California Election Letter Nov. 2010 & a Brief History of Drug

Pooks

MERCHANT OF CHAOS
Professional Scientologist Lucy Cole sends out promo each election time to scios so they can vote on these pro-scio-agenda "terminals" and issues which she has researched and chosen.



From: Lucy Cole [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2010
To: Cole Lucy B.
Subject: California Election Letter Nov. 2010 & a Brief History of Drug Prohibition

Dear Friends,
Here are my thoughts on the current election, and how I plan to vote.
Proposition 19 – Yes. It legalizes marijuana under California but not federal law, and permits local governments to regulate and tax marijuana. An article in the Los Angeles Times on 10/16/ 2010, by a doctor and professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia states:

“Nationally, an estimated $10 billion is spent each year enforcing marijuana laws, yet an ongoing study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse has concluded that over the last 30 years, the drug has remained ‘almost universally available to American 12th graders,’ with 80% to 90% saying the drug is ‘very easy’ or ‘fairly easy’ to obtain.
On the health side of the equation, scientific consensus is that while cannabis may pose some health risks, they are less serious than those posed by alcohol and tobacco. The approach taken to regulating these other harmful substances, however, hasn’t been to criminalize them but to regulate their distribution, to impose taxes on their purchase, and the educate the public about their risks. These measures have been shown to be effective, as in the case of cigarette consumption, which has dropped dramatically.

In the Netherlands, where marijuana has been sold in licensed ‘coffee shops’ since the 1970s, about 20% of the adult population has used the drug at some time in their lives. In the United States, where it is largely illegal, 42% of the adult population has used marijuana.

Up to now, the fact that cannabis is illegal has meant that the unregulated market has been largely controlled by organized-crime groups, and the trade has sparked considerable violence, both in the United State and in Mexico. Given the widespread availability and use of cannabis despite aggressive criminal justice measures, there is no doubt that a saner system can be created if marijuana is strictly regulated rather than left in the hands of organized crime.”

Those who advocate strong drug laws typically argue that such laws are needed to suppress crime associated with drug use. That argument has cause and effect exactly reversed. The crime associated with illegal drugs is caused by the criminal law that makes them illegal. In an article in the Los Angeles Times on 9/14/10, about a news conference held by a non-profit organization, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray said that Proposition 19’s passage would decriminalize an estimated 60,000 drug arrests made in California each year, giving police officers more time to go after burglars, robbers and those committing violent assaults.

History: “Before 1914, there was virtually no limitation or regulation of drug use. Opium and its derivatives were freely available in a variety of forms. Our country experienced no significant criminal problems or social problems associated with these substances. Many people regularly used drugs, including alcohol, opium and cocaine, and led normal productive lives.

One group of such people, Chinese immigrants, played a role in the passage of drug laws. Many Chinese immigrated to the western part of the country in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries to work building railroads and on other jobs. They used opium as their recreational drug. The organized labor movement viewed the hard working Chinese as a threat. Led at that time by Samuel Gompers, organized labor sought to discredit the Chinese and limit their immigration. Gompers and other labor leaders attacked the Chinese use of opium, referring [to] the hard working immigrants as the ‘yellow peril.’ These racist attacks were a major contributing factor in the passage of the Harrison Narcotics act of 1914 that outlawed opium and its derivatives. Racism also was behind including cocaine on the list of outlawed drugs. Blacks were its major users.

In the late 1930s, Congress passed a law against marijuana use and possession. During Prohibition, a large force of federal law enforcement officials had developed to battle the illegal liquor industry. With the end of Prohibition, these law enforcement bureaucrats were looking for new work. Some of them targeted marijuana (which had never been viewed as a social problem before.) This attack also had a racist element to it, as the primary users of marijuana were Latino.

