Kudos to the editor

To the Editor:

Recently my husband and I have noticed the wonderful and educational articles appearing in the Union Democrat and on the Opinion page. Instead of liberal Democrat spewing of radicalism, out and out lies, and political nonsense, we now have articles that are informative and pleasant, not all, of course are free of liberal or crackpot bias. But, for the most part, we are free of “liar, liar, pants on fire” writers.

My husband and I did so enjoy the article: A token of love.

Connie Dresbach


Reunite families

To the Editor:

This is my poor version of “taking the knee.” I no longer know myself as a “proud American in this great country,” but instead count myself as angry, ashamed, humiliated, frustrated, impotent, and achingly sad because of our nation’s policy/practice of separating families at the border.

I am of an age that has images from Pathe’ newsreels of the 1940s seared into my memory – images of children being torn from their mothers’ arms at the Nazi death camps. Images I thought were long buried, but now return with renewed power and urgency.

I can nearly hear the loud weeping of bewildered children and mothers as the very flesh of their flesh is torn away. “In Ramah (at the border), is heard a voice of mourning and great weeping, Rachel wailing for her children and refusing to be consoled, for her children are no more.” (Jeremiah 30:15)

What have the children done to deserve this? Why are they being punished for the very real contemporary sins of their fathers? How feeble are the attempted justifications for taking children hostage to serve as a negotiating tool for this inhumane action. Look up extortion in the dictionary. This is extortion writ large. Shame on us for sleeping peacefully in our beds at night.

It has been said that America’s Original Sin was slavery. This surely ranks at least Second.

Today, please use your voice by calling Rep. Tom McClintock’s office at (202) 225-2511 and demand that the separation end now and that families be reunited immediately.

Peggy Kingman


Shame comes to America

To the Editor:

We support immigration reform, but concentration camps for children pretextually separated for bathing or showers? This tragically familiar scenario re-occurs because groups are officially stereotyped and libeled as drug dealers, gang members, rapists and criminals.

Thank you, Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, and your like-minded white nationalist associates light years removed from the “party of Lincoln.” How soon we forget Manzanar, the Chinese Exclusion and National Origins Acts, the Klan and the Trail of Tears.

These administration policies are welcomed by supporters of such historical abominations whose authoritative virulently anti-immigrant readings include “Mein Kampf.” We have been to Dachau twice and Auschwitz. Immigrants sent to those camps never left the showers because they were also regarded as inferior.

Even secure borders demand humane and constitutional conditions for children and parents. To date, there appears to be no system requiring:

•reunification at deportation and no deportation without reunification;

•regular communication among families during separation;

•regular advice of the identity of the custodian, of the location, and of the whereabouts of children;

•advice to parents showing how to get children returned without discouraging preconditions;

•reliable child status and tracking computer networks;

•prompt asylum seeker processing at ports of entry rather than blocking ports thereby forcing resort to illegal border crossings

In Sonora, an arrested misdemeanant gets a ticket, own recognizance release or affordable bail except in the worst cases. Even those with repeated wilful failures to appear for court are released OR so they also return to their children (until they invariably FTA again).

Does America have no shame. You cannot do this in our names.

Steve Monroe

Linda Monroe


What private land means

To the Editor:

The Emergency Evacuation Procedures informational meeting on June 16, hosted by the Mi Wuk Homeowners Alliance and the Mi Wuk/Sugar Pine Fire Protection Board and Auxiliary, showcased excellent overviews of the resources available to residents and roles played by CHP, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, and CalFire to alert residents about fire danger and about how notification and evacuation procedures are put into place. Excellent handouts were provided with suggestions of how to prepare ourselves, homes and vehicles for rapid, orderly departure when necessary.

The presenters graciously allowed us to air our many concerns. Chief among them is extreme frustration over the piles of logs and debris from last year’s felling that remain on the property of inattentive absentee homeowners. All of us want that readily apparent wildfire fuel removed yesterday. There was much discussion over who should be responsible for timely cleanup but the unsatisfying response is that any inspection or cleanup requires, legally, the consent, and usually the active direction of the often-difficult-to-reach absentee homeowner. Procedures for issuing complaints are limited and no cleanup may be initiated on private land by anyone but the homeowner.

