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Like the budget itself, the lawmakers have had an entire year to act on this decision. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer) and Gov. Pataki have been looking for ways to interpret this decision that would not result in more money for the city's public schools. On Wednesday Pataki and Bruno met with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) to discuss the school budget impasse. Not surprisingly, nothing changed after these talks.
We doubt that Bruno will ever willingly offer that fair share of education dollars to the children of New York City. He and the state's lawyers will do everything possible to avoid increasing the budget for New York City schools.
Although for many other reasons we hope that the lawmakers will get their act together and pass a budget, we wouldn't mind allowing a special master to resolve the school funding impasse. That's the only way we can envision the city kids getting what is truly theirs.
Aiding and abetting
Long Island City is about to get its own free needle exchange. In the interest of preventing the spreading of AIDS, the city is about to become a facilitator in the abuse of drugs. No matter how noble its intention, the city is prepared to help heroin users kill themselves.
If you did what the city is about to do, you could get arrested. The possession and distribution of drug paraphernalia is illegal. In the past the police arrested addicts for possession of paraphernalia, but they can hardly do that if the paraphernalia is handed out by the city.
The needle exchange, already in place in other boroughs, allows heroin addicts to trade in used needles for clean, new needles. The AIDS Center of Queens County would operate the proposed syringe exchange at its facility at 42-57 Hunter St. on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
When the city hands out free needles, it encourages drug addicts to continue injecting heroin, speed and other drugs into their veins. Few drug addicts support their habits with the money they make from legitimate jobs. Sooner or later they find it necessary to steal or sell drugs to get the money for their next fix.
The program may slow the spread of AIDS, but it will do nothing to reduce the number of premature babies born with narcotics flowing through their tiny veins. But it will make it easier for pregnant women to get clean needles.
The free needle exchange is an unacceptable compromise that trades the hope for a moderate decrease in the spread of AIDS for the certainty of aiding and abetting drug abuse.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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