Drug laws encourage drug use. Why don’t people who sell alcoholic beverages hang around schools trying to interest the youngsters in liquor? Why do we hear so much about illegal drugs like marijuana and cocaine on high school campuses? The answer lies in this common pattern: A regular drug user has an expensive habit. To finance his habit, he sets out to develop his own customers. He gives free samples to his young friends in order to make them regular customers. Further, because under our criminal justice system juveniles are not penalized as severely as adults, drug dealers protect themselves by having juveniles in their distribution system. The high price of illegal drugs, caused by the fact that their use and possession is a crime, creates natural incentives to increase use of these drugs throughout society. In large cities, with high minority unemployment, drug dealing is seen as a lucrative employment opportunity by young males.

What if the drug laws were repealed? If the laws against drugs were repealed, would Americans all become drug addicts and our society go down the drain? There is no reason to think so. This frequently asked question is based on a fallacy. It assumes that people cannot currently get illegal drugs. But remember, the laws do not work. Anyone who wants illegal drugs can get them.

Millions of Americans use alcohol regularly, but relatively few are socially impaired by it. After Prohibition’s repeal, alcohol consumption did increase, but not by much. There was no noticeable increase in alcoholism or other social problems. Eleven states, in practice, do not penalize marijuana for personal use. [This is from a book written in 1993.] No one has noticed any significant increase in marijuana use or other social problems in those states. In fact, marijuana use in America has been declining since 1979, before the recent ‘drug war’ hysteria. Americans are also using less legal alcohol and tobacco, as a result of education and social pressure.

Experience in Europe is also instructive. In January 1993, Italy decriminalized the personal use of drugs, recognizing that its war on drugs was a hopeless failure. Holland has for several years followed a policy of tolerance for personal use of marijuana and hashish. The result is that users of these substances can obtain and enjoy them in coffeehouses and bars. No violence or social problems accompany this practice.”
(The section, starting with “History,” comes from the book Libertarianism in One Lesson, by David Bergland.)

Proposition 20 - Yes. After the 2000 census, the legislature redrew the district boundaries for both the Legislature and Congress, based on an agreement between the two major parties to protect all of the incumbents in both parties. As one columnist wrote, the legislators chose the voters instead of the other way around. This is blatantly undemocratic. Proposition 20 takes the redistricting of Congressional districts away from the California legislature and gives it to the fourteen-member Citizens Redistricting Commission that was set up by California voters in November 2008 (Proposition 11) to draw district lines for the Legislature. This commission consists of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party, and will be established every ten years after the federal census is completed. Proposition 11 stated that, to the extent possible, the commission should draw district boundaries which maintain the geographic integrity of any city, county, and neighborhood in a single district; develop geographically compact districts; and place two Assembly districts together within one California Senate district.

Proposition 20 will add the authority to redraw the boundaries of California’s fifty-three Congressional districts to the Commission’s responsibilities. In addition, it states that the Commission cannot draw Congressional districts in such a way as to favor incumbents or political parties.

Proposition 21 – No. It would establish an $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to help fund state parks and wildlife programs. While that is a worthwhile goal, it is another example of “ballot-box budgeting.” Sensible budgeting would look at the amount of income available, the expenses that are essential, and the expenses that are optional or less important; then allocate the money available according to the priorities that have been established. However, when certain amounts of money are required by initiative to be spent only on specific projects – whether or not they are the highest priority at the time – then the budget is skewed. Some initiatives that have locked in ballot-box budgeting are Prop. 98 in 1998, which stated that a certain percentage of state revenue must always go to schools and Prop. 63 in 2004, which put a surtax on millionaires to fund mental health programs. Whether or not one agrees with the goal of these initiatives, they make it very difficult to craft a sensible budget, as so many expenses are locked-in by this ballot-box budgeting.

Proposition 22 –No. It would prohibit the state from borrowing or taking funds used for transportation, redevelopment or local government projects and services. Voters have twice approved propositions that limit the state’s ability to redirect fuel (2006) and property tax revenue (2004), with a limited exception for emergencies. Proposition 22 would eliminate that exception. Also, for the first time, it would prevent the state from taking local redevelopment agency revenues.

