October 27, 2009

Common Sense: Notable comments from the blogs

Many comments on RacinePost.com's articles are quick bursts of emotion that respond to issues and stories on the surface. Others take a deeper look at issues. Common Sense highlights well-written, thoughtful comments on the blogs.

From "The mayor's 10-year plan":
I understand that some will want to just let the mayor slide on this because they like him personally or they see some progress or even potential.

And then there are the rest of us that actually listened to the man and were inspired by what we thought was his vision and expected him to deliver and will not be satisfied until he does. Key to that vision is the development of something that is actually needed - a long term vision or in his words "a Top 10 City in 10 year plan."

There are no excuses at this point. None. I defy anyone to post on here why it is acceptable for Dickert to campaign on this idea and not deliver. Because Treasures expanded? Because he renamed an area to Riverview? Because he supports regional transit?

All unacceptable as excuses, I'm sorry.

And you cannot develop a plan after the results start coming in. That's beyond insane. My 10 year plan was to create 88 jobs this year. I reached the goal! Yes! Sure glad I announced my benchmark after the game was played!

C'mon mayor....get it done. Yes, we understand it is difficult, but it is needed and you're the one that promised it. Where are the benchmarks? Where are the goals? What is a top city?

The reality is he promised it, found out it was pretty hard to do and then quit - hoping to pass off the budget as a plan and that nobody would notice so he wouldn't have to follow through. We know the game - divert attention away from your failure by pointing to a couple of accomplishments. Case in point - Here's what you might here next out of his mouth:

To Dickert: Can you tell me about the 10 year plan?

Dickert: I think what is important here is that jobs are being created and crime is decreasing. I helped bring 88 jobs to Racine hiring people in Racine that need it the most. 41 gangsters are now off the streets and our citizens are safer for it with the drug busts. That's what I measure myself by and how the city measures success.

Yawn....sounds great, thanks. We've all been had.


  1. It seems that is his trying to bring some business here. BUT HE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THOSE DRUG BUSTS. That has been an on-going investigation for a year. He wasn't in office for a year and was late to the press conference when they announced it and miss the entire conference. That was started by law enforcement, not a politician.

  2. A year-long investigation netted 41 arrests ... is that a good use of money? Anyone think drugs are less available in Racine after this bust?

    Legalize drugs, tax the sales and use the money to pay for schools and lower property taxes. Problems solved!

  3. Pete and Dustin - this is off the subject, but it does concern our previous mayor. Why didn't you report about his divorce being final?

  4. We linked to JT and J-S stories. We just can't get to everything. If you have a news tip, send it to: racinepost@gmail.com

  5. Dustin,

    Has Mayor Dickert commented about his 10 year plan since the budget was delivered? Are you going to ask him for an update?

  6. Absolutely we'll ask him about it.

  7. Dustin...time out. If you think legalizing drugs would be the way to go, it's not the case. Pot would be fine to legalize, but I don't think you have ever seen what happens to crack addicts and heroin addicts. Heroin has become a plague in this city, you have ordinary teens and young adults becoming addicted to that and it's ruining their lives and the lives of people around them. If you think about it, some of those 41 are going to talk and others will be arrested (move up the food chain to bust the bigger ones. Granted I'm sure there will be some to step up and fill their shoes, there is a direct effect between drugs and crime and we gotta clean up our streets of both

  8. Dustin - thanks for looking into this plan issue. I think it is an important one to resolve, one way or the other.

    Don't let him get away with these garbage answers either. We deserve a straight answer at this point.

    If he insists on garbage answers then make him answer this question:

    What exactly do you consider a plan to be?

    Part of the problem here is that he was allowed to get away with these non-answers all during the campaign. He wasn't the only one but I think our journalists need to toughen up a little bit around here and dig in on legitamate issues.

    That's not negativity, it is called accountability.

  9. For every business that comes 2 close and leave!

  10. Dustin - would the FDA regulate the legal drugs? Answer - they would have to, including guaranteeing safety and purity, with legislation going back to 1906. Suspending ethical issues for a moment, how much do you think it might cost to bring cocaine manufacturers in line with current regs? Will we allow generics?

  11. Dustin.... Legalize Drugs! Give me a break! Where are these people going to get the money to pay for them?(They won't work!) I'll tell you where and how. How... Steeling, Robbing, Shop Lifting etc. Where... Your House, My House, Shop-Ko, K-Mart, Kwik-Trip etc. You'd have every ghetto kid smoking pot in middle school! Now we need to hire 20 more cops to take care of your stupid idea!

  12. Yeah, the FDA would have to regulate. No idea how much it would cost to bring manufacturers in line with regs, though you'd imagine big companies would crop up quickly to manufacture narcotics. Marijuana probably wouldn't need much regulation, though. It's just a plant.

    I'm not sure it's just poor people who do drugs. And would it really be any worse than alcohol is now?

    If we need more cops, we could use the drug taxes to hire them.

