Monday, September 27, 2010

Prop 19 Gains Support

SACRAMENTO - A new poll finds growing support for a November ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana in California, but a hard-fought measure to suspend the state's global warming law continues to trail.

Today's survey by the nonpartisan Field Poll also shows eroding fondness for an initiative that would change the threshold for the Legislature to pass a budget from two-thirds to a majority.

Prop. 19 on the Nov. 2 ballot would legalize marijuana and tax its production, distribution and sale. A Field Poll in July showed the measure trailing, 44 percent to 48 percent.

But with less than six weeks until the election, today's Field Poll shows more voters warming to the measure. It now leads 49 percent to 42 percent, with 9 percent undecided, despite little visible campaigning by proponents and opposition from influential law enforcement groups and every candidate for statewide office.
"(Proponents) are not doing much, but voters seem to be reconsidering and thinking that it's not such a bad idea," said Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo. "But they've got to get above 50 percent. They're close but not there. And there's going to be a 'no' campaign."

People's attitudes toward the initiative heavily reflect whether they live along the coast (support) or inland (oppose), are Republican (oppose) or Democrat (support), are young (support) or old (oppose) and a man (support) or woman (narrowly oppose.)
The measure also is riding a wave of rising acceptance of marijuana use in the Golden State over the past 40 years.

In 1969, only 13 percent of voters supported legalizing marijuana, with far more preferring tougher penalties, according to an accompanying Field Poll report. Now almost a majority of voters back legalization, and majorities of voters of all types back the state's medical marijuana law approved in 1996.

Double-digit percentages of voters oppose Prop. 23. Bankrolled largely by out-of-state oil interests, the measure would suspend California's global-warming law until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent for four quarters. Republicans are the only voter group that backs the idea, but not a majority, with 33 percent of GOP voters opposed, according to the poll.

Prop. 25, the budget majority vote initiative, had strong support from all voter groups in July. But the measure, which is heavily backed by unions allied with Democrats, has lost some Republican backing.

"I think we're in the midst of a Republican reappraisal," DiCamillo said. "Now they're thinking through implications of what a majority vote really means."
Today's poll of 599 likely voters was conducted Sept. 14-21 for The Press-Enterprise and other California media subscribers. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Californians in growing numbers are supporting Prop. 19, a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana.

September 2010
49 percent
42 percent
9 percent
July 2010
44 percent
48 percent
8 percent
source: Field poll

via[ Press-Enterprise ]

Officer Shoots Pregnant Unarmed Woman During Drug Raid

A pregnant, unarmed woman was shot during a drug raid in Spokane, Washington on Friday morning, and she remained hospitalized as investigators pieced together exactly what happened in the county's third officer-involved shooting within a month.

A Washington State Patrol detective sergeant shot the woman, who is 39 weeks pregnant, while "serving a search warrant" at the Victoria Apartments on Lincoln Street, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, reports Meghann M. Cuniff of the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

The shooting is being investigated by the Sheriff's office, along with members of the Spokane Police Department and the Washington State Patrol.

Officers found no weapons in the home, confirmed Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan. He claimed they did, however, find drugs -- crack cocaine, marijuana, and controlled prescription medications -- during execution of the search warrant.

But a woman who identified herself as the victim's mother, but who wouldn't give her name, said there were no drugs or weapons in the home.

"During the entry, a female suspect inside the apartment became non-compliant with officers' instructions," Reagan claimed. "When she attempted to flee out a bedroom window, officers attempted to restrain her. During efforts to prevent her escape, a shot was fired and the woman suffered a minor wound to her upper torso. She fell out the window and received first aid from containment officers stationed at the back of the apartments."

Sgt. Reagan offered no further details about why the detective used deadly force, which law enforcement officers are trained to use only if they believe their lives are in danger.

No explanation has been offered as to exactly how a fleeing, pregnant, unarmed woman -- attempting to escape out a window -- was a threat to any of the officers' lives.

The woman said the shooting occurred just before 9 a.m., after investigators had declared the apartment cleared.

Tensions ran high for hours after the shooting as the victim's family arrived and her mother told them of the gunfire.

"They shot an unarmed pregnant lady for no reason!" she screamed outside the apartment complex.

She said her daughter is expecting a baby boy, and experienced labor pains Thursday night.

"They better hope nothing happened to that baby," the woman said.

Reagan said he didn't have an update on the woman's condition.

It appeared the woman was shot in the arm or shoulder area, according to a neighbor, Jason Thompson. He said she was bleeding, but conscious and alert after the shooting.

Thompson said he saw the encounter as he was heading to his car, and believes the woman was unarmed. He said he didn't know her name, but that she appeared to be in her early 20s.

Neighbor Carmen "Boots" Nelson said she and her stepson were inside her apartment when they heard a gunshot.

Nelson said neither she nor her stepson heard officers yell any commands before the shooting.

"I heard one gunshot, a woman screamed and a man hollered out afterward," Nelson said. "I'm upset a pregnant woman was shot. I believe she didn't deserve it."{

The shooting blocked the apartment building's parking lot and closed Sinto Avenue between Monroe and Lincoln streets for more than eight hours.

Authorities would not identify the Washington State Patrol sergeant who shot the woman, but said he has been placed on paid leave, which is standard procedure.

The Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation under the "critical incident protocol" that calls for outside agencies to lead inquiries into officer-involved shootings.

Friday's shooting involved members of the multi-agency Quad City Drug Task Force, which investigates drug dealing in Lewiston, Clarkston, Moscow and Pullman.

via [ Toke of the Town]