Friday, February 10, 2006

And now, from the "Iowa Stubborness exists, it's not something Meredith Willson made up" files, and Yahoo! News...

Sudiegirl sez: I know some of my fellow Iowans who have moved away and come back are really happy to be back. However, I have moved to stay. Don’t get me wrong…I had some very fulfilling times in the Hawkeye state, and some very good friends. However, the basis of this argument is PRECISELY the reason I moved away.

Ban rock concerts and football games?
Thu Feb 9, 8:58 AM ET
An Iowa sheriff's decision to hand out tickets instead of arrests for small amounts of marijuana invited a lawmaker's slap that it would be simpler to ban rock concerts and football games. (Uh-huh, and watch how many people would slap back if that “goal” actually became a reality. His head would fall off after the first 100 slaps, I think.)

Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek, who oversees the University of Iowa in Iowa City, told a legislative committee he would treat possession of small amounts of marijuana like a traffic violation, allowing hundreds of students arrested each year to graduate without a criminal record. (Well, I’m not entirely sure I agree with it, but maybe for volume’s sake more than anything. I mean, COME ON! If you live in a college town where there’s a game day – whether you’re a student or a “townie” – the foot traffic and auto traffic is bad enough. But the cops having to bust people for small things (like having small amounts of pot or simple public intox) ties them up so they can’t take care of big things like drunk drivers, theft, fights, and other things that happen when a game goes on. I’ve seen enough weirdness on game days, thank you. I’m glad I don’t live near U of Maryland now, or I’d have to put barbed wire around my condo.)

"The guy that's carrying 50 bales of marijuana ... that's a different animal," Pulkrabek said, adding he favored rounding up intoxicated people in a locked "detox center" in lieu of the crowded jail. (I hate to say it, but I agree with that too, to a degree. If someone is intoxicated but not a threat to others, a detox center is probably a better idea for first offenders. It’s a “Mayberry” approach to law enforcement when one remembers Otis Campbell, the town drunk, but it might be a better idea than one thinks for. ESPECIALLY if it cuts down drunk driving and public incidents.)

But Republican legislator Clel Baudler, a former state trooper, shot down the notion as sending the wrong message to drug users and abusers. (I can see his side too, but what about the people who are basically doing harm to nobody but themselves, who just made a stupid decision? If you’re a college freshman and got caught up in the frenzy of a home game, and it’s your first offense, what good is it to throw the same book at that person versus a habitual offender?)

"We could simplify law enforcement's job if we didn't have rock concerts. We could simplify their job a lot quicker if we just didn't have football games there where we arrest hundreds of drunks over the weekend." Baudler said. (How about we simplify things by voting your tight ass out of office? Let’s look at the big picture, shall we? Iowa is usually not on a short list for big concert tours coming through the state. We have only three state universities plus one private one that have an active sports schedule through the academic year, and NO professional ball teams. If you pull boners like this gent did – making a statement that sounds like a pissy kindergartener – you are hurting the potential for revenue from events such as this. If it weren’t for events like concerts and sports matches, restaurants would suffer. Retail would suffer. Hospitality businesses would suffer. Furthermore, Iowa would sound much less welcoming, and people would gradually stop coming to visit the state and hurt tourism. Could it lead to people not wanting to move here or open new businesses here? Perhaps. So keep your mouth shut and work out a compromise, Tight-Ass.)

Sudiegirl’s final opinion?

I know I sound liberalish, but deal with it.

I know marijuana is an illegal substance, but you know what? People have gotten it, and people will continue to get it. You either don’t have it on your person, or if you do and you get caught, deal with it in some way (fine, jail time, whatever).

If you’re dumb enough to not learn from the bust once, you get whatever comes to you. But extremes in either direction are never the answer…the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the tight-asses.

And finally, to my fellow Iowegians that may be reading this, please understand that in some ways, Iowa has a special place in my heart. My family lives there, my nieces and nephew go to school there. I benefited from many aspects of my hometown's school system.

I'm not saying the whole state has to turn into Sodom and Gommorah, but sometimes you have to open up to other ideas as to how to handle things.

No idea is perfect, but if both sides work together, it will send a more positive message out to other cities and states and show that Iowans are not stubborn and insistent on their way being the only way.

And on that note..."We can be cold as a falling thermometer in December if you ask about our weather in July!"

Sudiegirl (an Iowan, a Marylander, and many other things)