We need Brooks column

To the Editor:

I know that because of the bankruptcy of your parent company you have had to drastically cut back your national news and columns, but thank you, thank you, thank you for retaining David Brooks’ column of Feb. 27. His rational, kind voice is so necessary in these divisive times.

Vicky Oneto

Angels Camp

Stop slandering the public

To the Editor:

I recently attended a County Board meeting during which Mr. Rodefer, with a stated “I agree” from Ms. Brennan and Mr. Gray, again expressed his belief that the “general public” does not understand economic development. I am positive that there are many current and retired imminently qualified individuals in Tuolumne County who not only understand economic development but could give Mr. Rodefer a graduate course in it. Mr. Rodefer’s continued slander on the intelligence of the citizens reflects poorly on him rather than on the “general public.”

David Morgan


Too expensive? MASA

To the Editor:

Single-payer healthcare? Too expensive. Higher education for all students smart enough? Too expensive. Combat global warming? Too expensive, and it’s a hoax anyway. Higher minimum wage? Too expensive. Revamp failing roads and bridges? Would be nice but too expensive.

So let’s talk money. Here’s what’s truly too expensive.

* Health insurers grab 20 to more than 30 percent of your premiums for “overhead”. All other developed countries enjoy better healthcare while paying only about 8 percent for administration.

Now think: What is the economic value of a population in which everybody is healthy?

The CEO of UnitedHealth made $6,290,000 last year. On top of that he realized $58,800,000 by exercising options, as reported to the government. Paid for by their unsuspecting customers (AARP appears to act as their insurance agent).

Writing tax laws that benefit almost exclusively large corporations and the top 1 percent — Some of the economic giants like Amazon, whose CEO is the world’s richest man, reportedly don’t pay a single cent in federal income taxes.

You could do the same thing. Just hire the right lobbyists.

Education costs money; higher education even more — Now think: What is the economic value of the future generation that’s educated at least as well as their competitors worldwide?

Tax cuts — A few crumbs for the lower 99 but a huge gift for big corporations (from 35 to 21 percent tax bracket) and the top 1 percent. Big fish swallows smaller fish and eliminates competitors. That’s why the stock market booms. Is that good or bad, and are you benefiting?

Military — Only Saudi Arabia and Russia spend more on their Armed Forces as a percentage of GDP (SIPRI). Diplomacy is always cheaper than war – and more effective to boot.

My conclusion: MASA. Make America Smart Again.

Klaus Kraemer


Our local paper

To the Editor:

Over the last few weeks, our local paper has demonstrated exactly why we need a local paper. The expose into TCEDA would not have been done by the Modesto or Sacramento Bee.

This week’s flooding in Sonora could not have been covered as well or as quickly by the regional papers, including excellent pictures, in-depth reporting (and follow up).

The pictures worth a words routinely taken by Maggie Beck, Guy McCarthy, Alex Maclean, Giuseppe Ricapito will never be shot by regional papers. They do an amazing job capturing our world in pictures and words.

Regardless of your thoughts on how they report the news; too liberal, too conservative, or just about right, we need a local paper focused on our local issues. Our local sports, art and plays, elected officials, Guy’s Out There columns.

Sacramento or Modesto Bee won’t publish all our letters to the editor.

Please, get a subscription to the paper. Keep the Union Democrat presses rolling. I’m sure the staff is more than happy to listen if you have suggestions to keep it afloat. One suggestion; can’t we recycle all the rubber bands?

Author Michael Connelly agrees with me “A newspaper is the center of a community, it’s one of the tent poles of the community, and that’s not going to be replaced by Web sites and blogs.”

Elaine Hagen


Big box and urban blight

To the Editor:

I was president of Citizens for Responsible Growth, tying up the deal after the activist group, led by Lisa Vaughn, won the lawsuit against the City of Sonora and Lowe’s at the District Court level. The valid claim that the city had developed an Environmental Impact Report for the expansion of Old Ward’s Ferry Road to accommodate Lowe’s without including Lowe’s as an impact to the traffic and local businesses such as Andy’s. City taxpayers would be subsidizing the entire road development and access to the big box businesses.

Urban blight and damage to local businesses was a primary concern for CFRG, and Vaughn worked tirelessly to engage small businesses for funding this fight against the big box stores. In fact, she formed a side committee of citizen activists to develop a very well researched, statistical presentation on the effects of the big box to small communities.

The study was used to engage the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors in developing a Big Box Ordinance, which limited the amount of space authorized for a new business in Tuolumne County. The county subsequently revised the Ordinance to suit its developer desires to bring in Economic Development. This movement resulted in closure of small businesses throughout the city and county.

Regarding TCEDA and Larry Cope’s assistance for shopping center corporations. They have very deep pockets and their own corporate search engines. I cannot understand why it was acceptable for our county taxpayers to spend money on TCEDA’s search to fill vacant buildings in a corporate-owned center (Crossroads), which was developed by the same local company that also developed Lowe’s.

The bait was always jobs and yet, part time employment for minimum wage, without benefits, continues the decline of the sustainable jobs market in Tuolumne County.

Barbara Farkas