Union Democrat staff

Money is not equal to free speech

To the Editor:

Amend the Constitution to declare money is not equal to speech.

The idea that corporations are "individuals" with rights is repugnant at best. The ruling that individuals can buy all the "free speech" they want is even more repulsive. The most important thing we can do as citizens of this great country is take control of it back! Lobbyist and multi-billionaires should not determine our individual fates. Please work for an amendment to our constitution that ensures only real individuals have individual rights. Once that is accomplished, or concurrently, work for true campaign finance reform: public financing of all elections, with flat limits for all candidates. Take the time to find out how you can make elections fair for all.

Lynn Skutches


Stanislaus National Forest is our forest

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to Daniel Connell's Letter to the Editor on April 7, where he states "the Stanislaus National Forest is not a county forest nor is it a state forest. It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service in Washington D.C."

Maybe that is the problem. The Stanislaus Forest should be considered our forest. The local people and many local organizations donate thousands of hours a year cleaning and maintaining trails, removing downed trees, and carting out garbage that many visitors leave behind. There are also local organizations that educate our school students and take them on field trips into the forest to show them how logging is done and how cattlemen and grazing help to manage our beautiful meadows.

The U.S. Forest Service has failed by trying to manage and set policies for all forests out of D.C. Each forest has its own characteristics and requires the local knowledge and management skills for good management.

Why does it take the U.S. Forest Service in Washington 10 months to come up with a plan to clear the burned timber and prepare the soil to plant new trees?

A good example of the Rim Fire recovery efforts is Sierra Pacific Industries. They had 16,000 acres burned, but they have already removed most of the dead and dying trees, which created local jobs and supplied timber for their mills. They have also already started replanting on their burned land while Washington hasn't even processed the paperwork beyond clearing hazard trees.

I think the Farm Bureau made an excellent point with their full page ad in The Union Democrat by reminding us that "60 years of mismanagement led to the conditions that created the Rim Fire!" Why can't the feds take management lessons from the example of locals?

Gilbert Fryer


Don't mow your lawn in sandals

To the Editor:

Did anyone else besides me notice that the woman shown on the cover of the Home and Garden Show insert is mowing the lawn in open toed sandals? Terrible idea! She is wearing a hat for protection against the sun. She should be wearing shoes to protect her feet.

Sue Phalen