I authored this article for the Cascade Business News.
The article is here:
On the final day of the school year in 2007, our local high school nearly had an outbreak of race-based violence. Our son witnessed this. He was very disturbed it. — so was I.
During the summer, I contacted our local school district officials – the outcome of which is this film….the frank testimonies of our students – for students in other high schools – who may face a similar reality.
It’s purpose is to be educational, contain uncensored, gritty student expression, cause dialog about race, ethnicity, prejudice, sexual orientation, attitudes and racism — and provide a tool – map — to a bridge — a creative pathway – high school students may use to explore these critical issues in their own lives – in their own school – their own community.
In every sense, this film is intended to be constructive and instructive. It’s when we cower from confronting the tough issues together – that learning becomes diminished.
Please use this tool constructively – and admire the courage of high school students “Speaking the Unspoken” among themselves – for the benefit of all concerned.
Your feedback is appreciated.
The following is a letter I sent to our Mayor and City Councilors today, after attending a public hearing on an ordinance to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in our City (Redmond, Oregon USA) for a year. We currently have none.
Here’s the letter:
March 26, 2014
Dear Mayor and City Councilors:
Re: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing in Redmond, Oregon
I brought my 17 year old “son” (international exchange student from Cologne Germany) to the City Council meeting last night – Tuesday March 25th. He had never experienced attending any meeting of elected officials in the U.S. before.
After the meeting, I asked him, “so what did you think?” “It’s a wonderful thing witnessing democracy in action,” he said, bubbling with obvious excitement. “When I return to Germany this summer, I am going to get involved in my local community.” I smiled with pride.
He was also impressed by the dignity that is shared by the Council members when confronted with those who have opinions contrary to those you may hold individually. Finally, he was moved by those clearly less fortunate – who mustered the courage to speak publicly at the forum. “I hope Redmond will provide those who suffer with the ability to buy their medically approved cannabis in Redmond,” he said…staring out the window of the car…
As a resident, voter, parent and father – I would like to thank you all for your comportment – and the impact the same has on a student from another culture and country – who has been positively impacted by your public service. Thank you VERY much.
To Councilor Onimus – your remarks, dissent, informed judgment and compassion must influence the ongoing deliberations of your fellow councilors on this issue of licensing a regulated medical marijuana dispensary in Redmond.
1. There is nothing written in stone that says the proposed “moratorium” MUST be for one year. Why not 6 months, nine or ten months?
2. A publicly declared framework for “educating’ the Council and the Community” may also be a consideration – one that itemizes a timeline along with specific activities, questions and objectives the Council will explore together – toward this fundamentally important end.
3. The ordinance, as currently written, omits the prohibition of “production” of cannabis within the City limits. However, patients with a State approved OMMP card are authorized to do so and/or designate a caregiver or grower to do the same for them – in Redmond. This appears to be somewhat of a conundrum that deserves further research.
The OMMA clearly states (and I quote): “The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) protects medical marijuana users who comply with its requirements from Oregon criminal prosecution for production, possession or delivery of marijuana.” (end quote).
4. I can only hope that Mayor Endicott’s position that “allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Redmond is a violation of Federal law, and our oath to uphold the Constitution.” As pointed out by a Mr. Matlock during the meeting – Oregon has had legislatively approved/operative “right to die” laws operative for many years – in clear contradiction to existing federal law. In fact, Matlock pointed out, the “right to die” choices have been – and are being made – by Redmond residents, their physicians, caregivers, families, the staff of St. Charles Medical Center in Redmond, and Redmond based convalescent and hospice facilities. “What’s next? Are you going to take this right away from us too?”
There are a myriad of other examples whereby current Oregon law conflicts with the proscriptions of Federal statutes. Again, I can only hope the Mayor will engage in behavior to further illuminate the porosity of his stated position. Yet, I honor his right to his stated position.
Finally, science continues to make advances that disrupt norms, mores, traditions – what we thought we knew – is being replaced by what we now know – it’s a fundamental part of human existence.
My hope is that you will use the moratorium period you decide upon to act in the best interests of those who suffer – whereby new advances in alternative, state approved and regulated medicinal approaches – may provide these sufferers with access to this medicine in Redmond, Oregon.
Remember the testimony of Lois Sweet:
“I’m now a participant in life. I want to spend my money in Redmond – NOT Bend.”
Again, I am proud of all you – and City Staff – as the superb public servants – and people – you continue to be.
You represent us well. Thank you.
William S. Dahl
This is my first reading of the work of James Hepworth – it won’t be my last. The access, insightful questions, and responses from Stegner are invaluable contributions to the life of any aspiring writer (and reader).
Hepworth is a former Professor of Humanities – teaching literature and writing at Lewis-Clark State College. He is well published and has a litany of awards for his writings. You can find an interview with Dr. Hepworth here.
This is a literary historical treasure. Enjoy! I certainly did. Trust me – you will too. Hepworth’s writing makes it a meal to remember. For more works by Wallace Stegner – go here.