Know the facts about Wildcat Ranch

To the Editor:

Please, community members, know all your facts before forming an opinion on the Wildcat Ranch.

The Ag program has used the land as best they can without much funding due to the unstable Sonora High Board decisions. How can they move forward with their planned vision with the underlying fear of trading the 137 usable acres for 22 unusable for ag purposes?

Students have used the land for potato crops that they sold at the Farmers Market. Several successful community Easter Egg Hunts have occurred there. The joy on all the children’s faces was priceless.

Oh, and what about the many animals raised there for the fair that would not otherwise happen due to students not having space at their homes.

There are many community organizations willing to support the vision of Stacy Ingalls and her Ag program if they were not fearful of their funds being taken by this unstable, not trustworthy school board.

Our community has numerous parks throughout. Who will pay for all the upkeep and security that is needed? Will we be creating an area for more problems with homeless and drug activity that our overworked and understaffed Sheriff Department will have to deal with? How do you also successfully combine an Ag farm with an open-to-the-public park? Will the Park Foundation pay for damage caused by vandalism with the two areas combined.

It has also been said throughout the community that the Park Foundation still is trying to get financial backers to help fund this project. There are too many unanswered questions and unsettling answers. Please know the facts before you forming an opinion.

Stand up for what is best for the students at Sonora High long term not the immediate budget at Sonora High that is a mess due to the incompetent School Board.

Athena Gibson

Tuolumne

Parade will not help veterans

To the Editor:

Trump wants a military parade. To the 92.7 percent of the population that have never been in the military, I will let you in on a secret – we veterans and current military do not like parades. While attending school in the Air Force we had a parade every Saturday. We all hated it. It was work, took away from our free time, did nothing for morale, and didn’t contribute towards readiness or combat capabilities. What purpose did it serve other than for the satisfaction of the base commander, who we would all march past – all while he would be sitting on his throne.

Consider what countries put on big showy parades. Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Ukraine, Iraqi to name a few. Any commonalities here, like the word tyrant or dictator?

The world knows we are a military superpower, we do not need to brag about it. The U.S. spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined, $610 billion annually.

This parade is for the satisfaction of one selfish person – Trump.

Reflect on being in the military. Which would you prefer doing? Setting up and taking down stands and bleachers, cleaning up the mess after a parade, and dragging your gear back to your base. Or would you prefer spending time with family and friends having a BBQ, or just having the time off on Veterans Day.

I am not against paying tribute to the troops, such as local cookouts, connecting with the communities, where civilians buy, cook and clean up as their way of thanking the troops for their service.

And don’t overlook the cost for Trump’s parade, which is estimated to be more than $20 million. That $20 million could certainly be used towards veterans funding, such as more job training or better medical care. Honor the troops, not the five-time draft dodging Trump, who also has kept one-half of the veterans $5.6 million collected at an early 2016 fundraiser for veterans.

Ed Gorth

Sonora

Gun crazy America

To the Editor:

The more nations have nuclear weapons, the more likely some deranged leader will use them — paraphrasing four-star General Barry McCaffrey. No doubt he is right, but let’s scale it down one notch.

The more guns are around, the more likely it is that some killer will use them. Neither background checks nor mental health professionals can lower that dark outlook in any meaningful way.

One aspect gets frequently overlooked: Where do criminals get their guns? Closing the gun-show loophole would have some effect. Yet the most popular suppliers of guns are we, the good, law-abiding citizens. The Department of Justice reports that 1.4 million guns were stolen in a six-year period. That comes out to 639 per day. (A good many thefts are probably not even reported.)

It’s a matter of simple math. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that 99.99999 percent of guns are in the hands of perfectly sane, responsible owners. As there are 300 million guns estimated to be in private hands in this country, it means that 3,000 guns are owned by potential mass murderers and other criminals.

