Updated: February 1, 2014 6:17AM
On Saturday, the residents of the 10th Ward on the Far Southeast Side found copies of a letter in their mailboxes from KCBX Terminals Co., a division of Koch Minerals. The letter attempts to make an argument for the company’s storing of much contested petcoke along the Calumet River. The letter maintains petcoke is not hazardous and that it is useful in making other products.
This is not the letter that I, and other longtime residents, wanted to find in our mailboxes. The letter we have been expecting would have come from the Office of the Mayor, outlining the City’s comprehensive, economically feasible, and environmentally sound redevelopment plan for this part of the city. Many of us have been waiting for that letter for the past three decades since the steel mills began shutting down. We’re still waiting.
John Vukmirovich, the East Side
Prohibiting marijuana is no deterrent
In Sunday’s Sun-Times, columnist Linda Chavez makes the common mistake of assuming that marijuana prohibition deters use. The United States has double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands where marijuana is legally available. Spain legalized personal use cultivation and has lower rates of marijuana use than the U.S. Portugal decriminalized all drugs including heroin and cocaine and still has lower rates of marijuana use than the U.S. If anything, marijuana prohibition increases use by creating forbidden fruit appeal. Thanks to health education, legal tobacco use has declined considerably, without any need to criminalize smokers or imprison tobacco farmers. This drop in the use of one of the most addictive drugs available has occurred despite widespread tobacco availability.
The legalization of marijuana in Colorado will raise new tax revenue, provide consumers with a safer alternative to alcohol, and close the gateway to hard drugs by taking marijuana distribution out of the hands of violent drug cartels. But it won’t likely impact rates of marijuana use. There is no correlation between criminal penalties and rates of use. Using the criminal justice system to destroy the lives of adult marijuana consumers doesn’t protect children, it just puts them in foster care.
Robert Sharpe Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Loving parents support gay children
Explaining his stance on homosexuality, letter writer Donald Nauyokas says, “A loving and good parent would not condone the breaking of God’s laws by his children.” By my book, loving and good parents are ones that support and guide their children through the obstacle course of life, not ones that push them into a closet and tell them how to live it. For the first time, public opinion approval of same-sex marriage in 2013 climbed above 50 percent. Nauyokas’ minority opinion that by supporting homosexuality one has lost the ability to reason is exactly that: a minority opinion. Most reasonable people would suggest further that someone who uses the Bible to stomp on the freedoms and liberties of others is the one who cannot reason and is living in his own little world.
Scot Sinclair, Gurnee