Comments by il_miglione

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Posted on January 21 at 4:55 p.m.

What this short article fails to mention is that the district has somehow tricked the parents of some of its poorest students into leasing these devices for $20 a month in spite of the fact that it is barred by CA law from demanding payment for materials deemed necessary for instruction. If students do not need them, the district should not be asking students to pay for them. If students do need them, the district is legally obliged to pay for them itself. So how does it justify asking students to do so?

On School District Approves $700,000 iPad Purchase

Posted on August 16 at 7:33 p.m.

This project is absurdly humongous. Whatever happened to the old slow growth Santa Barbara? The city is being hijacked by developers. We need a slow growth plank of candidates for the next citywide elections.

On New Vision for Old Vons Lot

Posted on June 18 at 12:14 a.m.

This column makes it sound as though the dispensary debate is between liberals and conservatives, but while this may be true on the council, it's not at all true of the citizens. I'm a liberal Democrat and I didn't vote for the so-called new conservatives on the council, but I support a ban. I live downtown, I see what substance abuse does to people and to our city every day, and I think that 99% of dispensary business is non-medical, which is to say, illegal. Moreover, I think marijuana is lousy medicine even for those who receive some relief of symptoms from it. There are plenty of liberal Democratic politicians who oppose the dispensaries as well as legalization, including Pedro Nava, who's come out of this debate looking a lot better than the Mayor or anybody on the city council. It's not liberals versus conservatives. It's people who support drug abuse versus those who don't. I suspect that, like me, the majority of liberals in Santa Barbara don't.

On When a Dog Loves a Woman

Posted on June 7 at 5:23 p.m.

The fact that illegal activity will persist under a ban is no excuse for condoning non-medical use of so-called medical marijuana. In other words, it's ALL black market already. The real choice is between making recreational use of marijuana, which is illegal, easier or more difficult--in other words, more or less prevalent. Those of us who live or work downtown and see the results of substance abuse on our city on a daily basis would like to see it less prevalent. The police department, the schools, the president of City College and the substance abuse clinics agree with us. These organizations are on the front line when it comes to substance abuse in our city. They know what they're talking about. The Mayor should listen to them.

On Mayor Pushes Dueling Pot Initiatives

Posted on June 7 at 3:48 p.m.

The ballot proposal is just a big cop out. The council should enact a ban now, before dispensaries become even more pervasive than they already are. And they can, with one more vote. The unwillingness of the Mayor to provide that vote is deeply disappointing.

The problem here is not medical marijuana per se, although it is not and never will be an FDA-approved medication in its raw form, and for good reason. The problem is the proliferation of for-profit marijuana traffickers doing business under the guise of providing a health service. There are very few conditions for which marijuana serves a legitimate medical purpose. It helps stimulate appetite in AIDS and chemotherapy patients, and it can help people with glaucoma. Even in these cases, there are serious problems. Accurate dosing is impossible, and smoking involves inhaling carcinogens as well as inhibiting lung function. But what percentage of current dispensary customers are using it for one of these reasons? Certainly not enough to keep over a dozen retailers in business. The vast majority of sales are not medical at all, and are therefore legally indefensible. That's why people have turned against the dispensaries.

This should be a no-brainer for the city council, and it has been for the vast majority of cities along our coast. Almost nobody wants one of these places in their neighborhood, and I have no doubt that an initiative would show that, if the options were put clearly to the voters. The quality of life of downtown residents is already compromised by the excesses of the so-called entertainment zone, gang activity, and the apparently intractable homeless problem. Most council members appear to be oblivious to what life downtown is actually like. We need to arrest Santa Barbara's descent into the vice capital of the central coast, not to aid and abet it.

We shouldn't have to wait until November to solve this problem, and we shouldn't have to do the council's work for it. They should pass a ban now and get to work on the many other problems facing our city.

On Mayor Pushes Dueling Pot Initiatives

Posted on June 3 at 7:25 p.m.

In response to Bill Clausen:
Just because one unhealthy drug is legal does not mean that others should be too. For one thing, nobody is pretending that beer is medicinal. And for another, there is the cumulative effect of having all these substances legally available to consider.

On Indecision Strikes Again

Posted on June 3 at 1:09 p.m.

Dear Mr Durden:

This from the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at Indiana University:

Long-term effects of marijuana use include some of
the respiratory problems that are usually experienced
by those individuals who smoke tobacco, such as
emphysema. Marijuana may contain up to 50 percent
more carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) than of
that found in tobacco smoke. Some of the adverse
effects of marijuana use include lung infections,
greater risk of obstructed airways, and more frequent
acute chest illnesses.

