The Northwest Herald’s article about the Crystal Lake City Council’s lessening marijuana penalties and redirecting fines to city coffers from the county treasurer has raised the ire of local government observer Paul Greenlee. His letter to the Mayor and City Council follows:
Mayor Shepley and members of the City Council:
I was thinking over the weekend that it would be good for me to attend an upcoming City Council meeting.
I have been a sharp critic of the Mayor and many on the council in a number of different forums. However, I wanted to pass on kudos to you in public for some of your recent decisions.
I appreciate your effort to not allow Crystal Lake to transform into “Pottersville” in “It’s A Wonderful Life” by keeping things like pawn shops off the main shopping areas.
After all, there are a number of easily accessible store fronts in areas in town where these businesses could set up and be successful. (I think the cash for gold shops also should qualify for this, but I also understand things like current leases for existing businesses was just one need to be consider).
I was also extremely grateful that you have resisted the urge that has overcome lesser communities such as McHenry in your opposition to video gambling. (Yes, lesser in that such an endorsement embraces values and opens the door to practices not befitting McHenry or any other good town).
Between the element to which that practice appeals as well as the adverse consequence in making such gambling so easily available, this also was a wise decision.
Given some comments elsewhere, it almost qualifies as a bold statement, especially with the temptation to a community to add to its revenue.
I am glad that you have not sold some of the moral fiber of Crystal Lake for a bowl of pottage.
You also deserve sincere credit for your recent annexation of property prohibiting the erecting of a large and obnoxious billboard on the eastern edge of town. I concur with the thoughts this would have been an eyesore and also had the potential to cause safety concerns through creating distractions. Again, I express my appreciation for that as well.
So I was thinking of coming and expressing thanks to you for your good work in these areas.
I think a public acknowledgement of a good job, especially from a critic, should be made. It keeps dialogue from digressing and allows us to build on a common ground for the good of the community.
However, this morning’s [Northwest Herald] article about your consideration of decriminalization of marijuana in Crystal Lake concerns me that your good work will be set back should you accept the recommendations made in this area.
I respect what Chief Linder’s concerns and interests are in this area. He wants to ensure that he can bring maximum resources to bear on his priorities.
I also appreciate Mayor Shepley’s comments recognizing that this is not a cut and dried issue and needs discussion.
As a resident of the community, I need to add my voice to the discussion and I cannot support this change in law enforcement.
Marijuana use does not qualify as a “mistake” someone made in their past. This can be an addictive substance in the same vein as alcohol. It can lead to use of more potent drugs. It is a substance more easily passed around by under aged users, such as teenagers.
The less penalty that is involved with it, the more available it is.
The more available it is, the more likely it is to be used and even promoted in the high schools (there is a bad pun to make there, but I am trying to be serious) and even the middle schools.
It is more easily concealed than alcohol.
I am concerned that it will be easier for someone to use marijuana while operating a vehicle than alcohol.
Yet will their judgment also be impaired?
Of course it will.
It is another easy to use substance that will only have more potential to harm innocent people.
And based on the first impression of this request, it seems there will be less of a penalty for someone driving impaired by marijuana than by someone impaired by alcohol.
I also note that part of the genesis of this idea is to allow the CLPD to concentrate on more serious crimes by concentrating on less serious issues.
I think the article mentioned we would be talking about 50 fewer cases a year.
Are we going to free up our law enforcement resources by removing from them what amounts to ONE TICKET A WEEK?
I also would suggest that as decriminalization of marijuana makes it more available, you are asking for an increase in crimes and the need for police involvement.
I don’t mean people shoplifting Fritos or getting speeding tickets while going to Taco Bell.
Finally, to me it is a morals and values issue.
I went to Northern Illinois University, albeit many years ago.
I have to tell you that not everyone who attends college uses marijuana.
Not everyone who goes to college drinks.
I did not do either, nor do I do so now.
I think it is wrong to say that the use of pot is a “youthful indiscretion”.
Name for me any indiscretion that does not have future consequences.
There is a moral stigma to drugs and it is for good reason.
Easy acceptance of substances such as marijuana does not represent the community I moved into four years ago.
In response to recent violent acts and open embracement of many abhorrent practices, there is a picture circulating on Facebook.
It shows a scene from “The Andy Griffith Show”, father and son in that familiar scene as they walk together to go fishing.
In that picture is the caption “We need more Mayberry and less Jersey Shore.”
I could not agree more.
If you also agree, you will reject the suggestion to decriminalize marijuana.
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Crystal Lake City Council meets at 7:30 tonight, August 7th.