No go on call to debate legalizationPosted: Updated:
A divided City Council in El Paso failed to override the mayor's veto. It was a tie 4-4 but not the required majority so that's the end of the debate over calling on the federal government to begin a "serious debate" about legalizing or "decriminalizing" drugs.
It was just one small phrase added to a resolution offering several suggestions for reducing drug violence on the border. But just the mention of "legalization" created a firestorm. The original unanimous vote prompted a swift veto from the mayor and focused national media attention on the border city.
The vote came after hours of testimony from citizens young and old who seemed as torn as the city council members who first cast a unanimous vote for the resolution and then backed down amid worries about sending a mixed message to Washington just a day after President elect Obama pledged to help Mexico fight powerful drug cartels.
As the vote approached Mayor John Cook urged supporters in an email "I need folks to be contacting their reps." Cook's email reads. "I can tell you that all the potheads have sent their e-mails and they are encouraging the reps to stand by their decision."
Half of the city reps did not stand by their controversial decision. The debate over a possible debate ended. The bloodshed here on the border has not.