Deadline for Election letters

The deadline for letters to the editor about the June 5 election is May 22. Letters may be emailed (preferred) to or mailed or dropped off at 84 S. Washington St., Sonora, CA 95370. Mailed letters must be received by May 22.

Jobs, not Jails

To the Editor:

Randy Hanvelt has been busy. He talks with people in Washington and Sacramento and is at every ribbon-cutting ceremony. He proudly announced that he was called hours before the latest California forest health program was made public. “With Hanvelt as Supervisor, Tuolumne County is in the driver’s seat.”

Busy doesn’t count. Results count. What are the results? We are almost $4 million in debt. Our expensive juvenile detention center is mostly empty. We are about to approve construction of a large jail. Our cost is $9 million for construction, plus $8 million per year to operate. We hoped for prisoners from other counties, but have no commitments. If built, the new jail will increase our debt even more.

We have no money to fix our roads, operate the library, or maintain county services at their present level. “Get used to bad roads.” We have no money for after-school programs or a community center for our kids. If Randy Hanvelt is in the driver’s seat, it appears that he is driving us over a cliff.

Our priorities are upside down. We do not have to build the new jail. We can sentence non-violent offenders to public service, pay other counties to jail our violent criminals, and save money. The juvenile detention center is helping a half-dozen kids. A community center could be helping hundreds.

Our county is struggling. Young people cannot find good jobs, buy a home and raise a family. Many jobs are part-time, with low wages and no benefits. We need to attract new businesses and good jobs. We have a beautiful area with great potential. But, we are lacking the basics: fire safety, good roads, high speed internet, cell phone coverage, and affordable housing.

We need new leadership and new priorities. Vote for Ryan Campbell.

Marvin Keshner


Op-ed was misguided and irresponsible

To the Editor:

I found Evan Royce’s guest column opinion greatly disturbing. If memory serves me correctly, when Evan ran for supervisor, he was never attacked for his reasons or qualifications for wanting to be elected.

I voted for Evan, twice. I neither held his age nor his primary employment as cause to believe he was unqualified. Instead, I believed his purpose for running was purely that he wanted to make a difference, and I trusted that he would serve us effectively.

If having a primary employment other than supervisor is a negative qualification, why hasn’t Randy Hanvelt criticized Ryan Campbell for being employed with the county?

Am I to believe that Evan sincerely has both the county and Anaiah Kirk’s family as his only concerns for discrediting Anaiah Kirk? That only Evan can balance the demands of being a supervisor while being employed elsewhere? Am I to forget that Evan contributed $1,000 to Merv Cancio’s campaign and was listed as the first person among those endorsing Merv Cancio? That Evan noted Anaiah Kirk’s entire salary package as if that was the annual income?

It is obvious that Evan Royce wrote his op-ed not because he cares deeply for the good of all, but rather to defame Anaiah Kirk.

I have always tried to have faith and confidence in our institutions and those who manage them. Although I have become jaded with the politics of national news, I never realized that my disappointment would transcend to our local newspaper. For Union Democrat management to perceive Evan Royce’s op-ed as an objective and compassionate authority on determining what criteria a supervisor must possess was incredibly subjective and irresponsible. That op-ed provided Evan Royce a biased platform with which to disparage Anaiah Kirk. I am as disgusted with the newspaper management as I am with Evan Royce. I thought you were both better than this.

William Sarkisian

Mi Wuk Village

District 3 needs a
full-time supervisor

To the Editor:

I have known Merv Cancio as a teacher for over 30 years. He puts the needs of his students and parents first. He is highly respected because of his professionalism, integrity, and dedication to his job.

As our past Curtis Creek School Faculty Association President, he ran meetings in an orderly fashion, treated us with respect, and made sure everyone had the opportunity to share their ideas and opinions.

I attended two candidate forum recently and I have strong reservations about who should represent our district for the next four years. At one forum Anaiah Kirk accused Merv of being a “Good Ole Boy.” Merv is paying the majority of his campaign expenses with his own money. He is not beholden to any special interest. Anaiah, on the other hand, said that he has not put one cent toward his campaign.

Next, what bothers me the most is that the Tuolumne County Grand Jury said that a Board of Supervisor works between 40-60 hours a week. I seriously wonder how Anaiah will manage his time working full time at the prison, doing a good job as our elected official, spending time raising his family, and attending to all his other activities.

