Legalize Housing: News Miner 41
Legislative sausage, supervised drug use sites, pro-LGBTQ Catholics, and more.
Complete Colorado published my column on housing controls, “Let’s commodify housing in Colorado.” I summarize:
To expand the housing supply and bring down prices, we need to free up the market so that developers can build housing and people can use it without arbitrary governmental constraints. Instead, progressives, prejudiced as they are against profit-seeking developers and owners of rental housing, want to further bind housing in regulations, thereby making it relatively scarcer and more expensive.
I discuss three specific bills that would further wrap producers of housing in red tape: One to control pet deposits, one to restrict evictions and in effect impose a sort of rent control, and one to grant local governments unlimited power to impose rent control.
The problem with housing is not that people are able to buy, sell, and rent it. The problem is that in important ways government prevents people from providing and using housing by mutual consent in a market. The problem is not that property owners profit by selling or renting housing, but that government often forcibly prevents them from doing so. We need legislators not to further restrict housing but to fully legalize it.
Read the entire piece.
I put out a crass, but hopefully somewhat humorous, Valentine’s Day Tweet on the topic (skip ahead if you don’t want to read naughty words):
Roses are red,
violets are blue.
you fucking assholes!
In related news. . . The bill on rent control advanced in committee. Sigh.
Image: Wingchi Poon
The Legislative Sausage House
In a recent column my wife said was “depressing as hell,” I described some of the shortcomings of the democratic process with respect to the legislature. In short, government is way too complicated for anyone, including legislators, to fully understand.
Recently Representative Rose Pugliese sat down with Jon Caldara to discuss the legislature. Pugliese says that, as a county commissioner, they “talked a lot about implementation.” She continues:
At the legislature, we just make laws. And so I’ll sit down with someone and we’ll talk about a bill, and I’ll say, “Well what does implementation look like?” And they all look at me like I’m from another planet, because they don’t talk about or think about what happens after the bill becomes law.
If you want an insider’s insight into the process, watch this.
(As everyone knows, Caldara runs the Independence Institute, which also runs Complete Colorado, where I write.)
Safe Drug Use?
“Colorado lawmakers may allow local communities to set up supervised facilities for the use of injecting drugs,” CPR reports.
Recently I Tweeted:
In theory I like the idea of “safe injection” sites and the like to reduce harm. But I’m really worried that these incentivize more drug abusers to move into the area because drugs become more available. Has there been real work done on such issues?
All the replies I got were supportive of allowing such sites. I thought I’d pass along the comments and references.
Shannon Bucci replied:
Drugs don’t become more available, as overdose prevention centers do not supply drugs; they’re simply a safe space that offers sterile equipment, testing to ensure safe supply, and supervised use—all to prevent overdose. They also connect more people to services (incl. treatment).
The Colorado Drug Policy Coalition replied:
That's a common concern! But the studies that have been done show the opposite:
* Reduced overdose deaths
* Reduced public drug use & crime in surrounding neighborhoods
* Money saved on disease prevention and emergency medical services
These sound like reasonable claims; I asked if there are good studies about this. Here are the references that CDPC posted, with some summary text:
Overdose Prevention Centers: An Essential Strategy to Address the Overdose Crisis
“Harm reduction is a way of approaching and caring for people who use drugs that centers people’s dignity, humanity, and autonomy to reduce harms associated with substance use. It uses practical strategies to meet people where they are to improve individual and community well-being and health. Decades of robust research on harm reduction strategies, specifically syringe services and naloxone distribution, demonstrate that these strategies are associated with reduced morbidity, mortality, and transmission of infectious diseases and improved individual health outcomes and services engagement and that they have high cost-effectiveness.”
Public Health and Public Order Outcomes Associated with Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities: a Systematic Review
“Consistent evidence demonstrates that SCFs [supervised drug consumption facilities] mitigate overdose-related harms and unsafe drug use behaviours, as well as facilitate uptake of addiction treatment and other health services among people who use drugs (PWUD). Further, SCFs have been associated with improvements in public order without increasing drug-related crime. SCFs have also been shown to be cost-effective.”
Supervised injection facilities in Canada: past, present, and future
“Insite [Canada’s first supervised injection facility] was meeting its objectives of reducing public disorder, infectious disease transmission, and overdose and was successfully referring individuals to a range of external programs, including detoxification and addiction treatment programs. Further, the evidence indicated that Insite was not resulting in increases in crime or promoting initiation into injecting, and Insite was found to be cost-effective.”
