Union Democrat staff

Labor and capitol must share rewards

To the Editor:

Billionaire Bill Gross of Pimco and known as the "king of bonds," recently assessed the inequality of income and wealth: "Labor and capital have to share in the rewards of a productive economy, and for the past 25 years labor has gotten the short end of the stick."

When billionaires speak about the growing gap of income and wealth between a very few at the top and the other 99+ percent in this country, one would think that other billionaires listen. Like the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame and the Koch brothers who are trying to buy themselves a Congress.

Gross suggests that Henry Ford had the right equation when he doubled workers' wages 100 years ago. "Ford knew way back when, when he paid five bucks an hour to his workers in Detroit, that workers buy cars and that if they were earning a dollar an hour as opposed to five they wouldn't be able to afford a Ford." Rumor has it (and it's probably true) that some workers at Wal-Mart can't even afford to buy there.

Another billionaire, Warren Buffett, has long been on record decrying that he has a lower tax rate than his secretary. Bill Gross again: "Ultimately wage earners have to earn a decent wage or else capitalism can't continue in a productive way."

By adopting the movie cliché "greed is good", capitalism has no other enemy but itself.

Klaus Kraemer


Iraq, Afghan war memorial needed

To the Editor:

For all intents and purposes the war in Iraq is over and the same can be said for the war in Afghanistan. I think it is time for this community to start thinking about a memorial to the Tuolumne County men and women who fought that war.

We have memorials to World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm in the county. I think the parents of these young men and women would be the catalyst for such a memorial.

It's the right thing to do and our responsibility. Obviously, if you know me I am big on memorials. I chaired the Vietnam Memorial at the county library and the VA Medical Clinic All-Veterans Memorial. If you are interested call me at 536-0439 or email me at fsmart@rocketmail.com.

Frank M. Smart


Berryhill's vote destroys water

To the Editor:

Senator Berryhill votes to destroy millions of gallons of water!

It is no secret that the state of California is in the midst of a historic drought.

At the same time that the people of California are being required to conserve, the state senate seems to believe that the oil industry should be exempted! Senator Tom Berryhill voted last month to allow the oil industry to destroy millions of gallons of water in the environmentally destructive process of well fracking. And destroy is the correct word. The water this industry pours down these holes is so contaminated by toxic chemicals and heavy metals that it is unusable for any further purpose. It is simply destroyed. And, we are talking about a lot of water. Each of these wells requires as much as a million gallons of water, or more.

That the process of well fracking is environmentally disastrous and unhealthy is easily verifiable. One needs only to look to Kern County and Los Angeles to see the effects of fracking in our state. The effects in other states are well known. North Dakota has seen alarming rates of radiation poisoning and related health problems since fracking was introduced. Ground water in Pennsylvania is so contaminated with arsenic, chloride, barium and radium as to make it unusable in many cases. Texas and Oklahoma are experiencing earthquake clusters in areas where earthquakes were previously unknown. Does the word earthquake resonate in the state of California?

One doesn't need to work hard to learn the truth about the awful results of fracking and the unconscionable waste of precious water. One simply has to care enough to look.

So, Senator Berryhill, we call on you to tell us, "Why don't you care?"

Roy Mapps


Dearden will be missed at SHS

To the Editor:

When the Sonora High graduating class and teachers stood up and gave their outgoing principal, Todd Dearden, a standing ovation it was obvious to the audience that this man would be missed.

One of the student speakers said that the students were "shocked and upset" when they heard that Mr. Dearden would no longer be serving as the principal. This man chose to love his students first and thereby was a favorite of both students and parents. He listened, he understood, he guided and he helped. He knew the students by their first name. No one person is perfect but I am personally thankful that our youngest child was able to attend high school under Mr. Dearden's watch and care. Our child felt loved and was never intimidated by Mr. Dearden even when times were tough. His office was always open to the students and he stayed many many late hours at school closing and locking the school after having attended the many student activities that were held almost daily.

It is sad to lose such a leader who served both students and parents in their quest for the "best" for their child.

Good luck to you and your family, Mr. Dearden. You will once again serve as a great principle to those you care about.

Pamela Ann Boyack