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ONDCP: Who Will the Next Drug Czar Be? Not William Bratton

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #559)
Politics & Advocacy

With Tuesday's election now behind us, and the incoming Obama administration turning its attention to filling all those cabinet and White House posts, speculation is already starting about who will replace outgoing drug czar John Walters as head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Actually, the speculation began even before the election was over.

William Bratton
On October 31, the Washington insider news organization Politico reported that Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton was on the short list to replace Walters. In fact, Bratton was the only name on the list.

It was an interesting, if not particularly inspiring, call. As police chief in Los Angeles, Bratton has not been a serious foe of medical marijuana, but in his earlier incarnation as New York City police commissioner in the mid-1990s, his NYPD arrested tens of thousands of people a year for petty marijuana offenses, subjecting them to an average 24-hour stay in the city's stinking jails before arraignment. Bratton is also an advocate of the "broken windows" model of policing, which in the mutated form it took in New York under his and Rudy Giuliani's leadership insists that the way to control serious crime is to control not-so-serious crime -- despite rumors of privately-held reformist views on Bratton's part, New York City's marijuana arrest rate increased by a whopping factor of ten, and have yet to decrease again.

But surveying Bratton's career for how he might behave as drug czar is already an exercise in futility. The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Bratton has said he is not heading for Washington to replace Walters. "That is not something I am seeking, it's not something I have been approached about," Bratton said. "No reason to leave Los Angeles -- they pay me very well."

So now, it's back to the drawing board for drug czar speculators. Drug War Chronicle will be touching base with various people in the next week to try to get a better handle on who may end up running federal drug policy, or whether we even need a drug czar. Stay tuned.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

Whoever the next "drug czar" may be, this office is of no value nor is this whole agency. It is a total waste of tax dollars and should be eliminated. In reality, the same goes for the DEA.

Norman Lepoff, M.D.

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 1:39pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Maybe Obama should study it for four years. It would be better to have no drug czar at all than appoint one that would be inappropriate. In the interim the whole office could be directed to wait until there is some leadership and further instructions.

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 4:26pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Obama claims he will cut unnecesary gov't spending?

Towards the end of his campaign Obama started stating, obviously without any details, that all government programs will have to evaluated 'line by line' ... and spending cuts... or shiva willing the elimination of certain rogue gov't agencies... will theoretically be made!

But remember, and this is the main reason I did not vote for him, Obama nominated Joe 'the Drug Czar' Biden for VP.

Biden is an unrepentant prohibitionists. He is largely responsible for perhaps the greatest civil rights violations since the civil rights movement of the 60's, the creation of the Drug Czars office and the desparity in the 'crack cocaine law'... which essentially says white people who use cocaine are more equal then black people who use cocaine.

Chances are their will be a new Drug Czar.... question is how much tax payer money will they be granted... to further harass & persecute us?

I've recently read that the CDC, Center for Disease Control, estimates that 18 million people smoke marijuana 'daily' in this country. While the number of daily users may seem large it must be small compared to the number of people who partake on a weekly or monthly bases!

I'm no fan of the tax & regulate crowd, I believe that illegal marijuana prohibition is a legal / civil rights issue, but recognize that historically the tax & regulate route... may never look so good.

Consider how the repeal of americas national drug, alcohol, came about in the 30's. FDR was the 'new deal' president and desperately needed tax revenues due to the depression and high unemployment. FDR recognized that the failed religious experiment known as alcohol prohibition, like so many other failed religious endeavors, had run it's bloody course. FDR also correctly recognized that politically he couldn't implement his 'new deal' without alcohol to appease and lubricate the public. FDR's suppression of and threats to disband the Supreme Court... if it kept questioning FDR's constitutional authorities... was also instrumental to his success!

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 5:00pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I've always maintained that a drug czar should be acquainted with every drug---otherwise whence comes his authority? Hearsay. Not personal experience.
Obama should make an Iboga experience requisite for the job.

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 7:13pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

the first DEA chiefs were phyciatrists, MDs who actually undrstood drugs and addiction, but they came dangerously close to a sane drug policy and the trend has been toward ignorant boobs ever since. read Dan Bauns "Smoke and Mirrors" for details of this sad tale. KARL BURKHALTER

Tue, 11/11/2008 - 5:43pm Permalink
Giordano (not verified)

LA Police Chief William Bratton appears to have loftier goals than that of mere Drug Czar.  He’s been trying to position himself as head of Homeland Security by prophesying that bin Laden would attack the U.S. before election day.


Wed, 11/12/2008 - 11:55pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I think George Soros would make a great drug czar, and would doubtlessly be more in step with the actual will of the American public.

Thu, 11/13/2008 - 3:28pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The Fr. Mayor of Baltimore The Hor."Kurt Schmoke"If you choose to grow your own, there should be no laws againt doing so! Cocain and the other man-mades, stop the flow of money, you "STOP " the flow of DRUGS! $20 Billion + a year for the past 20yr.s What a waste! "Just Say Yes Grow your Own"!!!!!!!

Thu, 11/13/2008 - 5:27pm Permalink

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