Stimulus Package Side Effect
The murder rate in the city of Juarez, Mexico doubled last year because of increased efforts to enforce drug prohibition. The city council of its sister city, El Paso, Texas, voted 8 to 0 in favor of a resolution calling for a national debate on the legalization of drugs. The mayor vetoed the legislation and six votes were needed to override this action. Despite the powerful testimony of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) member Nubia Legarda and the articulate and authoritative support for discussion from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) the veto was sustained in a 4 to 4 vote.
Why did four members of the council change their votes? The answer quite simply is that they were coerced. Ryan Grim writing on The Huffington Postreveals that “Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat who represents El Paso in Congress, lobbied each council member, making it clear that if the resolution calling for a debate passed, El Paso would risk losing money in the upcoming stimulus legislation. Five Texas House representatives made the same threat.”
Here is an opportunity for Barack Obama to prove that his promise of change has at least some substance. His administration should contact Rep. Reyes and the four state legislators for the purpose of finding out if anyone working in the federal bureaucracy indicated that funding would be cut off if the resolution passed. If any such persons are found then Obama must fire them immediately. He ought to also make a very public statement that discussing issues is not grounds for denial of stimulus or any other government funds. If he does not take these actions then we will know for sure that it is business as usual in the nation’s capital.comments powered by Disqus
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