Chicago Sun-Times

Ride Trivia Quiz Answer

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When U-2's Bono sings about streets that have no name, what streets is he talking about?

The answer is the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Walter Brzeski of Chicago was the first with the right answer.

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Mary --

I heard you on WTTW-TV Chicago Tonight (9/3/10), discussing Supt. Weis' secret meeting with gang leaders, and I give you a gold star for at least mentioning the words, "legalizing drugs" in the context of what needs to be done to stop the gangs and gang violence. You correctly pointed out that it is not within the authority of Supt. Weis to "legalize drugs," because that is a "political decision," not a law-enforcement issue.

You make a great point that rather mimics the comment made by Carol Marin a month or two ago in the midst of horrible Chicago violence when she, Ald. Fritchey and Mike Flannery et al. were discussing gang violence on WTTW and Ald. Fritchey raised the "legalize drugs" issue which was "off topic" but Ald. Fritchey had brought the obviously relevant issue up. Carol commented, "What is the correct venue to raise the issue of drug legalization?" Carol's question went unanswered.

I've spent over 20 years trying to find the answer to that question -- because drug legalization is a huge part of the answer.

Your comment just underscored for me that the people who have the authority and power to do something about drug policy are not even in the loop, on the hot seat, and not even invited to be on the WTTW show (Chicago Tonight) to be forced to take a position publically (for or against the drug war)!

Two Chicago alderman (Munoz and Fioretti) and Tio Hardiman of CeaseFire, all trying to stop the violence, are in attendance to discuss Weis' new strategy to engage gang leaders to stop the violence, but they have no power to change drug policy and are not even asked the drug war question (For or against?) It's not as easy as it once was to just mouth the old standard, "I'm for a "balanced approach" of prevention, treatment, education and law-enforcement. Drug war has historically served to collect the pols votes, but soon drug-war support will start costing pols votes.

Drug prohibition is a federal policy. Drug war is a creation of Congress. And the states have followed the federal zero-tolerance nonsense, but the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution makes drug policy first and foremost a federal question. Yet, no Chicago talk show is inviting Danny Davis, or Bobby Rush, or Judy Biggert, or Sen. Durbin or Sen. Burris to ask -- "What do you think we must do to stop the violence in Chicago? Legalize drugs? More police? (That's a local municipal issue) More funding for CeaseFire (That's a state issue).

Of course, one can run for Governor and try to discuss drug policy to stop violence, stop prison growth, and fund education but it's tough to even get in the debates to raise the drug issue. And is it really a governor/state issue? Arguably not.

What is the proper venue to raise and debate the political issue: "Should drugs be legalized to stop the flow of uncontrolled and unregulated drugs, gangs, gang violence and addict crime?"

Please tell me -- What's the forum? How does one get there? What's the proper mode of transportation?

James E. Gierach

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Wisniewski published on August 30, 2010 1:01 AM.

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