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Did Dane County Board Supervisor Dave Wiganowsky Oppose GOP When They Placed Anti Same-Sex Marriage Amendment On State Ballot In 2006?

February 6, 2014

I ask the question that headlines this post for the following reason.  Please read, and then ask yourself the same question I posed.

One of only eight Dane County Board supervisors considered conservative, Dave Wiganowsky may be facing the biggest threat of his 20-year career. Redrawing of Wiganowsky’s district in 2011 includes more of Madison’s far east side, swapping a proven rural base for liberal territory.

“Now I’m 80 percent city instead of 90 percent rural,” says the affable District 21 supervisor, who’s facing his first challenge since 2010.

Add to that, he says, the County Board’s decision to put a referendum on the ballot asking voters if marijuana should be legalized.

“The liberals are very smart,” he says. “They put the marijuana question on the ballot so that will pull a lot of the more liberal younger people out.”

First, I am not in favor of legalizing marijuana.  Never have been, and I can not see myself falling so far from common sense to ever agree to such an idea  I also see no reason to ask such a question on the ballot in Dane County this spring.   If anyone thinks the majority will not agree by at least 75% means they are–well–smoking something.

But it strikes me as quite odd that Dave Wiganowsky would oppose something being placed on the ballot just to lure out more voters.  After all, that was the whole purpose of the dog-and-pony show that the state GOP pulled in 2006 when it shoved a constitutional amendment on the November ballot so every three-thumber in Wisconsin could weigh in on the civil rights of those they had never met.

Now, it would be interesting to have someone actually pose my question to Dave Wiganowsky and find out what he thought about the GOP idea in 2006, given his mindset concerning the 2014 Dane County ballot.

Too underscore that I am not being overly political let it be known I have long favored taking redistricting out of the hands of the politicians and placing it in the hands of a separate panel for the state assembly and senate districts.  I also have advocated for a separate grouping to draw county representation lines.

In the meantime Dave Wiganowsky has some questions to answer.

6 Comments
  1. Skip permalink
    February 10, 2014 11:13 AM

    “concern about the drug in and of itself being used and the impact if has on people”

    What is the impact of marijuana use on people? How many people die every year from it? You sound like “Reefer Madness” and imply that everyone who uses marijuana is a junkie whose lives are in ruins. This is ridiculous. Millions of people use marijuana recreationally and lead normal lives. It’s been illegal since 1937 yet people have used it since. Look at what prohibition of alcohol did. Marijuana use is not destroying the lives of millions of people – it’s prohibition is.

    “I was aware of the stoners who did take it in my youth, and witnessed the way they did not care for anything as teens and suffered academically as a result. Their lives decades later never caught up to the rest of their classmates.”

    And this happened while it was illegal. Obviously the laws didn’t work.

    Speaking of which, where are your posts here in which you advocate for the prohibition of alcohol. You seem to have written a lot about drunk driving but I asked about the legality of alcohol, not of driving under the influence.

    “As to his contention this is somehow harder on people of color I would suggest looking at the racial component to all sorts of arrests and see that there is a pattern that is indeed racial.”

    So your answer is that racism with regards to the war on drugs is OK because police use race for all sorts of arrests?

    “If one were truly concerned about crime and the negative impact drugs play on minorities the last thing we would want would be for more access to the very things that are harming so many.”

    You don’t quite get it. The access is already there. Why do you insist the apocalypse will happen if people smoke marijuana? It’s just not rational. Smoking marijuana isn’t what’s harming people, it’s, amongst other things, throwing non-violent offenders in jail for possession who are disproportionately black. These people haven’t hurt anyone yet we spend money housing them in jail and we give them criminal records which makes it really difficult to be employed. We arrest something on the order of 750,000 people per year for marijuana-related infractions. Something like 650,000 of those are for possession alone. What good has this done? If one were truly concerned about crime and the negative impact drugs play on minorities, one would stop promoting policies that don’t work, and that needlessly ruin lives.

    “The growth in the number of users and the frequency is without doubt if legalization were to become law.”

    We don’t know. In the years after Portugal decriminalized personal drug use, teens did less illegal drugs and more people went in for treatment.

    “Legalization is just an easy knee-jerk reaction that I cannot subscribe to for the reasons listed here.”

    Legalization is not knee-jerk. Marijuana has been illegal since 1937 (remember the racism used to make it illegal in the first place: “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics) and the laws and their application have not stopped its use. We’ve had 77 years of this failure and we are left with communities devastated, not by its consumption, but by law enforcement and the highest incarceration rate in the world. Prohibition doesn’t work. We saw that the prohibition of alcohol didn’t work and we’ve seen over the past that 77 years of racist prohibition of marijuana doesn’t either.

