Sensible gun safety legislation

To the Editor:

Last Spring, more than 300 local residents gathered in downtown Sonora to show solidarity with the March For Our Lives rallies held across the country to protest gun violence in America.

The rallies were inspired by the students in Parkland, Florida where 17 students and faculty members were brutally murdered by a former student with an AR-15 assault rifle.

Last week, in a room packed with students wearing March for Our Lives t-shirts, the House of Representatives held its first hearing on gun violence in more than eight years. The hearing was called by newly appointed House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to discuss HR8, a bill to require background checks on gun sales. It passed through their committee this week.

Foothill Congressman Tom McClintock sits on that committee and he believes we need more executions, longer sentences, and confinement “for criminals and madmen.” He sides with the NRA on arming teachers who have a concealed weapons permit.

The position taken by the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the National Association of School Resources Officers is against arming teachers. Last year in California, it became illegal for school employees with a concealed weapons permit to carry a firearm on a school campus.

In 2017, nearly 40,000 Americans lost their lives to gun violence. That was the highest number of gun deaths in 40 years. Democrats, now in control of the House are determined to pass sensible gun safety legislation to counter the epidemic of gun violence.

Common sense legislation includes universal background checks, a ban on assault rifles, a ban on high-capacity magazines, closing the gun show loophole, establish wait periods, and increased funding for mental health programs.

Our schools must be places where students and teachers feel safe.

Marc Boyd


165 years and still going

To the Editor:

Who is going to take the time and effort to investigate stories that hold officials accountable for their actions? Where can you get sports, obituaries, crime, photos, features, The Weekender, community news and calendars? The list goes on and on.

Answer: The Union Democrat, our local newspaper for 165 years. The newspaper business is struggling to survive against social media and online ads, This newspaper is no an exception.

Harvey McGee bought this newspaper in 1959. He could afford a larger news staff, which cranked out lots of news. It covered a wide range of subjects, Western Communications, of Bend, Ore., bought the newspaper in the late nineties. The paper has a skeleton staff of writers who churn out copious amounts of news under the leadership of Editor Lyn Riddle.

The newspaper reports on crime, court cases, News of Record, which lists calls to the sheriff’s and police departments, DUIs, felony arrests, and letters to the editor.

The Union Democrat has won prestigious awards for its investigative-enterprise reporting. For instance, it won a state newspaper publishers award for exposing a sex scandal in which the son of the former Columbia District Schools superintendent pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a 15-year-old student in a school classroom.

You will get more than your money’s worth by placing an ad or getting a subscription.

I love print journalism. I have been a newspaper reader since I was a child. Picking up the newspaper in the morning is among my greatest pleasures. I like to read its wide spreadsheet, even spilling coffee on it.

Robert Dorroh


County kindness

To the Editor:

I felt compelled to share this story with you.

On Wednesday, my husband and I were driving east on Highway 108 toward Mi-Wuk. We noticed an older woman walking along the side of the highway, using a cane and pulling a bundle of firewood.

We also noticed that a Caltrans snow plow had pulled off to the side of the road about 100 yards past the woman. The driver had exited the snow plow, run down to the woman, offered his arm and carried her firewood to wherever she was headed.

What a wonderful example of the kindness, compassion and generosity that defines Tuolumne County. This is why we love calling Tuolumne County home.

Judy Haughton

Twain Harte

Support for the UD

To the Editor:

I was horrified to read the Union Democrat is in trouble. It is the most complete newspaper in this area. Covering completely all of Calaveras County as well as Tuolumne County and in deed world news of great importance and sports etc.. Everything our readers need. Local news is so important to people like me, older retired and counting on our newspaper to keep us informed to what is going on.

Losing the Union Democrat as we know it would be a tremendous loss to this area and the people in it.

