Seattle Informer

Crime Rate Decreases Significantly Since Marijuana's Legalization

In our liberal town, it's no secret that we've had a large group of marijuana advocates since the 1960s. However they haven't been taken seriously by government until recently. Since its legalization in the state of Washington, the use of marijuana has become a part of the mainstream Seattle culture. The passing of the law has done wonders for the state's revenue. The marijuana bought in shops (as opposed to the underground market it was purchased from before the legalization act) is heavily taxed, thus generating more state revenue. The taxes on marijuana have also helped to lower the state's extremely high sales tax that was imposed to make up for its lack of a state income tax.

In addition to tax money, the legalization of marijuana has also increased the rate of travel into Seattle as well as the rest of Washington. Since the decriminalization of marijuana, the Seattle airport has generated an average of 17 million more dollars on a monthly basis than it did before the law was passed. We also spoke with the Space Needle Holding Corporation, who said that since I-502 passed, the Space Needle has seen 1.4 times as many visitors on a monthly basis than it did before. By increasing tourism and tax revenue, I-502 is already having positive effects on the economic state of Washington.

The decriminalization of marijuana has also caused the crime rate in our state to drop significantly. We spoke with Kathleen O'toole, Seattle chief of police, on the matter. According to O'toole, the police department's data collectors found that the overall crime rate in the city had decreased by 29%. This is obviously because a large mass of criminals (the marijuana smokers) suddenly became perfect law abiding citizens. The decrease in crime has also had a positive effect on the state's revenue. O'toole said, "It costs the state money as well as the defendant to undergo a trial for a drug conviction." "Attorneys must be paid, criminals have to be housed, trials must be undergone, those working the courts must be paid, the list goes on and on." It's no longer necessary to prosecute the thousands of marijuana users in the state, therefore no money is spent on them.

Although the overall crime rate has gone way down, O'toole has stated that the number of cocaine, heroin and other hard drug arrests has gone way up since legalization. This is presumably because the police and the DEA no longer have to worry about marijuana. In other words, the number of hard drug users is not increasing, but the number being caught is. Score one for Washington.

K Records Still Running

K Records was born in the mid 1980s in a kitchen in Olympia and birthed by a man named Calvin Johnson. The company soon spread to Seattle. Calvin ran a college radio station with co-founder Maria O'Connor. The two shared the dream of spreading knowledge of local music to a wider audience. The K in K Records is said to stand for "knowledge," but this is disputed.

The earliest official K Records releases include releases from Johnson's own band, Beat Happening. Johnson (and many other K records artists) is known for making silly sounding, rough, do-it-yourself music known as "Twee Punk." K Records is considered responsible by many for the popularization of "lo-fi" music.

When one thinks of a record company, greed, and money come to mind. K Records is an independent label, which means that they aren't owned by a larger corporation like Warner Brothers or Universal. Independent labels typically cater to artists interested in being original and making music to please themselves rather than audiences. K Records is known for having a legitimate interest in spreading knowledge of underground music rather than making money. It so happens that the owner, Calvin Johnson, lives alone in a modest shack on a small plot of land about thirty minutes outside of Seattle.

K Records is a Pacific-Northwestern cultural phenomenon. The company changed the music business forever. Its work stands as a perfect model for underground music promoters all over the world today.

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Weekly Music Review - God Don't Make No Junk - The Halo Benders

This album fits no particular genre of music and is by no means popular. Therefore, it is officially categorized as "indie rock." All lyrics were written by Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening and Doug Martsch of Built To Spill.

This album features ten unique tracks, all written using similar tactics. Every song features dual vocals. Johnson's deep voice is layered on top of Calvin Johnson's higher, more sustained voice. The lyrics often compliment (or even supplement) each other in a similar manner to the way the voices do. Many of the lyrics can be perceived as silly or meaningless but contain deeper messages lying under a blanket of metaphor and strange combinations of syllables. Others are clearly just nonsense and others are clearly deep. A Halo Benders album is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna' get.

Martsch and Johnson and both more well known for their other musical projects than for The Halo Benders. The music of Marsch's band (Built to Spill) an Johnson's band (Beat Happening) are totally different. Built To Spill's music is very intricate and often very serious. Beat Happening's music is typically very simple and "rough-around-the-edges." The Halo Benders consistently blend the two totally different sounds into one beautiful, unique kind of music throughout the album. As the official reviewer for the Seattle Informer, I hereby rate this album at an 8/10.

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Take "Under God" Out of the Pledge Of Allegience

State law requires that the board of directors of every school district shall cause a United States flag being in good condition to be displayed during school hours upon or near every public school plant, except during inclement weather. They shall cause appropriate flag exercises to be held in each classroom at the beginning of the school day, and in every school at the opening of all school assemblies, at which exercises those pupils so desiring shall recite the following salute to the flag: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all". Students not reciting the pledge shall maintain a respectful silence. The salute to the flag or the national anthem shall be rendered immediately preceding interschool events when feasible.

Although the law does not require all students to verbally state the pledge, the words "under god" are uttered by on-duty school officials over intercom. Many argue that it's only tradition, but many others would say that it constitutes poor separation of church and state.

When on duty, teachers in the state of Washington become representatives of the state. It is prohibited for teachers to either encourage or discourage religious activity to students. That being said, uttering the words "under god" while pledging allegiance is highly suggestive. The fact that it is said on a daily basis without question is pure ignorance of the law. However to not say it is ignorance of another law.

If two laws contradict each other, what is the solution? Many would say that the easiest would be to change one law to fit the other or create an exception. Exceptions to laws are harder to enforce than the laws themselves. To make the two laws coincide, the words "under god" should be taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance. The United States has come too far in separating church and government than to require students and teachers to say the words "under god" on a daily basis.