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by 10.29.2008
Posted In: 2008 Election, Public Policy, News at 01:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

City Council, Others Sound Off About Issue 8

This week’s issue of CityBeat features an article examining Issue 8, which proposes reviving the electoral system known as proportional representation (PR) for choosing members of Cincinnati City Council.

As is typical with most articles, time and space limitations prevented some material from being included in the print edition. Among such material this time includes City Councilman Jeff Berding, a leading PR opponent, elaborating on his reasons against the proposed switch; and City Councilman Chris Bortz, explaining why he opposes Issue 8 even though his political party — the Charter Committee — supports the change.

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by 10.29.2008
Posted In: Public Policy at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Not in Our Backyard…Yet

The White House "drug czar," John Walters backed a Mexican government proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

"I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but John Walters is right," says Rob Kampia, executive director of MPP. "We heartily second his support for eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana users in Mexico and look forward to working with him to end such penalties in the U.S. as well."

The group cites an Oct. 22 New York Times report that references “Walters' public support for a drug decriminalization proposal by Mexican President Felipe Calderon.”

Calderon's proposal, if approved, would mean no jail sentence or fine and no criminal record of arrest or possession if the individual completes drug treatment, in the case of addiction, or a drug education program

“The Mexican president's proposal would also decriminalize possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine,” says a statement by MPP.

"It's fantastic that John Walters has recognized the massive destruction the drug war has inflicted on Mexico and is now calling for reforms there, but he's a rank hypocrite if he continues opposing similar reforms in the U.S.," Kampia says. "The Mexican proposal is far more sweeping than MPP's proposals to decriminalize marijuana or make marijuana medically available, both of which John Walters and his henchmen rail against."

Policy watchers will be watching to see if Walters changes his tune in the United States.

“In a March 19, 2008, press release from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,” the MPP statement says, “Deputy Director Scott Burns called a New Hampshire proposal to impose a $200 fine rather than jail time for a small amount of marijuana ‘a dangerous first step toward complete drug legalization.’ ”

It’s probably a good idea that MPP and others not expect too much. We have a for-profit prison system to keep in business, and with 2007 marijuana possession arrests at 872,720, those laws are needed to keep beds filled. After all, arrests for all violent crimes combined only totaled 597,447.

The last record set for marijuana arrests was 829,627 in 2006.

 
 
by 10.23.2008
 
 

Nader Campaign Pushes Reform

Some campaign workers for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader are conceding their choice for the Oval Office probably doesn’t have a realistic chance at being elected. But they say Nader’s platform of issues is what’s truly important and are urging progressive voters to pressure the winners in this November’s elections into pursuing his agenda.

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by 10.09.2008
Posted In: Environment, Public Policy at 09:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Protecting the Great Lakes

The final ratification of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact came Oct. 3 when President Bush signed the joint resolution of Congress. The law is now on the books, even though some in Ohio who support Issue 3 – the constitutional amendment to guarantee property owners the right to reasonable use of their land (see my news article "No One Owns Water") – claim passage is needed to enact the law.

“The compact provides a comprehensive management framework for achieving sustainable water use and resource protection,” according to a pres release from the Council of Great Lakes Governors. “The eight Great Lakes states reached a similar good faith, agreement with Ontario and Québec in 2005, which the provinces are using to amend their existing water programs for greater regional consistency.”

The compact includes the following points:

  • Economic development will be fostered through sustainable use and responsible management of basin waters.

  • In general, there will be a ban on new diversions of water from the basin but limited exceptions could be allowed in communities near the basin when rigorous standards are met.

  • Communities that apply for an exception will have a clear, predictable decision making process, standards to be met and, opportunities to appeal decisions. These processes and standards do not exist under current law.

  • The states will use a consistent standard to review proposed uses of basin water. The states will have flexibility regarding their water management programs and how to apply this standard.

  • Regional goals and objectives for water conservation and efficiency will be developed, and they will be reviewed every five years. Each state will develop and implement a water conservation and efficiency program that may be voluntary or mandatory.

  • There is a strong commitment to continued public involvement in the implementation of the compact.

For more information, visit www.cglg.org.

— Margo Pierce

 
 
by 10.03.2008
Posted In: Environment, Public Policy at 01:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Energetic Friday

Do something other than veg out in front of the boob tube tomorrow night. Join a conversation about a topic on everyone’s mind: energy.

Tonight at 6 p.m. the Imago Earth Center (700 Enright Ave., Price Hill) kicks off its First Friday Conversations with a 20-minute video of Al Gore’s New Thinking on the Climate Crisis. Imago’s 2008-09 season features the year-long theme “Enhancing Earth by Getting ‘Off the Grid.’ ”

“Drawing on a broad understanding of ‘the grid,’ we’ll look at many aspects of unplugging from the current models of growth and consumption,” says an event announcement.

For more info, visit www.imagoearth.org  or call 513-921-5124.

— Margo Pierce

 
 

 

 

 
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