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Letters to the Editor published April 8, 2009
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Legalization of pot a very bad idea

Editor, Ceres Courier,

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, has authored legislation that would legalize marijuana. AB 390 is yet another attempt by drug legalization advocates to undermine the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Ammiano was quoted as saying "With the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move towards regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense." Is that statement true? Of course not. The word "regulation" implies that marijuana use will somehow be controlled, but that is simply not the case. As children/teens are able to gain access to alcohol, they will also be able to gain access to marijuana. Drug legalization advocates know this, yet they continue to purposely deceive the public. Alcohol is regulated, has its regulation reduced drunk driving rates? We already know that alcohol regulation does not keep alcohol out of the hands of teens, and marijuana legalization won't either.

Legalization also will not eliminate drug profits. The players will change from drug traffickers, to legitimate business people, whose primary goal will be, as most businesses do, to promote their product. Legalizers will then hire attorneys and lobbyists, to further their marketing campaigns and will seek to reduce government regulation.

It is not surprising to me that Ammiano would use California's budget woes to further his own agenda. After all that's what snake oil salesmen do, they prey on the vulnerabilities and the first sign of weakness.

According to Ammiano marijuana legalization will provide $1.3 billion in tax revenue. How will that be possible? He maintains that legalization will dramatically drop the price of marijuana, if that's true, how will we collect $1.3 billion in taxes? We must remember when faced with the possibility of purchasing drugs at a pharmacy, or having them delivered tax free, many will choose the later.

Drug use is and shall remain to be socially unacceptable behavior.

What Ammiano is not going to discuss is the actual cost associated with drug use, health care costs associated with drug use were projected to be $16 billion in 2002, growing annually at 4.1 percent. Lost productivity is factored in at $128 billion combined with the overall costs of drug use at another whopping 180 billion. Let's not leave out criminal justice and victim costs at another $36.4 billion, and crime costs are a staggering $107 billion. Of course he's not going to discuss it publicly! In 2002, the amount of money spent on drug control was less than $19 billion which is less than three percent of the entire U.S. budget. If we break down the $19 billion spent the money was used for education, treatment, prevention and enforcement. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was only given $1.6 billion, an amount President Obama spends every other day in Iraq. In contrast, 11 percent of the U.S. budget is spent on interest on the national debt. Cost projections on the effects of drug use, is around $300 billion annually, and growing.

Ammiano said that marijuana legalization will effectively shut down cartels by removing their ability to profit. But if legalization was a direct threat to a cartel's financial fortune, wouldn't they be investing big money into anti-drug efforts, trying to stop pro-drug advocates?

Ammiano wont discuss the black market. Because drug legalization would limit availability to those over 18, a black market will target anyone under 18. We can expect this market to target our children specifically.

There's no question that a black market can and will sell marijuana less expensively. That's the purpose of a black market. Between 1866 and 1914, the duty on ready to smoke opium was 97 percent. While it did create income it also created smuggling rings to avoid paying the tariff. Much more was smuggled in than went through the "legal" channels, and we can thereby make the connection that tax can and does create a black market.

AB-390 contradicts everything that we the people have worked hard to achieve, such as providing a safe and sane environment to raise our children, and laws to maintain order, AB-390 is a direct threat to all law abiding citizens.

Linda Taylor


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Wants answers on proposed junior high

Editor, Ceres Courier,

The question still remains unanswered: Why does Ceres at this time need another junior high school? Why does it need to be on East Whitmore Avenue, adjacent to agricultural parcels, in the flight path of landing airplanes and adjacent to a busy roadway?

Nothing at the Ceres Unified School District's special Wednesday afternoon meeting of March 25 directly answered these questions. A stated goal of this meeting was to obtain public input on the chosen location of the proposed junior high school. Curiously, no one in charge seemed quite certain exactly where that chosen location was stated to be. Neither the consultants who prepared the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) nor the School Board responsible for its preparation seemed certain whether east of La Rosa Elementary or west of La Rosa was the site of the proposal. Some noticed listed one; others designated the alternate. Notice was given, but of what?

According to Notice, the choosing process continues. "A Public Notice of Availability of a Draft Preliminary Environmental Assessment Ceres Unified School District (PEA)" now awaits public reading and comment at the Ceres Unified School District Office on Lawrence and at the Ceres Public Library on Magnolia. (This PEA was said by Jay Simmonds in a letter to me of March 26 to be "the Preliminary Endangerment Assessment." "This Endangerment" was not explained).

The public comment period is March 11, 2009 through April 11, 2009.

The notice closes: "In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting please contact CUSD at 209-556-1500 or through the California Relay Service. Notification of 48 hours in advance of the meeting will enable CUSD to make reasonable accommodations for participation."

What meeting? Where? When? Why?

Pat Cousins,


(Editor's note: In all fairness to CUSD, we published an article on Feb. 18 that explained why a junior is sought. That article states: "... CUSD could use a new junior high school right now, said Assistant Superintendent Scott Siegel. Both existing junior high schools - Mae Hensley and Blaker Kinser - are too big for comfort. Ceres' junior high population is now at 1,800 with both schools roughly taking half. A third junior high means three schools of approximately 600 students.

"Any growth will push us to places we don't want to go," said Siegel.

According to Jay Simmonds, CUSD's Educational Options Coordinator and Facilities Planner, research indicates that the junior high age group experience bears a lot to do with the high school drop-out rate.

"School size really makes a difference in how connected students feel to school," said Simmonds. "We're of the belief that 900 is too big for those junior highs today."

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Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters should be sent to: The Ceres Courier, P.O. Box 7, Ceres, CA 95307. Letters may also be emailed to