Re: "Making real change" (Sept. 29), in calling for a "yes" vote on the constitutional convention ballot question, Proposal 1, Jack Lessenberry made the same mistake as other con-con proponents: He failed to outline the state government overhaul that a con-con would be needed to produce. This vagueness should make us wonder whether those who favor a con-con don't really know what they want or have a hidden agenda.
Reforms such as repealing term limits, allowing for a graduated income tax or switching to a unicameral legislature could all be accomplished by amendments, which Lessenberry acknowledges is easy to do.
While everyday citizens could easily run for con-con delegate, we should remember that there are plenty of term-limited ex-legislators who are currently out of office and would have an easier time winning. After all, they would be running in their old districts, where they would still have plenty of name recognition and far better access to campaign funds than the average citizen.
The concern that holding a con-con would produce an uncertain business climate, thereby discouraging economic development during the worst downturn since the Great Depression, is a legitimate one. It has also been estimated that holding a con-con would cost $45 million at a time when the state has serious financial problems. If voters reject the new constitution, the entire process will have been a big waste of time and money.
For these reasons, I recommend a "No" vote on Proposal 1. —Dave Hornstein, Birmingham
Re: Metro Times' new Higher Ground column, the drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers. In 2009, there were 858,405 marijuana arrests in the United States, almost 90 percent for simple possession. At a time when state and local governments are laying off police, firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis. The end result of this ongoing culture war is not necessarily lower rates of use.
The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a long overdue step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the drug war obsolete. As long as organized crime controls distribution, marijuana consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs, such as methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition. —Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
Gimmie that old-time Libertarianism
I thought David Seaver's letter was shitty ("What about the movie?" Letters to the Editor, Sept. 29). Libertarianism, as a polemical philosophy, does not recognize the concept of an "illegal immigrant." The modern Libertarian Party line advocates an open borders policy as far as I know.
If he is interested in libertarianism, Mr. Seaver would do well to check out the writings of Murray Rothbard or SEK3 rather than listen to Alex Jones for political guidance.
Also, if he is concerned about libertarianism being represented in a positive light, he should start calling himself a paleocon, which would be more appropriate, given this stance on the immigration issue. As a libertarian, he is making the movement look like a bunch of assholes. —Todd Steven Kindred, Eastpointe
And the winner is...
This week, we at MT received some affirmations from the Michigan Press Association. In our Class A Weekly division, Metro Times took a first place award for design, a first place award for a special section for our Best of Detroit issue, and a first place for picture story for freelancer Andy Cook's "Faces of the Meltdown" (which visited locations from Baltimore to Detroit to Texas in portraits of economic devastation and uncertainty). MT also won a second place for news enterprise reporting for Curt Guyette's examination of state welfare policies in "Too poor to parent," a third place in feature stories for Sandra Svoboda's Shakespearean riff in "To Bobb or not to Bobb," and a features honorable mention for Detroitblogger John's piece on a struggling family of squatters, "Home Free." Finally, Travis R. Wright, arts and culture editor, was named one of three finalists for the MPA Rookie Writer Award — winner to be announced at the MPA annual convention in January. —W. Kim Heron, editor