For once I agree with Tom McClintock, our Congressman who might get re-elected unless we stop him. He argues that gun laws did not stop mass murderers, whether at schools or other places where people gather. But then he writes, “Fortunately, we know what does [work]. Executing murderers works. Locking up other gun predators until they are old and feeble works.“

Unfortunately, Tom, that’s only after the fact. And you don’t get to execute many of the mass murderers because they shoot themselves afterwards. Deterrence factor: zero.

If we weren’t so gun crazy we’d be a lot safer.

Klaus Kraemer

Sonora

Teachers don’t cause school shootings

To the Editor:

I am outraged by the letter of May 23, saying that the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, was not caused by a gun, but by teachers and professors doing “bullying/training” on their adolescent male students.

First of all, there is no “Democrat Communist Party.” There are Democrats; but to say that they are creating unstable individuals who they have brainwashed is ridiculous and ignorant.

Teachers have the most important and difficult jobs and have a low pay for what they do. Many teachers have been killed in these school shootings. Guns kill people, and guns in the hands of troubled males have killed hundreds of students.

We need gun control in our country, and blaming teachers for the gun violence is the most vile and insane thing I’ve ever heard.

Children are afraid to go to school because they might be gunned down in their classrooms. It does not help anything for a conspiracy theory person to spout such lies. Of course, we have a so-called president who lies everyday and has been doing it for over a year, and his base loves it.

Sydney Taylor

Columbia

Stop the damage

To the Editor:

Every vote counts, and by encouraging others to vote, I can multiply my voting power, but the threat of having an unrestrained President Trump with Republican majorities in the House and Senate makes me want to do everything I can to influence the election. Some bad news from my dentist is putting a squeeze on my budget, but I think I can afford at least a hundred dollars to make small contributions to candidates for Congress between now and November. I’m rationalizing this by thinking that it would be worth a lot more than that to have Democrats control Congress. I can’t be sure whether my donations will tip the balance or not, but small donations did help Doug Jones and Conor Lamb conduct winning campaigns and every donation does put pressure on the Republicans.

I can google the name of a race (e.g. CA–04) or a candidate (e.g. Jessica Morse), and if I want to support someone, I can hit the donate button. It appeals to me that I can send a small amount like three dollars to a lot of different candidates. I’ll check “flipthe14.com” for Republican held congressional districts in California, and then I’ll look at the senate race in Nevada. I encourage everyone to make small donations to support as many Democrats as they can. It’s money well spent.

Republicans don’t need this plan. Congress gave their rich donors some huge tax breaks, so now, big money is going into campaign coffers and for propaganda about what a good deal it’s supposed to be for the rest of us. This President taints everything he touches. We need a Democratic Congress to bring back honesty, compassion and common sense. Stop the damage now before it’s too late.

John Watson

Columbia

Charter school should follow the rules

To the Editor:

Thank you to the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Margie Bulkin and her staff for providing time consuming and efficient oversight of the Foothill Leadership Academy Charter School.

The fiscal issues they have uncovered refer to misuse of taxpayers money, as charter schools are public schools and subject to regulations that affect all public schools. There appear to be several fiscal issues of concern, but it is especially appalling that a significant amount of funds were spent on “teacher appreciation events,” including dinners and alcohol.

It is even more concerning that administration at this school is attempting to defend this practice. As a longtime educator, I certainly feel that teachers deserve appreciation, but perhaps it would be more prudent to insure that the required payments to the State Teachers Retirement System are paid in their behalf?

In addition, whether the funding for the “teacher appreciation events” involved sloppy accounting via donations or state funds does not justify this situation. Money for school equipment and supplies in public schools is limited. Donations from fundraising go towards field trips or classroom experiences not covered in the budget.

Due to this situation, many dedicated, caring, competent and overworked teachers in the public schools in our county and around our state have spent a considerable amount of their own funds on supplies that they need for lessons for their students. The only “appreciation” they often get is the opportunity to see firsthand the incredible positive impact they can have on the children and youth that they teach.

As a taxpayer, I expect that this charter school as well as all charter schools be held to the same high standards and I hope that the County Board of Education seriously considers whether this school is up to the challenge.

Judi Wilson

Sonora

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