Pubdate: Sat, 9 May 2009
Source: Colusa County Sun-Herald (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Freedom Communications
Bookmark: (Marijuana - California)


The campaign to frighten California voters into approving their 
second significant tax increase in only three months ratcheted up 
this week as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other initiative 
supporters claimed thousands of firefighters and police jobs will be 
eliminated unless voters approve propositions on the May 19 special 
election ballot.

"I don't like to use scare tactics," the governor said unconvincingly 
Tuesday. Notice he didn't say he is opposed to using scare tactics to 
push voters into a $16 billion increase in income, sales and car 
taxes, the largest increase in state history even larger than the 
$12.9 billion for the same taxes he and the Legislature imposed in February.

Schwarzenegger's latest threat is that 1,100 seasonal state 
firefighters and 600 permanent firefighters will be eliminated unless 
voters approve May 19's propositions. A new TV ad campaign claims as 
many as 24,000 local firefighters and police could lose funding from 
the state. Both claims are unlikely as legislators and local 
officials are more likely to find less vital services to cut and 
other ways to reduce costs when they have no other choice. And the 
governor knows it. This is Politics 101.

It seems obvious the governor isn't interested in saving taxpayers' 
money to cover necessary government expenses. Instead, he wants to 
collect ever-more taxpayer money to spend on ever-more government operations.

Former Santa Barbara County Supervisor Mike Stoker recently recalled 
when Schwarzenegger first ran for governor: "Then we had a budget 
just over $70 billion. Today it is almost $130 billion."

That isn't a sign of an administration funding the most important 
services, and cutting spending on the less important. It's the mark 
of an administration that stoops to scaring voters to glom onto as 
much of their money as possible, to pay as many government workers as 
possible, even while private sector employers are drastically cutting 
payrolls. Now that's scary.

Support for a more common-sense approach to marijuana has been 
quietly building for years now, virtually unseen by most politicians. 
Gov. Schwarzenegger's comment Tuesday that "I think it's time for a 
debate" on the subject of legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana 
in California seems to have elevated the topic to a much more serious 
level. In addition to a Field Poll survey showing that 56 percent of 
Californians favor legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana 
similarly to alcohol, a nationwide Zogby poll commissioned by the 
O'Leary Report found 52 percent of Americans nationwide favor 
something similar.

Obviously many Americans are ready for more than a debate, although 
that would be welcome. Given that the federal government estimates 
that 15 million Americans smoked marijuana in any given month, 
prohibition is obviously not working. A serious discussion of 
alternatives to prohibition is overdue.

It is clear that legalizing marijuana would provide a certain amount 
of relief in California's budget crisis, eliminating about half a 
billion in enforcement costs and bringing in tax revenues that have 
been estimated at $1.3 billion. That alone makes such a reform worth 

Thanks for mentioning the idea, governor. Now it's time for some 
serious follow-through. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake