Check your facts

To the Editor:

A recent letter ranted about the Democrats making many charges, that, had he taken the time to look at facts rather than use false statements and go on the attack, would have left him only with his pent up hostility towards the Democrats.

Twelve years and the world will end, he claims? No, but climate change is upon us and chipping away at the world’s expectation of a normal environment.

He boldly states that there was “no collusion and no obstruction,” apparently ignoring what the Mueller Report stated. There was no finding of collusion (conspiracy) — so far, but more information will yet be uncovered whenever Trump stops “obstructing” Congress’ rights to

witnesses and documents. On the matter of obstruction, Mueller basically stated that except for the rule that the president can’t be indicted, there are several instances uncovered that would lead to indictment for obstruction.

Several hundred former and current prosecutors of both parties signed on to a declaration stating that the president if he were not the president, would and should be indicted for obstruction.

The writer goes on about how “the Democrats and mainstream media continue to aid and abet the collusion/obstruction hoax.” He prefers to ignore the prosecutions and convictions of several in Trump’s circle for their role in their involvement with the Russians, and how Trump

personally has distanced himself from blaming Putin and ignoring all the intelligence agencies that found and brought to justice several involved.

He concludes with an outrageous statement about “those responsible for conception to choose to murder newborn babies.” An ignorant and untrue statement.

If one wishes to debate issues, it would be advisable to research for unbiased facts, rather than listen to dog whistle tweets and falsehoods promoted by those who believe Fox News.

Wayne Kirkbride

Twain Harte

Come to the General Plan hearings

To the Editor:

As of 2016, the California Department of Finance, an agency that specializes in population projections, estimates that Calaveras County will grow by only 2,500 people by 2035. How could this be good news? Because it means that the general plan in Calaveras County has the opportunity to focus on improving the lives of the 45,000 people who are already here.

Unfortunately, those preparing the General Plan Update continue to plan for an unsubstantiated oncoming multitude of new residents; and they are planning poorly.

The General Plan Update includes a map that designates the acceptable locations of additional residential, commercial, and industrial development. The County estimates that this land use designation map accommodates at least an additional population of 70,000 people. Why would we want this plan for development, when the County’s own environmental impact report admits that buildout of the plan will make our lives and communities significantly worse in 25 different ways?

Fortunately, there is another vision for the future of Calaveras County. It is a vision for a county government focused on raising up all the people who are already here in Calaveras, and the modest number of additional residents likely to come. It is a vision rooted in the heartfelt aspirations hundreds of people expressed during the general plan workshops from 2007 to 2010. It is the vision that Calaveras Planning Coalition continues to promote today.

The Calaveras Planning Coalition invites you to join us at the Planning Commission for the General Plan Update hearings on May 22, 23, 29, 30; June 6 and 7. We will speak at these hearings because we still have hearts filled with hope that together we can build a brighter future with the friends and neighbors we love in a county called Calaveras.

Tom Infusino, Facilitator

Calaveras Planning Coalition

No to projects near Yosemite

To the Editor:

Thanks to The Union Democrat for covering the issue of developers proposing two large lodging projects on Highway 120 just a few miles from Yosemite Park. The giant Terra Vi Lodge proposal and the 99-unit Under Canvas project proposed across the highway are classic examples of sprawling development.

Between them they could have up to 1,000 guests a day, but, unfortunately, the forested site along Highway 120 has no public water and no public sewer. Their demand for millions of gallons of water each year relies entirely on unproven wells that could easily fail in another drought. All the wastewater from the projects depend on fancy, engineered septic systems, and if those fail over time, subsurface water will be polluted.

Worse, there is a group of cabin owners adjacent to the site who have enjoyed their cabins for decades. The Terra Vi Lodge and Under Canvas wells could drain water away from existing cabin owners and the septic effluent could contaminate their wells.

This site already burned severely in the Rim Fire. The closest county fire engines are nearly 30 minutes away, plus ambulance and law enforcement services are nowhere nearby.

If these huge development projects were instead located at the vacant Big Oak Flat “scar” site or at a location close to Groveland, lodge guests would shop and dine at existing businesses. If approved so many miles from public water, sewer, and county services, these two leap-frog projects would place nearly 1,000 guests in extreme fire danger at a site where there are no back-up options if septic and wells fail.

