Live and learn

To the Editor:

In a recent letter to the editor, the author extols the “traditional values” of family, personal responsibilities, limited government, free markets, and traditional American values.

The problem is when do values become traditional? Our country’s original values included allowing slavery, women not having the right to vote and not electing senators to represent us, instead, they were chosen by government bodies, which he decries.

The question is — are values static — are they unchangeable? Or, are they dynamic and thus can change.

A good example of the latter is the Constitution of the United States. It reflected the values of its creators, but it also allowed, through the amendment process, the ability to reflect the changes that societies experience.

We learned in the 19th century that total freedom from government in the business world could lead to devastating consequences in the form of monopolies and trusts as they relate to the working people. It was a progressive movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that

gave working people the right to bargain, unite and work to improve their lives.

We have witnessed social change take place in many ways. It took a devastating Civil War to begin the change on how race could determine how some people would live their lives. We have seen the emancipation of women and their right to equality with men in so many ways that had been denied to them.

These changes would not have taken place had our government (of the people) not stepped in where necessary.

Are all changes for the better? Of course not and a classic example was the disastrous Prohibition Law of 1920 that led to The Roaring Twenties.

We live and learn.

Conly Mahlon

Twain Harte

Do Conservatives still exist?

To the Editor:

A recent letter attempted, but failed in the attempt to paint Democrats as falling into the bottom of the hole of “self-serving oligarchism.” The writer should have looked up the definition of oligarchy (rule by a few, i.e. Russia, China, Iran), the definition of social equality (in brief, equal opportunities for all regardless of race, religion, economic status, etc.) and the definition of Socialism (here we go again with the word carelessly thrown around).

Social equality does not mean Socialism. If the writer is thinking Socialism is in terms of economic socialism, I suppose he thinks Capitalism in this country is in danger (it is not). If the writer thinks of Socialism as creeping federal power, overstepping what the founders expected of a federal government, perhaps the accepted norms of Social Security, Medicare, National Parks and forests, FEMA assistance, a Veterans Administration, etc., etc., should be on the chopping block .

The writer believes (rightfully in some cases) that government will always end up wasteful and inefficient, eventually turn corrupt and end up working for themselves, not the people. Our current administration is proof of these last statements, perhaps more than any other in recent history.

The core pillars of Conservatism are: Liberty (or freedom), tradition and order, rule of law, and belief in God (moral order).

If one claims to be a conservative, you have seen the Republican Party discard and ignore those values. We have an immoral, lying president, seen order trashed, fiscal responsibility gone (tax cuts benefiting the top). We are witness to a foreign threat to our democracy, aided by a president who obstructed and continues to do so. We have seen the Republican Party lose its way; conservatives have lost their party which is now the Trump party.

Wayne Kirkbride

Twain Harte

Dump Trump?

To the Editor:

There are numerous issues this county and state are facing, yet there seems to be little urgency felt, if the letters published are any measure. In reading the opinion page on a regular basis, there is only one theme that has been consistent in the last two years. The standard bearers, and there are many, are devoted, and committed. They hate Trump. They are deplorably myopic.

These stalwart, indignant, moral, citizens are so focused on the power draining threat of Trump, they don’t see our once great state descending into chaos. Or they are ignoring it. Highest percentage of poverty in the country, rampant homelessness, disappearing middle class, multiple cities on the verge of bankruptcy, and not a Republican in sight to blame.

California, a one-party state, has the highest combination of state, sales and gasoline taxes, and the most billionaires, yet the schools are ranked 48th, and over 30 percent of the population is on welfare.

Our governor brags about a $14 billion surplus, yet seems to be hoarding the gas tax revenue, while our roads continue to deteriorate. Perhaps letting Sacramento know that taking care of our lower income citizens’ health concerns would be a better use of our taxes than people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place. Our community has a homeless situation that needs to be addressed and ideas would be welcome.

So, if impeaching and convicting Trump is what it will take to get Californians to wake up and smell the coffee, dump Trump!

However, anyone that believes replacing the president will change anything here really has lost perspective.

Guy Emery


To the Editor:

A conflict of interest for a public employee arises when a decision that the employee participates in financially impacts that employee or her immediate family, as distinct from the impact on the general public. Two examples have surfaced in the recent appointment of Scott Gross as the County Public Defender.

No. 1: As County Counsel, Sarah Carillo is a public employee, the conflict of interest codes apply to her. As soon as she knew that her husband was going to be a candidate for public defender, she should have publicly declared a potential conflict, stated the conflict and refrained from any and all discussion and actions regarding that position. She should not even be in the same room where those discussion or actions were taking place. As we learned from the Kim Foxx / Chicago situation, Carillo should have conflicted out her entire office, if not for legal reasons at least for moral reasons and optics. It is not unreasonable to believe that a direct subordinate of Carillo might give advice benefiting Carillo’s husband or refrained from giving negative advice adversely impacting Carillo’s husband.

No. 2: Supervisor Campbell’s wife was interested in the public defender position. She already works as a deputy public defender. As soon as Carillo knew of Gross’s interest neither her nor her office should have given advice regarding her (Campbell’s wife) eligibility. It is unfathomable how the county counsel and her office don’t see this as a clear or potential conflict: telling a candidate that she can’t apply for a position for which your husband is applying!

