I am writing in response to the Banner article entitled “Election Day registration bill stalled in state Senate” (June 26, 2008). I would like to thank you for putting something so important in your paper.
Although I am too young to vote, I can tell the importance of Election Day registration. Our society was built on the principle that each of us hold a portion of power to elect those who can change the world. Our forefathers would roll over in their graves if they knew that the right to vote could be denied to anyone due to red tape and deadlines.
This bill is a guarantee that allows Americans to use our democratic rights, no matter when they signed up.
In the Opinion column published in the July 3, 2008 edition of the Banner (“Bias in cocaine sentencing still remains”), Kara Gotsch states that “the harsh penalties [in stiffer sentences for crack cocaine than for powder cocaine] are responsible for breaking up many families and wasting the lives of many youths.”
No. It is illegal to sell, use or distribute cocaine in any form. Period. In the future perhaps, such might not be the case; but right now, it is reality.
In the meantime, what needs to happen is: 1) Individuals must be educated to understand that the use, sale and distribution of cocaine is destructive and unacceptable; and 2) The community must develop and provide outreach and health services to those who have become involved with and addicted to these substances.
To spend time arguing about sentencing disparities is to fall prey to a distraction that ignores the toll that the cocaine trade and use takes on individuals, families and communities. Continuing this sentencing façade merely provides policymakers, court employees, and federal and local law enforcement officers with careers and salaries that can best be put to use supporting health, education, family and community-based structures.