Pubdate: Fri, 16 May 2014
Source: Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
Copyright: 2014 Newark Morning Ledger Co


Let's hope Ras Baraka can accomplish something for the people of
Newark. ("Victorious Baraka: 'We are the mayor,' " May 14) I'm sure
he intends to do that and I wish him well.

I don't know how mayors can succeed in cities like Newark without drug
legalization or decriminalization. Until that happens, gangs will war
over turf, addicts will engage in street crime and home invasions,
addicted parents will neglect their families, and young women will
turn to prostitution to support their habits. Many children who grow
up in this world will be too traumatized to succeed in school and are
destined for joblessness, low-wage jobs or prison.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies confirm a
correlation between this kind of early childhood trauma and later
incarceration. Thus, inner cities have significant populations of men
and women who, hardened and re-traumatized in prison, pose a danger to
their neighbors. This climate kills business and middle-class residency.

All roads lead to drug legalization, a topic neither campaign touched.
Absent that, you get a city with deadly wards for the poor and a few
clusters of corporate buildings near transportation hubs created by
corporations with huge, long-term, municipal-life-sapping tax breaks.

Neil Mullin, Montclair
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