Union Democrat staff

Open primary

To the editor:

California just approved open primaries. Once the smoke clears in

South Carolina, where a similar law has not worked, Californians will

hopefully see the error of their decision and go to work to reverse it.

Open primaries are a wide-open door for political parties to sabotage the candidate selection process of their opposition.

Bob Wetzel


Public lands

To the editor:

Melinda Fleming of TuCARE is concerned about illegal marijuana plantations in our forests (letter June 15, 2010).

I agree with her: Public lands should not be used for illegal

activities. I would add: Neither should our forests be abused by

reckless clear cutting, nor our seas by reckless oil drilling.

There is one sure way to get rid of illegal marijuana plantations in our forests: Make them unnecessary.

When prohibition of alcohol didn't work but allowed bootlegging and

organized crime to flourish, it was abolished in 1933. Getting alcohol

out of the grip of the mafia was accomplished by making it legal, yet

strictly controlled - and taxed.

Our state takes in about one billion dollars per year this way. The

beauty is that, unlike other taxes, the tax on alcohol is paid

voluntarily - after all, it's easy to avoid.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in Sacramento discussed AB390, which

estimated that a tax on marijuana could bring California about $1.4

billion annually.

An additional benefit might be that, unlike rambunctious drunkards, pot smokers are generally known to be nice and peaceful.

Klaus Kraemer


Propane complaint

To the editor:

In response to "Propane pricing unfair, some say," by Walt Cook (Feb. 16).

The same thing has happened to our family. Suburban Propane filled

our 575-gallon tank and sent a $2,000 bill last November, when I could

not pay because my daughter was sick at Madera Children's Hospital.

They also denied my April payment from the Amador-Tuolumne

Community Action Agency energy assistance program, and would not take a

$300 payment from me four days prior to shut off notice last month.

They said I had to pay half of $1,200.

They turned my tank off on May 21. Then they said they would charge

me $1.50 a gallon to pump the remaining 200 gallons out of the tank and

$75 to remove the tank.

They wanted around $500.

For what? For making my family of six, including four children,

cold? For leaving us without any way of cooking or taking baths?

I found another local propane company, which was happy to install a small tank that does not leak.

Oh, did I forget that part? The Suburban tank was leaking.

To fix the leak, they came out and loosened a nut and said that the

tank needed to be replaced. That was in March. They never replaced it.

I wonder how much propane leaked out that we paid for? They said they

would give me a $50 credit, but that never happened.

I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and with

the Public Utilities Commission for not honoring my energy assistance


Molli Carter