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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Council Formally Backs Drug Treatment Initiative

October 14, 2000

LOS ANGELES — The City Council went on the record Friday in support of Proposition 36, the initiative that would mandate drug treatment instead of incarceration for first- and second-time nonviolent offenders.

The council voted 10-1 to support the proposition after hearing a heart-felt speech from Councilman Mike Hernandez, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

"The reason I'm supporting Prop. 36 is not because I think it's a proper way to deal with addiction, but because it begins a dialogue," Hernandez said. "It's going to provide an opportunity for more people to see that treatment can work. We've got to deal with this disease as an illness and we've got to treat it."

Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski cast the only council vote in opposition to the measure. She said she believes the measure--which will appear on the November ballot--is problematic.

"I agree that money needs to be put into rehabilitation," Miscikowski said. "What really bothers me about the proposition is that it takes away the important tool of being able to send people to prison."

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