Letters to the Editor 8/28/14
“Nobody gets multiple decades for pot!” These words often sing in my ears while discussing my prison sentence with people. When I was 19, I started bringing cannabis from California and soon found myself in a prison cell with a 30-year sentence. I will be 36 when I parole, and when I complete parole I will have spent over half my life on some form of custody due to nonviolent cannabis offenses. Moreover, the felony convictions will disqualify me from many opportunities for the rest of my life.
America is a nation of laws, and our laws must be respected. Therefore, my willful violations certainly merited a consequence. However, our current cannabis policies are overly punitive and do not serve our nation’s best interest.
Despite any noble intention, the prohibition of cannabis is not preventing many from using it, but it is perpetuating a black market which creates more negative consequences than the use of cannabis ever will.
The black market is what fuels gangs – who will not regulate their sales only to adults, and who will engage in reckless violence in defense of their market share. We need to take these decisions out of the hand of criminals by allowing a regulated market to operate in their place. Tax, regulate and control – that’s the answer. We should combat the ills of the black market by eliminating the need for it, not by handing out criminal convictions to those who would otherwise be law-abiding citizens.
WAY OF THE ROAD
Here are some clarifications about IT’s Aug. 21 edition.
Regarding “Merge, right?,” by James Krohe Jr., let me point out that motorists do not care about the Rules of the Road. Motorists routinely cut off pedestrians and bicyclists on a daily basis, often shouting obscenities or giving the “salute” to victims after coming within millimeters of a hit-and-run.
And regarding the Cap Cities item, “Peoria does neighborhoods right,” as an Illinoisan raised in Peoria until my 18th birthday, I can say this. Since the late 1970s, when a man named Becker came to Peoria, the city lost more than it can ever replace. Becker tore down many historical buildings to build his own twin towers and Peoria, like Springfield, has yet to recover from the loss of its most prominent employer. In Peoria’s case, the jobs lost by Caterpillar cutbacks have never been replaced with other manufacturing jobs. The only “investment” which Peoria has made is building more shopping malls (with subpoverty level wages).
In all truth, there is little difference between Springfield and Peoria since both cities continue to hemorrhage high-paying jobs only to replace these with subpoverty level jobs. The only lesson which Peoria might have to teach Springfield is the lesson of the incompetence of replacing manufacturing jobs with service sector jobs. Sorry to “burst” anyone’s “bubble” with this but I write from fact.
DOWNTOWN PARKING PROBLEMS
Are we not trying to attract locals to do more dining, shopping, etc., in the downtown area and avoid the bottleneck traffic of the west end? As an occasional driver (80 percent bicyclist, 20 percent auto driver), in the future it’ll be the two-wheeler downtown.
I parked in a lot (Second Street, north of Jefferson) overnight (I do not drink and drive). It was Sunday night and my car was towed before 10 a.m. Monday morning from a lot I thought was for bar patrons. I got stung $155 greenbacks for that short stay. What a scam.
The parking meter game needs a fix, too. If you work downtown part time, it is pricey and a hassle to feed the meter and play the move-your-car game. The positive note is it reinforces me to remain a hard-core cyclist in this town.
Our downtown could be more user-friendly.