Which is exactly what “private land” means. It’s mine to keep up or not as I see fit. Any limitations on the landowner’s privacy must come through duly enacted legislation. But consider, if I want to be allowed to haul debris off of my neighbor’s land (then send him the bill) I might have to concede his right to come pull down my cedar trees that stimulate his hay fever.

Emily Pardee

Mi-Wuk Village

Community Development Stars

To the Editor:

Our governmental employees that should be most admired as leading stars of the development community are those that actually do the day-to-day, up-front and sometimes detail numbing work when new businesses or developers want to set up shop in the county or the city. These include the real estate agents, lawyers, fire protection, planners, building and road officials, and the list goes so on. They are tasked with solving complex and potentially expensive problems that new business owners and developers encounter when facing a wall of regulations and associated time and costs.

But in Tuolumne County, what happens to these very same leading stars when the economy takes a dive or multiple bad financial decisions are made by policy makers? Their wages are frozen, sometimes for years. The departments are downsized (another way of saying do more with much less). Or they are merely discharged and thanked for their service. All the while governmental executives are rewarded with new offices and higher pay, travel allowances and freedom to come and go as they wish. They also take credit for positive outcomes and blame the failures on not enough taxes.

This is a time and place where this model needs to be challenged. We give too little credit to the employees who do the actual work, interpret the laws, fill out the paperwork, work overtime to find ways for businesses to at least have a fighting chance to overcome all the obstacles created by a regulatory machinery in Sacramento. If we as citizens become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we are on a pathway to relinquishing our control and freedom. Sometimes we have to challenge our government, at board meetings, in writing, and sometimes in the courts, to strengthen our democracy, which by the way is rarely an orderly affair.

Ken Perkins


Foothill school is a gem

To the Editor:

Foothill Leadership Academy is a gem in Tuolumne County. This public charter school exemplifies what charter schools were created to do: it offers a different approach to education in a small, tight-knit community, and it offers the experience to every child, as it is a public school.

I am a teacher at FLA and working at an arts integration school is a dream come true. Hands-on learning is considered a best practice in education. At FLA, student creativity and leadership is our chartered purpose, so students explore the core subjects through embodiment, music, and visual arts. My students amaze me daily. I am blessed to be part of this incredible young school in Tuolumne County.

Stefani Sheffield


Immigration laws

To the Editor:

The number of [unaccompanied minors] and families has grown dramatically, mostly teens, over the last few years said a Homeland Security official during a briefing with reporters.

“We do not separate babies from adults,” an official said, except in cases where a person poses a threat or is believed not to be the parent.

A facility in Texas was an empty Walmart building and was clean, divided into dorm rooms with spare cots set up for added children. Boys stood in the hallways wearing T-shirts and basketball shorts, some smiling and saying hello. Reporters touring the facility were not allowed to speak with the children or staff. Boys could be seen playing video games, soccer and basketball. There are classrooms, and officials said children receive six hours of daily instruction. Their ages were 10 to 17.

Obama increased Border Patrol staffing to an all-time high of nearly 21,500 agents in 2011 and his administration has virtually ended the practice of “voluntary returns,” or turning back Mexicans without any consequences.

Under President Obama, over 2.5 million immigrants have been deported, up 23 percent. Obama is now on pace to deport more people than the sum of all 19 presidents who governed the United States from 1892-2000, according to government data.

The number of undocumented children—mostly teens, but some as young as 5 – apprehended crossing the border without parents or guardians has more than doubled in the past two years.

The kids under 10 are given to Child Protective Services, and may go to a foster family.

If parents who are citizens are arrested in this country, do we let them stay with their parents?

Crossing the border is breaking the law – whether you agree with what is on the books or not – so why would we let them stay with their parents?

James Schlotthauer