And this from the Harvard Law School:

The main respiratory consequences of smoking marijuana regularly (one joint a day) are pulmonary infections and respiratory cancer, whose connection to marijuana use has been strongly suggested but not conclusively proven. The effects also include chronic bronchitis, impairment in the function of the smaller air passages, inflammation of the lung, the development of potentially pre-cancerous abnormalities in the bronchial lining and lungs, and, as discussed, a reduction in the capabilities of many defensive mechanisms within the lungs.

Marijuana smoke and cigarette smoke contain many of the same toxins, including one which has been identified as a key factor in the promotion of lung cancer. This toxin is found in the tar phase of both, and it should be noted that one joint has four times more tar than a cigarette, which means that the lungs are exposed four-fold to this toxin and others in the tar. It has been concretely established that smoking cigarettes promotes lung cancer (which causes more than 125,000 deaths in the US every year), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) and increased incidence of respiratory tract infections. This implies, but does not establish, that smoking marijuana may lead to some of the same results as smoking cigarettes. It is notable that several reports indicate an unexpectedly large proportion of marijuana users among cases of lung cancer and cancers of the oral cavity,pharynx, and larynx. Thus, it appears that the use of marijuana as a medicine has the potential to further harm an already ill patient in the same way that taking up regular cigarette smoking would, particularly in light of the fact that those patients for whom marijuana is recommended are already poorly equipped to fight off these infections and diseases.

That's enough evidence, in my view, to support a ban on public health grounds alone.

On Indecision Strikes Again

Posted on June 3 at 12:51 a.m.

Mr. Hotchkiss appears to be listening to his constituents. Too bad the majority of his colleagues don't seem to think that's part of their job.

Mr. White patronizes ban supporters when he explains their position as a symptom of "angst" and "anxiety." He should take voters seriously, not psychoanalyze them.

A ban is perfectly rational. What's not rational or responsible is allowing the sale for profit of an illegal drug of unproven medical benefit that happens to cause cancer when smoked. Santa Barbara should allow the sale of medical marijuana when the FDA approves it. Until then, reason and science council a ban. Angst has nothing to do with it.

On Indecision Strikes Again

Posted on December 13 at 12:03 p.m.

Two words: eminent domain.

On Move it or Lose It

Posted on September 24 at 11:40 p.m.

I teach at UCSB. I held my classes today, but I allowed students to join the walk-out without being marked absent. The regents have just said they'll be voting on a 30% fee increase in November, and I think students have every right to protest that, although I don't think the university has the resources to avoid it.

It was a chaotic day today, not because of the walkout, but because budget cuts mean we don't have enough people to teach the students and class meetings were jammed with students trying desperately to enroll. I've never seen it this bad. I'm afraid that when it comes to overcrowding, the UC is going to start looking like our infamous prison system.

Readers should keep in mind that the state has been reducing its percentage of the UC budget since 1990, and it now stands at a historic low--below 20% of the total:

The returns that taxpayers continue to receive on their minimal investment are incalculable. Almost every medical and technological innovation of the post-war period has the UC's signature on it somewhere. The state has educated untold thousands of Californians at a fraction of the cost of private education, including not a few of the Republican lawmakers in Sacramento who are now intent on denying the same deal to today's kids. Without our system of public higher education, California and the world would be a poorer, sicker place.

So there's plenty at stake and plenty to be upset about. What we're are watching is an accelerating privatization of higher education in our state. The culprits are not in the UC President's office, as some protesters seem to think, but in Sacramento, where a minority party has a stranglehold on the state budget process. The long-term victims of privatization will not be the faculty or the staff--we might eventually be better off without Sacramento on our backs--but the people of California, who will find a UC education increasingly unaffordable for their children, and who will also see their children having to compete with more and more out-of-state students who can afford to pay the full cost of their education. The UC will become a system for economic elites, as Michigan already has.

Think about your kids, your nieces and nephews, your grandchildren. How much money do they have in their college funds? (My kid's got less than enough for a single year at the school I teach at.) Do you really want a UC that's just for rich people? That's not what I signed up for, and it's not what I found when I arrived at UCSB twenty years ago, but unless the situation in Sacramento changes soon, that's what we're all going to get.

On Protesters Target UC Regents

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