Missing Santa

To the Editor:

I’m sad and totally miss Santa’s Workshop on Washington Street by the courthouse. Waving as we drove by with our children, grandchildren, friends or just alone, Santa added to our small town Christmas spirit.

Evidently plans were not made to accommodate it during the holidays after remodel due to the grass. I’m sure something could have been done. Did I miss a discussion regarding it not being there?

It should be considered part of our small town tradition for residents, business owners and tourists alike. I’m sure others feel the same way.

I think we need to voice our thoughts. Some things are dear to our hearts. Grass can grow back. Memories can’t.

Christy Leonard


Trump’s tax scam

To the Editor:

I want to believe that there are honest Republican citizens throughout our land that, although they may differ on policy in government, will place country above partisan politics in the interest of democracy.

What we have just witnessed by this administration and Congress is an egregious capitulation to large corporations, the wealthy, and powerful. The tax bill, which is really a wealth transfer, sows a few bread crumbs to pacify some segments of our society temporarily while handing off increased wealth to the top 0.01 percent.

Trump and the GOP still want us to believe that they are doing this for the middle class. The rushed legislation, without vetting and committee evaluation, has been done largely by lobbyists and attorneys for the rich and powerful like the Koch Brothers. Afraid of offending their benefactors who threaten to withhold money to keep them in office, our lawmakers to a large degree, and currently this means the Republicans, have sold out their principles that used to mean fiscal responsibility for the sake of giving Trump a “victory” and the chance that, just maybe, the electorate will not notice they have been lied to.

Congressional Republicans insist that when taxes are reduced for the Fortune 500, jobs will be created and wages will go up. There are several economic studies that have been made that dispute that theory with statistics over the past decades under both Democratic and Republican presidents (Example: See Economic Policy Institute articles).

Where does that leave us? No money for education, science, infrastructure, health research, and on and on. If the country wants to fund these programs, look for cuts to Medicare/Medicaid and maybe Social Security. Obamacare will be on life support thanks to this Congress. Trump is gutting America a piece at a time.

Wayne Kirkbride

Twain Harte

Cannabis offers hope

To the Editor:

Bravo to The Union Democrat for recently publishing the excellent article on marijuana written by Sonora resident Mary Hadreas (Dec. 19).

I, too, use cannabis for medical issues. A great many people use it for a variety of health issues. Maybe if its use was more available, we wouldn’t have an opioid epidemic.

Before passing judgment or dismissing the concept of the use of cannabis, do some research. A very good source of information is available online at Nationalgeographic.com, which has done many documentaries on research being done in medical centers around the world. Check it out.

Valerie Chagnon


Tax bill is
a slap in the face

To the Editor:

It’s unfortunate that Rep. Tom McClintock, who last week was against the Republican tax bill, seems to have caved into pressure and voted for it. It’s a victory for the largest corporations in the country like Apple, Pfizer and General Electric, who despite making record-breaking profits, will receive hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks. Those tax breaks for corporations are permanent, whereas tax breaks for middle income families expire in eight years.

According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, this legislation at the end of 10 years will provide 83 percent of the tax benefits to the top 1 percent. And, 92 million middle class households by the end of the decade will be paying more in taxes. Huge tax breaks for billionaires and higher taxes for middle-class families.

The real slap in the face is the $1.5 trillion cost/increase in the federal deficit. This is the Christmas present we are leaving for our children and grandchildren.

Dan Unger


Pot may harm animals

To the Editor:

Marijuana is in the news every day so I felt a warning was due for smoking or allowing your pet dog or cat to inhale the smoke or ingest the herb in cookies or any food.

Some dogs get very sick and their heart rate gets so slow they have to receive atropine or collapse and possibly die. Some of these dogs take 24 to 96 hours to recover and need to be monitored throughout the day and night.

If you take your pet to the vet and don’t mention the possible marijuana interactions, your vet may run tests that will cost hundreds or more to diagnose the problem. This weed can cost you more than a good high.

Dr. Alan Rubinstein

Tuolumne Veterinary Hospital

A clear choice
on cannabis

To the Editor:

There are two choices with cannabis: controlled and legal, or what we have now: uncontrolled criminality.

People seeking a product will invariably find a way to get it. That’s true for medicinal and recreational cannabis. The Union Democrat’s moving articles on poisoning of wildlife, pollution of streams and danger to inadvertent hikers reminded me of a wildfire just south of Big Trees, started in an illegal grow. As county supervisor, I suited up in firefighting gear to witness $15 million spent fighting it. This was not an isolated incident.

As with cigarettes and alcohol, No 1 and 2 killers, legalization does not imply endorsement. We shield children. We enjoy beer by the glass, not necessarily the six-pack.

Daily police reports are all about drugs. Felony embezzlement, in contrast, recently resulted in time served and probation.

Anyone claiming an opinion should read “Chasing the Scream, the “war on drugs from its racially motivated inception in 1914 through today’s contribution to societal breakdown. My experiences in Colombia and Central America mirror the books findings.

Other countries, from Portugal to Switzerland have largely avoided our misfortune by recognizing the limitations of government in the face of vice and greed.

During Prohibition, some misanthropes saw wood alcohol deaths as “just desserts” for the sins of drinking. Do we address the 30,000 opioid deaths with similar irrationality? Two latest Scientific American articles reveal Fentanyl the big killer. It’s used, along with Drano, even elephant tranquilizer to “cut” illegal heroin.

Cannabis is the first step toward sanity. Treat it like cigarettes and alcohol. Existing law addresses driving under the influence. Undercut the criminal trade. Revenue from legal cannabis could be channeled into currently underfunded behavioral health services.

Vocal, presumably well meaning opponents test leadership resolve. It’s easier, politically, to bend. Think long-term interests of the community.

Paolo Maffei