Saturday, December 16, 2006

New club approval a blow for saturation point theorists

Received the report yesterday of the Land & Environment Court appeal for the Hungry Jacks site DA that has got the temperance union all squealing, more so since they lost.

Seems like there was a lot of fuss about "saturation point" until it was discovered that there is no info defining what it means. Expect there will now be some new study with patching policy drawn up to neatly slot these DA's into - or out of.

Of course the several arguments in favour of concentration, and the social forces that create precincts like Kings Cross in every major city, are ignored by the anti-fun brigade.

Mind you, it’s a pity the developers of these super pubs are not more culturally sensitive and active while they splash around their poker machine profits. This also raises again the question of rental levels. The asking price of $5-6,000 per week for the site simply drove off all potential tenants. Upshot: the site was sold to entertainment moguls. In the end though, it’s better for Kings Cross to have an occupied street frontage than a vacant one.

The Court's Planner also said the planning intent for the Kings Cross Entertainment Precinct (which contains a strong component of entertainment oriented activities which set it apart from other urban villages) is to recognise and encourage entertainment uses in the precinct. As such, the proposal is appropriate for the site.

So there! I guess the Court said "if you don't like it, why don't you move?" in a different set of words this time.

Won't be the last we hear about it I'm sure.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Paul Sheehan loses the plot

Author Paul Sheehan covered himself in shame on Monday with a rant about the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, published in the SMH. The rant was lifted straight from the local far right Liberal line that all the problems of Kings Cross are down to the centre (even though a careful look will reveal that the decline of retail shopping strips is getting worse throughout the inner city, including Oxford Street, Glebe and Norton Street).

In ranting about the high costs of the MSIC and harm minimisation programs for junkies, he ignores the infinitely higher cost of jailing people for drug crimes, even as we continue building jails and filling them mostly with drug-related offenders. That’s a prohibition argument but Sheehan (and the SMH) refuse to argue within that frame.

I estimate 90% of drug-related damage is in fact down to prohibition -- the system that creates the space for the criminal black market that operates worldwide. Prohibition creates the ‘crimes’ it seeks to eliminate.

Sheehan also quotes an author who points out that all this money is spent on people who are ‘architects of their own downfall’. What rubbish -- Something like 85% of these people, before they created their drug problems, are illiterate or have severe learning difficulties, have mental problems, and/or have experienced major trauma in their lives (things like seeing your brother murdered by your father). They cannot function in this society and they cannot keep their drugs under control either. Sheehan fails to offer any better solution to the problem but his clear implication is that these people should be left in the gutter to die -- like they used to before the MSIC. Paul should look up the word ‘redemption’ in his dictionary and reflect on it.

Living in Kings Cross, I am acquainted with a lot of these people and one frequent factor I notice besides lack of teeth is a lack of intelligence in its classic sense.

When it comes to emotional intelligence though, a lot of them would leave Paul Sheehan gasping.

Sheehan shows his ignorance by mentioning ice and ecstasy in the same breath. Read what Dr Norman Swan wrote about ecstacy on the ABC’s quantum program by clicking the headline. Do your research, Paul!

Curiously, Sheehan does a U-turn at the end of his story and flirts with the opposite point of view. But he still babbles emotively about the government, because of the MSIC, being ‘involved in the heroin trade’ which in fact would go a long way to solving the problems and would virtually eliminate drug-related crime. In ignoring prohibition (which is listed as a classic example of fallacy in my Logic textbook) he ignores the prime factor in this whole saga.