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Letters, week of Feb. 25

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Coun. Mitro clarifies position on SCITS

Sir: I wish to clarify my statements and position regarding Sarnia City Council’s vote on a motion to conduct a study of the economic impacts of the closure SCITS or St. Clair (SCSS), as covered in the article, “Sarnia jumps into school closure fray.”

The Lambton Kent District School Board (LKDSB), owner of both properties and operators of these schools, has initiated the Accommodation Review Committee (ARC) Process, with its first public meeting held Jan. 13, 2016. Then, the initial recommendation of LKDSB staff was to close SCITS and relocate all it’s students to a renovated and expanded SCSS in the 2017-18 school year. LKDSB held another ARC Working Meeting open to observation by members of the public on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Options reviewed at that meeting can be found at:

http://www.lkdsb.net/Board-Info/arc/2015/Sarnia%20South%20Secondary/Sarnia%20ARC%20Working%20Meeting.pdf

This shows four additional accommodation options being reviewed, as presented by citizens at the first ARC meeting. This represents an open and fair review of what should be done in this difficult situation.

To the point of this letter, my position/remarks, as written/quoted by the Journal, are:

“Coun. Matt Mitro said he didn’t support wasting valuable staff time on a decision beyond the city’s control. ‘We know the school board is struggling with not enough students and not enough money … and we don’t have any ability to help them,’ he said. ‘We’re not going to give them any money.’”

In context of this Council motion debate I stand by these comments. The City of Sarnia doesn’t own or operate these two schools and therefore has no official standing in the debate on the use of these properties.

My current personal opinions as a citizen are:

I want SCITS preserved, preferably as the amalgamated High School.

Council approved a study, so let’s do it well and support its use in the ARC process.

Either school closing will have significant economic, social and cultural impacts, but I believe they will be worse closing SCITS.

Let’s concentrate on growing Sarnia so more schools, public facilities, businesses etc. don’t close.

Matt Mitro

Sarnia Councillor

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Teens are already obtaining marijuana easily

 

Sir: Re: Will Canada ‘go to pot’?

Like many newcomers to cannabis policy, guest columnist Nadine Wark is under the misapprehension that we are arguing over whether or not cannabis should exist, rather than discussing what might be the optimal – not Utopian – regulatory model for minimizing the costs and maximizing the benefits of cannabis in society.

While it is true that preventing sales to minors is difficult, and certain to fall short, Canadian teens report that cannabis is easier to obtain than alcohol, and they are about twice as likely to try cannabis than try tobacco before they graduate from high school.

Yes, cannabis has become more potent under prohibition, in much the same way that spirits and moonshine became more popular than beer and wine during alcohol prohibition.

Under prohibition, opium became heroin, coca became crack and khat became “bath salts.”

While it is true that many consumers of “hard drugs” tried cannabis first, cannabis is an economic substitute for alcohol and other drugs, such that when cannabis use goes up, drinking and other drug use goes down, along with the related social costs, such as impaired driving, crime, homicide, suicide, addiction, domestic assault, sexual assault, unplanned pregnancies, overdose deaths and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

The more dangerous the substance, the less it makes sense to abdicate control of it to criminals and teenagers who sell myriad drugs of unknown provenance, potency and purity, on commission, tax free, to anyone of any age, anytime, anywhere, no questions asked. We have more control over cat food than we do the so-called “controlled drugs and substances.”

Respectfully,

Matthew M. Elrod

Victoria, B.C.

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Pot column was conservative bunk

Sir: Re: Nadine Wark’s column “Will Canada go to pot?” Here’s a brief response.

The fact is, her column is full of debunked conservative propaganda, from the ‘teen brains’ nonsense, which has been debunked by two different studies that found the original study to have control group faults, to the pot is stronger argument, which is simply false, to the pot rots your brain and memory argument, which has also been proven false, and finally the oldie-but-goody gateway drug argument, which has also been debunked.

If there is a gateway drug it’s legal alcohol, not illegal pot. In my opinion they legalized the wrong thing, alcohol, which has been devastating. Alcohol has resulted in domestic violence, multiple deaths on our roads, multiple deaths due to liver damage and suicide, etc. etc. etc.

I’d write a better response, including links to back it up, but frankly I’m tired of responding to fear-mongers with an agenda.

If pot were dangerous, Cheech (age 69) and Chong (Age 77) would be long dead physically and mentally. Instead they are just as funny as they ever were after consuming cannabis most of their lives.

Kim May

Sarnia

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Marijuana argument didn’t add up

Sir: In response to the guest columnist by Nadine Wark.

While I agree that we have to be careful implementing a legal framework to make marijuana legal, she has misrepresented facts, or made statements that just aren’t true.

I haven’t seen many deny the fact that marijuana does affect the brain development of youth. This is true of many things, including nicotine and alcohol, which she seems to have no problem with. Studies show marijuana is less harmful than both.

She also misrepresented the facts about marijuana leading to harder drugs. Most users of that nature use drugs to mask or alleviate a symptom of a physical ailment or mental illness. With heavy use the effect of pot starts to diminish, so they move on to different drugs, not because it gives them an appetite for something more, but because they need something that works as well as the previous drug did.

Far too many people have gone to jail for a plant that most doctors agree has medicinal benefits. If you look at the statistics for crime in Colorado since marijuana became legalized, violent crime has declined. Granted, that has been the case since the early

90’s, but also serious crime has dropped as well.

The murder rate in Denver has dropped 24.4%, major property crime is down 8.1%.

To her notion that fringe people would take to the streets clearly isn’t the case, and if there are people selling drugs, that would still be as illegal as it is today, so I don’t understand her concern.

People possessing marijuana would be legal; you would still need a permit issued by the government to sell it.

Furthermore, if there are people doing illegal acts to try and make a living, isn’t that more about helping them than throwing them in jail?

Lastly, to her point about under-agers. Have we had a mass number of kids buying alcohol that only she knows about? This will still be policed. Education and parenting are key to children understanding the hazards of drug use.

Matt Lewis

Sarnia

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Sarnia needs more renewable energy

Sir: I think that more of Sarnia’s electricity should be generated by renewable sources such as solar and wind energy.

Renewable energy would benefit the city for many reasons. It would reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, create more job opportunities, and be reliable and more sustainable than non-renewable sources.

Electricity created by renewable sources could reduce global warming for a healthier environment.

Fossil fuels create a lot of air pollution, so reducing our dependence on non-renewable sources would give Sarnia cleaner air.

Electricity generated from renewable sources does not release CO2 or any other harmful gases into the atmosphere. Air pollutants can trigger respiratory problems, especially for those with asthma.

Fewer pollutants in the air would result in a safer environment for animals, humans, and plants. It will be healthier if Sarnia switched to renewable energy.

By using windmills and solar panels for energy, more job opportunities will be created in Sarnia, resulting in fewer homeless people.

Millions of jobs have already been created in the U.S. and European countries that switched to renewable sources. Worldwide, 6.5 million people are employed in the clean energy sector.

The sun and the wind are sustainable and are likely going to last for another billion years, with good care to our environment.

Fossil fuels, such as coal, will eventually be depleted. When a fossil fuel source runs out the plant has to be moved, which costs lots of money. Renewable energy sources, on the other hand, are there for a long time.

In conclusion, I think Sarnia’s electricity should be generated more by renewable energy sources because they reduce air pollution, create new job opportunities and are a lot more reliable and sustainable than fossil fuels.

Therefore, I recommend that our city switch before it is too late.

Aryan Patel

Grade 8, King George VI

Sarnia

 

 

 

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