Gov Aides Smack Prez's Drug Czar! 

Gov Aides Smack Prez's Drug Czar! 
Posted by FoM on July 01, 1999 at 06:14:34 PT
By Gregg Birnbaum
Source: New York Post
ALBANY Gov. Pataki's top aides yesterday hammered visiting White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey for raising doubts about the effectiveness of the state's get-tough-on-crime policies at a drug conference here.
Pataki's staffers were seething over what they called McCaffrey's broadsides against the governor's moves to increase many criminal penalties and build additional prisons. They also were furious that he used the speech at a state-sponsored event to jump into the partisan debate over revamping the state's Rockefeller drug laws. "His comments seemed to smack of politics," said one angry Pataki official. "We were sort of shocked. This was supposed to be practical advice to people and various agencies about combating drug abuse." Pataki would not meet with McCaffrey, state Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services boss Jean Somers Miller pulled out of a media appearance with him, and Pataki criminal justice coordinator Katherine Lapp issued a scathing two-page statement. Lapp charged McCaffrey's remarks were riddled with errors, displayed an "ignorance" of New York's criminal justice system, and showed a disregard for the efforts of law enforcement to combat drugs. Lapp boycotted McCaffrey's speech to 600 people at the first "Criminal Justice and Substance Abuse Conference." Lapp said she had not read McCaffrey's speech, but had seen press reports quoting from the text. McCaffrey's "remarks appear to criticize law enforcement's response to drug-driven crime for suggesting that 'we cannot arrest ourselves out of this problem,'" Lapp said. "I am concerned as a representative of the law enforcement community in New York state what type of message that sends to our police officers who put their lives on the line day in and day out to rid our communities of crime," she added. McCaffrey praised Pataki in his off-the-cuff remarks at the conference, but Pataki aides took offense at his 18-page prepared speech, which was distributed to the media. In it, McCaffrey suggests New York is focusing on putting too many drug users in prison, rather than supplying them with effective treatment. He called for easing the strict Rockefeller drug laws, but did not endorse a specific plan for reform, including Pataki's. McCaffrey said he was unfamiliar with Lapp's scathing comments, but added, "I think what I would suggest is that the commissioner [Lapp] read the speech." "I don't think there's anybody who really believes that I am a partisan actor," McCaffrey said. McCaffrey, who meets often with state and local officials around the country and was on his way to see the governor of Massachusetts, said he has never met with Pataki during his tenure as governor. News Item submitted by Jean
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