Pot stickler

Letters to the Boston editor, December 14, 2007
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  December 12, 2007

Regarding your editorial “Marijuana Reform”: in 1875, Boston’s own Lysander Spooner proposed the following, with respect to alcohol prohibition, in his essay “Vices Are Not Crimes: A Vindication of Moral Liberty”:

The statute book of Massachusetts makes 10 years the age at which a female child is supposed to have discretion enough to part with her virtue. But the same statute book holds that no person, man or woman, of any age, or any degree of wisdom or experience, has discretion enough to be trusted to buy and drink a glass of spirits, on his or her own judgment! What an illustration of the legislative wisdom of Massachusetts!

If Spooner floated back to Earth today, he’d likely be amazed at how little things have changed: delighted that the responsible users of alcohol are no longer hunted down like dogs, yes, but incredulous that nearly a million people are arrested each year for the vice of cannabis.

Jim Mileski
North Quincy

No contest
Give me a break. I like David S. Bernstein as a writer very much and have no reason to doubt his veracity, but I have a couple of issues with his article “Menino’s Hit List”. Bernstein says there have been no major problems to cause dissatisfaction with Mayor Menino, but I would mention Boston’s high crime rate, shootings, drug use, and the abysmal dropout rate in the so-called Athens of America.

Potential candidates for the mayoralty, and those who would help them, are warned off. Those who oppose Menino are threatened with reduction of their constituent services. What kind of city are we living in when it comes to this? The cradle of liberty, my ass.

Menino talks a great game of diversity, but his definition is a diversity of percentages: so many percent of each color and race. That’s only part of diversity; equally important is the diversity of choice, speech, and thought. Where was the diversity during the 2004 Democratic convention, when a pizza-shop owner in the North Station area was forced to take down a sign for a candidate of the opposing party? Where’s the diversity during Boston’s mayoral elections when this bully will not debate?

This city needs a change, and it needs it sooner rather than later. But the 40 candidates that Bernstein named, with one exception, make me ill. They’re a bunch of eunuchs (city counselors) and union pimps. The one person I totally disagree with because of his political genes, but admire in a lot of ways, is Tom Finneran. Menino has always taken credit for everything and is accountable for nothing, whereas Finneran was, right or wrong, a stand-up leader for his colleagues. I believe Finneran, because he is Dorchester born and bred, would do something positive about the public schools, the dropout rate, and the crime.

For Bernstein to write and publish Menino’s words and threats, and for every decent citizen in the city of Boston not to take them seriously, all I can say is God help us all.

Mike Arnold

Text of the week
This past week we asked readers to text in their thoughts on David S. Bernstein’s article “Menino’s Hit List,” in which he proposed 40 potential candidates who could, if they dared, challenge Tom in the mayoral race of 2009. Here’s one reader’s response:

I think if Michael Flaherty ran against Menino in 2005 Menino would have won hands down but Flaherty is the only candidate that could beat Menino.

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