Republican Orange County Assemblyman Chris Norby states, “Proposition 22 is a power grab by California redevelopment agencies, which now control 30% of all urbanized land. Fully 12% of local property taxes are now diverted into redevelopment schemes, a figure that has doubled since 1990. All properties within a redevelopment area are presumed to be blighted and can be seized by eminent domain. This has included small businesses, homes, churches and farmland. Redevelopment agencies pour billions of tax dollars into private malls, auto plazas, movie multiplexes, hotels and stadiums – many of which now sit empty. As an Orange Count Supervisor, I saw the Santa Ana Redevelopment Agency demolish an entire neighborhood, then leave the fenced-off lots vacant for years. The agencies continue to sell bonds without voter approval. Redevelopment Agencies were originally created to cure urban blight and then be abolished. They were never intended to be a permanent drain on public services, nor a cash cow for private interests. Proposition 22 will constitutionally guarantee the worst abuses of redevelopment agencies.”

Proposition 23 –Yes. It suspends implementation of an air pollution control law, which requires major sources of emissions to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, until unemployment drops to 5.5% or less for a year.
In 2006, the legislature passed AB 32 – the California Global Warming Solutions Act—which established the target of reducing the state’s emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 to their 1990 level. The Legislative Analyst states, “The suspension of AB 32 would likely have several positive impacts on the California economy. It would reduce the need for new investments and other actions to comply with new regulations that would be an added cost to businesses. Energy prices—which also affect the state’s economy—would be lower in 2020 than otherwise.” California has the toughest environmental laws in the country. Proposition 23 doesn’t weaken or repeal the hundreds of laws that protect the environment, reduce air pollution, keep our water clean and protect public health. Prop. 23 applies to greenhouse gas emissions, which the California Air Resources Board concedes “have no direct public health impacts.”

Proposition 24 – No. It repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to lower their tax liability. Budget deals in 2008 and 2009 included three corporate tax breaks designed to win support from business and their allies in the legislature. One of the tax breaks allows money-losing businesses to obtain refunds of taxes paid in the two previous years (if they were profitable then.) Federal law has a similar provision, but in the past, California allowed businesses to apply losses only against future years’ taxes. Teachers’ unions and other interest groups are pushing this proposition to cancel those tax breaks, raising billions of dollars over the next decade. According to an argument opposing Prop. 24 in the Voter Information Guide, “Proponents falsely claim it only hits big corporations, but Franchise Tax Board records show Proposition 24 could impact 120,000 businesses.”

Proposition 25 – No. It changes the legislative vote requirement to pass budget and budget–related legislation from two-thirds to a simple majority, but retains the two-thirds vote requirement for taxes. (Emphasis added.) I read the emphasized phrase, and the fine print on page 114 of the Voter Information Guide, as the legislature being able to pass taxes with a simple majority, if they are written in budget-related legislation.

Proposition 26 – Yes. It requires that certain state and local fees be approved by two-thirds vote. Politicians often disguise taxes as fees to get past the two-thirds mandate on raising taxes, a gimmick that would be ended by Prop. 26. Legitimate fees, such as those to clean up environmental damage, license professionals or punish wrongdoing are not affected.

Proposition 27 – No. It eliminates the state commission on redistricting that voters just approved in November 2008 – before it has even been created! (See Proposition 20 above for more details.) The Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register revealed that in the last redistricting, politicians paid one political consultant over one million dollars to draw districts to protect their seats. Voters took away that possibility in 2008, and politicians are trying to get it back.

To summarize my viewpoints on the propositions:
19 – Yes
20 – Yes
21 – No
22 – No
23 – Yes
24 – No
25 – No
26 – Yes
27 – No

Governor – Jerry Brown. He has been Governor of California (1975-1983), Mayor of Oakland, and is currently Attorney General of California. He knows how government works, both at the state level and the local level. California’s government is truly broken, and I think he is the only candidate who has the knowledge, experience and independence to fix it. I have taken the following excerpt from the budget section of his website:

“I have a deep knowledge about how government functions and how politicians operate. I have seen it as a governor, as a mayor, and as Attorney General. I know how to get budgets done—balanced and on time. I have learned first-hand how stupid state regulations can stop jobs and development in cities like Oakland; and how ridiculous jurisdictional squabbles and endless rules delay the construction of new transmission lines to bring solar energy to our cities. I know how to break political log jams, both in cities and at the State Capitol.

I have a long and well deserved reputation for being cheap. The American Conservative once said I was ‘much more of a fiscal conservative than Governor Reagan.’ My philosophy has always been one of frugality and living within our means. As Governor, I approved tax cuts that saved Californians billions in just eight years. Relative to growth in the state’s economy, state government grew by a smaller percentage than under any other governor. I am the only governor to veto pay raises for state employees (I did so twice) and I even rejected my own pay raise. I was also the first California governor to propose pension reforms and a two-tiered pension system that reduced pension costs to the state for new employees. During my tenure,

California built up a $5 billion rainy day fund which was crucial to preserving funding for schools, police and fire services after the voters in 1978 cut local property taxes by two-thirds.

As Mayor of Oakland, I consolidated departments, cut red tape that was blocking needed development, and ran a mayor’s office with a fraction of the employees that other mayors required.

As Attorney General, I have significantly reduced the Department of Justice (DOJ) expenditures, returning more than $296 million in budget savings to the state general fund. I eliminated 800 positions, folded ten divisions into four and cut the operating budget of the Attorney General’s office by nearly 10%, and significantly reduced operational expenses, including travel and overtime costs. If this year’s proposed DOJ budget is adopted, the last time the DOJ will have operated with an equally lean General fund allocation was over a decade ago, in fiscal year 1997-98.”

Columnist George Skelton wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “In contrast to Whitman, Brown would have the standing among unions to roll back their pensions and benefits and strip the superfluous from state payrolls.” He has worked with the unions, but has also often rejected unions’ agendas; e.g., as Mayor of Oakland, he fought the California Teachers Association over a proposal to unionize charter schools; and last June as Attorney General, he issued an opinion that killed the political momentum behind an Assembly Democrats’ budget plan, which labor was pressuring lawmakers to pass because it would fund agencies that employ its members.

Meg Whitman has no experience in government, and didn’t even vote for years.
Lieutenant Governor – Abel Maldonado. He has been a farmer, businessman and legislator. He became well-known last year when he provided a Republican vote for a budget that included a tax increase. In exchange for his vote, he required three things: the legislature authorize a ballot measure giving Californians more choice in the Primary Election, which voters passed; authorize a ballot measure that bans legislative pay raises when the state is operating at a loss, which voters passed; and abandon a proposed 12-cent gas tax increase. I think that his is a voice of sanity in our dysfunctional state government.

Secretary of State – Debra Bowen. She has been endorsed by a lot of the state’s newspapers, and I thought the San Diego CityBeat expressed it well: "Since being elected in 2006, Bowen, a lawyer, has taken an office in flux and given it a cohesive identity. As researchers who regularly comb the Secretary of State’s campaign and business disclosures, we can attest to her efficiency. If there were a problem with competency or politicization in Bowen’s office, the media would be shouting about it. Fact is, she’s not a controversial candidate, which is exactly what’s needed for one of the state’s most crucial functions: running a fair election.” She has streamlined operations and cut the agency’s budget by more than 25%. Her Republican opponent, Damon Dunn, never voted until last year, which is a bit odd for someone who wants to run our state elections.

Controller – Tony Strickland. He was an Aide to then-Assemblyman Tom McClintock from 1996-98, and has been in the state legislature since then, first as a Assemblyman and now as a Senator. While in the Assembly, he sued then Governor Gray Davis because Davis refused to disclose the details of the deleterious energy deals he had signed. Those deals were costing Californians billions, and Davis was getting away with it. Strickland won his lawsuit, forced disclosure of contracts, and ended the rip-off Enron energy contracts. As Controller, he promises to focus on auditing state spending. His opponent, John Chiang, is the incumbent, who opposed Governor Schwarzenegger’s efforts to cut state workers’ pay to minimum wage during a 2008 budget standoff and to furlough state workers in 2009. The courts overruled Chiang in both cases, but he became a hero to the public labor unions.

