Letters to the editor for November 2, 2012

Written by Union Democrat staff November 02, 2012 08:12 am

ACA promotes healthier America

To the Editor,

Some policymakers, candidates and members of the media have claimed that the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) cuts $700 billion from Medicare. These claims are simply untrue. In fact, the nonpartisan Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) all agree that the ACA strengthens and improves Medicare.

MedPAC was established under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 as a nonpartisan agency to advise Congress on Medicare issues. For five consecutive years, MedPAC advised Congress to pay Medicare Advantage plans at the same rate as traditional Medicare plans, because Medicare Advantage was costing the government about 14 percent more than traditional Medicare. The ACA is now implementing this recommendation. The CBO estimates that equalizing Medicare Advantage payments will generate at least $170 billion in government savings over the next decade. 

With the ACA, the Medicare Trust Fund is expected to remain solvent for at least the next eight years. The Medicare Trustees report states that there is still a lot of work to be done to guarantee Medicare’s future. However, the CMS administrator wrote, “The Affordable Care Act is giving CMS the ability to do this work, with tools to lower costs, fight fraud and change incentives so that Medicare pays for coordinated quality care.”

The ACA is not relying on Medicare recipients to pay its way. There are many provisions in the ACA that provide revenues. But, most importantly, the Congressional Budget Office persistently reports that the ACA will actually reduce the budget deficits over the next decade. The CBO predicts that all spending on healthcare — by government, corporations and individuals alike — will stop rising so quickly. All nonpartisan reviews agree: the Affordable Care Act will promote a healthier America — and a healthier economy.

Kay Bargmann

Sonora

Vote No to bond Measure H

To the Editor,

I teach economics and government at Summerville High School; therefore, it is with sincere regret that I must encourage members of the district community to vote no on Measure H.

Upon the expiration of Measure Q, property taxes were to reset to the normal level; consequently, to continue property taxes with Measure H, albeit at a lower rate, still represents a tax increase.

For almost two decades I have complained that my classroom heating/cooling unit does not work properly. It puts out cold air, even in the dead of winter, so that some of my students are actually shivering in class. I was assured that Measure Q was going to remedy this unacceptable situation. To date nothing has changed.  

Instead, much of the Measure Q money went to “window dressing” types of projects like athletic fields and an overly lavish theatre for the performing arts. 

Once again, the community is being asked to “buy a pig in a poke.” 

Before taxpayers are required to shell out more money, they have the right to know with a reasonable degree of precision exactly for what the money is going to be used. It is true that absent the passage of Measure H desperately needed upgrades to the campus may go begging, but I would prefer that situation to the community giving the district more money that is, once again, misused on relatively questionable projects.

While I do not hold the present administration and school board responsible for the way in which taxpayers’ money was used in the past, any repeat of past misjudgements may be avoided by simply holding the Summerville High School District accountable before the fact. Demand the list of priorities first to see if your money will be well spent. Vote No on Measure H. 

T. Edward Christiansen

Twain Harte

TUD election

To the Editor,

I support anyone willing to get involved. But, if you’re going to run for the TUD board, you better do your homework, considering it involves: 53 miles of an open ditch system (if fails, could cut off service for up to 3 months. Ask what it takes to fix a section located on a wooden trestle 50’ off the ground in the middle of winter); 17 treatment facilities that require compliance with State/Federal Clean Water Act standards; being obligated to take over water companies that can no longer meet standards; being on the hook to provide sewer where failing septics impact ground and surface water; and, appealing to the state to secure “adequate” water supply in order to sustain existing needs/future economic development opportunities.

As a TUD customer (home, business, and Algerine Ditch user) I am well aware of rate concerns. The fact some running for the board believe employee costs are the only issue facing TUD is far more troubling.

These individuals say we have “abundant,” “more than enough” “clean water”. For the record, we don’t and neither does the State. We have no adjudicated rights to any waters that originate in our county.

“Fairness” is subjective at this point; dealing with reality is what’s at stake.

This board needs to be able to work towards integration of these issues and to understand the connectedness of this system as it relates to the State Water Plan. For this reason, I’m supporting the TUD Board incumbents, Behee, Dahlin and Ringen. I have worked with these men and know they have the knowledge and presence of mind to know that the decisions they make today have far reaching consequences for us all. 

Remember, when it got tough, Retherford resigned; these men stepped up.

Stephanie Suess

Sonora

Don’t support
S’ville bond 

To the Editor,

I’m an alumni of Summerville Union High School District. I’ve attended both Summerville Elementary and Summerville High.  I’ve taught kids for a total of 39 years, 29 at Summerville.

