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first_imgHeather Gray | Daily TrojanJudge James Gray, the former vice presidential candidate for Gov. Gary Johnson’s failed 2012 presidential campaign, came to speak to USC students about the United States’ failed drug policies, as well as the consequences of the drug war in America in Waite Phillips Hall Wednesday at 7 p.m. Hosted by the Young Americans for Liberty, Gray is the first speaker in a series that will be presented by the USC club. Gray, a libertarian, graduated from USC’s Gould School of Law in 1971, then served in the Peace Corps and in the Naval JAG. He now presides as a judge for the Superior Court of Orange County in California. Gray has been speaking publicly about the errors in the United States’ drug policies for years. He published a book, Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs, on the subject in 2001.Chad Lonski, the president of Young Americans for Liberty and a writer for the Daily Trojan, spoke on why this discussion was important for USC students to hear, especially as it touched on numerous issues relevant to the upcoming election.“I think a lot of students want to get over this hurdle of poor drug policy,” Lonski said. “At least with California and the marijuana laws that will be coming up on the next election, it’s gonna be a very controversial issue, especially in young liberal-minded students.” Gray explained how the issues the United States has with drugs is less with drug users and more with drug money that is involved — the main driving factor of the ongoing drug war. Gray supports regulating drugs for quality control, as well as cutting money off from illegal groups that profit off of drugs. “We’re ruining a lot of people’s lives in a way, taking a lot of parents away from their children, filling up our jails, taking a whole lot of resources that could better be spent elsewhere,” Gray said.Gray further detailed how the government is focusing on criminalizing drugs when instead they should be taxed and regulated, much like tobacco and alcohol currently are. “I think any time you impose boundaries on people’s personal lives, there will be issues, and obviously that is reflected in the drug war. Marijuana should definitely be regulated,” said Bella Estrada, a junior majoring in history who agreed with Gray’s stance on U.S. drug policies.Gray encouraged all eligible voters to support Proposition 64, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, as it will start the process of rectifying California’s drug policies. “One thing you can do is vote in favor of Prop 64,” Gray said. “If California goes away from drug prohibition, if they were to go for regulated marijuana, the federal government will have to start changing policy.”last_img read more

first_imgLA HABRA HEIGHTS – La Habra Heights could become the first city in California to install a fixed system that automatically tracks vehicle license plates and checks them against a statewide crime data base. The automatic vehicle recognition system, which will cost the city $45,970 to install at two locations, will photograph every license plate and vehicle that drives past. Four cameras will be installed at the two locations – two facing in each direction of traffic. If a stolen vehicle is photographed, the system automatically notifies the Sheriff’s Department, City Manager Ron Bates said. But officials also envision it as a tool to stop other crimes, like illegal dumping and child abductions, he added. “It should limit illegal dumping and/or help us catch the perpetrator very quickly,” Bates said. “It might have an impact on any type of robbery.” For example, if a vehicle comes into the city loaded with trash, then leaves empty, the system would catch that on camera, he said. It could also help in the event of an AMBER Alert, or could spot a car in which the occupants are wanted for other crimes. “Conceivably if their car came into our city, they would be detected and located,” he said. The city should have the system installed and operating by as early as July. But officials will not reveal the exact locations of the cameras for security reasons, Bates said. The city is using California Law Enforcement Equipment Funds – a state grant program – to pay for the program. While the automatic license plate recognition system is used in other cities, La Habra Heights would be the first to install the cameras at fixed locations. Other cities are using the system in patrol cars. Sheriff’s officials in La Mirada have installed one in a patrol car there, while one patrol car used by the Whittier Police Department also is equipped with the system, officials said. La Habra Heights’ geography makes it ideal to install the system at fixed spots, Bates said. “Most cities don’t have the limited access points that we do,” he said. “In covering a couple of locations on Fullerton, Hacienda and West roads, we can probably cover 85 percent of the people coming into and exiting the city.” Lt. Cheryl Newman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the system will be used solely for public safety. “It’s not a system where a jealous husband or wife wants to know who visited another house,” Newman said. “It’s not designed to infringe upon anybody’s privacy.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more