I love The Union Democrat

To the Editor:

I subscribe to both, the print and digital editions, and look forward to catching up on local news every evening after work. There’s always something of interest to read from the News of Record to the latest weather forecast.

The Democrat diligently supports our wonderful community with its regular reports of local news and events. Parents enjoy seeing their children featured in reports of sports, scouting, and school news. Would any of the larger, regional papers run our Students of the Month feature or print our schools’ honor roll lists?

The Democrat offers political balance through its willingness to publish letters and columns that reflect opinions from all sides of an issue. I don’t always agree with what I read, but I do appreciate being given the opportunity to read it. Open minds want to hear from all sides.

Besides reporting local news, our paper runs some other great features: Photo of the Week, cooking, gardening, local history, health, church events, daily puzzles, comics, and more.

There is also a great program offered to all of our schools: Newspapers in Education. Through this program, local teachers may sign up to have current newspapers delivered to them throughout the school year for use in their classrooms, free of charge. We are lucky to have such a great community newspaper.

Thank you, everyone at the Union Democrat, for your continued dedication. Keep up the good work.

Kathy Adriano

Cedar Ridge

The importance of our local paper

To the Editor:

My hat’s off to The Union Democrat in its struggle to stay afloat in the face of so many stumbling blocks that have appeared in its path to stay the course.

Recent letters have shown how we the people of Tuolumne County value our daily paper. A letter by Elaine Hagan stated so clearly the importance of The Union Democrat in keeping all of us up to date and informed of the events in our county that pertain to our lives.

I, especially, look forward to starting my day with Plugger.

Keep up the good work.

Mahlon Conly

Twain Harte

Reimagine task force

To the Editor:

Open Letter to the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors Regarding Wildfire Hazard Reduction

I recognized that there is a desire to see quick results. In the short term the Board should reconfigure its Task Force, mainly by reducing its size from 21 members to 5. It will be difficult if not impossible for a 21-member Task Force to accomplish meaningful results in a few months’ time. At the same time, the Board should review and revise as appropriate the purpose that the Task Force established for itself and formally ‘charter’ the Task Force, defining other relevant elements in that charter.

The Task Force should be assigned a short-term project: the establishment of a Firewise Community, perhaps Ponderosa Hills. Add a new community to the project every month, leveraging lessons learned along the way, with the goal of having all communities of reasonable size become a Firewise Community. The NFPA Code 1144 should be the standard - use what’s already developed and recognized, instead of creating a custom concept.

The Task Force should also be charged with planning long term solutions / projects. The pending community meetings could be used to gather information from residents, learn what ideas have support, and what ideas do not. No idea should be rejected out-of-hand for any reason, including costs. The Task Force should identify all reasonable solutions and then let the Board set priorities based on funding among other considerations.

I strongly encourage the Board to seriously consider a wildfire mitigation and prevention ordinance. If we are unfortunate enough to experience a disastrous wildfire I would want to know that we did everything we could and that we had not rejected any single solution without substantial community- and county-wide discussion.

Larry Crabtree

Mi Wuk Village

What about Groveland?

To the Editor:

I’m so glad to hear the county supervisors committed to fixing Kewin Mill Road, but where was that commitment to repair Ferretti Road in Groveland?

We waited 10 long months — disgusting. Oh by the way, John Gray, $53,000 may be a drop in the bucket to you but not to the people who live here.

It’s always easier to spend someone else’s money.

Yvonne Mattocks


Cold, rain and snow now, but…

To the Editor:

As we all sit shivering and looking out our windows at what seems to be an unending stream of winter storms of a magnitude we haven’t witnessed in years, daylight savings time is here and summer actually will come about shortly – believe it or not.

Why do I bring this up, well as a 40-plus-year Tuolumne County resident I’ve seen at least a couple of these types of winter scenarios in the past. Yeah, all of this water is a ‘God send’ (except for the flooding events), but now will come the sunshine and extraordinary growth of the grasses and underbrush due to the soil moisture that is present and will probably last well into the summer season.

This soil moisture will probably be aided by a long, drawn-out snowpack melt that will keep streams and rivers flowing, if not swollen for some time into the summer. This means Tuolumne County will have a very possible huge ‘fuel loading’ (grasses and brush) that dry out as the hot summer days drag on into fall, which will lead to the inevitable nightmare of a wildfire – man made/caused or a dry lightning strike.

