Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Whenever a new medical marijuana dispensary applies for a San Francisco permit, a troop of naysayers is ready with a predictable script: dispensaries cause crime, harm children, and destroy neighborhoods.
However, the city's Planning Commission tired of this long ago -- because it's simply not based on fact. "We have not had direct testimony of law enforcement that they believe there is an increase in crime in areas because there is medical marijuana dispensaries," Commissioner Michael Antonini said March 1 in response to such claims.
Local zoning decisions are not made based on this misnomer, but federal-level law enforcement moves are. Dispensary-related crime, and instances of this crime near children, are exactly why local United States Attorney Melinda Haag shut some 10 state-legal Bay Area cannabis dispensaries since Oct. 7, 2011.
Haag presented no data along with her claims, and a recent study conducted by UCLA researchers won't help her either. Based on crime trends in Sacramento in 2009, the study found "no observed ... associations between the density of medical marijuana dispensaries and either violent or property crime rates," and further found that dispensary security measures like door guards and security camera may be crime deterrents.
Crime predictions are often based on "routine activity theory," the study says. According to this theory, crime will occur when several condition are met: "The presence of a motivated offender; a suitable target defined by its value, visibility, access, and/or likelihood of low resistance to crime; and the absence of guardians against crime."
Researchers Nancy Kepple and Bridget Freisthler looked at other crime-causing variables including employment, young men, and vacant housing. They crunched the numbers and found no discernible link.
"[D]ispensaries may be associated with crime but no more than any other facility in a commercially zoned area with conditions that facilitate crime," they wrote. That is not causal, and they did not factor "guardianship" -- i.e. security cameras, doormen -- in their study. If they did, one could extrapolate that dispensaries in fact reduce crime.
"If medical marijuana dispensaries have strong guardianship, such as security and monitoring systems, routine activity theory would suggest that the three necessary conditions for crime are not met," the researchers wrote.
The researchers stop far short of proclaiming any kind of direct relationship, but note that "these findings run contrary to public perceptions," notably a report from the California Police Chiefs Association, which says doom, gloom, and thugs with guns inevitably follow the opening of a pot club.
So why does this canard persist? Why do politicians say, "liquor store yes -- pot club, no"?
An Oakland dispensary owner we talked to about the study recently suggested another problem-causing zoning use: schools -- specifically middle or high schools. "These kids are a menace," he said, referring to the teenagers who sometimes engage in vandalism on their way to or from a downtown charter school. "Ask anyone one this block who'd they rather be near."
Hmm. We hear much about how the crackdown is intended to "save the children" -- but who then is saving us from the children?
We put in a request to SFPD to discuss the current study, but haven't yet heard back. We will update when we do. In the meantime, we're left with the 2009 white paper from the California Police Chiefs Association, which stated unequivocally that dispensaries are nothing but trouble.
Confirmation bias is a hell of a drug.
This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly's The Snitch. By Chris Roberts
Authorities say the wife of Trayvon Martin's shooter is being accused of lying to a judge about their finances during his bond hearing and faces one count of perjury.
An order issued Tuesday by assistant state attorney John Guy charged Shellie Zimmerman for knowingly making false statements during the April hearing.
George Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting. He was granted $150,000 bond at that hearing and released.
The judge revoked that bond earlier this month after state attorneys argued that both Zimmerman and his wife had lied to the judge about their finances, especially about money raised from a website.
George Zimmerman is back in jail.
By KYLE HIGHTOWER- AP
Monday, June 11, 2012
[Warning! If you have not yet seen Prometheus, this post is not going to make any sort of sense and you will be undoubtedly spoiled. Additional warning: I am not entirely sure I understood what was going on in Prometheus and so even if you have seen this movie already, it's quite possible this won't make any sort of sense.]
