Conserving what we have now

To the Editor:

Secretary Zinke has opened the door to putting politics over science in order to undermine and undo one of the greatest collaborative conservation efforts in our nation’s history.

As a westerner, I am deeply concerned about this reopening of federal plans to protect the greater-sage grouse, which were forged over many years by multiple stakeholders.

Western governors, ranchers, conservationists, industry groups and state wildlife agencies all came together to develop a truly bipartisan, collaborative conservation plan, which ultimately kept the greater sage-grouse off the endangered species list back in September 2015.

Making significant changes that weaken the plan in any way would only increase the likelihood of the sage-grouse populations reaching such low levels that bird needs to be added to the endangered species list in the future an outcome nobody wants.

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management must let the sage-grouse plans work. Any changes to the plan must be based on sound science and honor the bipartisan, collaborative conservation effort that has helped bring the bird back from the brink and keep it off the endangered species list.

Michelle Allison

Sonora

Where would we be without the teachers?

To the Editor:

It was heartening to see the Calaveras teacher’s union hold a brief strike that led to a ratified agreement with the Calaveras Unified School District. It’s encouraging to see a union “carry the big stick,” or strike, to bring both sides to the table. It takes courage to do this for unions have been under siege since the Reagan years.

Among other concessions, teacher’s pay was raised 4 percent: minimum salary was increased from $41,000 to $44,171; maximum salary increased from $82,219 to $89,768.

Mr. Gravelle said “It’s time to drain the teacher’s swamp.” He said teachers are overpaid and work only 180 days a year. “They want to live on Easy Street and live on Diamond Boulevard.”

Said Mr. Todd: “I’m sick and tired of ‘Lefties’ vilifying the rich because they are smarter, more talented, and work harder. “They do not make us victims. We make ourselves victims through our own mediocrity.”

Ms. Leonard, a retired teacher, said “I guess I’m one of Mr. Todd’s lefties. She took issue with his presumption that the wealthy are “smarter.”

“Do people honesty believe the CEO’s of major companies are 240 times smarter or work 240 times harder than the workers who make the products for their companies? I was fortunate enough to be born healthy, with a high IQ into a stable, supportive family. I chose to go into a service profession helping children learn the skills they need to become self-sustaining, productive citizens.”

Where would we be if we didn’t have teachers to educate us? They are underpaid if anything when you consider the enormous impact they’ve had on our lives.

Robert Dorroh

Sonora

Groveland ‘Shop Small Business’ a success

To the Editor:

The Groveland area merchants hosted our town “shop small business” event on Saturday, November 25. The support was wonderful and appreciated by the local businesses. A big thanks to the Christmas caroling by the Pine Cone Singers ensemble. Our local county economy benefits by the efforts and uniqueness of small businesses. Thanks for the support.

Joanie Gisler

Groveland

Keep shooters away from horses

To the Editor:

I have been riding my horse at Peoria Flat for 15 years, and occasionally encountered hunters. I haven’t liked it, but they have usually been polite and willing to hold their fire until my horse stops jumping out of his shoes at the blast.

For the past year or so, the gunfire has become a regular occurrence, to the point where I am afraid to continue my ride. The sound I hear is that of an AR15, which I believe is an assault rifle.

I believe that most of the shooters are not hunters but target shooters, which I’m told is not legal on Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) land. A year ago I reported rapid fire to the Tuolumne County Sheriff and was told to call the BOR, I did so and gave the agent license plate numbers and descriptions of the cars owned by the shooters. Nothing was done and the shooting has only intensified.

Now that mountain trails are closing for the winter, Sonora equestrians have very few venues for trail riding. The most popular being Peoria Flat. On any given day there can be 50 or so riders, hikers, families, etc. out to enjoy the trails. And we have to share the trails with illegal target shooters? On one occasion, I was forced to ride between the shooters standing on one side of the main trail and their target on the other side of the trail. I have also felt the rush of a bullet close to my ear from a hunter who may have mistaken my dog for a deer (although he did look culpable as he ran away from us up the hill).

Guns have their place in this rough and ready county. But, must they be so close to people and animals who just want to enjoy a day’s outing? We have thousands of public acreage in this county. Please give the hunters and target shooters their own space far away from the rest of us and let us know where that space is.

Carol Reising

Tuolumne

18888922