Letters to the Editor for April 18, 2014

By Union Democrat staff April 17, 2014 03:00 pm

Worried about Highway 49 safety

To the Editor:

The following is a letter I sent Caltrans Oct. 2, 2013.

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Hello, please note that I for one am delighted that the East Sonora Bypass project is nearly done.  For a while I had to drive a bus several times a day on that road and those risky curves.  The new extension will be a lot safer for thousands of drivers, as you well know. 

Now I must ask about the curve on Highway 49 between Sonora and Angels Camp.  You know the one I mean, the one that is signed for 20 mph, that aims a northbound vehicle directly at a large boulder if that vehicle swings too wide.  At least as many people drive that route every day, thus it needs as much attention as you have given the East Sonora Bypass.

Please reply with news about plans to build a bridge across the gorge in

which that 20 mph curve exists.  When I look at the lands before and after that gorge I see no reason why a re-routing and bridge building would have any less priority than the East Sonora Bypass.

Thank you, 

Bobby Huffstetter (aka GRASP).

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Now I have to say I’m disappointed that I have been given no response, not even a courtesy reply, to that message.  One can only assume that Caltrans don’t care about a citizen’s concern.  

Bobby Hufstetter


You can’t paint a black forest green

To the Editor:

In the aftermath of the Rim Fire, everyone seems to have their own set of facts to paint whatever picture of the truth suits their needs. The truth is you can’t paint a black forest green.

Is it prudent to question whether or not something should have or could have been done differently in the years leading up to the conditions that allowed the Rim Fire to happen? I would hope an open dialogue would be welcome without name calling or derision.

Public Lands do not belong to any special interest group. They belong to you and me. From my perspective, a single ignition 250,000-plus acre fire is not acceptable. I am not advocating for foolhardy suppression efforts that may result in injury or fatality, I just think things might have been done differently from a management position that might have lessened the fire’s impact.

There are those groups who advocate for government subsidized thinning, government subsidized prescribed burning and government subsidized fuel breaks etc. This type of funding is here today and gone tomorrow. Would it be too much of a stretch to think in terms of developing markets for hitherto unmarketable cellulose in the form of bio fuels, post and poles, log cabin kits etc. Or is a capitalist free enterprise system too foreign or distasteful for those whose ideology would in some way prevent them from even considering it. Oh yes, there would be the problem of Environmental Impact Reports to contend with.

Mark Johnson