Cloudy Future

Cloudy Future
Posted by CN Staff on November 17, 2006 at 21:59:42 PT
By Ethan Stewart
Source: Santa Barbara Independent
Calif. -- Flying in the face of federal drug laws, nearly 17,000 Santa Barbara City residents hit the polls last week and voted to make marijuana-related offenses the “lowest priority” of the Santa Barbara Police Department. Thanks to this effort, the appropriately named Measure P passed with a resounding 66 percent of the popular vote. Strongly opposed by local law enforcement, however, the measure seems destined for at least one more showdown before it can become a reality, as the City Council has requested a closed-door meeting with City Attorney Steve Wiley to discuss the various legal implications of the pro-pot directive and the possibility of an appeal. 
When asked what a Measure P reality will mean for our local cops and residents who indulge in the occasional toke, Lt. Paul McCaffrey commented this week, “We don’t know how it’s going to affect us, and I’m not sure anyone in Santa Barbara knows either.”But residents of other parts of the country know full well, as similar measures have been passed in such places as Seattle, Oakland, and Columbia, Missouri, since 2003. According to Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr who is an outspoken critic of the initiative the measure has made “very little difference” for city residents, as adult pot-related infractions were low both before and after Seattle’s Measure I-75 passed. However, the numbers indicate that pot arrests were reduced by two-thirds, going from 178 citations in the year before the measure passed to 59 the year after. Where Carr feels the measure has left its mark is in the “administrative headache” involved in monitoring the initiative.McCaffrey predicts a similar fate for Santa Barbara cops should the measure stand as it is currently worded; it now requires officers who cite adult offenders to submit a memo justifying their actions to an oversight committee. But of even greater concern to Santa Barbara cops is the worry that the measure might hamstring their policing duties and prevent them from fulfilling their obligations to local residents. McCaffrey pointed to situations in which criminal activity is reported, but the only incriminating evidence on the scene is marijuana. McCaffrey has “concerns” about what officers will now be able to do to curb the reported illegal behavior in these situations, which frequently involve homeless people in public places. But San Francisco narcotics Captain Timothy Hettrich had a different view, testifying recently before his City Council which is set to vote on a similar measure this week “This [lowest-priority initiative] does not tie our hands at all” since it does not change any existing laws.Policing aside, to the folks at City Hall including Mayor Marty Blum and City Attorney Wiley the biggest potential problem with Measure P is one of “constitutionality,” as it directly conflicts with state and federal law. However, the 2003 initiatives of other cities have all survived, and on last week’s election night similar measures passed in Santa Cruz; Santa Monica; Missoula, Montana; and Eureka Springs, Arkansas. “The city has no obligation to enforce federal law at all. Besides, the measure doesn’t say you cannot enforce a specific law,” explained Bruce Mirken, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project, an Oakland-based nonprofit that provided substantial funding for our local pro-Measure P movement. Mirken added that while the initiative does give adult pot smokers a small amount of protection, it “certainly doesn’t provide an absolute guarantee that you aren’t going to be arrested or cited.” After all, no matter what the fate of Measure P may be, smoking ganja is still against the law in Santa Barbara unless you have a medical prescription.With city councilmembers and Wiley slated to have their private meeting in early December, both supporters and opponents of Measure P seemed resigned to a wait-and-see attitude. Lara Cassell, one of the chief organizers of the petition drive that got Measure P on the ballot, said her group has not met with the City Council since election night but added, “We think the voters of Santa Barbara sent a pretty clear message, and we look forward to working with the council [in the future].” For the SBPD’s part, McCaffrey said the issue ultimately is for “the city and their attorney to decide.” Despite the department’s concerns, McCaffrey vowed, “We are going to follow the laws and what we are told to do.”Note: The Contentious Reality of Measure PSource: Santa Barbara Independent, The (CA)Author: Ethan StewartPublished: November 16, 2006 Copyright: 2006 The Santa Barbara Independent, Inc.Contact: letters independent.comWebsite: http://www.independent.comCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 18, 2006 at 12:56:42 PT
OT: More On How Things Are
Republican Leaders Vow Comeback, Maintain Stance on Iraq
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Comment #5 posted by HempWorld on November 18, 2006 at 11:52:10 PT
'Meetings Behind Closed Doors'
Sounds like democracy to me! Just like Dick Cheney's energy commission, secret, secret. So why do publicly elected officials have 'closed door meetings'? I wonder? What are they up to? Why can't the public that they want to represent (except in this case, I guess) be present? Why? What is so secret? Diverting the will of the people, that's why! This is why Cannabis remains illegal, after 70 years. Oh, no we can't do this!! Mayor Mary Blum is turning against her constituency and against the democratic process! Shame on her and on all the good thing she did as a Mayor.
