Summit Daily letters: The drug war has never worked. It is time to start acting like it.
December 7, 2018
Dillon Town Council confused on vision for town
I laughed when I read about Dillon Town Council's deliberations over the possible raising of the height limitations on future construction projects. It was a bitter laugh. The council doesn't seem to be able to settle on its vision for Dillon. On the one hand, it has a document which attests to Dillon's goal of maintaining its residents' unobstructed views of its glorious scenery. On the other hand, it has recently and consistently permitted construction of condo buildings which do precisely the opposite.
I own a condo in a building directly across the street from one of the new, 58-foot-tall buildings. It is sour grapes on my account as I complain that nine-tenths of my view of Buffalo Mountain is now obstructed. I helped to fight the good fight against this construction and we lost. However, similarly, a condo project which will soon be built across the street will do the same for those owners whose views will be impacted. They have lost as well.
It is clear that the members of the council lack a coherent plan or vision of what the town of Dillon should look like when all this obstructing construction is approved, finalized and built. Having attended a few council meetings, I have understood that the council would like to attract more revenue producing businesses including restaurants, shops and the like. To date, I am aware of no such impending development, only the construction of more condo units.
I should suppose that the decision which the council is making, either deliberately or by happenstance and opportunity is to grow Dillon's population by virtue of allowing taller and taller buildings. If this be the case, then the council ought to remove any references to avoiding obstructions to already existing housing and condo owners. At least this would represent an acknowledgment of reality and truth, albeit a rarity in governance we encounter these days. By talking out of all sides of its mouth regarding the alleged plans for Dillon, the council ignores and negates the thousands of dollars it has paid over time to agencies and planners who have proposed ways in which they have recommended the town could and should grow.
One final word to potential buyers of Dillon property: the town has a severe problem in not being able to solve its blighted center area. Rather, it has apparently decided to build tall and taller around it, thereby, in essence and appearance, blocking views of it. Furthermore, should the scene from anything you are contemplating on buying now have an unobstructed view, don't be duped into believing that sometime in the future it will remain so. Given the impulse to raise the limits of future construction projects, there is some real chance that your view and the aesthetics of your property will be impaired by a way-too-tall-for-Dillon project.
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The mantra of Dillon has changed. It used to be a town of beautiful views and of a restful, peaceful aesthetic. It is now becoming that of a town that is restless for growth even at the expense of its stated vision and residents. It is a town contemplating that the "sky is the limit." Future generations may well determine that the council's next decision to raise the height bar will be the one which encouraged and attracted super tall monstrosities that destroyed the very essence and compelling nature of the town.
Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman
The drug war has never worked. It is time to start acting like it.
I'm a student of drugs, drug policy, history and more. This letter comes from a place of deep education and caring for people. You can see my work at PsychedelicsToday.com.
A few days ago I read an article in this paper about increased death rate in the county. The article closes with our district attorney Bruce Brown wanting to crack down further on drug offenses. I got fairly upset at the ongoing willful ignorance and political maneuvering around drugs.
In the U.S., alcohol prohibition never worked. Drug prohibition never worked. Our current prohibition on drugs drives to move competitive and cutthroat markets. Read "Narconomics" for evidence of this from insightful economists.
When cartels or gangs are involved, arrests only accelerate and exacerbate violence and speed more drugs to the newly "opened" market that was previously locked down.
Spending more money on "law enforcement" of this problem is idiocy and immoral. It generates and perpetuates inequality, punishing people for typically nonviolent offenses. Law enforcement priority should be to serve and protect. We should go after things that put people in harm's way like going after rapists or generally violent people instead.
In our county, we say that we want to solve our mental health crisis, but instead, we spend tax dollars to put people in cages. This results in broken homes which can last for generations. It also creates more skilled and more permanent criminals.
We can learn how to save lives and reduce harms/risks from leading groups like Drug Policy Alliance, Dance Safe, The Loop (UK) and KosmiCare (Portugal).
How many books on the drug war have our elected leaders read? I'm guessing none or at most one. It is morally bankrupt to keep putting people in jail. Starting with Dr. Carl Hart's "High Price" would help prime people for understanding the price of the drug war on our own people.
Cut it out, Mr. Brown. If you believe in this drug war, please get educated or at least be honest with yourself about the direct negative effect you are having on the lives of our fellow humans. Learn about the model used in Switzerland and Portugal. They effectively solved their very severe problems with HIV and heroin by stopping their war on drugs. Spending more on failed tactics is wrong on many levels.
There is an honest and caring way forward that can lead towards near zero overdoses, and near zero infection rates from needles. Spending on treatment and education is money far better spent. High schoolers are smart enough to get their hands on whatever they want. Let's give them real facts instead of locking people up.
Free Naloxone. Honest education, Free harm reduction services. MUCH cheaper and effective than a single visit by the sheriff's deputies followed up by EMTs. This is just the start of what we can do to really serve and protect our people.
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