kearns to LA city council: observations on the medical cannabis dialog in my absence (0092)

[november 24, 2009] good morning president pro tem perry, distinguished council members. i have given the clerk copies of my prepared remarks.

my name is richard kearns. i am a 58-year-old gay man living with AIDS in los angeles for more than 20 years — a long-term survivor & AIDS activist, a medical cannabis patient & advocate, a poet & journalist. an angelino.

my intent in addressing you this morning is to
comment on the character of the meetings i
missed last week: monday’s joint PLUM &
public safety committee meeting & the city
council meeting that followed it wednesday.

i was too sick to make it downtown last week
— i wish medical cannabis cured everything,
but it doesn’t. however, i did listen & watch
on the internet (thank you for making that
possibility available).

first, i must note how proud i am of the
character & conduct & thoughtfulness &
overall growth of my community over the last
couple of years in its advocacy. that change,
that growth was clearly reflected over the
course of those two meetings as i listened by
my laptop.

second, i had begun to despair that when city
council members talked about working with
the “city family,” it didn’t include me. it left me
on the outskirts of a kind of a dysfunctional
city family, unconcerned about the quality of
my demise. today i must tell you i feel
reconciled with you & a part of my fam­ily
again. i think this is the way we should be.

third, i regret the city attorney isn’t willing to
be a part of our family too, to join us in
mounting an “extraordinary response” to
save angelino lives. i offer him this advice:

in the light of your wisdom, the declaration of
independence was an illegal document,
which unravels everything that’s happened in
our nation since then, to the point where you
need to apply to the queen to keep your job. i
rather like that idea myself

i suggest that you have to break the law to
change the law, to do the right thing. ghandi
& nelson mandela were lawyers who broke
the law to change it. the team of lawyers who
successfully argued the case for same-sex
marriage before the california supreme court
— mintner, stewart, maroko & allred —
advocated breaking the old law to make new,
more just law. i call on you today to re-join
our city family’s intent to enact that kind of
larger renewal of the spirit of the law.

just law is good medicine.


—richard kearns

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