CITY BEAT: MARIJUANA DISPENSARY IN DECATUR ISSUE COULD CAST LONG SHADOW OVER NEXT CITY COUNCIL ELECTION

     

Editor Paul Osborne

     • GIVING voters the opportunity to vote on whether or not to allow a marijuana dispensary in Decatur, via a non-binding referendum, is an issue that is probably going to cast a long shadow over next year’s city council election. The word “non-binding” is important to note. Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, the city council is still in control of the decision.

     For most members in the community, the “leaf burning” question that was put to the voters in a non-binding referendum many years ago, had voters against banning leaf burning, but the city council stood its ground and banned leaf burning — which led to a lot of hard feelings against the council. I guess this may be another time that the city council will either get support, or lack of support, for a marijuana dispensary in Decatur.

     Three council seats will be up for election in 2021: Chuck Kuhle, Pat McDaniel and David Horn. Horn was the lone member of council who voted for a dispensary in Decatur. Depending on what happens later this year, pot sales in Decatur could become the major issue in the next election if the present council stands firm with its earlier decision not to allow a marijuana dispensary in Decatur. Horn is already the friend of those who want a dispensary here while both Kuhle and McDaniel have been targets of some really nasty, personal remarks.

     Everyone has a right to express an opinion on this issue — but I think the remarks by a few in the group damage those who have a credible argument to make and are sincere in their presentation.

      • A WOMAN stopped me earlier this week when I was walking to the post office and said that she was surprised that I didn’t know the city council meetings were televised since I write about the council all the time. When I asked where she heard that, she indicated that she read it on a Facebook post.

     I’m not sure of the context, but the council meetings were televised all of the years that I served as mayor and I am well aware they continue to be televised — and that some citizens play for the camera during the meetings. Anyone who would say or write anything to the contrary is doing so in error and he or she probably knows it.

      I think people trust too much in some of the misinformation delivered on a lot of Facebook posts — both nationally and locally. I appreciate the woman wanting to double check and asking me about it. It makes me wonder how much non-factual information is floating around out there and how many people believe it. My advice: Don’t accept everything you read or hear at “face value” — especially on Facebook.

     • ONE OF the new laws that went into effect Jan. 1 which received little notice, but impacts everyone’s driver’s license, was this one: “The Illinois secretary of state will be required to allow applicants to choose between ‘male’, ‘female’ or ‘nonbinary’ when designating the applicant’s sex on their driver’s license or ID card.”

     I’ve been an editor for a long time and I have to admit that, when I read that new law, and the word “nonbinary”, I realized that I’ve never used the word in my life — until now! The word “binary” is defined as “consisting of, indicating, or involving two” and is normally used in working with numbers. So, “nonbinary”, as it will appear on your driver’s license, means that you are not male or female, but something else.                

     Eventually, as a result of the new law, everyone who has a driver’s license or ID card will have one of the three choices to describe what they are sexually. Applying the meaning of the word in today’s society was indicated in an article on the minus18 website under a headline that stated: “I Just Came Out As Non-Binary, Here’s What That Means”.

     I know it is probably just me, but, when you have to explain why you “came out of the closet” to people who don’t know what nonbinary means, it is not a great way to make a point about your sexuality, or lack of it, being different from that of other people. It was explained on the same site that “A non-binary person is someone who does not identify as exclusively a man or a woman. In really simple terms, someone who is non-binary might feel like a mix of genders, or like they have no gender at all.”

     I’m just a simple guy raised in the Decatur area, but it seems to me that, if you have to explain what “nonbinary” or “non-binary” (hyphenated) is, wouldn’t it have been a whole lot easier to put “male”, “female” and “other” as the three choices on the driver’s license?

     It’s a complicated world that we live in today, isn’t it?

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