All Our Money Up in Smoke

All Our Money Up in Smoke
Posted by CN Staff on August 19, 2002 at 16:26:10 PT
By Andrew Kleske
Source: North County Times 
I have more than a few pet peeves. In fact, I'm something of a Humane Society for peeves. Waste would have to be one of the largest breeds I keep kenneled, along with hypocrisy. When one gets a mutt of both, that's a pet no one wants to adopt. Yet we see examples of it everywhere. For me the war on drugs always has been an offspring of waste and hypocrisy, as we spend billions of tax dollars to see few results in stemming the flow of illegal substances across our borders and through our streets.
Our kids can buy drugs as easily as they can obtain alcohol or cigarettes, and without paying sales taxes. Every high-profile drug bust the nation's law enforcement officials hold up before the TV cameras represents an exponentially greater amount of contraband that flows unnoticed and uncontrolled. A much smaller peeve, something in the Mexican hairless or Teacup Poodle category, is having to look at the power and cable lines that criss-cross my neighborhood. I've complained about them as being unsightly and dangerous for years. We've all paid fees to have them buried, only to see the money that was collected evaporate in public-private back-room deals. Nine cables run in front of my home, just waiting to be knocked into the sun-dried canyon below, and I am powerless to demand mitigation. Never did I imagine these two distinctly different pet peeves could sire an offspring. But on July 29, when a National Guard helicopter searching for marijuana snapped an East County power line, a very expensive problem was born with the name The Pines Fire. With more than 60,000 acres burned and the destruction of 37 homes, 116 outbuildings and 169 vehicles, the fire took an enormous toll. The $30 million spent to extinguish the conflagration and the millions of dollars in property losses do not begin to account for the total damage. As East County burned, I doubt a single pot-head was left wanting, as the supply springs from the ground in a million other places throughout the state. Any money spent trying to stop the marijuana supply quite literally goes up in smoke and will always do so. Prohibition in the 1920s proved that efforts to end the use of a product that is generally accepted by the public as benign will fail. It merely delivers customers into the hands of corruption, lines the pockets of crooks and costs taxpayers a fortune in enforcement and incarceration costs. Imagine how much further that money would go toward educating youth about the dangers of smoking anything, whether it be marijuana, crack or tobacco. Imagine how far that money could go toward battling the truly dangerous and addictive drugs and to treat those who have fallen for them. As for power lines, the county and state are covered with an overhead maze of similar accidents waiting to happen. If an accident can cause such damage, consider what could result from intentional, orchestrated attacks on these lines. The drug issue is too emotionally and politically heated to expect a quick resolution of the obvious flaws in our strategy. In the meantime, I'd settle for burying the power lines. At least that would be one pet peeve properly paper-trained. Andrew Kleske is online editor for the North County Times. Source: North County Times (CA)Author: Andrew KleskePublished: August 19, 2002Copyright: 1997-2002 North County Times Contact: editor nctimes.comWebsite: Articles:S. Calif. Fire Forces Evacuations,000 Pot Plants Seized as Raids Begin Sites Pose a Growing Danger
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Comment #9 posted by john wayne on August 19, 2002 at 23:36:47 PT
juh-HEEE-ziz wants fiery drug war
just ask:Ashcroft
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Comment #8 posted by karkulus on August 19, 2002 at 20:36:50 PT
Here's the link...
 It's a long article ,but here's a revelent Quote"A Tragic Footnote
In August 1994 14 firefighters burned to death in an out of control forest fire in Colorado. The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration subsequently cited the Forest Service for "inadequate use of aviation resources." Where were all the tankers? According to Eitel they were all out of the country doing anything but fighting fires."==
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Comment #7 posted by karkulus on August 19, 2002 at 19:42:24 PT
fire fights
      I recall reading on some website ,(might have been "from the wilderness" ,I forget ),but that all the good water transport planes go down to Colombia for modification to be sprayers or something and the forest service gets all the old,junky one's to use ..that why they're always crashing!If Ifind the link ,I'll post it!
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Comment #6 posted by jvthc on August 19, 2002 at 18:59:58 PT
If it weren't so tragic....
If the story were not so tragic, it would be hilarious.I wonder of the government has the guts to include the cost of the fire as part of this years price tag for the "War."I'm certainly not expecting it - most of their statistics mean little or nothing anyway.
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on August 19, 2002 at 18:24:08 PT
I remember when
The boulder Weekly(?) commented on the large amount of use of helicopters for drug war do do. They made note when finally the area got its first copter for use fighting forest fires, with the implication of good and bad = black & white obvious...But then I remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty.
Pubdate: Thu, 16 Aug 2001
Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)SAVING US FROM WEED Boulder County Wildland Fire Cooperators ( We know, what the hell is that? ) proudly announces a new firefighting helicopter program. It's one of only a few helicopter programs in the country that's supported by local fire departments. The helicopter, contracted by Geo-Seis out of Fort Collins, comes with a three-to four-person firefighting crew, a giant water bucket and equipment for lowering supplies into inaccessible areas. It's the only fire helicopter program exclusively for the Front Range. What's fascinating about this development, and all the excitement surrounding it, is that we haven't had a helicopter for this purpose until now. As we've watched helplessly as thousands of acres burn waiting on aerial equipment to arrive from far away, we've had no local firefighting helicopter. Yet various cop agencies have had absolutely no trouble getting helicopters, on a routine basis, for the purpose of finding and eradicating marijuana plants. Last year, county cops hovered over Ward-disturbing the town for hours-because a deputy spotted pot plants on a front porch. Well, at least we've decided that forest fires are somewhat of a concern. But we still spend far more time in the air, with dozens more helicopters, looking for perfectly healthy, green weeds that aren't burning homes and killing wildlife and humans. 
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on August 19, 2002 at 17:42:46 PT
more on the fire...
National Guard Anti-Pot Helicopter Caused 50,000 Acre CA Fire:
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Comment #3 posted by karkulus on August 19, 2002 at 17:20:33 PT
the DRUGS made them do it!!
      (ForTheSakeOfTheChildren) ,of course ..What gets me is any time a "Guerilla -Grower" leaves a soda can or something it's '"Drug-Related crime" destroying the environment!!Grrrr!
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on August 19, 2002 at 17:12:45 PT
Their getting in line
one after another, stepping up to the plate to dis the bs.
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Comment #1 posted by Patrick on August 19, 2002 at 17:11:48 PT
The Pines Fire
I was driving home from work on the 15 the day the Pines Fire started and I remember vividly the huge cloud of black smoke to the east. It looked like a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion! No druggie pun intended. Later that evening I heard that a chopper looking for pot plants caused it. Once again, the drug war causes more harms than drugs themselves. 
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