Pubdate: Wed, 19 May 2004
Source: Mountain Xpress (NC)
Copyright: 2004 Mountain Xpress
Author: Carl Mumpower


In his detailed article titled "It's War!" in the May 12 issue of Mountain
Xpress, Brian Sarzynski offered an even-handed view of fluctuating tensions
within Asheville's City Council.

In truth, however, the deeper story lays not in temporary conflicts
between Council members or most certainly my imagined interest in the
mayor's job. The story most worthy of a bright light is the near-term
opportunity to embrace a hard-drug-interdiction program that targets
distributors, dealers and users wherever they go in our good city.

We have the resources and brief window of opportunity to provide the
manpower, mandate and money to fund our Police Department to a level
of service that more fairly matches the resources, creativity and
persistence of those who do immeasurable harm through hard drugs.

Twenty-four-hour, vigilant hard-drug interdiction won't be the end of
the story. It's not that easy. Yet enthusiastic pursuit of hard drugs
is a crucial foundation for other interventions that, collectively,
will help take Asheville to a better place.

Hard drugs impact on every person in Asheville. Ask the mothers who
try to raise children in public-housing developments, neighbors who
deal with repetitive break-ins, and the victims of personal violence,
and you will quickly develop a keen sense of the catastrophic impact
of hard drugs.

Asheville does not need to wait another year to fund a meaningful
hard-drug-interdiction program. We have the money and the knowledge to
address our responsibilities, to step into the wind and face this
problem directly. With your support, we can resolve our differences in
perspectives and priorities and dedicate our resources to this
public-safety issue.

That's an activity that will be truly worthy of your writer's best

Carl Mumpower

Vice Mayor, Asheville
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