STOP JOHN WALTERS FROM BECOMING 'DRUG CZAR'
His Drug Policies Are Out of Step With America
ACTIONS TO TAKE
-- If your Senators are on the Senate Judiciary Committee (see below),
call their offices and tell them to VOTE AGAINST JOHN WALTERS AS
DRUG CZAR. JOHN WALTERS IS TOO EXTREME. Please keep your calls short
so that others can get through. Every phone call counts and we need
to put pressure on Committee members right away.
PLEASE CALL NOW, as the vote could be scheduled any day.
-- Forward this e-mail to as many friends, family members, and co-workers
as possible. Ask them to read it and take action.
President Bush has nominated a Bill Bennett protege, John Walters, to
be our nation's next drug czar. Walters is an ardent drug warrior who
supports harsh sentences for non-violent drug offenders, opposes the
medical use of marijuana, opposes meaningful drug treatment programs, and
denies that racial disparities exist in the criminal justice system.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on his nomination his nomination
within a few days. We need you to call your Senators on the Judiciary
Committee and tell them to vote against Walters. Every call makes a
difference, make your voice heard!!!
WHY WALTERS SHOULD NOT BE DRUG CZAR
-- He opposes reforming mandatory minimums and eliminating the
crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity.
-- Even former drug czar Barry McCaffrey has expressed concern about
Walters' priorities being heavily skewed against treatment and
prevention, saying that Walters is "focused too much on interdiction"
and "needs to educate himself on prevention and treatment."
-- Walters has not expressed support for reexamining racial disparities in
the criminal justice system. He has very recently dismissed concerns
about the fairness of the system almost out of hand. In his words,
"What really drives the battle against law enforcement and punishment,
however, is not a commitment to treatment, but the widely held view
that (1) we are imprisoning too many people for merely possessing
illegal drugs, (2) drug and other criminal sentences are too long and
harsh, and (3) the criminal justice system is unjustly punishing
SOME BRIEF TALKING POINTS
-- A majority of Congressional Black Caucus
Members have declared Walters, "unfit for a
position that requires sensitivity to racial
-- The President of the Betty Ford Center has
warned, "Mrs. Ford and I are convinced that
Mr. Walters may not have the confidence in the
treatment and prevention strategies that we
believe are necessary for the creation and
implementation of a balanced and thoughtful
approach to U.S. drug policy."
-- National Education Association, National
Urban League, other groups say, "Mr. Walters
has advocated for policies that would result
in locking up more African American youth."
-- Organizations opposing the confirmation of John
Walters, include AIDS Action, Latino Voters
League, National Black Police Association,
National Women's Health Network, Pesticide
Action Network, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and
Witness for Peace.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 -- A San Francisco Chronicle editorial
"A throwback drug czar"
THE SENATE must soon decide whether U.S. policies on fighting
drug abuse will return to the failed, lock-'em-up focus of previous
years or continue their current trend toward emphasizing treatment
In the next few days, the Judiciary Committee is expected to vote
whether to confirm John Walters, President Bush's nominee as director
of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
It is the last Cabinet position to come before Congress, but the vote
has been delayed in part by controversy over Walters' hard-line views.
The decision is expected to be close and will likely be decided by
four swing votes: Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California, Charles
Schumer of New York and Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, plus Republican
Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
These senators have reason to consider voting for Walters, mainly to
continue the post-September 11 congressional show of unity behind the
president. The position of drug czar is a crucial one, directing the
federal government's billion in anti-drug programs and serving as a
moral leader in the just-say-no campaign focused on America's youth.
But the need to rally around the flag and fill an important job do
not compensate for Walters' many failings:
He wants to escalate U.S. military involvement in the Latin American
drug war at the expense of funding for domestic drug treatment and
education (which have repeatedly proved to be the most cost-effective
way of reducing drug use).
He opposes reform of racially imbalanced sentencing guidelines, such
as those that are 100 times stiffer for crack than for powder cocaine.
He says he will use federal authority to punish doctors in states
such as California who prescribe medical marijuana.
In a Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this month, Walters
underwent a typical "confirmation conversion," trying to curry favor
with his critics by recanting or downplaying some of his extreme
views. His track record is too long and too distasteful to be cleaned
up that easily, however.
Confirmation of Walters would reverse the nation's trend toward
giving priority to drug treatment and education programs. These new
policies, which California boosted last year with approval of
Proposition 36, are the most effective, economical and humane ways of
fighting the scourge of drug abuse.
The Senate should reject Walters as drug czar.
Copyright 2001 SF Chronicle
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
Alabama: Jeff Sessions (R) - tel: 202-224-4124
Arizona: Jon Kyl (R) - tel: 202-224-4521
California: Dianne Feinstein (D) - tel: 202-224-3841
Delaware: Joseph Biden (D) - tel: 202-224-5042
Kansas: Sam Brownback - tel: 202-224-6521
Kentucky: Mitch McConnell - tel: 202-224-2541
Illinois: Richard Durbin - tel: 202-224-2152
Iowa: Charles Grassley (R) - tel: 202-224-3744
Massachusetts: Edward Kennedy (D) - tel: 202-224-4543
New York: Charles Schumer (D) - tel: 202-224-6542
North Carolina: John Edwards - tel: 202-224-3154
Ohio: Mike DeWine (R) - tel: 202-224-2315
Pennsylvania: Arlen Specter (R) - tel: 202-224-4254
South Carolina: Strom Thurmond (R) - tel: 202-224-4944
Utah: Orrin Hatch (R) - tel: 202-224-5251
Vermont: Patrick Leahy (D), Chairman - tel: 202-224-4242
Washington: Maria Cantwell - tel: 202-224-3441
Wisconsin: Herb Kohl (D) - tel: 202-224-5653
Wisconsin: Russell Feingold (D) - tel: 202-224-5323
We vote - they don't listen.
Our states make laws - they don't listen.
We protest - they don't listen.
Our government has become a Demockery - and our people won't listen.