How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Issues I’m not sure about

I am generally not wishy-washy on most issues There are, however, four issues that I’m not sure where I stand on – how to make baseball more appealing, term limits for elected officials, addressing the overabundance of deer in my home town and whether marijuana should be legalized.

My favorite sport, baseball, is not attracting younger fans. Most suggest that the lack of interest stems from the slowness of the game. As a result, baseball owners have approved various minor rule changes designed to speed up the game e.g., limiting the visits to the pitcher’s mound, shaving the time between innings, setting a 30-second limit for managers to decide whether to challenge a play and instituting a non-pitch intentional walk rule.

None of these changes have dramatically reduced the length of game. Thus, more radical ideas have been discussed including employing a 20-second clock to regulate the span between pitches. While I don’t want to see the demise of baseball, I would not want to see the time between pitches timed. For me what makes baseball special is the lack of a clock. I’m conflicted on what to do.

I’m not sure where I stand on term limits for elected officials. In my work in the non-profit sector, I have seen no correlation between the performance of charities and whether they have terms limits on their governing board.

On one hand, I feel that institutional knowledge is extremely important to organizational success and that if someone is doing an exceptional job in a position, it makes no sense to remove them. On the other hand, the idea of bringing in a new fresh perspective periodically is intuitively appealing. My compromise or cope-out position is that I believe that elected officials should be required to take a respite from their office periodically, but be permitted to seek the office after a hiatus. This will give them an opportunity to refresh and retool.

I’m not sure what to do about the proliferation of deer in West Windsor, where I reside. Many nights on the way home from work I encounter many deer on both sides of the road. Frequently deer shot across the road in front of my car.

My backyard is a haven for deer. Sometimes, two baby deer and 3-4 others lounge. They eat my plants and defecate all over the place. Princeton hires an outside company to annually to cull their herds down to twenty deer a square mile. My suspicion, based on the number of deer I see within a mile of my home, is that we have more than twenty deer a square mile in West Windsor, but I have no evidence to support that statement as I do not believe a census has been conducted.

What should be done about the overabundance of deer? I’m not sure. Do I want the Township to hire an outside firm to cull the herds? No. What about contraception? I don’t know how expensive that is and whether it works? I’m conflicted on how to deal with the deer problem.

I have mixed feelings about the legalization of marijuana. I recently toured Portugal with Rick Steves of public television fame. He has been a strong and consistent long-term advocate of the legalization of marijuana. He makes a cogent case for loosen the marijuana laws, “I simply appreciate how much of Europe treats its drug problems in a pragmatic way, with success measured by harm reduction rather than incarceration.” He points out that the majority of the 800,000 people arrested in the USA annually on marijuana charges are poor and/or people of color.

On the issue of whether marijuana is a “gateway” drug he says “Europeans know that the only thing gateway about marijuana is that it’s illegal. Because when it’s illegal you gotta buy it from a criminal on the street who has a vested interest in selling you something more addictive and more profitable. The gateway argument just doesn’t hold up.”

Nevertheless, I’m concerned that legalization could trigger an increase in teen marijuana use at a time when we are finally seeing a fall-off in tobacco and alcohol use among teens. The increase in use concerns me because the research on the health and emotional consequences of long-term use of marijuana among teens is mixed. Some studies have shown memory loss and changes in the brain linked to emotion, motivation and decision-making and others have shown that young men who use consistently are less like likely to hold full-time jobs. Further, a 2017 major report by the National Academy of Medicine reported that “Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” I’m also concerned about driving while under the influence of cannabis. In Washington State, deaths on the highway among recreational marijuana users doubled after legalization and in Colorado marijuana is involved in one of every 5 deaths on the road.

While I’m conflicted, I have little question that given its multi-billion federal and state tax revenue generating potential of cannabis it will probably achieve the same legal status as cigarettes. I do hope that the potential hazardous consequences of use of marijuana are rigorously studied by The National Institutes of Health.