Letters to the Editor

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From BLAIR THOMPSON, consumer communications manager of Washington Dairy Products Commission:

Thanks for your editorial (April 30, editor Pat Jenkins’ column, “For really big gripes, there’s News Council”) concerning the Washington News Council (WNC). We feel that the council plays an important role in assuring some level of accountability in those instances when the news media abuse their position in our society. Perhaps understandably, many media are reluctant to acknowledge anyone’s right to judge their actions, and accordingly media coverage of WNC activities tends to be sparse. Thanks for having the courage to raise public awareness of the WNC’s process and to portray its intentions in a fair and balanced manner.

Editor: As reported in the column, Washington Dairy Products Commission is involved in a council hearing scheduled for June 14 on a complaint filed against KIRO-TV by the commission, the Washington State Beef Commission and Midway Meats Inc. of Chehalis. They allege that stories aired by KIRO last year about health, safety and humanitarian issues in the beef and dairy industries were inaccurate and inflammatory.

From ROBERT SHARPE, program officer for Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, D.C.:

In reply to “Crackdown on drugs goes everywhere” (Mirror editorial, May 14):

Cracking down on the illegal drug trade is easier said than done. Attempts to limit the supply of drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. The obscene profits to be made guarantee replacement dealers. In terms of addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn’t fight crime, it fuels crime.

With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor bootleggers no longer gun each other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind drinking unregulated bathtub gin. While U.S. politicians ignore the drug war’s historical precedent, European countries are embracing harm reduction, a public health alternative based on the principle that both drug abuse and prohibition have the potential to cause harm.

Examples of harm reduction include needle exchange programs to stop the spread of HIV, marijuana regulation aimed at separating the hard and soft drug markets, and treatment alternatives that do not require incarceration as a prerequisite. Unfortunately, fear of appearing soft on crime compels U.S. politicians to support a failed drug war that ultimately subsidizes organized crime. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.

From NANCY WESTRICK, corporate accounts/enrollment manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of King and Pierce Counties:

Thank you so much for your support of our agency. The article on Big Brother of the Year (April 12, “Big Brother filling big role for youngster”) was wonderful.

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