The Government is conspiring against us!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 18, 2006 at 09:17:07 PT
OT: Bush's Trip To Vietnam
Excerpt: But it was the Iraq comparisons that were the most difficult, because they required Mr. Bush to argue two seemingly contradictory threads: that Vietnam turned out well despite America’s withdrawal, but that the situation in Iraq was so much more complicated that retreat was not an option.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 18, 2006 at 06:39:21 PT
OT: Bush Reflects on 'Vietnam Lesson' 
November 17, 2006Excerpt: President George W Bush has said a lesson from the Vietnam War for the US is that it must be patient in Iraq. "We'll succeed unless we quit," he said on a visit to Vietnam, where the US lost its bloody war against communists.
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Comment #2 posted by nuevo mexican on November 18, 2006 at 05:27:21 PT
Good point Hempworld!
This action by the city council will backfire on the people who will now be seen as thwarting the will of 66% of the people, if they rule that the vote is somehow 'inconvenient', it will just be more of an example of how our 'democracy' is routinely staged, rigged, false-flagged, and often an illusion, though our civil rights are NOT, and will never be! You don't have to 'read between the lines' anymore, this stuff is happening because someone has decided it's time to make it official: We are living in a facist police state, done deal, let us hold those responsible accountable, and let our newly elected Democratic leaders we will have none of bushes crap continue, so let your local, state and federal representatives know how you feel about police brutality and repression, please, as you all have done so well before!Only as long as we stand up for them, like this 'educated' student did, and practice civil disobedience when necessary to protect our rights and the rights of others.So the student tazing story made it to C-News, it seems to be rallying what is left of thee the civil libertarian in all of us, as this is just another Republican/bush style neo-facist expression of the whole 'war on terra' the bush has used to destroy America first, then Iraq and Afghanistan, all under the guise of 9-11, his biggest of all of his huge crimes, he WILL be tried and convicted for, as all of humanity sees him and President Cheney for who they are. Thank Goddess!Now Americans get a preview of what bush has in store for all of us, if he can muster up his neo-con forces to stage martial law, this is how it will start, and what the will use to arrest us all:Did the 'Tazer Awards have given them the stamp of approval for excessive use of this deadly weapon (99 people have died from it, so was this attempted murder)?, it would appear so!UCLA student stunned by Tazer plans suit,1,4599352.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california"The incident follows the recent announcement that four of the campus police department's nearly 60 full-time sworn officers had won so-called Taser Awards granted by the manufacturer of the device to "law enforcement officers who save a life in the line of duty through extraordinary use of the Taser."UCLA Students Demonstrate Against UCPD Taser Use acknowledges Bush signed secret directive on interrogating terror suspect
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on November 17, 2006 at 23:57:44 PT
Is This Democracy USA Style?
It is amazing how the thinking and discussions about Marijuana can lead to highly irrational and undemocratic behavior in our government or was that elected officials? Elected by the same process as we have now voted in favor of prop. P. Now they decide for us? With 66% of the vote? Very strange indeed! And oh yes, we really need to worry about what the police department thinks, as if they hold some kind of knowledge when they are holding on to their jobs, busting pot smokers instead of solving real crime. This must be too challenging for them. I've seen patrols of bycicle officers smelling their way through crowds while cycling. Just kill yourself with cigarettes that's ok! But if you try to medicate, we are going to make you look like an idiot!
Let it grow!
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