Anti-camping ban

To the Editor:

I am writing to voice my opinion about the no camping ordinance recently passed by the City of Sonora. I went to the Aug. 21 City Council meeting expecting to speak out against the ban and was politely told to “be quiet” by a Sonora police officer. City counsel was explaining the rules by which the meeting was to progress (no speaking out of turn, keep to the agenda items, etc., etc.).

I had to shout out to inform the city attorney that I could not hear what he was saying and to speak louder. My first amendment rights were taken away from me at that moment the officer told me to be quiet.

Why is the City Council afraid to make a decision on their own without a task force? That is a big waste of taxpayer time and money. Who do you think you are going to offend if you were to create a homeless shelter? Is “one” bar owner ranting on Facebook telling you how far and how high to jump? Why do we elect you if you cannot make decisions on your own? As leaders of our community; you have a responsibility to remedy important issues which the public demands answers to. Failing to take a leadership role on issues like homelessness is callus and unchristian like. Do your jobs and do something worthwhile for the merchants, residents, and illegal campers in Sonora and Tuolumne County. Do not kick the can down the road. Do your jobs.

Chuck Kiel


A needed thank you

To the Editor:

The Union Democrat must be doing something right. Many on the right proclaim the paper is too liberal and some on the left believe the paper is too conservative. The Union Democrat is clearly very careful to avoid “sides.”

Many of the letters written by people on the right cannot abide to see anything that may not mimic their attitudes and beliefs. I am always amazed by the numbers of letters which appear in the Union Democrat from the people on the right.

Yes, Republicans are in the majority in this county but many Republicans I know do not embrace Trump or his ideas. Democrats are gaining ground in the county.

C. Persa thinks the editor is a “liberal from the east.” Maybe, I could say C. Persa is a liberal because s/he is from California. I was in Minnesota recently and was told, “You must be a liberal because you are from California.” I found that statement to be very ignorant.

There are liberals and conservatives from every county in this country. Because someone is from a certain place it does not mean they believe a certain way.

The editor of the Union Democrat allows a wide variety of opinions. I do not always appreciate letters written by some but I would never criticize their right to express their opinions. They can say what they think; I would only ask that they be less accusatory of those who do not share their opinions.

I think it is very difficult for them to express their ideas without condemning others. That, in itself, negates their letters as far as I am concerned. Thank you to the Union Democrat for giving us all a voice.

Carol Malispina



To the Editor:

The recent news that the Justice Department plans to investigate preferences for blacks in college admissions makes me ask this question: Would you, as a white person, have been better off if you had been born black?

I know prejudice when I see it, and I’m seeing it in words and deeds throughout the Republican party and the Trump administration. The Republican party has been engaged in suppressing minority representation through gerrymandering and voter ID laws. They have consistently opposed equal rights for LGBT persons. Undocumented immigrants and Muslims have been demonized in campaign rhetoric. Now, the Department of Justice is systematically reducing its civil rights enforcement and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is trying to manufacture justifications for stricter voter ID laws when there are none.

Appealing to hatred and intolerance might help to get politicians elected, but it will not make anyone’s life better. Instead of fanning the flames of anger and resentment, wise leaders would look for ways to help everyone work together toward our common goals. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I challenge our elected representatives to speak out against the politics of bigotry or be thought complicit.

I, myself, want to emphasize that I support the right of everyone to protest. But anyone who goes to a protest wearing a mask or planning to brawl or vandalize does not represent me and does not further any cause that I believe in. Consider the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King: “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love... Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

John Watson