Last night, at a packed Manhattan theater for an opening night showing of Prometheus, a friend turned to me and said, “It’s really kind of weird you even want to see this. Don’t you hate outer space?” The answer is yes! I won’t bore you with the reasoning behind my terror of outer space (except to remind you we’re in it, hurtling through it, right at this very minute. Brawwwwng!). Suffice it to say nothing makes my heart beat a little faster than a wide shot of a vast (oh so vast) planet- and star-filled sky. And who does a gleaming spaceship gliding through terrifyingly cold skies better than Ridley Scott? For that matter, who does totally bananas things better than Ridley Scott? And really, is there a better scary sci-fi movie than 1979′s Alien? It’s doubtful.
But anyway, that was my reasoning: love of good movies trumps irrational fears. I was also determined to keep my eyes open through the whole movie. But in the spirit of honesty, I failed hard on that account. My eyes stayed firmly shut during the following scenes: When the snake-y thing in the cave wrapped around poor Millburn’s (Rafe Spall) arm, audibly breaking it and then diving through the helmet to plunge down his throat. Nope, no can do. Ditto Noomi Rapace’s self-administered C-section. (By the gasps I heard around me, it seemed to be pretty impressive.)
But on the flip side, I couldn’t take my eyes off Michael Fassbender as David, the incredibly polite and ever-malevolent robot aboard the ship Prometheus. I was already well primed to love this character after seeing this video. But after seeing it, I have to give Fassbender the movie’s MVP award. (Also, all robots should pattern themselves after Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.) I also very much enjoyed Charlize Theron, so cold and slim that it wasn’t even that much of a stretch to wonder, as Capt. Idris Elba does, if she’s a robot. It was beautiful, it was exciting, and sure — for this amateur sci-fi-watcher, anyway–a little confusing.
After the movie finished, so began a discussion about what it all meant in relation to 1979′s Alien. In her review of the film, EW’s critic, Lisa Schwarzbaum says, “But oh, mortals, beware the WTF? awaiting any who try to shed light on the heavy, heavy heaviosity of Prometheus‘ mythology.” Well, sure. But much like the characters on board the ship, I still want to know! And what about that ending? Are we supposed to believe that it’s this planet, this fallen ship, and this hybrid of alien and Original Human (as I like to call them) that eventually populates the land in preparation for when the Nostromo arrives? And why were the “Engineers” so much buffer than us, their creations, anyway?
by Sara Vilkomerson - EW Popwatch
A California water agency director has resigned his elected office several days after a neighbor posted online video that shows the official apparently hitting his stepson with a belt for dropping a baseball during a game of backyard catch.
The neighbor turned in the video to sheriff's investigators last week, and Anthony Sanchez was arrested on Friday on suspicion of felony child abuse.
Ryan Childers says no charges have been filed against his client and the facts of the case will emerge during the sheriff's inquiry.
Sanchez was elected to the board in 2006 to represent Calexico and other cities.
This Bible Study is for those of you that want to go deeper into your faith.It's a group without judgment or agenda,whether Gay, Straight, Bi, Trans or Questioning.
Founded: Jan 2010
About: All inclusive Bible Study
Description : " There is a movement happening in the Spirit of God "
This group is for those of you that are involved in this movement whether Gay, Straight, Bi, Trans or questioning. This is a place without judgment or agenda. We are solely here to seek after Jesus Christ and His plan for us. We are Christian men & women that love God.
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Mission :To learn about Jesus Christ and to grow together
The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal challenging President Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship and his eligibility to serve as commander in chief.
Without comment, the high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from Alan Keyes, Wiley Drake and Markham Robinson. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the challengers did not have legal standing to file the lawsuit.
The U.S. Constitution says only "a natural born citizen" may serve as president. The challengers allege that Obama, whose father was Kenyan, was born in that African country, rather than in Hawaii. They claim his Hawaii birth certificate is a forgery. Hawaii officials have repeatedly verified Obama's citizenship.
Keyes and Drake ran against Obama on the American Independent Party ticket and Robinson serves as the party's chairman.