    Look at the violence in Mexico because of the drug cartels. 65-70% of their trade is in marijuana. Again, look at what Prohibition did.

    “Why should society add another to that list so we can then find resources to combat the negative results?”

    As Sanjay Gupta wrote: “I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have ‘no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.’

    They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.”

    ************It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse****************

    In 2010 the states spent $3.61 billion going after pot smokers. That money can be turned around to provide addiction treatment for people addicted to drugs with a high potential of abuse.

    As you noted, the marijuana these days is more potent than decades passed. The same is true for all drugs. They’re purer, cheaper, and easily available. They’re available on street corners, in schools, and in maximum security prisons. Prohibition doesn’t work and minorities are paying the price of a failed policy born out of racism. People have been using drugs for millennia and will continue to do so.

  2. February 7, 2014 5:28 PM

    I might also ask the question, based on the comments thus far, if the concern is just what happens after one is caught in the legal/criminal system, or if there is concern about the drug in and of itself being used and the impact if has on people, and esp. our youth? Is this one of those arguments akin to abortion, keep it legal but lets find avenues to keep the use low? Is that what I am hearing from those who seek to legalize it?

  3. February 7, 2014 5:06 PM

    I answered Skips’ question concerning my reasons for not agreeing to legalization of this drug. I am not opposed to locking people up for drug crimes. I truly feel that drugs are an enemy of society. As to his contention this is somehow harder on people of color I would suggest looking at the racial component to all sorts of arrests and see that there is a pattern that is indeed racial. Go to Fitchburg and talk with those who are pulled over while driving for being black. If one were truly concerned about crime and the negative impact drugs play on minorities the last thing we would want would be for more access to the very things that are harming so many. We just differ on this issue.

  4. Alex permalink
    February 7, 2014 4:30 PM

    You completely dodged Skip’s point about filling up jails with non-violent drug offenders, and you’re better than that. The “resources to combat the (alleged) negative results” would come from all the money we’d save on the current “throw ’em all in jail for 20 years” strategy that’s currently failing miserably.

    Also, the idea that “the strength of what is sold today as pot is far different from what was smoked back when I was a teenager” is exactly why marijuana SHOULD be legalized and regulated. Once you legalize it, then you can enforce rules that it would require it to go back to what it was when you were a teenager.

    By legalizing marijuana you are not endorsing its use. You are not “advocating to our kids through legalization that drugs are an avenue that can be tried for stress release or fun in the way the bulk of society achieves with a long walk, great music, creating something in the kitchen, art, etc. etc.”

    You are simply saying, you know what? This may not be the ideal thing to do, but it’s also not so dangerous that we should lock people up for decades when they don’t pose a threat to anyone.

    And you want to talk about people suffering academically and their lives never catching up to their classmates, how about the fact that if you have a drug conviction, you are permanently banned from any financial aid to go to college–forever. No matter how much you may have reformed your life, you can never get any financial aid for college.

  5. February 7, 2014 10:12 AM

    I am opposed to the idea on a number of fronts.

    I am not interested in for profit operations selling, and seeking, more users. The growth in the number of users and the frequency is without doubt if legalization were to become law.

    I believe that people who seek refuge in a drug activity have larger issues that need resolving and will not find the comfort they need in marijuana.

    The strength of what is sold today as pot is far different from what was smoked back when I was a teenager. (For the record I have never smoked marijuana.) I was aware of the stoners who did take it in my youth, and witnessed the way they did not care for anything as teens and suffered academically as a result. Their lives decades later never caught up to the rest of their classmates.

    We already have a list of causes for drug addictions in this nation from legal drugs such as alcohol, and prescription meds. Why should society add another to that list so we can then find resources to combat the negative results?

    As for alcohol please read my blog. I think I have made it quite clear where I stand. The addictive problems with alcohol are lengthy, the inability to stem the problem due to legislative hurdles caused in part by the political process not functioning properly, and the culture that now swims in alcohol all are what happens when common-sense brakes are not applied.

    I just cannot understand why anyone wants to cop out from life and hide behind drug usage for some false sense of comfort. I am not in support of advocating to our kids through legalization that drugs are an avenue that can be tried for stress release or fun in the way the bulk of society achieves with a long walk, great music, creating something in the kitchen, art, etc. etc.

    Legalization is just an easy knee-jerk reaction that I cannot subscribe to for the reasons listed here.

  6. Skip permalink
    February 7, 2014 7:00 AM

    Why are you against the legalization of marijuana? We are filling up our jails with non-violent drug offenders, wasting millions along the way, and the War on Drugs is devastating communities of color. You’re on the wrong side of history here.

    Does it defy your common sense to keep alcohol legal?

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