Tuolumne County has a responsibility to reject poorly located projects and to steer them to sites where they pose far less risk. Readers should watch to see whether the county acts responsibly with these two leap-frog development proposals.

John Buckley

Twain Harte

Wake up to what‘s really happening

To the Editor,

It seems, based on Tuolumne County EDC history, that this is a good time to rethink about what should be the role of government in a free economy.

A good place to start would be by reading “ The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith.

The Marxist approach of taking from some to give to others, although popular and widespread, usually causes extensive human tragedy.

Time to wake up?

Albert J. Segalla


Magical river canyon enbtombed

To the Editor:

Great job Guy McCarthy on the thought-provoking coverage of the late great Camp Nine to Parrotts Ferry (and beyond) Stanislaus River run.

1976 was the life altering year a hitch-hiker suggested I attend ‘spring training’ at OARS in Angels Camp, which led to swimming in snow melt, hypothermia and a summer job that became a year round international vocation.

Camp Nine was a portal for all who were so willing, to slip simply but profoundly into nature. Trying to convey what was lost is akin to describing the color blue to the blind.

A terrible loss, but rather than live in perpetual grief I would like to make a suggestion.

Would it be possible to re-open the Parrotts Ferry Bridge access road to the general public? This could allow personal small watercraft launching (kayak, paddle boards, wind sail, etc.), hiking, fishing, nature communing and perhaps most vitally.... safe ground to escape to during wildfires.

In its heyday, as the take-out for hundreds of river runners, Parrotts Ferry accommodated many people and vehicles on what amounts to terraces leading from the main road to rivers edge. Even as the reservoir level fluctuates, shouldn’t a serious effort be made to develop a life saving resource for evacuees with few firestorm escape options?

As long as we have entombed and denuded this magical river canyon let’s allow it to offer us some degree of redemption. Rivers can be forgiving that way.

Richard Haratani


Time to wake up

To the Editor:

This Memorial Day, to honor the fallen, I will help defend our country by telling the truth and by calling out those who do not. In particular, I doubt if Rep. Tom McClintock has read the introductions and executive summaries in the Mueller report. He seems to let talk radio do his thinking for him when he repeats falsehoods about a phony FISA warrant and Hillary’s emails to distract from the real issues.

Candidate Trump was assisted by a “social media campaign” and a “hacking-and-dumping operation” carried out by the Russian government. Campaign staff lied to Congress and the FBI, and “there were numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.”

Mueller found that “the evidence was not sufficient to establish criminal charges.” But he also said that the investigation did not always yield “a complete picture of the activities undertaken by the subjects of the investigation.” The activities the report does describe are not anything that Republicans should be proud of. McClintock shrugs off 10 instances of obstruction of justice as Trump just “blowing off steam.” Yes indeed, he blew off steam by committing impeachable crimes. The legal reasoning and the obstructive acts are fully outlined in the report. If McClintock reads it, he will find that obstructing an investigation is a crime in and of itself; no underlying crime is necessary. McClintock’s faulty reasoning would absurdly legalize successful obstructions.

On page 16 of the Carter Page FISA application, the court was fully informed that Steele was hired by a person (Glen Simpson) who was “likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.” The FBI was just doing its job. So many lies, so little time.

John Watson


Ironic immigration plan

To the Editor:

Trump has a new immigration proposal: a merit based system that prioritizes highly skilled/ educated immigrants. Meanwhile, the agricultural sector is becoming increasingly concerned with the lack of unskilled workers it needs. No native-born American, it seems, wants to do this back-breaking work for low pay (and often under very adverse conditions), even if they have few desirable skills. Also, how many American citizens want to work as a low paid service sector worker like a hotel maid?

So these highly-educated immigrants are going to come in and take whose jobs? I thought (besides enophobia) that that was one of the main arguments against letting these hordes of vicious immigrants in: “they’re taking our jobs!”

Looks like, under this proposal, that they’ll be taking the jobs that Americans actually do want. Is that ironic or what?

Terril Spitze

Twain Harte