June 10, 2004: Headlines: COS - Costa Rica: Politics: Election2004 - Gray: Drug Laws: LA City Beat: Judge Jim Gray will be the first to tell you that libertarians, and the Libertarian Party, donít have all the answers

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Costa Rica: Special Report: RPCV and Superior Court Judge James Gray: June 10, 2004: Headlines: COS - Costa Rica: Politics: Election2004 - Gray: Drug Laws: LA City Beat: Judge Jim Gray will be the first to tell you that libertarians, and the Libertarian Party, donít have all the answers

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Judge Jim Gray will be the first to tell you that libertarians, and the Libertarian Party, donít have all the answers

Judge Jim Gray will be the first to tell you that libertarians, and the Libertarian Party, donít have all the answers

Judge Jim Gray will be the first to tell you that libertarians, and the Libertarian Party, donít have all the answers

JUDGE JIM GRAY

by Dean Kuipers

Judge Jim Gray will be the first to tell you that libertarians, and the Libertarian Party, donít have all the answers. Not yet. But what they do have are principles Ė the Goldwater principles of less government, fewer taxes, and less infringements upon the Bill of Rights Ė and in a Senate race loaded with compromises and cynicism regarding corporate and special interest power in government, Newport Beach Superior Court Judge Gray believes that will matter. A Gov. Deukmejian appointee, he left the Republican Party when the GOP-controlled Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, incensed at the further erosion of Americansí privacy and civil rights.

He has also seen the negative effects of the Drug War up close, having adjudicated drug cases since 1983, and is the author of a scathing attack, Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It Ė A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs. These are radical stances for a judge, and will be hell to implement in the terror-and-drugs-fixated U.S. Senate, but Gray says heís up for the fight. Even if incumbent Barbara Boxer takes on some of his issues, he says, he will have won the election. ďCan you imagine the impact it would have upon not only the state of California but the nation if I were to win this race?Ē he says. ďIt would give a backbone to so many legislators around the country Ė both with regard to our civil liberties, the war on drugs, and the increased size and cost of government. This could be a truly positive revolution in the making.Ē

ĖDean Kuipers

CityBeat: Itís not an easy or cheap thing to run for senator. Why do that if youíre really less likely to win than a Republican or Democrat?

Jim Gray: Because our country is off the track. I was a lifelong Republican until a little less than two years ago, when I could no longer be a part of any group that would give force or credence to the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is a direct frontal assault on our civil liberties. It does not make us more secure, but circumvents the entire judicial review process so that the federal police can snoop into so many private areas of our lives. And they can use whatever they find for any type of prosecution whatsoever Ė terrorism or anything else.

How do you roll that back?

It always takes vigilance to protect liberty. Right now I am talking with Rotary Clubs, political groups, and religious groups and trying to inoculate them by saying it may very well be that we suffer another attack on our land and there will be an enormous movement to declare martial law or the equivalent Ė and we must resist that. Because to destroy our civil liberties in order to save them is an unacceptable course.

Where do you think your opponent, Sen. Barbara Boxer, is vulnerable?

An almost complete lack of leadership. Sheís been in the Senate for 12 years and was in the House for 10 years before that. Think of any area at all on which she has been a real leader, and I will be surprised. I have a postcard in her name, from about a year and a half ago, that says if she receives 10,000 signed postcards saying that 10,000 voters favor medical marijuana, only then will she vote for it. That is not leadership. It is the obligation of a leader to investigate the right way to go and then exercise that leadership to the people.

The federal government has pretty much ignored statesí rights in terms of Proposition 215, busting medical marijuana facilities at will. As a senator, how could you change that?

Two weeks ago, my campaign was endorsed by the sheriff of Mendocino County and the District Attorney of Mendocino County. The message was, ďLook: these are the popularly elected local law enforcement officials. They are reflecting the will of the people. That will expressly was to make the prosecution of marijuana the lowest-priority offense.Ē So the message to the federal government is, ďLeave us alone.Ē No one in the federal government that tries to act contrary to the express will of the people in Prop. 215 is exercising conservative principles. Barry Goldwater would take up arms against what is happening in the federal government on that issue. Barry Goldwater would be a libertarian. Of course, so would Thomas Jefferson.

But it seems there would be heavy political costs for taking that stance in Washington.

I have been told by two sitting congressmen in Orange County that many folks in Washington realize the war on drugs is not winnable, but itís eminently fundable. They are addicted to the money. If Judge Jim Gray were to be elected to the United States Senate from California, having been very straightforward with regard to where I stand on the drug war, it would be such a revolution that that alone would get the federal government out of the marijuana prohibition business. And believe me, itís a big business. Itís institutionally corrupting.

As regards energy policy in California, you would favor deregulation. Weíve seen where that gets us Ė rigged markets quickly draining almost $9 billion out of the state.

I do believe in more limited government. Energy policy is difficult, because you have such a huge fiscal investment in hard assets. So I would attack that one later. Transportation, taxi service, bus service, that sort of thing, should be deregulated as long as safety concerns are met. The hardest one I can think of is energy. Iím not a purist. I have yet to be able to justify a complete deregulation. Iíd love to, but this is one Iíd go to more hesitantly.

President Bush is a deregulator, and he has earned himself a reputation as the worst environmental president in history. What would your approach be to environmental regulation?

The government is the biggest polluter in the United States today by a factor of three. So donít look to the government for leadership in the environmental area. The answer is to bring more private control over the resources.

Just last week we were in Atlanta [for] the Libertarian convention. Carl Pope, head of the Sierra Club, addressed us. Very well received. He brought up one area: What if you have a pond, and the pond is a stop for migratory birds? And you pour DDT into your pond. Is it your pond to mess up if you want to? Yes, under libertarian thought. But all of the birds that stop there die. So, who owns the migratory birds? Thatís one that I cannot answer. I donít think libertarian philosophy particularly addresses that, and thatís disturbing. So, to some degree we have to have government. To what degree? I guess weíll all kind of fret about it.

Thatís a tough place to run from. People assume thereís always an answer.

Well, I have settled cases now for years, and I try to impress upon people that in many things dealing with human conduct thereís no solution. You canít solve a problem. You can only resolve it. And thatís the way it is with the Palestinian and Israeli issue. There are people on both sides there who have deep, historic, legitimate grievances. They have biblical claims to the area. But thereís only so much land, and all you can do is resolve this.

I have three centerpiece issues in my campaign: One, to get the federal government out of marijuana prohibition. Then we revert to a concept of federalism, to allow each state to decide how best to address this. And the state of California will treat marijuana like alcohol. We will tax it and generate about a billion-and-a-half dollars of revenue. We will save about a billion dollars a year of taxpayer money that we now spend to try to eradicate marijuana and prosecute and incarcerate marijuana offenders.

Number two is to repeal the excesses of the Patriot Act.

Number three, I support Israel. I support their right to exist and flourish, to thrive and be secure. And the best way that our country can accomplish that goal is to give justice to the frequently legitimate claims of the Palestinians. We will never have peace in that land until we give justice to all of the people.

Do you have a plan for encouraging the use of alternative energies?

The biggest security threat to the United States of America today is our dependence upon foreign oil. It puts us in bed with some really bad people, and we do that in order to promote a steady source of cheap oil. If we would have turned the private economy loose on this issue without government supports, we would have alternative sources now. And this is hard to say, as Iím running for office, but if we had paid the freight throughout these past years, paid the full market price for oil, at this point weíd be in good shape because we would have already developed alternative sources. The world would be a safer place, our economy would be stronger. The free market is the answer.

Your proposal is to bring the troops home by Christmas í04. What are our responsibilities there?

We have made promises to the people of Iraq, and the United States of America should keep its promises. I do believe that the United States has made a promise to turn over control to a government of Iraq by the 30th of June. I am pleased to say that we are making rather substantial progress in doing that. The second thing that I would do is to give the responsibility for that matter to the world body. This is not a United States of America issue, or at least should not have been. We should announce to the world that we will depart this country by Christmas if [the U.N.] takes it over Ė which they should because there will be a potential bloodbath and other violent upheavals there unless they do. But it is not our issue. That includes the military bases. Weíll give up the keys to the bases as soon as the last Globemaster flies out of Iraq. So, to some degree, our troops will have to change hats. But the United States troops, per se, will be gone except with regard to our commitment to the world body.

How would characterize the Senate race right now?
The Republicans really donít care if they elect Bill Jones or not. They just donít want Barbara Boxer to be reelected. And the Democrats are pretty much the same. Theyíre very light on their support for Barbara Boxer. So I tell both sides: I will not be a partisan. How can I be? Iíll be the only one. Iím a judge. I act in keeping with the public interest. I am looking to Democrats for their open support. Iím looking to Republicans for their open support, as well as others. If they realize that and they see what is happening, I will win this election.


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Story Source: LA City Beat

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Costa Rica; Politics; Election2004 - Gray; Drug Laws

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