Anti pot

To the Editor:

Promoting personal outdoor marijuana growth and commercialization sends a mixed message to children, grandchildren and future generations of Tuolumne County. I hope many of your readers are alerted to the potential of marijuana encroachment in our communities and attend the Supervisors’ meeting on Nov. 14.

Tuolumne County schools have rightly emphasized drug education for over 25 years. The YES Partnership’s annual “Say No to Drugs” has been a longstanding tradition. Some say “marijuana is not a gateway drug.” To those who experiment when young — either to have “fun” or to escape the pain of abusive, dysfunctional, hopeless homes, marijuana often leads to more experimentation. One “high” often leads to another, which often leads to serious addiction. The American landscape is littered with such destruction.

Big money investors and small entrepreneurs are dying to make a living off the lucrative profits of this new gold rush. Welcoming an industry that provides good jobs and tax revenue at the expense of our children, our culture and our future is offensive to many.

Tuolumne County citizens who suffer with chronic pain, severe trauma, and life-threatening illnesses have found relief in medicinal cannabis. This needs to be addressed and completely separated from personal “recreational” and commercial grows. Too many have abused the legitimacy of medical marijuana for personal “recreation” and black market profit.

At the top of Sonora Pass, a sign reads: “Tuolumne County — A Preserve America Community.” I believe, as do many, the Board of Supervisors proposal — six plants, indoors only — supports this motto, as does keeping a ban on all commercial grows.

With the commercialization frenzy that is exploding in California, it’s soon likely that cannabis users can purchase online. Better yet, let big business moguls make their millions, and then send our county’s chronic and severe sufferers their medical cannabis, for free.

TY Atkins


Who are the real wealth takers?

To the Editor:

Socialism is tax payers paying for infrastructure utilized by the community like roads, bridges, police, fire, schools. Don’t like socialism? Do you want a bill when fire personnel put out fires in your neighborhood, like the Rim Fire?

How do wealth creators create wealth? They generate ideas, create business. How do they run their business? People. Few businesses are made wealthy by the efforts of one. Rockefeller needed people to amass his wealth just as Alice Walton does. In our county, we have many people who contribute to Ms. Walton’s wealth, yet many of them need SNAP to feed their family. Personal responsibility? How about paying workers a living wage so they can afford to purchase the products in your business. That was Henry Ford’s business philosophy. How about not allowing your business to be dependent on the local county for SNAP to supplement the meager wages of your employees?

Fifty-five percent think the wealthy are greedier than most; 34 percent think they are dishonest; 58 percent think the wealthy don’t pay their share of taxes; 65 percent think the wealth gap has grown in 10 years. (Pew and Gallup polls)

Are people wealth-takers because they want a fair and living wage for their labor? People often work physically demanding jobs to earn their pay. Who’s taking wealth? People barely able to survive? Children? Disabled veterans? Are the wealth “givers” paying their proportionate share of our roads that their trucks travel upon, for access to freight systems like, bridges, docks and airports? No. Tax havens by corporations costs the U.S. Treasury an estimated $90 billion a year — double the $45 billion in infrastructure spending the federal government cut this year.

How about we stop fighting among ourselves and work to bring money back into the middle class instead of the wallets of the 1 percent?

Debi Baron

Twain Harte


To the Editor:

The recent fires in Northern California’s wine country offer a learning opportunity for communities throughout the country: At 2 in the morning, sending out an Amber Alert like phone message and knocking on doors — thousands of doors — isn’t going to get through to enough people in the critical few minutes before a looming disaster strikes. How about going back to some old “low-tech” methods that will work, namely air raid sirens. If you were born before 1960, you probably remember the monthly siren tests. If you’ve spent any time in Mendocino on the coast where cell phone signals are sporadic, you’ve probably been awakened at 2 a.m. when the siren goes off to summon first responders. You can be five miles away and that siren will still wake you up.

A siren doesn’t tell you what type of disaster is looming, but at least it wakes you up and gives you a chance to save yourself and other family members. We’re learning a hard lesson with these fires: high-tech solutions involving telephones and social media won’t cut it when seconds mean the difference between life and death. Some of the old air raid sirens may still be in place and only need a little work to bring them back to active status. It’s worth thinking about.

John Frank



To the Editor:

The Guest Column on Oct. 14, 2017, by Esther J. Cepeda was, in my opinion, right on.

Thank you to The Union Democrat for publishing such a thought-provoking and “middle of the road” article. Please keep up this kind of good reporting/editing.

Ron W. Ringen


Las Vegas and gun control

To the Editor:

Every day I read the letters to the editor. I have written a few letters and, I have received nasty phone calls from a man who tried to intimidate me. But, the letter on Oct. 3 titled “Hatred and anarchy” was the most disturbing letter I’ve ever encountered.

The writer blamed Democrats for the insanity of a gunman who killed 58 and injured over 500 innocent people who were enjoying an outdoor concert in Las Vegas. The Democrats are not guilty of creating “violent acts” and the ones who are keeping the “pot boiling” are uninformed letter writers with skewed opinions.

This is the time to talk about gun control and the banning of bump stock devices that turn rifles into automatic weapons.

In February, Trump signed a bill that allowed mentally ill people to purchase guns.

Last week in Alabama a man running for the U.S. Senate, pulled out a gun during a rally and smiled as he waved it around in front of people who clapped for him. If he had been an African American he would have been arrested or shot. If Roy Moore gets elected to congress will he still be allowed to brandish his tiny pistol?

Congress was planning to vote on a bill to legalize gun silencers. The reason; so that hunters would save their hearing.

Twenty-two thousand people at a concert were targets of a deranged man. If he had silencers on his automatic weapons more people would have been killed in his seven minutes of mayhem, before the police noticed the sound of machine guns.

There are signs up around town advertising the next gun show in Sonora. Will there be background checks and will bump stock devices be available for sale?

Too many lives have been lost to gun violence. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, but this is not enough. None of our thoughts will compare to the thoughts of the people whose friends and families were torn apart by automatic weapons. The survivors will never be the same after a concert in Las Vegas.

Sydney Taylor