This summer, we’ve been treated to lamentations by official Burlington — and wildly outlandish claims from rural conservatives — about the onslaught of violent crime that threatens the peace and tranquility of the Queen City (group A) or has turned Burlington into a lawless hellhole (group B).
Well, the ACLU of Vermont is calling bullshit. In a thorough and well-researched letter to Mayor Miro, ACLU-VT’s general counsel Jay Diaz demolishes the lamentations and presents a strong case for the idea that actually, Burlington is a lot safer than it was a few years ago despite the shrinkage in the Police Department.
Man, the facts can be so inconvenient, can’t they?
The letter is well worth reading in its entirety, but here are some highlights.
My Sunday Times Argus brought the cheery news that the American Automobile Association, well-known haven for hippies and pot-smokers, had released a report throwing shade on saliva testing for detecting marijuana-impaired drivers.
You may recall that the Legislature came verrry close to enacting a law that relied on spit tests, even though a report commissioned by the state questioned their efficacy.
The AAA report’s conclusion: “There is no scientific way to prove if someone is under the influence of [marijuana] while driving.”
The spit test indicates the pressence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in a driver’s system. The problem is the lack of a clear relationship between the quantity of THC and a driver’s level of impairment. Some drivers are just fine with a hefty dose of THC, and some are iffy with very low levels.
Of particular importance: those who use marijuana medicinally are likely to have high levels of THC in their systems, but still be just fine behind the wheel.
This isn’t good news for Vermont’s law enforcement community, which staunchly defends the spit test. So now comes Greg Nagurney, Vermont’s traffic safety resource officer, to cover that pig with lipstick.