Pubdate: Wed, 01 Oct 2008
Source: Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA)
Copyright: 2008 Daily Pilot


This certainly won't be a popular position to take in Newport Beach,
but we have to say it: The City Council made a mistake opposing a
state ballot measure that steers more nonviolent drug offenders toward
treatment centers instead of prison.

We understand that many in the city have been angered by the
proliferation of sober-living homes. It was a legitimate concern that
city officials worked hard on to solve. And it was no easy task since
federal laws hindered city officials from passing legislation that
could be considered discrimination against the disabled.

But the city passed a comprehensive ordinance that regulates the
sober-living homes and settled all of the legal challenges from those

And, as Assistant City Manager Dave Kiff pointed out, the city
ordinance approved this year would stop most rehabilitation homes from
letting drug addicts do their time in a treatment center here instead
of going to prison.

We understand the fear that Proposition 5 would send an influx of
addicts to the area's sober-living homes, but it can't happen.

Moreover, we can't just view this as a local concern. The state is
struggling with a federal court mandate to do something about
overcrowded prisons. One of the most effective ways to reduce that
overcrowding is to treat drug addicts as patients, not criminals.

Prison space is better reserved for the drug dealers, not their
customers. And if we do more to treat the addicts, then it's a simple
matter of supply and demand: Take away the demand, and there's no need
for the supply.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin