Follow That Story, Part I: McCarthyism in Syracuse 6/16/00

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Last week's edition of the Week Online reported on the brouhaha in Syracuse when members of the drug reform group ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy ran into highly-placed opposition to their nominations to serve on a local drug advisory panel (

In recent developments, ReconsiDer has continued to win the publicity war. In a June 13 meeting of the Onondaga County legislature's Health Committee provoked by the controversy, both ReconsiDer Executive Director Nicholas Eyle and prominent member Dr. Gene Tinelli, the two candidates blackballed earlier in the month, addressed the legislators.

"The response this time was generally pretty good," Eyle told DRCNet. "Rep. Smith (R-Clay) came right out and admitted that the War on Drugs has failed." Smith was the legislator quoted in the local press last week as saying that Eyle's and Tinelli's views "absolutely" disqualified them.

Health Committee Chairman Sanford, who had yanked the nominations at the behest of the local US Attorney, "came over and shook my hand," added Eyle. He also noticed a distinctly different attitude among other legislators. "Because of the heated reaction in the press and because they've started to realize we have several hundred members in their districts, they became much, much friendlier."

U.S. Attorney Duncan, meanwhile, responded with a defensive op-ed in the Syracuse Herald-American. Unfortunately for Duncan, opposite his piece was an editorial titled, "Inequitable Treatment of Offenders By Race is One More Drug War Failure."

Eyle is uncertain about his and Tinelli's prospects for actually gaining seats on the board, even now, but he says it is a win-win situation for the reformers. "Either they don't elect us and they lose their credibility, or they do elect us and they lose their mission. If one of us gets in there, Duncan will be the first US Attorney in the country to lose control of his commission," Eyle argued. "The minute people start hearing, for example, how DARE doesn't work, it's all over for them."

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Issue #141, 6/16/00 On Campus: Drug and Alcohol Arrests Increase, Hampshire College Students Establish Fund to Assist Drug Offenders Losing Aid, Campaign Spreads | USA Today Editorial Supports HEA Campaign, Other Press, What You Can Do | Goodbye to Peter McWilliams | Colombia Answers: Civil Society Asks US Congress to Reject "Plan Colombia" | Alert: Colombia Vote in US Senate MONDAY | Two Strains of Cannabis Politics: Hemp and Marijuana in Kentucky | Holland to Hooligans: Mellow Out, Dudes -- Dutch Authorities Use Cannabis to Tranquilize Potential Soccer Rowdies | Washington State Democratic Party Adopts Sweeping Drug Reform Planks | Follow That Story, Part I: McCarthyism in Syracuse | Follow That Story, Part II: Faint Glimmers of Hope in Texas | Hawaii: Nation's First Medical Marijuana Legislation Signed Into Law, Visiting Governors Suffer Symptoms of Contact High | Kansas City Star Strikes Again: Asset Forfeiture Series Exposes Police End-Runs Around State Laws | NEW JERSEY Alert: Whitman Joins Ecstasy Panic, Calls for New Penalties | Ecstasy Panic: Coverage and Other Info | Alert: Help Save Freedom of Speech from the Drug War | Alert: Minnesota Medical Marijuana | Media Scan | Hepatitis Outreach Resources | Event Calendar
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