Editor, Daily Nexus,

There are many reasons to vote for Dr. David Bearman for 3rd District supervisor. His views on the budgetary impact of current drug policy are just one reason.

Dr. Dave Bearman has been a crusader for years to reform American drug policy. His book Demons, Discrimination and Dollars: A Brief History of the Origins of American Drug Laws recognizes the so-called “War on Drugs” is really a war on minorities and the underclass.

This war has been a drain on the public coffers since introduced by President Nixon in 1972. In the process it has ripped to shreds the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and 10th Amendments to the Constitution while winking at the Hatch Act.

Dr. Bearman is not alone in his concerns. Supervisor Brooks Firestone has expressed similar concerns regarding criminal justice expenditures. Firestone was right-on when he suggested examining decriminalizing marijuana. If even a partial decriminalization occurred, this could save millions for Santa Barbara County taxpayers.

Firestone was correct again when speaking of the proposed North County jail and that “The real question is: Can we afford to operate this jail once we build it? This is going to be a very real problem for us.”

The U.S. has four times as many people in jail and prison than in 1970 and a disproportionate number are minorities. Is America really four times as criminal today as it was in 1970 when the Controlled Substances Act was passed, or have we just replaced ugly racial epithets with the more politically correct terms “drug dealer” and “drug user”?

The emotional, constitutional and financial costs of our failed drug policy are enormous. A conservative estimate puts costs at over $100 billion a year. This figure doesn’t include the associated costs of families who go on welfare because the principal breadwinner is in jail, nor the problem created by the shattered lives of people harassed for victimless crimes.

Dr. Bearman recognizes there are better ways to spend our tax dollars. For those with drug abuse problems, health care is both more cost-effective and produces better results than incarceration.

I urge you to vote Dr. Bearman for 3rd District supervisor.