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MARIJUANA: THE LEGALIZATION DEBATE PART 1 – NEW OPPORTUNITIES

With a spirited debate going on all around our state and across the nation about the legalization of marijuana, I thought it would be a good opportunity to do a series of articles on the topic, analyzing the main points and counterpoints. At the end of the series, I will give you my thoughts on the issue, but before that, it’s important to look at both sides of the issue critically and objectively. As with any topic involving this amount of money, separating the “spin” from the “reality” is not always easy. Throughout this series I’m going to be discussing legalization in terms of recreational as opposed to purely medicinal use. Some states have opted for medical legalization only as a po

OUR PROBLEM WITH PRISON HEALTH CARE

It’s not unusual for people come to me with things they want to see changed or need fixed. That’s part of the job in public service. Generally, it’s something fairly easy to take care of, like a permit or stop sign or something like that. However small it may seem, it was sufficiently important to them to take time out of their day to seek a solution. The take-away from citizens like this, those who look to solve problems cannot ever get complacent – where there are issues, we need to address them. We need to take them seriously and find solutions. That lesson, of course, is even more meaningful when it comes to really difficult complicated problems like the one that came across my desk

WHY CREDIT MATTERS IN MOUNT VERNON

You’ve probably heard a fair amount in recent weeks about Mount Vernon’s loss of its bond rating by Moody’s Investors Service. For those of you familiar with credit ratings, a lot of this column might be a review, but for those of you who are not, let’s use Mount Vernon’s current financial situation as one of those “teachable moments” – one that you can, hopefully, utilize in your own personal finances, as well. The same principles apply when you are talking about applying a credit rating to a city as when you’re talking about a single individual. And, the negative consequences for doing the wrong things are equally painful. Let’s start with the basics. What is the City’s bond rating? Just

I BELIEVE IN OUR CITY

Having been completely consumed by the City’s budget nightmare for the last few months, I haven’t been able to spend much time reflecting. It’s an important thing for all of us to do, but this political life has me running in so many directions usually that I don’t get to do it as much as I would like. Reflection gives you perspective and allows you to focus on real priorities without getting lost in the weeds. It gives you strength to take on the next challenge. This job isn’t an easy one. It taxes your relationships and cuts into your family life. It keeps you up at night. It impacts your health. It saps your energy and spirit. So, why do we put ourselves through it? Why do we end

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