Union Democrat staff

Lack of ashtrays might be a problem

To the Editor:

My 2008 Ford Escape, in common with most modern cars, does not have an ashtray. I don't smoke, and neither do most of my friends, or at least, they are polite enough not to indulge themselves while traveling with me. After witnessing close up one of the recent grass fires outside of Sonora, however, I got to wondering what I would do if I were a smoker in a recent model car, which did not possess an ashtray. Absent a tin can, I guess I would just roll down the window and flick the (still smoldering) butt out, not having anywhere to stub it out. And then I thought, hmm, I wonder where that would land? In the grass by the side of the road, perhaps? I mean, who really looks when they toss something out a car window? Most of the fires you read about, and there have been a lot recently, seem to start alongside roads, so my bet is on the carelessly-thrown butt as being the source of ignition for many of them. I wonder if the geniuses in Detroit, or wherever the foreign design teams are, thought through the possible effects of designing away the ashtray, which had been a fixture for decades? Did they ever consider that some of us live in areas where it doesn't rain most of the year, unlike the Midwest, most of Japan, or Europe? Or did they think that not having an ashtray would actually deter people from smoking while driving? Anyone want to start a campaign to bring back the vehicular ashtray?

Malcolm Carden


Unkind words

were unnecessary

To the Editor:

To the "gentleman" who slam dunked the principal using "ignorant" words.

Mister, you showed your ignorance when you called this principal names.

Yes, we need rain and because the principal said, 'I pray to God for rain,' you come undone.

Who do you ask for rain? Can you produce it? I think not!

I am going to stand in your place and ask this principal to forgive you for your unkind words, and believe it or not, many of us were appalled at your letter! You certainly did not get applause, mister. You just showed your ignorance.

Carolyn Weber


Help is out there for gambling addicts

To the Editor:

This is a friendly warning - to those people out there having a good time at the casinos.

Beware of gambling causing trouble in your life.

Two to five percent of adults become problem or compulsive gamblers.

Many compulsive gamblers eventually lose their homes and often their families.

There is help in Sonora should a person feel they have problems with gambling.

Also, there is a meeting in San Andreas. Call 925-895-7559 and ask for Chris.

In Sonora, please contact Larry at 586-2276.

Larry Lund

Mi-Wuk Village

Water wars are

only beginning

To the Editor:

Thank you Alex MacLean for a very well researched and informative article. A real eye opener for new and old county residents alike.

I am afraid the water wars are only beginning and the lack of foresight of our county leaders and we who elected them will never be set right no matter how much Tuolumne County taxpayer's money can be thrown at it. We all know the water districts will prevail because we literally "sold our rights down the river" to them. Now they own them fair and square. Too bad and too late for us.

Drilling wells is not a fix. How many straws can you put in a grapefruit? No water is no water and that fruit will soon be empty and wither.

On a lighter note, why hasn't the old Lime Quarry Caverns water even been addressed? If not potable, it could be used for Cal Fire or irrigation of at least the City of Sonora.

Lots of water down there, just ask anyone who worked in the quarry. As an old mentor who asked good questions said, "just wondering."

Michael P. Sardella


McClintock has

two faces

To the Editor:

Today, June 30, Congressman McClintock will be one of the guest speakers in the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite. I wonder which face he will wear that day...the one with "concern" for the public's access and use of Yosemite or the other one that shows no concern for the public, or the merchants depending upon tourism to the Park as he did last year when he voted to close down the Government and therefore, Yosemite Park?

Of course, he will laud his concern for the future of Yosemite and may restate a recent comment that he supports John Muir's vision for Yosemite for public use but warns us that "public access is increasingly restricted." Please sir, cite some examples of how the public has been denied access and use. Are you referring to past debates regarding campgrounds, bike riding, and other commercial activities that were debated, all in Yosemite's best interest and for future generations?

His distrust of government, including the men and women who dedicate their lives to service in the National Park Service show that in his view, these public servants aren't to be trusted, therefore he says there is plenty of time to consider land being adding to Yosemite's boundaries currently owned by the Pacific Forest Trust. Not so, if they are forced by lack of money to retain the land and could place it on the open market.

As for me, I will vote for his Republican opponent in the next 4th Congressional District election. I've seen how McClintock plays to an audience and more importantly, how his brand of politics and his interests take precedent over the welfare of his constituents when it comes to backing them.

Wayne Kirkbride

Twain Harte