In the most recent gubernatorial debate, Meg Whitman got it very wrong when she claimed that, “Every single law enforcement official in this entire state is against Proposition 19,” the initiative to control and tax marijuana.
In fact, many law enforcement and criminal justice professionals across the state are voting for Proposition 19 because we have seen with our own eyes the ineffectiveness of and harms caused by the current prohibition approach.
No one is under the illusion that our state’s existing marijuana laws actually prevent anyone from using the drug. But, worse than that, prohibition produces a grave threat to public safety by creating a lucrative black market that allows bloodthirsty drug cartels and gangs to make billions of tax-free dollars every year.
As a former deputy chief of police with LAPD, I can tell you that passing Proposition 19 and ending prohibition will deal a bigger blow to these organized criminals than my law enforcement colleagues ever can.
A No vote means more of the same violence and drug-gang riches.
California can do better than that. Let’s approve Proposition 19.
Stephen Downing, a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, is a retired deputy chief of police with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Many Republicans, and even a few Democrats, are running against government, even as they campaign for election to the government.
They want to shrink government and cut taxes, while most of us voters want to maintain the government services important to our lives. We deplore the budget cuts that have reduced our children’s education, our water, sewer, and transportation infrastructure, our natural environment, and our public safety.
This “great recession” demonstrates how unsupervised banks devour the very market system that produces our wealth when our government’s ability to regulate such excesses is bound by anti-government bias.
Big government is our protection against big corporations. Sure, big government brings the problem of big dumb bureaucracy, but so do big corporations. How long do you have to wait when calling the phone company, the airlines, or your health insurance company?
Their bureaucracies are set up to make money off of us consumers. Government bureaucracies, at least, are set up to provide equal and fair service to all of us citizens. Sure, they could be improved, and should be improved, but let’s not run our government like a business where only the wealthy get the services they need.
We pay for goods and services that we buy with our money. We pay for goods and services that government provides with our taxes. Most people are willing to pay taxes for good schools, smooth roads, clear air, clean water, and safe streets. What we hate is unfair taxation.
Why should the middle class have to pay such high taxes while the very rich grab special tax breaks and laugh down at us? Those who have profited most in our country ought to pay the most for its maintenance.
For 30 years, my professional career has been consulting government employees who want to provide better services, more efficiently, through adoption of technology. I’ve worked with many people dedicated to public service, and I’ve seen only a few who just wanted to sit on their fat chairs and collect their pay and pension.
If we want better government service, and less stupid bureaucracy, we need to make government service a high calling, not simply a job. We can attract better and brighter employees with valuable and merit-based pay packages.
If we elect politicians who scream about cutting taxes and reducing government, then the slower, less dedicated people will remain in government and the people who care about serving us, the public, will go work for the corporations that are part of the problem.