Pubdate: Mon, 15 Oct 2007
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Times Colonist
Author: John Mears


I have just returned from a holiday in Amsterdam, and was left with 
many impressions of a city well run, and a society rooted in pragmatic sanity.

The first real shock came about two days into our trip when we 
realized that we had not seen a single "street person" since our arrival.

Fifteen years ago, when I last visited, the city was infested with 
some of the most aggressive and persistent beggars in Europe.

This is a place where there are not one, but two well developed "red 
light" districts catering to any and all forms of sexual expression. 
The downtown area seems to have a "coffee house" on virtually every 
street corner where cannabis and magic mushrooms are freely and 
legally available in small quantities.

In spite of this, there seems to be approximately zero of the 
societal collapse that most of our elite politicians and law 
enforcement officials would prophesy as being imminent should that occur here.

Perhaps the local politicians could book a few tickets to Amsterdam 
for a bit of practical guidance on some of our pressing social needs, 
instead of announcing another few hundreds thousands being spent to 
"study" the issue, or authorizing another $4 million to fix one intersection.

John Mears,

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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman