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Readers Overwhelmingly Support Reduction of Police Districts

February 12, 2014 Crime, Politics/Policy 2 Comments

In the unscientific poll last week readers gave approval to Police Chief Sam Dotson’s reduction in police districts:

Q: Your thoughts on the number of St. Louis Police districts being reduced from nine to six

  1. Good move, better distribution of officers 53 [76.81%]
  2. Won’t make any measurable difference in reducing crime 9 [13.04%]
  3. Unsure/No Opinion 5 [7.25%]
  4. Other: 2 [2.9%]
  5. Should’ve stayed with 9 districts 0 [0%]
  6. Should’ve increased the number of districts to match wards 0 [0%]

Here’s the two “other” answers:

  1. No change in crime; but less expensive for the City
  2. Probably won’t reduce/ increase crime, but it MAY reduce some operational costs.

It’ll be interesting to see if it has a measurable impact on crime statistics. Regardless, I do think it’ll boost the perception of improved law enforcement.

— Steve Patterson

 

My Memories of the 2008 Kirkwood City Hall Shooting

Six years ago today a tragic shooting took place in the Kirkwood City Hall during a city council meeting:

After storming the meeting and killing five people Thursday night, Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton was fatally shot by law enforcers. Friends and relatives said he had a long-standing feud with the city, and he had lost a federal free-speech lawsuit against the St. Louis suburb just 10 days earlier. At earlier meetings, he said he had received 150 tickets against his business. (CBS News)

Mayor Mike Swoboda was severely injured, he died 7 months later:

Mr. Swoboda’s health deteriorated following a fall he took in early May, according to his son. He also had cancer. Mr. Swoboda was moved to a hospice on the campus of St. Anthony’s Medical Center on the Tuesday prior to his death. (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

I don’t remember news of the shooting because I was in the intensive care unit at Saint Louis University Hospital, my doctors had put me into a drug-induced coma on the 2nd, after my stroke the day before.  I first learned of the shooting when I transferred to SSM Rehab at St. Mary’s on February 25th. At this same time the news was reporting Swoboda would be transferred to a rehab hospital, like the brain injury unit where I’d just arrived.

I spent nearly a month at the brain injury rehab unit at SSM/St. Mary's
I spent nearly a month at the brain injury rehab unit at SSM/St. Mary’s

Swoboda ended up being treated for his brain injury at another facility.  Not all patients in therapy had brain injuries, some had been in car accidents, had limbs amputated as a result of diabetes, etc.

I thought of the Kirkwood shooting when I recently read last month about Castle Rock, CO now allowing guns to be openly carried into public buildings & parks:

The Castle Rock Town Council heard several hours of public comment on Tuesday concerning the repeal of the firearm open-carry ban before its vote of approval.

According to the Denver Post, Town Manager Mark Stevens favored repealing the ban. A majority of the police department and town staff were opposed to the repeal. (Source)

A good way to discourage public participation.

 — Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Your thoughts on the number of St. Louis Police districts being reduced from nine to six

February 2, 2014 Crime, Featured, Sunday Poll 4 Comments

For decades the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department has had nine districts.  Effective last Monday the number was reduced to six. A week ago Chief Sam Dotson wrote on his blog:

The redesigned police districts will be more fully staffed, more streamlined, more efficient and more precisely balanced in terms of calls-for-service and crime numbers. The new system more readily lends itself to our core strategy of hot-spot policing. The transition has given us an opportunity to re-assign key personnel and give the new districts more cohesive and well lead management teams.

And yet for all the history-making significance of redistricting, the impact on the public will be so minor, I doubt most people will even notice.

You can see maps on Dotson’s proposal here.

I know St. Louis often resists change, so the poll this week asks for your thoughts on the number of St. Louis Police districts being reduced from nine to six. You can take the poll in the right sidebar. 