Overdose prevention centres in the UK
“[Overdose prevention] centres have been introduced in at least 14 countries across more than 130 sites (with an unsanctioned mobile site operating in Scotland between 2020–21). They provide a safe environment for the most vulnerable to use drugs under the supervision of trained professionals, who intervene in the event of an overdose; and an opportunity to provide evidence-based interventions, including naloxone, oxygen, psychosocial support, and needle and syringe programmes. Observational evidence shows fatal overdoses decreased in areas where overdose prevention centres were introduced alongside other beneficial outcomes, including reductions in self-reported high-risk injecting practices and increased engagement with drug treatment services. There are no randomised controlled trials (RCTs) showing that overdose prevention centres reduce drug-related deaths.”
Someone else posted the following reference:
The Case for Supervised Injection Sites in the United States
“Supervised injection sites improve health outcomes. One study found a 26% net reduction in overdose deaths in the area surrounding a supervised injection site in Vancouver, Canada, compared with the rest of the city. A supervised injection site in Barcelona, Spain, was associated with a 50% reduction in overdose mortality from 1991 to 2008. People who inject drugs are significantly less likely to share needles if they regularly use supervised injection sites. These sites could be effective in reducing the rates of HIV and hepatitis C in people who inject drugs. Supervised injection sites can also reduce the number of publicly discarded syringes, and they improve public safety. A 2019 article from American Family Physician discusses ways that physicians can counsel patients who inject drugs about safer injection practices. Concerns about these sites leading to increased criminal activity or drug use are not supported by the evidence.”
A Catholic Fight
Women allege they were denied Communion at Denver-area Catholic church for wearing rainbow-colored masks. They say they were supporting the Catholic school teacher recently fired when church leaders learned of her same-sex relationship.
I replied snarkily: “Breaking: People who pretend that homosexuality is inherently wrong disallow women who think otherwise to pretend they are eating the flesh of Christ.”
But maybe I took this too lightly. Someone else replied:
Catholics who approach for Holy Communion have the right to receive the Eucharist unless they have been excommunicated or persist in manifest grave sin. To deny a communicant is a violation of a priest’s most sacred oath. These priests should be defrocked.
Greyhound Betting: Some legislators want to ban betting on out-of-state greyhound racing. That’s an interesting issue. My take is that, if it’s okay to ban greyhound racing (and maybe it is on animal welfare grounds), it’s probably also okay to ban betting on greyhound racing. Of course the strict libertarian position does not recognize any rights for animals, but only for owners of animals.
Libertarians: The Colorado Times Recorder has an article titled, “Colorado Libertarians Learn How to Win Elections.” I’m not sure why a hyper-left, hyper-partisan site cares about that (maybe because Libertarians sometimes hurt Republicans?). Anyway, as I replied, “If the key point of advice wasn’t ‘quit the Libertarian Party and join a major party’ this is all just bullshit.”
Antisemitism: Students report that someone glued “pork products onto the door to a [Jewish] student’s dorm room.”
Boebert: Adam Frisch intends to challenge Lauren Boebert again. Republicans are in real trouble with this seat, and deservedly so.
Transgender: The legislature quickly killed a Republican bill (1098) to exclude transgender participation in sports. See Brianna Titone’s statement. My take: Although I see some room for restrictions at the highest levels of certain sports, a general ban is stupid.
Guns: Duh: “Bans or restrictions that specifically target ‘assault weapons’ increase demand for handguns, which are associated with the vast majority of firearm-related violence.” See my recent article on the Colorado proposal.
Charter School: A “new Denver Public Schools charter school expected to open soon, with a mission that emphasizes Black excellence,” 9News reports. I wish the school well. But I’m a little nervous about some of its advertising. It says, “5280 Freedom School is where Black people are loved, valued, safe, and free to be themselves in a place where students become leaders for social change.” As I mentioned, “It goes without saying that a public school advertising itself as a place ‘where White people are loved, valued, safe, and free to be themselves’ would not go over well.”
Crisis Centers: Allegedly some anti-abortion “crisis” pregnancy centers “use deceptive advertising and promote the use of unproven medical treatments,” reports the Denver Post. I haven’t studied the matter enough to have an opinion. Anyway, there’s a legislative effort to crack down on them. In principle, government has a rightful interest in going after fraud.
Conversion Therapy: The Gazette published a strange article about the “debate” over gay “conversion therapy,” as Colorado Pols reviews. My take: Such therapy is abusive and properly restricted. However, it is interesting that some people are dead-sure that “conversion therapy” for minors always is wrong but that “gender-affirming care” for minors always is okay.