Pubdate: Wed, 03 Nov 1999
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 1999 The Capital Times
Author: Aaron Nathans


City Council President Judy Olson says Madison needs to take a close
look at how it is affected by the war on drugs.

She's floating a proposal to have the council look at drug policy from
all levels of government and its effect on violent crime.

"I'm afraid it's an enforcement policy that's out of control,'' said
Olson, who represents the near east side's 6th District. "Madison is a
community that is capable of conducting a good, objective review of
our drug enforcement policy.''

Olson said she wants to raise the question of how resources are being
used, and how successful government has been in reducing drug abuse.

The city should consider holding a community discussion of drug
enforcement policies, Olson said. The City Council should seek grant
money to administer the discussion, she added.

Perhaps government needs to look at decriminalizing drugs, Olson said.
She pointed to recent drive-by shootings as possible symptoms of drug

The city, she added, is in no position to make drugs legal, but it
could express its feelings to the federal government.

Mayor Sue Bauman said she had not read the proposal but was generally
supportive of the overall discussion.

"I think it's important everyone know what we're doing,'' Bauman said,
adding that it couldn't hurt anyone to have a discussion.

Olson said the legislation was not spurred by any recent City Hall
controversy. The city was criticized for throwing tenants out of an
alleged south-side drug house, and two firefighters were put on paid
suspension after pleading guilty to cocaine possession.

Olson said that if she gets enough support, she'll introduce the
resolution in about a month. 

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