Jacqueline Heintz

Angels Camp

Trump’s election is incomprehensible

To the Editor:

America has elected for president a man with some very unusual qualifications. In his early years he would not rent to black people, which makes him a racist. He started a phony university and cheated many people out of a lot of money, which makes him a conman. He said on national TV, that if you’re rich and famous, you can grab ladies by the crotch, which makes him a pervert. He said on national TV, that global warming is a hoax, started by China, which makes him a moron. He lies every day and nobody cares. I don’t understand how anybody in his right mind can support somebody who is a racist, conman, pervert, moron and pathological liar.

Eduard Klawin


Bus shelters don’t provide shelter

To the Editor:

I went to the hospital on Jan. 16. It was pouring windy and cold. I sought refuge under the roof that they call a bus stop. No protection whatsoever. I’m 91 years old and had to stand. The bench was soaking wet.

Is this the way the elderly should be treated or anyone seeking shelter under the roof? It’s been this way for years.

I talked with a county employee about it and he said it needs Plexiglas all the way around. Duh. Do you really think we don’t know this. I was told they had to send away for the Plexiglas. I asked did they send to China for it? Don’t tell me we can’t get Plexiglas in town or nearby, another example of how they run this county.

I hope it’s fixed before I kick off, and all the others are hoping, also.

Mavis D. Leatherwood


Tax breaks are for the rich

To the Editor:

On Oct. 24, 2018, I attempted to warn you that under the “trumpublican tax breaks for the rich,” most will be getting nothing.

Additionally, we will all be paying off trillions more for Trump’s-record setting national debt increases. Worse yet, millions of you will owe more than in previous years and/or will get a much smaller return.

As of today, everything in this letter has become reality.

10-24-18 — Most voters look at their own lives and make a judgment call and then vote. So how are you doing? Now, you have a job…. (maybe two or three jobs).

For many Americans, their wages have increased but by less than their expenses. One exception is Democratically controlled California, where the State minimum wage has increased faster than inflation.

Democrats gave you access to a comprehensive health care program, including coverage for “preexisting conditions.”

Republicans, including Tom McTrump, have tried incessantly to take it away from you. Only your vote can stop them this time, otherwise your coverage will be gone. (well done, we did it)

How much is the trumpublican corporate tax cuts going to cost your family? Well, we do now know it is more than the $1.5 trillion they touted — now they are talking $2.3 trillion. Your cost (per citizen) was $61,365 as of March of 2017. One year later each of you now owe $65.879, and it will increase about $5,000 each — every year.

But now that most of you have caught on, the next story you hear is that there is a “tax cut for just the lower and middle class.” This too is a lie, but when asked how are the trumpublicans planning on paying for all these “tax cuts?” — ‘by diluting Medicare, Medicaid and maybe your Social Security.’

Domenic Torchia


Words matter

To the Editor:

Students are taught that writing is thinking. Clear thinking results in an exact word in the right place. I cringe every time that I hear Nancy Pelosi call the border wall “immoral.” I think “stupid” better describes an ineffective waste of money that degrades a huge swath of natural resources and harms nearby landowners and residents when there are better tools and methods known and available. What is immoral, is using the symbolic power of a barrier between us and them to exploit hate and prejudice for political advantage.

Also, I find it unconvincing when Bernie Sanders and others try to put universal health care in the category of a right. There is no constitutional basis to support the idea that the government must provide health care or any benefit, but only that it must hold everyone equal under the law. And from an ethical viewpoint, there can be disagreements about the best way to “Do unto others.” It is a political question.

Instead, I would make the argument that providing everyone with as much health care as we can afford is compassionate and pragmatic. It makes sense for us to try to take care of each other. A nation of healthy people benefits us all, and a single payer system of primary care with supplemental insurance options like medicare could cost less with better overall results.

When Rep. Octavio-Cortez calls for the elimination of ICE, is she saying that we don’t need any immigration or customs enforcement? Instead, I hope she means that anti-immigrant prejudice should not be the basis of official policies that use ICE as a tool to persecute the undocumented.

Progressives, please be careful. We need thoughtful and honest speech from our leaders in this time of Trump.

John Watson