Treasurer – Bill Lockyer. As the incumbent Treasurer, he manages $65 billion in state investments. He says, “Many states lost millions when financial markets collapsed; we didn’t lose a penny. Instead, we earned solid returns, adding billions to California’s investment fund and helping preserve vital services.” The Los Angeles Times says, “he used his position as the state’s senior elected Democrat to ride herd on his party’s leaders in the Legislature, demanding publicly that they bite the bullet, cut deeply and give up legally questionable schemes to make the budget appear balanced.” As a member of two state pension boards, Lockyer has called for thorough reform of retirement pay. His stance is at odds with organized labor, but is a needed step if California is ever going to correct an imbalance between reserves and eventual payouts.
Attorney General – Steve Cooley. As Los Angeles County District Attorney, he rarely seeks a third strike when the offense being prosecuted is not a violent crime; he does not eliminate such prosecutions, but he requires prosecutors who want to bring a third strike in a nonviolent case to convince a supervisor that it is justified. This is a more rational approach than trying to lock up non-violent offenders for life, which has been one of the causes of our expensive, exploding prison system. The Sacramento Bee said, “Cooley has made a subspecialty of public corruption prosecutions, helping to rid entire cities of racketeers who masqueraded as public servants.” He plans to focus on public corruption, if elected.

Insurance Commissioner – Mike Villines. His program would “provide more affordable health care choices, including allowing California residents to shop for health insurance across state lines; reducing insurance costs by giving individuals and businesses the flexibility to decide what benefits are included in their health plans; and giving Californians the freedom to choose health savings accounts as consumers in forty-six other states can do. His opponent, Dave Jones, has said he would be an advocate for Obamacare.
Member State Board of Equalization, 4th District – Peter de Baets is the Libertarian candidate. As a pro-Liberty activist, Peter has helped to put utility tax reduction initiatives on the ballot in different Southern California cities; has organized, and participates regularly in, drug war protests and other Liberty-related events; and was a candidate for State Senate in 2002 and 2006, and State Assembly in 2004. As a State Board of Equalization member, Peter hopes to be a voice for freedom and individual liberty on the board, where no such voice currently exists. He hopes to be a rational alternative to the creeping interference of the politicians and bureaucrats in your life, your family and your business.
United States Senator – Carly Fiorina. Her website states: “If we’re serious about getting rid of our deficit and getting control of our debt, Washington must do the same two things most families and business do when things get tight: reduce spending and pay down debt. That requires taking on the difficult task of prioritizing programs and spending our taxpayer dollars where they have the greatest impact. I support posting every bill and every budget on the Internet far enough in advance so that people can comment on the policies and take an active role in government.” Her opponent, Barbara Boxer, has been a staunch supporter of all of Obama’s policies, which I consider to be very dangerous for the country.
Judges. I have no data on any of the judges, except for the Judge of the Superior Court Office No. 117 – Alan Schneider. He is a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney, and his sense of fairness and integrity have inspired endorsements, not only from more than 200 fellow prosecutors, but also from at least two dozen defense attorneys who have appeared opposite him, as well as from Michael Judge, the county’s Public Defender. He has also been endorsed by seventy-nine sitting Los Angeles Superior Court judges.
Superintendent of Public Instruction – Larry Aceves. He has more than 30 years experience as a teacher, principal and superintendent in San Jose, San Diego and the Central Coast. As Superintendent of Public Instruction, he will work for better evaluation of teacher performance and greater flexibility for districts to fire ineffective teachers. He will urge the Legislature to grant the superintendent the authority to suspend provisions in labor contracts that interfere with learning, and will work to reduce state and federal mandates so educators can focus more on improving instruction and less on bureaucratic red tape. His opponent, Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, consistently has voted in line with the teachers’ unions and has their support.

County Assessor – John Noguez. He has 25 years experience in the Assessor’s Office. Rick Auerbach, the recently-retired Los Angeles County Assessor, has endorsed John Noguez. He says, “John Noguez has the rare combination of training, experience, knowledge and temperament needed to efficiently manage...the largest assessment office in the country.”
Whether or not you agree wit
 
I respect Lucy Cole's opinions even though I don't always agree. She often goes against the grain of the usual Scientology positions. And she gets a lot of heat for it.

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