In 1998, the district passed $9.9 million Measure Q. History reflects leadership oversight and accountability in 1998 were non-existent. The taxpayer expected truth and honesty from our trustees. The situation now is very similar. 

More than $2.2 million was squandered due to the District’s incompetencies. The public was expecting athletic improvements, a library and new gymnasium. Instead money was used to remodel the administration office, build a library, theatre, construct a charter school and build a smaller practice gym.

The positive for SUHSD employees is looking forward to June 30, 2013. My hope is that SUHSD will have successfully eradicated two principals, a superintendent and hopefully refused to rehire David Johnstone (Dave Urquhart’s replacement).

In the past two years SUHD has paid over $154,000 for legal advice. Work at Thorsted Football Field has surpassed $70,000.

In conclusion, California is imposing a fire tax, we are paying on Measure Q and the Columbia College bond. 

Increases are certain in food costs, healthcare, fuel and sewer rates. Tuolumne property values are depressed, 401Ks have not recovered, jobs are scarce and tax hikes are inevitable at both the state and federal level. 

Nepotism continues at Summerville, while once prospering programs have been decimated by poor personnel choices and kids have been damaged.  

That’s why I’m voting No on H.

Lynn Culver

Tuolumne

Vote for Obama

To the Editor,

Don’t let Romney take credit for our turnaround.

Our country came extremely close to a financial meltdown under eight years of Bush.  Something the GOP and Romney both wish all Americans would forget, evidenced in part by the absence of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rove at the Republican convention.  

They want you to forget the huge cost of the two Bush wars, deficit piling tax cuts, tax breaks for companies going overseas, removal of banking regulations, which were put in place after the 1929 crash to prevent a financial disaster from happening again. 

Lastly we were losing 800,000 jobs per month.

Romney says he will create jobs. Look at his record at Bain Capital. It shows a different story.  

Romney makes money for investors — he does not create jobs.  

Google “GST Steel” or “Sensata” to see firsthand the American jobs lost or transferred to China under Bain Capital.

The economy is turning around. The glass is half-full people. Small business optimism rising, home building rising, construction rising, jobless rate dropped from 10 percent to under 8 percent, and the Stock Market is back to where it was in 2008, something that took 25 years after the 1929 crash.  

There are financial indicators showing we may very soon experience a “Supercycle Bull Market.”  

In the last two months, foreign investment has amounted to $170 billion into the American Market. The rest of the world is very positive about America and the direction of its economy and the leadership of President Obama.

The president worked hard turning our country around. Don’t let Romney take credit for all the hard work President Obama did to get our economy back on the right track. Allow him a second term to finish the job. Nobody said it would be easy.

Ed Gorth

Sonora 

Say No to Romney

To the Editor,

Quote: “I would never do anything to hurt the auto industry,” Mr. Romney. 

He and his partner Paul Singer bought bonds from a company called Delphi. They make parts and were owned by G.M. The partners extorted Delphi on withholding steering columns from G.M. and refused to pay pensions and medical care for the employees. The U.S. Government paid for these pensions, etc. lost by this extortion. This money was suppose to save these jobs also. This money went to Romney’s buddies, Elliot Mgt. Corp. where he was a partner. As a result of this predatory capitalism all of the Delphi plants were closed and jobs sent to China.

The result: The Romney’s pocketed a minimum of $15 million to more likely up to $115 million. Do you wonder why he won’t release his tax returns? It’s a small example of how this guy works. Just last week he gave a speech on how he’s going to be tough on China while one of Bain’s plants closes and sends these jobs to China. Lost, over 100 $17 an hour jobs went to China for $0.19 cents an hour at Sensata, Freeport, Ill.

Is this the man we want for President? Not me! 

These two, Romney and Ryan, are the most dangerous people running for President since Goldwater. They’re both unqualified for the job.

Just a note. You can view both Obama and Biden’s tax returns on the Internet. 

All 11 years’ worth for those who want to know.

I loved the remark about Jeremiah Wright and Obama. How soon these evangelicals forget their own house. Remember Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard and the illustrious Terry Jones from Florida. You remember the Koran burner. Check these facts for yourself and see if you still want these two anti-American right wing Capitalists in the White House. 

Jim Hassay

Groveland

TUD race is complicated

To the Editor,

This year’s Tuolumne Utilities District race is more complicated than past elections. While the word incumbent appears by their names, Mr. Dahlin and Mr. Ringen were appointed this last year, to blame them for past decisions is unfair. 

For several decades the TUD has been using one-time hookup fees to cover its operational costs, not a sound business decision.

The economic downturn has forced a change in policy. In a panic, a major rate increase was proposed last year. The incumbents, the ones now under attack, voted down that large increase in favor of a balanced approach of serious cuts and smaller rate increases.

