Finding new life for beloved property

To the Editor:

After much soul searching about the sale of the properties near the south end of Sonora, on Washington and Stewart streets, in early 2016, our Realtor, Shaun Crook connected us with a buyer, Heide Cortopassi, who offered to purchase all six lots (four houses) for a sum we could accept.

We had had so many break-ins, fires, destruction and filth on the premises caused by homeless, drug abusers and others that we decided our best option was to sell.

The houses included our paternal grandparents’ (Heron) home at 549 S. Washington, the McGowan at 531 S. Washington, the Longeway at 559 S. Washington, and the Rosasco at 558 S. Stewart.

These families were a close-knit neighborhood group who treasured each others’ friendships, going back to the early 1900s. We had been well acquainted with all these families and were especially to our grandparents’ home.

Ms. Cortopassi was very skillful at solving problems we could not. She worked with fire departments, and because there had been so much damage to the three homes at the southernmost area, she arranged for fire departments to burn those three homes.

This was after she offered the beautiful lumber, door knobs, hinges, fittings, windows, etc. for salvage to interested parties and to preserve the history of the homes.

Ms. Cortopassi respected our wishes that whatever could be salvaged was offered to the public. In addition, she restored the McGowan House to its former grandeur and continues to improve it. She offered the historic roofing, a Viking themed design, to us because of our love of the home we had always looked upon when staying with our grandparents.

Ms. Cortopassi has unbounded wisdom and energy, respect for history and kindness to our family members. We will always be grateful for her involvement in this project to enhance the beauty of Sonora.

We are indebted to her and want to thank her for all she has done.

The Heron girls, Carol Leslie, Fran Bryant, Marilyn Rice and Evie Olds.

Fran Bryant


Coal in our stockings

To the Editor:

Congress promises their “great big Christmas gift” of a tax break will raise our wages, but isn’t that up to our bosses? Did Congress include incentives encouraging them to use their tax windfall to increase hiring or wages? Nope.

So, what have CEOs promised? That they’ll operate as usual; increasing their stock price (and their salaries) by increasing dividends, mergers, and stock buybacks. No wonder the stock market’s soaring!

Congress also promised the tax bill would pay for itself. But, according to non-partisan analysis, it will add $1 trillion or more to our debt.

After passing the “Christmas gift,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said, “the reason ChIP’s having trouble is because we don’t have money anymore.” Bah humbug! If we don’t have $13.6 billion for CHIP, which covers 9 million children, how will we keep our much more expensive promises to our military and growing elderly population?

Where’s the money for critical investments in proven job-creating initiatives like infrastructure, education, retraining our workforce, and the research and development required to remain competitive internationally?

And we’d better save that temporary $10 increase in our paychecks from our share of the tax cut for when 13 million lose health insurance, health premiums go up 10 percent; Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP are cut; Social Security is “voucherized;” and farm subsidies are reduced.

Why was Congress so eager to pass this mean-spirited bill? According to Rep. Chris Collins, “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.” Sen. Lindsey Graham reportedly said that if the GOP doesn’t pass the bill, “contributions will stop.”

Our “representatives” hope we’re too busy making a living to notice the net effect of their actions on our bottom line. Next November, let’s show them that voters, not rich donors, decide who will work for us in Washington.

Nan Fuller


The reason for the season

To the Editor:

Breaking news. Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas. You can’t change that.

You can say “Happy Holidays,” schools can call it a winter break, stores can advertise holiday gifts, you can mark boxes with Xmas, and so on and so on. It doesn’t change the fact that on Dec. 25 we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

What a glorious day. The Savior of the world is born. If He isn’t your Lord and Savior, please talk to a pastor or a Christian friend and find out more about Him. When He becomes your Lord and Savior you will understand why we celebrate, and you can then truly have a Merry Christmas.

Norm Gough


Tax bill was rushed

To the Editor:

We moved to Groveland about a year ago, and our decision is rewarded by the Sierra’s natural beauty and the solid middle-class community living here. But there are serious problems facing us in the coming years.

Tom McClintock voted for the Trump tax bill that provides temporary crumbs to the middle class and permanent rewards to the very wealthy. The first vote in the House was a procedural hiccup (at the time of this letter) and there is no reason to believe Mr. McClintock will change his vote the second time through.

The Trump bill has been rushed through both houses without the usual hearings. Because of the unusual push, few people, including those who voted for it, understand the 1,100-page bill’s details. In the coming months leading up to the 2018 election, voters here will come to realize just how inequitable the Trump tax bill is.

Taxes for workers will increase over time, while tax reductions to corporations are permanent.

Health care — both cost and access — for many will be in jeopardy.

Many programs serving the poor will be cut to address the debt; some have been already. (Paul Ryan and others have recently stated the need to revisit Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs for debt offsets).

And, our children will be burdened with an increased and unsustainable national debt.

A common refrain by Donald and Tom will be that stimulated economic growth will heal all wounds. Don’t believe these voodoo forecasts.

Californians are being hit hardest by the bill as evidenced by the fact that several California Republican congressman voted against it. For those who voted for it, there will be a reckoning in the 2018 congressional elections.

Oh, did I mention that there will be reckoning in 2018? Redundancy can be emphasis.

Jim Koerlin


Tax bill is thievery

To the Editor:

I grew up in Vallejo, California, and the church I attended was the Roman Catholic Church St. Basil the Great. My response to the Republican tax bill is to share with everyone a quote from Saint Basil the great: “When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to someone who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belonged to the poor.”

What the Republican tax bill is doing is giving obscene amounts of money to corporations and to the wealthiest Americans by tax cuts, while laying the groundwork to make cuts to programs that the working class, the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor depend upon. This is thievery to the rest of us. It does not matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat. What St. Basil said in the 300s AD. is true today.

Chris Montesano


Tax plan benefits the wealthy

To the Editor:

Our fearless leader, the “Lyin King” Donald Trump, and his Republican cronies have passed their tax “plan.” I’m afraid the constant repetition of the claim that it most benefits middle-income taxpayers will dupe many of the more gullible, especially since the effects won’t be felt immediately and there are some token short term tax breaks for the middle class.

Look at the numbers, please. This scam exposes who they really want to benefit — corporate donors and the super wealthy while millions lose their health insurance as a consequence. After the massive increase in the deficit becomes a reality, the next step for these erstwhile “deficit hawks” will be to demand cuts in “entitlements” like Social Security and Medicare. Very clever.

Wake up. Nothing they’ve done so far has been to the long-term benefit of the poor or the middle class.

Terril Spitze

Twain Harte