to conserve? Will this affect the new pool at Sonora High? No, no of course not, the greater good must be served. So go to the car wash, it will be OK, even if we will be paying more for less. This county is the city on the hill…or at least a suburb of the bay area. The good times are coming…

Tom Griffiths