So, what does this mean to us Tuolumne County residents/property owners that are losing their home insurance, looking at a daunting task of that fuel reduction on our properties, as well as facing unknown new requirements and/or restrictions from Tuolumne County Supervisors’ Rodefer and Brennan’s new ‘fire safe community’ program…who knows?

Much of the Tuolumne County population is ‘grayed or graying’ and on fixed, possibly tight incomes. How is this group of homeowners to afford a huge extra, unexpected expense of fuel reduction on their properties? This leads to many other topics such as fire water drafting points along the ditch system, but I’ll leave it there.

Rob Ringen


Invest in the future

To the Editor:

I read the recent letter ending with the acronym MASA (Make America Smart Again and found myself in complete agreement.

The old adage comes to mind “penny wise, pound foolish” — eventually, saving money by not investing in our future will cost us dearly. He did mention climate change (heaven forbid we call it global warming) but didn’t elaborate on that topic.

As you may recall, a report was issued by 13 different collaborating federal agencies in November called the National Climate Assessment. This report estimated that losses related to heat related deaths, coastal property losses, lost wages in outdoor industries, death related to bad air quality, heat related death, and lost wages in outdoor industries due to heat waves will total $567 billion by the end of the century. And this is probably a conservative estimate.

Not to mention incalculable losses in quality of life and in environmental degradation. Yet, seemingly we can afford a ballooning federal budget deficit which is at least partially due to the federal tax giveaway to large corporations and the super rich (you’re fooling yourself if you think that tax cut is for you). Look at the facts, MASA.

Terril Spitze

Twain Harte

The poser

To the Editor:

There he goes again — Trump — the poser — selling out Americans to another murderous dictator.

Like I told you before the first North Korean summit last year — “Send in Dennis Rodman (the clown), he is smarter and will get us a better deal than Trump (the stooge).”

Look at the mess the poser has made of America’s image in the world, and let us not ignore our loss of credibility.

Kim Jong Un: The poser, defended the murderous North Korean dictator by saying he believed Jong Un knew nothing about the murder of American Otto Warmbier.

Mohammed bin Salman: Facing overwhelming evidence that the Saudi crown prince ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — Trump sells out America to a murderous tyrant. The poser would not listen to any evidence that tied “MBS” with the murder and said “he believed “MBS” when he said he did not know about the murder.”

Putin: This is the most serious of the many traitorous acts committed by America’s “fascist in training.” The poser wants to be one of those dictators and his role model is Putin ­— rich and very powerful (perhaps Josef Goebbels also). Putin has rope-a-doped our president* who has sold out Europe, America and other long time allies.

Trump is not normal, he demonstrates many signs of psychological imbalance - delusions of grandeur, narcissism, etc.

Remember: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters.”

Even more frightening: Michael Cohen: “I fear Trump won’t peacefully give up the White House if he loses the 2020 election.”

Trump has failed you and is a failure. No wall; no tax relief for working class; destroying our standing internationally; no nothing — an empty suit.

Domenic Torchia


What’s an emergency?

To the Editor:

The Constitution says that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

Congress passed legislation that specified how much money is appropriated for border security and how the money appropriated is to be spent.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines an emergency as “A sudden or unexpected occurrence or set of circumstances demanding immediate action.”

In order to spend more than Congress appropriated for a border wall, President Trump intends to misuse the Presidential emergency powers granted by Congress. He is not acting in good faith. Protecting the border is not a sudden or unexpected occurrence or set of circumstances; it is ongoing. And after deliberation, Congress did pass legislation providing funds to take certain actions now and in the future.

To accept that something is an emergency just because a President says so makes no sense, and it is a step on the path to tyranny. If more than one-third of either the House or the Senate goes along with a power grab and will not vote to override a veto, then a president could declare an emergency at any time for any reason and defy legislation passed by Congress. That is what Trump is doing.

A responsible member of Congress would put supporting the Constitution above everything else and would vote to block Trump’s declaration of emergency. Representative Tom McClintock did not. Actions speak louder than words. Let’s hope that next time, instead of just making lofty speeches about freedom, Rep. McClintock helps to preserve it by voting to protect the Constitution and the separation of powers.

John Watson