Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Pubdate: Wed, 08 Apr 1998
Author: John Wildermuth, Chronicle Political Writer


Darrell Issa criticizes stand on drugs

America's long-running war on drugs is one that President Clinton and other
Democratic politicians aren't willing to win, Republican Senate candidate
Darrell Issa said yesterday in one of his first campaign forays into
Northern California. At a lunchtime meeting of the Comstock Club, the San
Diego-area businessman slammed ``moral defeatists'' who say that the
country can't stop the flow of drugs across its borders and that adults
should be allowed to decide what they put into their bodies.

``The Clinton administration's policy of neglect sent a not-so-subtle
message to America's youth that drug use is no big deal,'' Issa said. ``If
America's president winks at drug use, we should not be surprised to find
more teens using drugs.''

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, who Issa will challenge if he wins his
party's primary in June, also took come lumps.

Boxer has called for pulling money away from drug interdiction programs at
the border and voted against a federal death penalty for large-scale drug
dealers, Issa said.

``Tragically, it seems Barbara Boxer is more concerned with saving dolphins
from Mexican fisherman than with saving our children from drug cartels,''
he said.

But the supporting information Issa's staff supplied with his speech
suggested that the attack on Boxer was overstated.

While Boxer in the past has called for reducing the amount of the money now
being spent for anti-drug efforts at the border, she has wanted those funds
to be shifted to drug abuse prevention and treatment programs in an effort
to dry up the demand for narcotics.

Issa also said there is a need for effective drug prevention programs,
although the efforts he suggested have had only limited effectiveness in
the past.

``Stopping the supply (of drugs) will be . . . impossible unless we also
reduce the demand for drugs here in America,'' he said.

Those methods include building anti-drug coalitions in local communities,
working on a national media campaign to let children know that drug use is
``dangerous, illegal and wrong,'' and combining stiff prison sentences for
drug dealers with tough, intensive treatment programs for users, Issa said.

``Strong families and vigorous institutions of civil society are the most
effective defenses against the drug culture,'' Issa said. ``By instilling
in our children the moral virtues that will inoculate them against
seduction by the drug culture, we will ultimately rid ourselves of the drug

It wasn't only Democrats that were lectured by Issa yesterday. He said the
Republican congressional leadership should be ashamed of their support for
a $217 billion transportation bill filled with special highway construction
goodies for legislators across the nation.

``Over $30 billion of that bill is not only pork, but re-election pieces of
pork (legislators) can take back to their districts,'' he said.

Issa, a multimillionaire who is putting up his own money for his primary
race, also called for lower taxes, especially on wealthy Americans,
``although I won't qualify as rich by the end of this campaign,'' he joked.

America's tax policy is designed to use class envy as an excuse for
sticking it to the rich, Issa said.

``Is it fair to say the rich should pay a bigger share of (the nation's)
support?'' he asked. ``That argument has been devisive since the income tax
came in, when it was used to stick it to the Rockefellers and the

Issa quickly ducked one controversial local issue when he declined to say
whether he supported construction of the Auburn Dam, a decades-long bone of
contention between environmentalists and state water interests.

``I'm not going to get involved in the internal politics of California,''
he said.

)1998 San Francisco Chronicle