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Letters to the Editor for Jan. 3

Legalizing pot may curb hard drug use

Thanks for publishing Greg Francisco's thoughtful letter, 'Stop getting tough on drugs, get smart' (The Times, Dec. 13).

If tough-on-drugs policies worked, the idealistic goal of a drug-free America would have been reached a long time ago.

And if tolerant marijuana policies caused more hard-drug use and crime, the Czech Republic would have much higher rates of hard-drug use and crime.

They do not.

The Czech Republic is the only country in the world where adult citizens can legally use, purchase, possess and grow small quantities of marijuana. (In the Netherlands, marijuana is quasi-legal - not officially legal.)

The Czech overall drug arrest rate is 1 per 100,000 population. The United States' overall drug arrest rate is 585 per 100,000 population.

The Czech robbery rate is 2 per 100,000 population. The United States' robbery rate is 160.2 per 100,000 population, according to the FBI.

According to our drug war cheerleaders, tolerant marijuana laws cause people to use other, much more dangerous drugs like meth and heroin.

Obviously, this doesn't happen in the Czech Republic. Why not?

Could it be that when people can legally obtain marijuana at an affordable price, they tend not to use or desire any other recreational drugs?

Could it be that marijuana legalization actually creates a roadblock to hard-drug use - not a gateway?

Could it be that the vast majority our so-called 'drug-related crime' is caused by our marijuana-prohibition policies?

KIRK MUSE

Mesa, AZ

Alcohol a bigger problem than drugs

If Todd Bradish is concerned about the harm that drug-users do to others, then he should know that alcohol leads the field in that regard (The Times, Letters to the Editor, Dec. 20).

Alcohol accounts for about half of all deaths from homicide, auto accidents, fires and drowning. It also accounts for about half of all domestic abuse and two-thirds of all sexual assaults on children.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, alcohol is the only drug with any real connection to drug-induced violent crime. The toll of alcohol on society is greater than all the illegal drugs combined, by orders of magnitude. It has always been that way, and it always will. No illegal drug even comes close.

So the question for Mr. Bradish is, where would you like to quarantine more than 100 million alcohol-users?

CLIFFORD A. SCHAFFER

Director, Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

Agua Dulce, Calif.

Family appreciates care for their mother

The Langer Family would like to thank all those who helped our mother, Dolly, in the parking lot of Albertson's in Sherwood, on Dec. 21. Her hip was broken, but she is doing well because of the care she received from all the wonderful people while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

A very special thank you to the nurse who rushed to assist her. Those who gave her blankets to keep warm are very much appreciated. If you would drop by Sentinel Mini Storage, your blankets will be waiting for you.

The Langer Family

Sherwood

Reynolds not first code enforcement officer

I just read the Dec. 20 article about Tualatin's new code enforcement officer and would like to extend a warm welcome to Ms. Crystal Reynolds ('Tualatin gets down to business of code enforcement,' The Times).

I would also like to point out an error in the article. Please allow me to give the folks at The Times a little history lesson.

Some long-time residents may remember this. Ms. Reynolds is not the city's first code enforcement officer.

Let me take you back to April of 1982. The city of Tualatin had a code enforcement office named Mr. David Bantz. The mayor at the time was Mrs. Louanne Thilke. She and her husband Jim ran the drug and liquor store in the old VanRaden building. Their store also had a card shop.

At that time I was employed at Western Office Products. We were in the building that is now occupied by the Fabric Gallery and temporary library. Also about that time, Western's owner, Mr. Charles E. Bastin, opened a Hallmark store inside the same building.

Mr. Bantz came over to count parking spaces. Documents were sent that threatened jail for Mr. Bastin if he did not comply by reducing his operation or creating more parking spaces.

On April 9, 1982, we picketed City Hall. The city came to an agreement with Mr. Bastin that he just needed to re-stripe the parking lot to include three more spaces.

By the way, there was also an article about this in The Times on April 15, 1982.

Thank you for allowing me to share a bit of Tualatin's history.

I would also like you to know that I have nothing but the highest regards for our police force.

STEVE CAGLE

Tualatin