  13. Dustin - why would big companies want to manufacture the drugs? Since there would be no defensible IP thus no patents, what company would pay for all the regulatory work (submissions, data, etc.) while the illegal suppliers could go on selling drugs without taxation or regulation?

  14. . . . and even though marijuana is "just a plant", the same FDA rules, including purity, would apply to its growth, processing and packaging. People could certainly grow their own but they couldn't sell it.

  15. Yeah, that's a good question. Who would manufacture meth, cocaine, etc.? I really haven't thought this through much. It just seems like an awful lot of police resources go into busting people with little impact on overall drug use.

  16. Dustin... So you take the tax money for the cops, than what about the schools and property tax savings we were going to get? This makes about as much sense as if you keep your money in your wallet and never open it, you won't spend any of it!?

  17. Tim the Shrubber10/27/2009 1:41 PM

    "And would it really be any worse than alcohol is now?"


  18. Tim... Thanks I forgot that. So now we have ghetto (poor) kids doing drugs, and kids that can afford them doing drugs. What kind of people are these drug heads going to turn out to be?
    Now we need to have more cops, money for re-hab because we got these pot heads started on a heavier drug, coke, etc.. So no more money for schools or tax relief.

  19. So, why do people do drugs?

    That’s easy. They’re self-medicating because their lives are crap.

    When depression’s so great, you’ll reach out to anything to make it better – a gun, a needle …

    The answer? Make people’s lives better. Give them hope instead of despair, relief instead of pain, opportunity instead of uselessness, a job instead of a dead-end.

    And treatment instead of incarceration, $1,500 vs. $26,000 a year. And that’s not counting the $30,000 per head for the initial arrest and conviction in our War on Drugs.

    But, no, we don’t want to spend as much a $1,500 on something as unnecessary as drug treatment, nor reduce the weeks or months waiting period to get in.

    It makes, oh, so much more sense to spend on average $30,000 per arrest, then $26,000 a year thereafter to put somebody in jail. After all, they won’t get out for a few years, when we’ll just have to do it all over again.

    So, instead of $1,500 a year for drug treatment, or, say, $7,500 a year to keep somebody in school, or $18,000 a year to send somebody to college, we choose to spend $56,000 up front, then another $26,000 per year afterward to keep them immobilized and useless, feeding at the public trough, in jail for a while.

    It’s so much easier that way, and so much more satisfying.

    Better to have more thefts, burglaries and robberies when they get out, while we continue to lock up the few who get caught.

    After all, we don’t mind paying more and more and more and more in taxes each year to keep it this way; we can afford it, right?

    All that crime to support drug habits – the gangs, the violence - isn’t that much of an inconvenience to law-abiding citizens, so why don’t we just keep things the way they are?

    It works out so much better for everyone this way, doesn’t it?

  20. Randolph writes:

    "So, why do people do drugs?

    That’s easy. They’re self-medicating because their lives are crap.

    When depression’s so great, you’ll reach out to anything to make it better – a gun, a needle …

    The answer? Make people’s lives better. Give them hope instead of despair, relief instead of pain, opportunity instead of uselessness, a job instead of a dead-end."

    Or, perhaps people become drug addicts because they have become impatient waiting for other people to make their lives better, and that they are entitled to this help from others, and that they can and should wallow in self pity because nobody has come forward to make their lives better. The common denominator here is helplessness, entitlement, and irresponsibility for their own lives.

    And when you keep feeding them that destructive world view filled with excuses, you contribute to their problems. You might as well insert the needle yourself into their collapsing veins.

  21. Denis,

    Like I said, it works out much better for everybody this way, doesn't it?

    And it only costs us about $100 billion a year.

  22. "Give them hope instead of despair, relief instead of pain, opportunity instead of uselessness, a job instead of a dead-end."

    Can you throw me a few bucks to work on your beautiful house or in your yard?

  23. I have to agree in part with Dustin on legalization of drugs. The money spent to curb the use of marijuana is a waste. In a recent poll ( I think about 2 years ago ) 2/3 of a cross section of the country agreed that pot should be, if not legalized, at least decriminalized and citizens allowed to grow a limited amount for themselves. The state of Alaska flipped the bird to the Fed many months ago and decriminalized it in their state. With the release of those resources necessary to fight marijuana, and some of the more recreational and non-or-less-addictive drugs, there would be more resources and tax money ( from the sale of marijuana and recreational drugs ) to concentrate on fighting the highly addictive drugs like heroine, cocaine, crack, etc. Those legalized drugs should have the same restrictions put on them that are demanded by alcohol: an age limit to purchase it, contributing to minors, etc. Also, the idea that marijuana leads to harder drugs is about as absurd as beer leading to whiskey. It doesn’t. I also agree that it would make more sense to treat and educate people who abuse drugs, just like they do alcohol, at a much reduced cost as opposed to jailing them for years.

    Common sense seems to have gone right out the window in our society. That is why we’re in the socio-economic mess we’re in right now.

  24. Rather than legalizing drugs in a fashion similar to alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, what about using a portion of the huge amounts of money currently being spent fighting drugs to, instead, maintain centers where someone can go, register, and use their drug in a safe(r), monitored place?