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: Missouri Should Fully Legalize Marijuana

Marijuana is everywhere, in the news, these days:

With a majority of Americans now in favor marijuana legalization, President Barack Obama is now saying weed is no more dangerous to individuals’ health than alcohol. (Huffington Post — Obama: Marijuana No More Dangerous Than Alcohol)

This is a blazing moment for American stoners. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. (Business Week – Legal Weed’s Strange Economics in Colorado)

To be sure, ending prohibition won’t singularly eliminate the underground market or end racism in law enforcement. But it is a constructive step toward those goals, especially considering the aforementioned White House ad correctly acknowledging that marijuana isn’t egregiously dangerous. Sure, the government’s “safest thing in the world” line may have been an overstatement – but it was certainly closer to the truth than all the fear-mongering about our decision to embrace reefer sanity here in Colorado. (Salon – Reefer sanity takes hold in Colorado)

New York is one of the only states in the Northeast without a medical marijuana program. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was opposed to medical marijuana, and attempts to create a law have failed to get through the state Senate for years. Now Cuomo has reversed himself, proposing a medical marijuana research program run under exacting federal guidelines that would be the most restrictive in the country.(NPR — New York’s Medical Marijuana Experiment Begins With Caution)

News articles will continue on the topic as more states legalize medical & recreational marijuana, Illinois Dept of Health released draft medical marijuana rules yesterday. What about here in Missouri? 

Thirteen initiative petitions related to the legalization of marijuana and hemp products were approved for circulation by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander Wednesday, clearing the way for voters to decide on the issue during the November 2014 election.

For marijuana legalization to make the ballot, petitioners have to get enough signatures to account for eight percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor’s election from six of the state’s eight congressional districts. (KSDK)

The advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis submitted the petitions for approval but hasn’t yet determined if they’ll work to collect the needed signatures:

But before we launch a full campaign, however, we must assess whether likely 2014 voters will pass any of these measures at the ballot box in November. For that reason, we are hiring a firm to conduct scientific polling on the official ballot language approved by the Secretary of State. Polling is most accurate when respondents are presented with the specific question as it would appear on the ballot, so that is why we could not conduct this polling earlier.

We hope to receive results of the poll by the beginning of February, and if around 60 percent of likely 2014 voters surveyed say they will vote for our measure, we will very likely pursue a campaign this year. 60 percent is considered to be a very safe benchmark because even if support decreases somewhat by Election Day, which is common with initiatives, it will still pass. I am optimistic that the polling will show strong support, but that hunch needs to be tested scientifically. (Show-Me Cannabis)

The weekly polls here are not scientific, but since the same poll last April support of full legalization jumped from 53% to 63%!

Comparison of the results from a non-scienticfic poll conducted in April 2013 and last week.
Comparison of the results from a non-scienticfic poll conducted in April 2013 and last week.

From these results it appears increased full legalization support comes from the legalize medical/decriminalize recreational camp. It’ll be interesting to see the scientific polling of likely Missouri voters. Other states will likely have medical or full legalization on their November ballots.

Why am I so interested? Several reasons: prohibition on marijuana doesn’t make sense from a law enforcement, policy, health, or economic perspective. With the latter — the “green rush” is creating new opportunities, employing people, etc.  For full disclosure: about 14% of my portfolio is comprised of marijuana-related stocks: (CANV, CBIS, FSPM, GRNH).

— Steve Patterson

 

Poll: How Should Missouri Treat Marijuana?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

The poll this week is an exact duplicate of a poll from last April, I want to see if there are any changes as a result of legal recreational marijuana in Colorado as of January 1st.

The results of the poll in April were:

  1. Fully legalize 71 [53.38%]
  2. Legalize for medical / decriminalize for recreational use 32 [24.06%]
  3. Keep it illegal 21 [15.79%]
  4. Legalize for medical use only 6 [4.51%]
  5. Unsure/no opinion 3 [2.26%]

We’ll see if the current results differ from last year, the poll is in the right sidebar. Mayor Slay’s campaign website currently has a 10-question “mini-poll” on marijuana.

I’ll share more thoughts with the results on Wednesday the 22nd.

— Steve Patterson 

 

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