Union Democrat staff

Ditch shutoff an unwise decision

To the Editor:

A statement that Mr. John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, made in the March 21 Union Democrat. He said taking water out of a river and wasting it by leaking into the ground to get it into a pond used by all types of wildlife that doesn't make any sense. I wonder where he got his information or if he talked to an engineer before coming up with his idea.

First, any water that travels over the ground is available for all types of wildlife to drink. Is that water being wasted?

Second, water that travels over ground seeps downward. Where does it go? It goes back to the groundwater table, therefore supporting water wells that are used by humans etc. If you wonder about this concept talk to an engineer. Certain areas have more percolation because of various types of strata, but quite often there is a good amount of seepage. The 400 acre feet of water enough to serve 800 households that was saved by closing down the Shaws Flat ditch is a lot of water.

Let's hope and pray that the groundwater percolation this ditch provided, plus any other ditches closed down by TUD, don't be a major problem to people that have wells near these closed ditches.

Let's also hope our wildlife finds a way to deal with this at times questionable concept of water conservation.

Why didn't TUD cut the flow on all the ditches. This way all the ditches could have some water for all?

John Richardson


Raising the minimum wage

To the Editor:

According to congress.gov, the S.460 - Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 was introduced to the 113th Congress in March of 2013. The purpose of this bill is to increase the minimum wage for an employee gradually from $8.20 to $10.10 an hour after three years of employment. How is this beneficial? Yes, increase the minimum wage, but those who would benefit from this act will be the youth and young adults of this nation. The youth can go to the movies more often, put gas in the car, save for college and blow the rest on video games. College students may be able to eat more than just Top Ramen and pizza.

The Fair Minimum Wage Act according to whitehouse.gov gives us promising statistics. Whitehouse.gov states that wages for 28 million Americans will increase and the economy will grow. Sounds promising, but it's very difficult to live on minimum wage while supporting a family, plus everyone gets to wait three years and hopefully like their job enough to keep it. I worked for minimum wage one year while trying to support my husband while he was out of work, and our four children. The few times I was given a 40-hour week, I barely broke the $300 barrier. Try living on that. The bare necessities are almost an impossible feat to attain.

For families in desperate need of more income, this bill sounds so miniscule. According to whitehouse.gov, President Obama stated on March 5, that, "what every American wants is a paycheck that lets them support their families, know a little economic security, pass down some hope and optimism to their kids. And that's worth fighting for." Let's be honest, it's hard to have hope when the struggle to get ahead is deterred by the struggle to make ends meet.

Christine Khan


Who killed

Smokey the Bear?

To the Editor:

I feel comforted that a collaborative effort is underway to restore the Rim Fire burn area. Is this the same collaborative effort that was in place before the Rim Fire? The Forest Supervisor was disheartened to see the ad from the Farm Bureau. Was she equally disheartened to see the 255,000 acres of scorched earth that will never be the same, or the dead cattle, or dead deer, or dead bears? The outrage is that this fire should have never been allowed to happen. Fire is a part of life, but the Rim Fire shouldn't have been what it became. If this is what we get from using the best available science, then maybe you should look for some new scientists.

This forest used to log 100 million board feet a year, provide jobs, and wildlife thrived. Last year the Stanislaus sold about 20 million board feet. The forest is growing around 300 million feet a year. The forest is choked with timber and fuel and this all came to a horrible head last year. The forest needs to be managed for sustainability first, and everything else will fall in line. Forget talking about thinning fuels, we need to log and increase the number of cattle that are grazing in the forest.

The environmental regulations, while they may have been well intended, have obviously failed. Need proof? Take a drive out to Cherry Lake. Oh, I forgot, the public isn't allowed in to see the destruction. What is the Forest Service afraid you will see, the fact that they killed Smokey the Bear?

Jerry Lytle


TUD and

North Korea

To the Editor:

I am currently reading a book for my book club entitled "The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novels deals with the horrors of living in North Korea. As I read this book I cannot help but make comparisons to our Tuolumne Utilities District.

Something is terribly wrong when:

1. A group of concerned citizens and water conservationists are denied their right to be put in the TUD agenda as direct by its general manager.

2. A TUD board member openly lies and misleads two of his constituents.

3. The board passes a measure to make property owners responsible for their tenant's water based on false information by its chief financial officer.

Something wrong? You betcha! Shades of North Korea? You decide.

Laurel Leslie


Blame voters,

not McClintock

To the Editor:

Recently you had a letter from a writer who was puzzled and dismayed that some people in our area are not fans of Congressman McClintock. Actually this dismay is misplaced. I'm sure the Congressman is a fine person. If there is a problem, it lies with the constituency that elected him.

It is a constituency with an interesting history. In the period leading up to and during the Civil War the area was solidly pro-Confederate. In Lincoln's first run for president, he barely carried California. My understanding is that one of our greatest presidents did not carry a single precinct in this area.

So, if one is puzzled by criticism of Congressman McClintock, take a good hard look at the constituency.

Lloyd Kramer