These are only two examples of the Tuolumne County Counsel’s Office engaging in conflicting or potentially conflicting actions. How can it not see these two actions as legal conflicts at worst, and just plain bad optics at best?

Larry Crabtree

Mi Wuk Village

Economic Development — Seize the day

To the Editor:

This year the Sonora City Council took decisive action to free itself from years of poor performance and lack of transparency from TCEDA. Now they are taking further action to chart their own course in economic development. As the process moves forward there will no doubt be challenges given our changing economy. Our job, as citizens, is to provide coherent and practical ways of what we want from the city. Make a list of your recommendations and think about how the city might measure its progress so that they can make quick changes if they are not working or need to be modified. We will continue to demand transparency and performance outcomes so that we don’t repeat the errors of the past.

I am excited about the city hiring an outside consultant ($7,500) and at a fraction of the $104,000 paid to TCEDA last year. All that the city has to do now is to continue exercising community leadership through inclusiveness, collaboration and transparency. Seize the day!

Ken Perkins


Teamwork works

To the Editor:

This past Monday, June 17, we were at Mono Way Vet with two horses. We were in the large animal area. While having the horses examined we noticed some smoke by Hess Avenue. Shortly after we saw smoke directly in front of the veterinary clinic. All staff members immediately went to work in an efficient and calm manner.

As we observed their preventative reaction to the fire it was almost as if they had practiced as a fire drill numerous times in the past. They didn’t just spray water over the bank. A handful of employees were already down in the gulch pushing back the flames. Hoses were appearing everywhere as other employees sprayed in upper areas to prevent further spreading. During all this action, all staff worked together without chaos or panic.

We applaud the team effort shown by Mono Way Veterinary & Paws Inn.

Mike and Julie Sardella


9/11 responders deserve compensation

To the Editor:

On June 9, 1954, during the Senate Army-McCarthy hearings, Army special counsel Joseph Welch rebuked the behavior of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. by asking: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

On June 11, 2019, during a House subcommittee hearing, Jon Stewart berated Congress for failing to authorize funding to provide benefits for 9/11 survivors. “Shameful . . .They did their jobs — with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. 18 years later, do yours!”

Statements like these shock the consciousness and remind us all of the decorum and civility we should expect of our public servants. And yet, we see shameful behavior daily.

Will Congressman Tom McClintock finally depart from his shameful behavior of voting against every funding authorization for 9/11 survivors? Every time that similar bills have come up for a vote on the House floor, McClintock has voted no.

I don’t believe that District 4 constituents want to deny the compensation 9/11 first responders earned. Why has McClintock faced no consequences for doing just that? It’s shameful. Has he no sense of decency?

Barbara V. Smith


Kudos to Don Pedro

To the Editor:

I attended the Don Pedro High School graduation this week to award the AAUW of Sonora scholarship to a very deserving young lady — Alexia Saucedo. During the ceremony, former principal Rob Egger discussed the dual enrollment program that he began three years ago.

To my amazement, every one of the graduates has completed at least two college classes while taking their regular high school course work. Don Pedro students completed 71 college classes last fall and 66 classes this spring. Three students have completed over a year’s college credits (30 units).

Hats off to Mr. Egger for starting the program; staff who encouraged and assisted the students; and the graduates who did the hard work to achieve this incredible feat. Small schools can and do make a difference!

Judy Borgquist


AAUW of Sonora Scholarship Committee Member

Three cheers for Supervisor Campbell

To the Editor:

Supervisor Ryan Campbell is to be commended for his leadership in finding a solution for the county to provide the Recreation Department’s summer program for our youth. This is the kind of action we need more of, rather than more studies.

The recreation program not only provides valuable activities for our youth, it is also an important support system for young families needing affordable day care. We want our young people to stay in our community and programs like this help.

It was hard to believe that the Board of Supervisors could not find $14,000 for this valuable program in their budget after years of supporting Larry Cope’s lavish budgets for TCEDA ($500/night hotel rooms, etc.) or their own travel budgets for retreats at resorts rather than using county-owned facilities at no expense.

Sincere thanks also to Darrell Slocum and the Sonora Area Foundation members who assisted as well as Sonora High School Superintendent Mark Miller for working with Supervisor Campbell to save this program for our community’s youth.

Ellen Beck


Dismayed by board action

To the Editor:

I was highly dismayed to read Wednesday’s newspaper story that the county doesn’t have $14,000 of its $78 million general fund for a popular youth recreation summer program. This in light of the hundreds of thousands of dollars the county squandered on the Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority, or TCEDA.

This news came just when the program was supposed to start. This is terrible timing. The summer has just begun and the county board and administrators need to go back to the drawing board and immediately correct this.

My son was a staff member of this much-needed program for several years. He can attest to the fact this program is good for kids as well as for busy and working parents. The newspaper noted this program has been offered for 24 years until this year.

I contacted my 2nd District Supervisor Ryan Campbell who said he was “blindsided” by this action. He said he has been working within the confines of the board’s decision to correct this, adding that “I hope the board applies the same strict budgetary principles demonstrated Tuesday equally across all departments, not just recreation’s.”

In an act of kindness, the Sonora Area Foundation donated $7,000 to get the summer recreation program started.

Still, it should have never come to this. The sudden news of the $14,000 fund deficit should have been addressed sooner, not when the program was set to begin.

Robert Dorroh