    The availability would drop the price of providing them significantly. That, plus the maintenance cost of centers would still be less than what is currently spent fighting it all.

  25. Some of these alternatives to the war on drugs may seem unpalatable, but when you look back, what’s been the result of what we’re doing now?

    - We’ve spent trillions of dollars with no discernable effect on drug use, except to make it vastly more expensive and the drug trade vastly more lucrative.

    - We’ve filled our prisons, and then some.

    - We’ve criminalized our borders.

    - We’ve created a gang culture in our cities that thrives on the drug trade.

    - We’ve destabilized a dozen different countries.

    - We’ve turned northern Mexico into a shooting gallery.

    - We’ve indirectly financed terrorists and the Taliban, who pay for their wars against us with the proceeds from illegal drugs.

  26. As I was trying to guide Dustin toward understanding the costs of legalizing drugs earlier, again - no company would manufacture the drugs because there are no patents and the cost of $billions on regulations make it a joke. If any comopany were stupid enough to try, imagine the litigation. Tghis is one of those ideas that are proposed because everyone knows it won't happen and the proposers can complain because it is "part of the solution".

    Randolph, I won't let thieves into my house at night to rob me, so I guess I have "criminalized" my front door. What a stingy bastard I am, never looking farther than my own interests!

  27. Marijuana is a plant. People now do not grow it themselves. They buy it off some low life dealer. I would not trust that dealer to give me plain old marijuana. They have blunts and wiki sticks (dipped by dealer in phemaldehyde). Dealers are very smart about making people into drug addicts. I wouldn't trust them not to add something like heroin or crack to a joint.

  28. I don't think legalizing will work right now how things are set up.

    We need an adequate drug education program. To help people know the true pitfalls of addiction.

    We need access to drug rehab. Real drug rehab programs with adequate detox periods and not just placing everyone on more drugs.

    We need to find a way to effectively stop drug dealers and gangs from making people into hard core drug addicts. They do get tricky about it, offering it for free, putting it hidden into other items like candy or joints.

    Legalizing drugs will only really work for those who personally responsible people. Those who are uneducated and won't work will just abuse that as well.

  29. Drug users are not just street people.Alot of people that have money do drugs. not just the unemployed.If the goverment would make legal the price would sky rocket.Look at cigs!Cheeper to smoke a joint!

  30. Randolph, I agree with you to some degree on some points and disagree on one:

    I agree that we've spent trillions of dollars with no discernable effect. Therefore, there must be something inherently wrong with the way we're fighting the drug trade.

    I agree that we've overfilled our prisons. But the problem seems to be more that we've overfilled them with users instead of the dealers that provide them. Seems a bit backwards to me.

    I do not agree that we've criminalized our borders. If that is the case, then every major country in the world has done so. To make it a criminal offense to illegally enter our country is part of the constitutional responsibility of the federal government to protect us from foreign enemies or insurgents. No, I think we should close our borders and shoot anyone who tries to enter illegally. Then we should set about cleaning up the illegals that are currently here. Clear our streets of them and our jails and send them packing.

    I agree that we've created a gang culture that thrives on drug sales. Legalize drugs and you take that incentive away from them. They won't be able to compete with retailers selling better quality products at a lower cost. Think about this: (using arbitrary numbers) assume a pack of 20 marijuana cigarettes sells for $20 and 2/3 of that is tax. That's a hell of a lot more than a pack of cigarettes, but only about 1/4 the cost of what a drug dealer would sell them for, and it's a lot more taxes than are collected on booze or cigarettes. Everybody wins, except the drug dealer.

    I agree that we've destabilized, probably more, than a dozen different countries. We need to let them deal with the drug situation on their own terms in their own countries and limit our war on drugs to within our own borders. Get caught smuggling heroine into the U.S. and you'll be shot on sight. No trial, no expense to the taxpayers, no recourse. If you're caught red handed, you're executed on the spot. The same should go for cocaine and any other hard drug deemed highly addictive and a danger to our citizens. That may make smugglers think twice before bringing it in here. I know, there will always be those that are stupid enough to try. But, if they want risk death, that's their prerogative.

    I agree that Mexico (and not just northern Mexico) has been turned into a shooting gallery. I also agree that we have been an influence in that. But, that is not solely our fault. The last time I was in Mexico, in the Acapulco area, a shop merchant explained to me about the drug war in Mexico. Beyond the Federalies that are fighting it, the vast majority of the deaths that you don't hear about are from the wars between the cartels themselves. There's more going on down there than is reported in our newspapers, and we have very little to do with it.

    I agree that drugs do finance terrorist groups that target our citizens. But, just like the gangs, legalize drugs and you take that income away from them, at least to some degree.

    Anon 2:07 you are exactly right. Recreational drug use is widespread throughout our culture. From the poorest welfare kid to the richest CEO’s. There is no class distinction when it comes to drugs.

    Sorry to be so long winded.

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