No free lunches

To the Editor:

When store cashiers begin a shift they count the cash in their drawers. Starting cash must be correct to prevent accounting errors and abuses. At shift’s end there’s a recount against sales. No excuses, just unfailing management.

To attract businesses, Sonora and Tuolumne County fund the TCEDA. Great, that’s needed. But normal business practices require reporting on funding and performance — even kids get report cards.

Are there TCEDA reporting requirements? If so, where are the reports? If there isn’t reporting, then why not? Is our policy simply to trust the agency’s CEO and Board with no proof? The cashier does the count and the parent reads the report card. I was a corporate credit manager for a major oil company and wrote credit policy. Where there was no well-reasoned policy in place it invited trouble.

The TCEDA has been brought into question. Yet it is the TCEDA Board, City Council and Board of Supervisors who set reporting policy. Either that or they are taking the CEO’s claims and ever-rising demands for funding on faith. According to the Grand Jury, half TCEDA entertainment funds for clients were spent on supervisors’ meals. To what end? Personal endorsements by board members aren’t proof of responsible management.

If citizen Perkin’s reasonable questions can’t be answered, then Cope isn’t the only problem. We should be questioning the competence of those responsible for supervising. How can taxpayers know that their tax dollars are well spent if the boards responsible for supervision are negligent? If these questions can’t be answered then we need to elect people who are capable managers.

We need new leadership on the Board of Supervisors who will set priorities that are in line with our county’s needs, account for how our money is being spent, and manage our budget responsibly.

Robert Carabas


America’s loss

To the Editor:

The United States created the Taliban to fight Russians in Afghanistan. When they expelled them in 1989, the United States abandoned Afghanistan to the Taliban. In 2001 the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, centuries old giant sculptures, due to Muslim iconoclasm. Historians and archeologists the world over were stunned and saddened.

These statues are now in the process of restoration. But something was lost, both in the destruction of the original statues, and also through the affront to history, along with our connection to the past represented by them.

Today we face a similar type of loss in America. It is the loss of something more important and more fragile than the Bamiyan Buddha statues. It is the fabric of our government, built by the blood, sweat and tears of the generations of our forebearers going back to the founding of our country. Our president, relying on an iconoclasm of his own, is destroying the governmental institutions created by and for our society, just as the Buddhas were destroyed at the direction of the Taliban leaders.

The nature of this institutional damage is more insidious. Ambassadors, trained over decades at taxpayer expense, were summarily dismissed by Trump the day of his inauguration. Their knowledge was lost, and we continue to be unrepresented in many important embassies. Career civil servants in many agencies have left amidst the toxic environment that exists in our government today.

Can this destruction be undone? Of course, just as the Buddhas can be rebuilt. But in the meantime our nation will suffer, and we face many years of post-Trump work to repair the damage.

Phil Nichols


It’s either TDS or I’m Rip Van Winkle

To the Editor:

Here we go again. Recently, I read a letter that states President Trump has committed many crimes including “bribery, receiving support (conspiracy) from a foreign entity to interfere in an election, money laundering, violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause, obstruction of justice, misuse of campaign funds, violations of several election laws, sexual assault and many others.”

Wow, when I went to bed the night before I understood that even though the crazy dems and their compatriots had spent millions of taxpayer dollars, thousands of prosecution research and investigation hours, an many wasted hours of hearings, they still had nothing.

There had been no crimes charged, no indictments issued, no trials held and no verdicts reached (whether for guilty or not guilty) with the president as a party. But lo and behold when I woke up he had committed all the foregoing crimes, had been found guilty “by all” and now deserved punishment. I’m not really sure why the letter writer did not claim Trump was guilty also of treason and therefore should be shot; maybe next week.

So, here we go again. Either the writer is living proof of Trump Derangement Syndrome run amok or I’m Rip Van Winkle and missed all the prosecutions and convictions.

Jim Webster