The result is clear: TUD now has a balanced budget. Their plan worked.

The challengers were stirred to action by the proposed large rate increase that the incumbents vetoed. None of them had been interested in the TUD before, they did not attend meetings or invest the time to find out what TUD actually does. 

The crisis that they formed to curtail has been averted: the TUD has a balanced budget; no large rate increases are coming. 

How do they propose to provide us with a secure water supply?

With band-aids and shortcuts.

What does TUD do? They repair nearly 300 mainline breaks annually for one.

They have to patch an outdated system that will fail if not revamped. TUD operates more than a dozen treatment plants. A plan to consolidate them and upgrade the pipes is under development now. This will lead to significant long-term savings.

Behee, Dahlin, and Ringen for TUD — No band-aids, no shortcuts.

Isaac Kight

Chairman, Gold Country Leadership Group

Jamestown

Just in from Libya

To the Editor,

It came down to the final inning last night at Kuvverupp Stadium located in Benghazi, Libya after the Benghazi Giants knocked 4 out of the park in the top of the ninth. The Midgets came up in the bottom of the ninth after what seemed like weeks, sending Susan Rice to the plate who promptly struck out.

Next up was H. Larry Clinton who was hit in the head with a fastball and was taken away babbling incoherently. Joey G. Biden was the pinch-runner, and while waving to fans, was picked off first base. Two outs.

Candy Crowley came to the plate carrying six bats. She was ejected from the game when she refused to relinquish the five extra bats and play by the rules.

To the plate strode Barry H. Nobama, the last hope for the Whitehouse midgets.

Barry’s had a tough year said manager Clint Eastwood,” he’s lost on all his investments and is being treated for delusion and depression by team psychiatrist George Soros.”

Mr. Eastwood said Barry showed signs of promise as a youngster and was the only player to go right from Little League to the Majors.

Three swings and three misses later Barry and the Midgets were out.

Coach Eastwood was quoted as saying, “ these guys are our employees and if they can’t do the job we just have to let them go.”

Later in the evening Eastwood said that Barry, Larry, Candy and Joey’s contracts would all be cancelled Nov. 6.

Ridge Schneider 

Sonora

Save us from
the Tea Party

To the Editor,

Barry Wilson in his October 18 letter compares the debt levels of 2007 with the current situation and hopes that the Tea Party will take over the Senate and “do what is obvious.” Oh, please. Selective amnesia is not a good basis for important decisions. 

Did he forget what happened in those “glorious times” four and five years ago? 

There was crisis that threatened to crash the whole financial system and the whole economy in its wake. 

I support what President Bush did: he pumped $700 billion into the banks to keep them from collapsing. Remember TARP? And we are still in recovery mode. We are trillions of dollars of dollars in debt — not because we like to spend but to stimulate an improving but still not exactly robust economy. Please save us from Tea-Party ideas. 

Klaus Kraemer 

Sonora

Vote Rodefer for Supervisor

To the Editor,

This is in response to a Letter printed Oct. 25, authored by Mike Macon. Macon essentially endorses Domenic Torchia as an opportunity to move the entire county government into a new direction of fiscal responsibility and “out in the open” government. Macon adds that Domenic will shine the light into the dark corners. Macon closes by saying Domenic will restore fiscal responsibility and transparency to our county government.

Regarding Mr. Torchia, I have several probing questions: Why has Domenic only raised 14 percent of his reportable funds in Tuolumne County?  This begs the question, if we are truly shining the light, what are Domenic’s donors from out of county buying with all that money?  Next, why has Domenic only spent 54 percent of his reportable campaign expenditures in this county ($5,000 spent out of county)? 

Talking about transparency, what’s all this money from out of county trying to influence in our local election? All these numbers are from the latest campaign filings to our own County Elections office.

Here’s real transparency: Karl Rodefer, candidate for County Supervisor, District 5, has raised 93 percent of his donations in Tuolumne County. Likewise, 99 percent of Karl’s spending has been made in this county ($400 spent out of county).  

So Karl’s not just running for local office, he practices “buy local,” as the chamber of commerce reminds us.

So, if you truly want fiscal responsibility, to shed light on the county’s processes, and transparency, a vote for Karl Rodefer for Tuolumne County District 5 Supervisor is a vote for principled leadership, uncompromising personal integrity, and accountability in our local government.

Let me know if there is anything else needed to confirm my submittal.

Michael Ayala

Sonora

Illegal rural fire tax

To the Editor,

I would be more than happy to pay my rural fire tax as soon as those along active seismic zones pay their earthquake tax, those in the floodplains of Sacramento Delta pay their flood tax, and for those foolish politicians that dream up this dribble, a hot air tax to boot.

Jeff Phillips

Sonora