Zero Tolerance Ends Up Costing All of Us Real Money!

RECEIVED Sun., June 24, 2007

Dear Editor,
    The Statesman has been on a tear about waste of tax dollars from the city’s mission to make Downtown Austin unique and attractive, which, by the way, has been a remarkable success and saved us far more than it has cost.
    Where the really big waste of tax dollars may be found is in the huge and unnecessary high-rise jail Downtown. Instead of the losing war on drugs, we could emulate Europe’s policy of tolerance and allow other lifestyles.
    If not Austin, where?
    With this money, we could build a high-rise for low-income people every five years and give away the units. Or charge a nominal amount and build a high-rise every two years.
    It costs the same to run a jail as it does to build one, so do the math yourself.
   Ronald Reagan instituted zero tolerance, and what do we get for this huge expenditure of our tax dollars? Fatherless households and ex-cons. Why is Austin following Ronald Reagan anyhow?
   Let’s quit wasting huge amounts of money and instead build structures that will improve the community.
Janet Gilles
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