Congress is a mess

To the Editor:

Congress is a dysfunctional mess. Both parties. Another stopgap budget measure passed with members and media focusing on who is to blame rather than on the issues and solutions. Lots of drama and finger pointing but no budget. Not only has an annual budget yet to be passed, one has yet to be proposed. This impacts agencies, including the military, in their planning and operations.

Budget is not the only mess. Congress keeps delaying action on other areas that impact hundreds of thousands of citizens, such as funding health care for children, passing immigration reform, funding infrastructure rebuilding.

Members of Congress need to stay in Washington and do the work they were elected to do. Not so many breaks. Longer work weeks. Our own Tom McClintock spends more time in Elk Grove than he does in Washington (he still does not live in our district, but still wants to represent us). Some members fly into Washington on Tuesday mornings, sleep in their offices two nights and fly home Thursday and brag about it. No wonder so little gets done. No wonder they are happy to let lobbyists write their bills and regulations.

It is time for members of Congress to get work done. Or, retire on their fat pensions and lifelong health benefits. Or, go to work for a lobbyist.

Ellen Beck


MLK event has grown in importance

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Motherlode Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee, which sponsored the Jan. 14 annual MLK birthday celebration, I want to thank the community for its ongoing support. The committee operates on community donations, both cash and in-kind, and works hard throughout the year to create a successful event. We appreciate the donations which allow us to continue this work.

We have watched the birthday celebration grow from its humble beginnings in 1996 to the important community program it is today. This year, the 565-seat Sonora High School auditorium was filled to capacity. Several hundred people remained after the program for a reception in the school cafeteria.

We are grateful to those who donate whatever they can, to those who volunteer their services, to businesses who are sponsors, to the students who enter our essay contest with thoughtful essays, and especially to those of you who attend each year to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pat Cervelli

Member, Motherlode Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee

Do we meet homeless challenge?

To the Editor:

In attending the Homeless Task Force meeting last evening, it was very sad to see a Christian church be attacked for fulfilling their mission of doing the work of Christ. Apparently, said church should only stand as a facade to attract tourism.

Hoping to see the community come together to offer some practical solutions for solving a very difficult problem. Among those problems are mental illness and drug abuse, but, should we just push the responsibility on to some other community, or should we rise up to meet the challenge? This is the question being posed before the Task Force now, and I would hope that our community is up to the challenge.

Myrna Doering


State split movements

To the Editor:

Recently, we have been inundated with new movements claiming that they are going to split California into two or more states. The most recent one is called New California. There is also a petition being circulated in an effort to bring a state split before the voters. The petition’s signature gatherers are falsely claiming that their effort is part of the State of Jefferson movement.

The State of Jefferson movement has been around for decades. It was revived most recently in 2013 in the most northern rural counties in California. By 2016 it had grown to 21 counties, including Calaveras, Amador and Tuolumne. On Jan. 6, 2016, State of Jefferson supporters demonstrated at the State Capital and delivered our Declaration of Independence to the California State Legislature.

After making thousands of attempts to contact our legislators, a group called the Citizens for Fair Representation filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court against Alex Padilla, the California Secretary of State on May 9, 2017. Then on May 31, more State of Jefferson supporters demonstrated at the State Capital in support of the lawsuit. On Sept. 8, the case was heard in the 3rd Federal District Court. The Judge did not dismiss the case as requested by the state. She agreed to a continuation stating that she would request more information from both parties. To date, she has not issued such a request.

Of the three state split initiatives mentioned here, The State of Jefferson is the best option for rural counties in California to achieve proper representation.

Donna Farr

San Andreas

Why countries struggle

To the Editor:

A Jan. 19 letter “Trump was right” claimed that the countries Trump referred to as ****holes are that way “because of bad ideas, corrupt governance, false religion, and broken culture.” It was reported that Trump was speaking specifically of Haiti and African countries. I would like to know what institution certified the letter writer with the authority to declare certain religions false.

As a conservative member of Tuolumne County, I assume Mr. Anderson is a Christian. Perhaps it would interest him to know that the vast majority of Haitians are Christians, as are most sub-Saharan Africans. Furthermore, I think he would be interested in the fact that the African continent has produced multiple popes and saints in the Catholic Church.

Unsurprisingly, the writer seems to lack knowledge of world history and an understanding of why so many of these countries struggle with corruption and bad governance. Almost every South American and African country was subjected to extreme colonization and the rape of their natural resources, people, and cultural cohesion until the 1960s by European countries. It is therefore understandable that governments barely 50 years old struggle to govern territories within arbitrarily drawn borders with such a history of abuse. I would suggest reading the extremely well researched and written book “King Leopold’s Ghost” by Adam Hochschild before further expressing opinions.

As the old saying goes, “Better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

Brennan PetersonWood


Let Dr. King’s ‘dream’ live on

To the Editor:

When I was 18 years old and had just graduated from a high school in Baltimore, Maryland, I was lucky enough to attend that wonderful civil rights march on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. What was remarkable to me was the number of black people and white people, as far as the eye could see, peacefully and reverently gathered together to be inspired by the great Martin Luther King, Jr. I felt like I was a part of history and will never forget that day.

I was glad to read Richard T. Todd’s letter about the MLK birthday celebration here in Sonora. I, too, was appalled to think the committee would bring someone like Carmen Perez to speak on behalf of the great Dr. King. I certainly hope his birthday will never be marked again by leftists who only want to divide us. That is not what MLK stood for. Dr. King had a dream, and I’m sure he and Ms. Perez would not have one single thing in common.

Tracy Russell


Merced homeless weren’t helped by shelter

To the Editor:

I spent the day in Sonora this week and enjoyed the downtown area and shops. You have a wonderful community.

Reading your local paper I saw that talks were underway to build a homeless shelter in Sonora. I can appreciate your desire to help those who are in need in your town, it shows much compassion on your part. As a resident of Merced, we saw the same desire in our community and saw the completion of our shelter on 15th Street. I would only hope that your committee would travel to local towns and speak with the businessmen and women about the results. It is very unfortunate that, here in Merced, there is only a small portion of the homeless community that use our shelter. Most continue to camp anywhere they like, moving from one area to the next, leaving their mess behind.

We have seen more crime, piles of garbage, aggressive panhandling and business sidewalks and doorways used as public bathrooms. Our downtown area has suffered and we have seen other county areas sending their homeless issues to us. It is a regrettable situation that I would not wish on the city of Sonora.

Please, come and look around. Come to Merced. Begin the talking way before you begin the planning.

Frank Towler