To the Editor:

Frequently, when meeting local folks they say, “I read your last letter,” or “Oh, you’re the guy who writes those letters to the paper.”

As much as I enjoy writing, I truly enjoy reading the letters of those who I refer to as the ‘sagacious ones’. Some are friends and some, like John Watson, I have not yet met. These authors create a thin barrier between our democracy and fascism.

Those letters from center left mean so much to rural America. Here in the Mother Lode, from 0900 to 1600 all we have is one radio station, which does the work of Josef Goebbels for the White House grand wizard, Tom Mc”trump” and Moscow Mitch.

Those handful of letters to our Union Democrat are a rare source of truth for our community.

There are a couple of things you can do, subscribe to the Union Democrat. Also, tell the new owners that they have a gem in their editor Lyn Riddle. We need to keep her as long as she wants to stay. (BTW, I do not recall ever meeting Ms. Riddle, so this is not reciprocity.)

As we are only given 300 words biweekly, I want to squeeze in a couple of items.

Baltimore is no more “rat infested” than Tuolumne County.

Baltimore’s Median Family Income is $97,982. For Tuolumne County it is only $54,325. The poverty level in Baltimore County is 9.1 percent.

In Tuolumne County it’s 12.2 percent. Homelessness in Baltimore is at 2,669 (.04%). In Tuolumne County, it’s 700 plus (1.3%).

So what is the grand wizard calling us — “white trash?”

The perverted prevaricator will continue to try and divide us by calling Democrats, socialists.

However, remember the next time you salute the flag, you are saluting socialism — the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a devout socialist named Frances Bellamy.

So much more — two weeks.

Domenic Torchia


A barb from a reader

To the Editor:

Regarding the story in the July 17 Union Democrat, Council considers funding portable toilets for Stockton Road homeless:

Barbs from this reader to the individual (identified as co-founder of an organization that provides aid to the homeless in Tuolumne County) who intimated that lack of a home is tantamount to lack of dignity and who expressed a wish to “keep them (homeless people) out of the city” to keep the city “looking nice.”

Sean Brennan


Common sense needed

To the Editor:

On Friday night I was coming down Priest Grade from Groveland and found myself followed by a racing fire truck. As I drove down the grade, it became clear that there was a fire above Moccasin. I concentrated on getting down as quickly and safely as I could, worried that there was little room to pull over to let fire trucks pass and that the fire could quickly overtake me as it burned up the canyon.

A plane was dropping retardant to my left and all of us on the road were focused on getting off Priest Grade. At least I thought so. Halfway down I was astounded to find almost 20 cars pulled off to the side of the southbound lane. The doors to many of the cars were gaping open and the drivers and passengers of all of the cars were busy taking pictures with their cellphones.

I cannot imagine what these people were thinking. They were impeding fire trucks, placing themselves and others in danger and apparently oblivious to the fact that a wildfire is not a Disneyland experience. I was speechless. I saw several cruisers heading up the grade as I got off and I can only hope they talked some sense into these people.

When did common sense become so uncommon?

Barbara Savery



To the Editor:

I’d like to thank The Union Democrat for including Doonesbury in your Food and Drink, AKA comic section. You do understand that the type is too small to read? It’s not really a problem, though, as I do remember most of the stories from better days.

Charles Neilsen

Angels Camp

Exotic animal display is cruel

To the Editor:

In a recent article, Mother Lode Fair Board President Ron Hamilton suggested adding an exotic animal exhibit next year, which he saw at the Stanislaus Fair. Although traveling circuses and carnivals used to include exotic animals like elephants, that is a nearly bygone era and thankfully so.

The exhibit Hamilton is promoting is called “A Walk on the Wild Side” and is from Oregon, not Reno. Described as a refuge, the animals spend their lives in small chain link cages on concrete or being hauled in trailers from fair to fair.

Not all are rescues, they also breed the big cats so they have kittens for the fair goers to hold or pet and pose for pictures for a fee.

Once the animals grow up, the adults are sold or spend the rest of their lives in small cages. Many years ago I saw an exhibit at the Mother Lode Fair advertising a 15-foot alligator visitors could pay to see.

The animal was in a trailer no more than 25-feet long. I wrote an open letter to the Fair Board asking them to stop this type of animal abuse, and thankfully that exhibit was not used again.

I ask the current Fair Board to use better judgment than shown by Mr. Hamilton and not use exotic animal exploitation as a means to attract customers. Exhibition and use of farm animals at fairs is expected, I don’t think most people would regard a pen of goats for a petting zoo as abusive.

Dragging tigers around the country in trailers so people can stare at them in small cages, breeding big cats so children can pet them during their infancy for many hours a day, that should be the type of animal exploitation that is part of our past not future.

Larry Beil