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
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
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
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.