Anything You Want About Drugs—as Long as You’re Against Them
what some are calling censorship, the U.S. Senate recently
passed legislation that restricts advertising opposing the
U.S. War on Drugs. In January, the Senate passed the Consolidated
Appropriations Act-2004 (H.R. 2673), which includes a provision
that denies federal funding to any transit agency displaying
ads that advocate drug-law reform. This makes federally funded
buses, trains and subways off-limits for advertising by drug-policy
The controversial provision was proposed by Rep. Ernest J.
Istook Jr. (R-Okla.) after seeing an ad supporting the legalization
of marijuana on a Washington, D.C., subway. He thought it
was counterproductive for the government to put money toward
an anti-drug message and then use taxpayer money to fund institutions
that allow promoting the legalization of drugs, his press
secretary Micah Swafford said.
Bill Piper, associate director of national affairs for the
Drug Policy Alliance, feels this provision sets a dangerous
precedent where groups critical of U.S. policies are restricted
from advertising on public space. DPA promotes “realistic
alternatives to the war on drugs,” Piper said, adding that
it was “not surprising [that the bill passed] because it was
pushed under a federal spending bill and never got a fair
vote,” referring to this year’s decision by Congressional
leadership to reconcile multiple spending bills within one
conference committee. These committees send final versions
to both the House and Senate for one final vote, creating
an opportunity for members to add controversial provisions
knowing that their colleagues would be unlikely to vote against
an entire spending bill.
Another provision within the bill gives taxpayer money to
the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to
run anti-drug ads. Jon L. Katz, a First Amendment lawyer in
Silver Spring, Md., believes this provision is unconstitutional.
“The Supreme Court has confirmed again and again that government
cannot engage in content-based censorship,” he said.
Swafford disagreed, explaining, “The first amendment doesn’t
prevent the government from advocating a position.”
The DPA is working to eliminate the provision when appropriations
are voted on next year, and the ACLU of the National Capital
Area is considering legal action.
pets can make finding a new home difficult, as many landlords
forbid animals in their buildings. Yet according to FIREPAW,
Inc., a nonprofit organization devoted to improving animal
welfare through research and education, this decision frequently
arises from several misleading preconceptions that can have
far-reaching effects on tenants because, FIREPAW President
Dr. Pamela Frank said, companion animals are often considered
to be members of the family.
In a recent FIREPAW survey, landlords cited damage bills as
the driving cause of restrictive pet rules. However, FIREPAW’s
research found that converting a building to a pet-friendly
environment can actually result in a net profit.
FIREPAW found that children cause at least as much damage
and disturbance as the average pet. Still, restricting the
occupancy of tenants with toddlers to those willing to pay
additional “baby fees” would be an unacceptable practice.
Pet deposits are common, however, and they usually more than
compensate for pet damages.
The initial rental cost in buildings where pets are permitted
tends to be greater by 20 to 30 percent. On average, twice
as many people apply for vacated apartments in pet-friendly
buildings as those who apply for pet-free living areas. Landlords
who allow pets fill their rentals more quickly and retain
their tenants for a significantly longer period of time, states
FIREPAW’s research. This leads to less spending on advertising
as well as less money lost to vacated rooms.
In response to their survey results, FIREPAW started the Companion
Animal Renters Program [CARP] to communicate these advantages
to landlords, as well as teach interviewing techniques for
new applicants and suggest various pet policies.
are good drivers and bad drivers, good employees and bad employees
. . .” Frank explained, adding that FIREPAW attempts to “reframe
the way that [landlords] think so that they come to see that
there are no problem animals; there are good tenants and bad
tenants, or tenants who need to be educated in order to coexist
in an apartment situation.”
CARP teaches ways in which transformation of pet-free buildings
to pet-friendly buildings can be economically sound, and seeks
to alleviate tenants’ animal-related concerns so that pets
can retain their position as humans’ best friends.
For more information on FIREPAW and CARP, visit www.firepaw.org
or call 462-5939.
Saratoga Springs this time last year, Stephen Towne, the city’s
accounts commissioner, was trying to change Skidmore College’s
voting district and move its polling place off-campus. This
year, however, Towne, whose office is in charge of voting
districts, is working with the college to find a better on-campus
location for the polling place.
After Election Day saw Republican challenges to student voters,
and what many characterize as voter intimidation [“An Education
in Intimidation,” Newsfront, Nov. 13, 2003], some in the college
community worried the town would try to move the college’s
polling place again [“Poll Faulting,” Newsfront, Nov. 20,
In the spirit of cooperation, however, Towne, college officials
and Saratoga County’s Democratic and Republican elections
commissioners are seeking a spot with less traffic to give
voters more privacy and where the 100-foot boundary can be
more clearly marked, with good handicap accessibility as well.
am very pleased that the polling place on campus is secure
and that we can now focus on what is most important: promoting
discourse on the critical issues facing our nation and community,
registering voters, and getting the vote out,” said Pat Oles,
dean of student affairs. “We think a place on campus makes
that more likely, so the bottom line for us is that we’re
just really pleased that it’s still on campus.”