Union Democrat staff

Tesla shouldn't get special treatment

To the Editor:

This is regarding Tesla's plans to build a large plant for manufacturing batteries and new legislation (SB 1309) to attract the company to build in California.

A better idea would be, rather than giving a particular company regulatory relief and tax reductions, instead, make this across the board, allowing all companies to have the incentives to come to California.

Regulatory and tax reform is long overdue. California ranked 48 for business tax climate according to the Tax Foundation index. CNBC ran a similar survey of business competitiveness using 51 points and California ranked 47.

Giving a favored company special privilege is crony capitalism which violates free trade principles, encourages corruption and is certainly unfair to other business that are not so favored.

Albert J. Segalla


Washington Street work well done

To the Editor:

To the workers who worked on Washington Street, I would like to thank you for the great and awesome job that you all did.

Troy Bahten


Dismayed over grave conditions

To the Editor:

Thursday, June 12, was the second anniversary of my grandson's death. I went to Mountain Shadow Cemetery that day and his friends had left several mementos there. I went back Saturday, June 14, a beautiful rose, a package of small cigars and even a half-can of soda a 9-year-old had left for him were stolen.

What's wrong with the people of Tuolumne County? I've had several floral arrangements taken previously.

These people have access to the cemetery to take their walks even bringing their dogs. The dogs do their "job" never to be picked up.

Can't you respect the dead and leave the flowers alone? The cemetery looks bad enough, as it is to due to the drought. Please leave our flowers alone!

This is not the only grave this happens to, it's any that is easy access to let them get away with it. Have some respect people.

Connie Perry


The price of obliviousness

To the Editor:

Alex MacLean's excellent Troubled Waters series helped clarify the drought, exposing local myths while suggesting constructive directions. Clearly we need knowledgeable citizens and responsible leaders to plan and negotiate our county's water future.

In the past, speculators profited by gaining and selling water rights leaving our accommodating but unaware county without water rights. Today, for every gallon of water flowing in our streams in a normal year two gallons has been claimed. We can raise reservoirs but Tuolumne County has no right to the water. Our local government failed to appreciate and reserve water rights, while entrepreneurs capitalized. Neither helped our community.

MacLean reports that global warming is worsening. Like the water issue oblivious citizens are our weakness. Unaware of the science, we are unprepared for the future that is being created by obsolete energy producers seeking short-term profits.

Thirty years of science's early warnings have been squandered by denial. Consider our region, every year snowpacks, our real water reservoirs, melt earlier. Predicted droughts are more frequent and of longer duration. On the other hand, science predicts bigger rainstorms of longer duration with flooding. Without adjusting for global warming, every solution will be frustrated. Wiping up the floors isn't enough when a pipe is broken.

Drought leads to forest fires. The Geophysical Research Letter (4/14) reports that since 1984 western wildfires in excess of 1,000 acres have increased by about 87,700 acres a year. The top five fire years happened in the last decade. From 2010-2013 about 6.4 million acres burned yearly; during the 1980s it was 2.9 million acres. The fire season starts earlier and lasts longer.

Warming is accelerating and soon will become self-amplifying, beyond human control. Ultimately costly disasters will outrun our ability to pay. There's plenty we can still do, once we acknowledge the problem.

Robert Carabas