As a voter and taxpayer I feel that we are being shortchanged by Anaiah for not committing to being a full-time supervisor. Fifty-thousand dollars a year salary plus benefits is full time wage in Tuolumne County. He is getting compensated $156,000 a year at the prison as a government employee. Maybe, in his mind, $50,000 a year as a Board of Supervisor is a part time salary.

Judy Spisak

Twain Harte

New leadership
needed for CA District 4

To the Editor:

The strategy of repeating lots of lies, distortions, whatabouts and conspiracy theories until the truth is smothered seems to be working. We are seeing that what people believe depends on the beliefs of their tribe. They choose to believe to belong.

Does belonging to this kind of tribe feel right to you?

• A tribe that honors the Constitution and its continuing evolution toward freedom, justice and equality for everyone.

• A tribe that sees government as an agent of the people that does the organized work necessary for the well being of everyone in this complex modern world.

• A tribe that efficiently prepares for national defense but sees warfare as a last resort and uses diplomacy and cooperation as better tools.

• A tribe that protects the abundance and beauty of the natural world for its economic and spiritual benefits.

• A tribe that embraces competitive economic activity as a producer of wealth while recognizing that a legal structure that insures fairness and honesty is necessary and beneficial in the long run.

• A tribe that encourages free trade among nations with agreements that protect workers and the environment.

• A tribe that taxes those who benefit the most in order to invest in the nation as a whole.

• A tribe that understands that we have more to gain by allowing the undocumented to become citizens than by demonizing them and tolerating their persecution.

• A tribe that feels a moral obligation for the future and provides for the health and education of all children and protects and enhances the environment they live in.

• A tribe that strives to be pragmatic and compassionate.

No one knows how you vote; you are free to follow your conscience. This tribe will vote for either Regina Bateson or Jessica Morse for Congress.

John Watson


Morse is the best choice

To the Editor:

Let there not be any confusion in the District 4 Congressional race. Jessica Morse is the candidate with military security experience, the only Democrat endorsed by the California Democratic Party (not by some faceless party office but by a large majority of delegates from her district), and the candidate of integrity and clean campaigning. Do not be mislead by glossy mailers from another candidate.

As advisor to the commander of US Pacific Command, Jessica strengthened the US-India defense relationship using renewable energy and worked to counter terrorist threats in South Asia. Jessica has a Master’s Degree from Princeton University where she focused on nuclear non-proliferation. Jessica worked alongside our soldiers in Iraq in a civilian capacity.

Jessica has federal budget experience, having been involved in managing the global foreign aid budget at the State Department and later USAID.

Jessica knows and loves the Sierra Nevada region and will work for issues that matter to us: water, forests, wildfire safety, rural broadband, jobs and a strong economy.

She is endorsed by national security leaders, several members of Congress, California Teachers Association, California Labor Federation, and California Young Democrats.

She has outraised Tom McClintock three quarters in a row. She is the candidate poised to defeat him in 2018.

Mickey Williamson


My letter to the editor

To the Editor:

Editor, Sonora Daily Union Democrat, I delivered the Sonora Daily for three years in my youth. Rivalry between The Sonora Daily and The Union Democrat delivery boys was keen. Every month I would ride my bicycle from Columbia to Sonora to turn in my collections. If the paper boys turned in their collections timely, the owner/editor, O.K. Peckham, rewarded them with a shiny silver dollar.

One of my saddest days was when I learned that The Union Democrat had bought out the competition. I had the choice of losing my route or become a Democrat delivery boy. I chose the latter, but it didn’t last more than a few months. The routes were longer, the pay was less, and, no silver dollar on collection day.

At the time, I didn’t realize that having only one newspaper would become the deathblow to objective journalism in Tuolumne County. Under editor/owner, Harvey McGee, the reporting was excellent, but in those days, there were journalistic ethics that demanded accurate and unbiased reporting. McGee held to those high standards. From my perspective and 64 years as an avid newsaholic, I cannot say that those standards exist at the Union Democrat today.

I cancelled my subscription for a few months and then subscribed to the online version, which I rarely read. When I do read it, I’m disappointed at the hard news items chosen for publication, the timing of when they are run, and how they are placed. The political bias is obvious and insidious, because the editor feigns to be fair and objective. For example, the District 2 supervisor candidate night quotes chosen to print, are a dead giveaway on who the Democrat favors. It’s unethical and biased. Sad.

David Wynne