I was on Facebook earlier today, and my friends at Madison NORML posted a link to a very distressing story. Apparently, a longtime activist named Dace Zeps is being pressured by local organizations to step down as head of the local neighborhood association. One of the local organizations is the Salvation Army. The pressure stems from charges Dace Zeps is facing after police searched her property and found 44 marijuana plants. According to people I talk to in Wisconsin, her garden was for medical purposes.
According to The Cap Times, “Members of the Worthington Park Neighborhood Association will meet Wednesday to consider whether to remove Zeps from her president’s post. Salvation Army officials wrote her on April 2, asking her to resign, but Zeps, 54, said Friday she will not step down.”
“I don’t think that is necessary. I don’t believe this impacts my work in the neighborhood,” Zeps told The Cap Times. “I have worked to change the marijuana laws for some time.”
Salvation Army Major Loren Carter says that involvement with drugs is inconsistent with a leadership role in the neighborhood. “We’re working to improve the neighborhood, and if the leadership of the neighborhood association is not working for the same goal, that is obviously a very difficult problem,” Salvation Army Major Loren Carter told The Cap Times.
“I know someone is innocent until proven guilty, but there is a strong case here. Obviously if she were proven innocent, we would change our position,” says Carter. Does anyone else find this quote a bit despicable? Since when did passing judgment on people become a tenet of the Salvation Army’s beliefs? Admitting you’re willing to flip flop if she’s found innocent? I’m not from Wisconsin (I’m from Oregon) so I don’t know what is going on at the ground level, but is anyone writing letters to Mr. Carter asking him to resign? Egads.
Alfonso Flores, vice president of the neighborhood association, said in a statement Friday that the matter had the board of directors’ full attention. “I understand the importance of working swiftly towards relieving the Salvation Army’s concerns to avoid disrupting the progress being made in our wonderful neighborhood. I support Dace Zeps, and I am sincerely mindful of her situation, but know that the health and strength of our community comes first. I’m confident the WPNA board and neighborhood residents will work together to do what is best for Worthington Park.” Alfonso Flores, Vice President of the neighborhood association, told The Cap Times.
Just because a state doesn’t have a medical marijuana program, doesn’t mean that marijuana somehow loses it’s medical value when it’s grown across man-made lines. I thought the Salvation Army was about compassion? Isn’t that a pretty big tenet of their belief system? I’m not saying to boycott the Salvation Army as a whole, but someone definitely needs to put some reverse pressure on the Salvation Army in the Darbo-Worthington neighborhood, at least Mr. Carter. His comments are premature, judgmental, lack compassion, and he should be called on it by people in the area.