Michael Good­man

BORN LIVER­POOL, AU­GUST 29, 1954. DIED LON­DON, AU­GUST 24, 2009, AGED 54.

The Jewish Chronicle - - Obituaries -

DRUGS RE­FORM cam­paigner Michael (Mike) Good­man fought for drugs ed­u­ca­tion and de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion as di­rec­tor for a decade from 1991 of the char­ity Release.

He set up in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences and was in­stru­men­tal in launch­ing joint projects and ini­tia­tives with news­pa­pers and me­dia stars to coun­ter­act the ne­far­i­ous power of the drugs trade.

His fa­ther, Bar­net Good­man, a Liver­pool shop­keeper, died when he was young and his mother, Hilda, re­mar­ried. As a child he suf­fered from asthma and was sent for a spell to De­lamere For­est, the Jewish re­cu­per­a­tion school. He also suf­fered from Crohn’s dis­ease.

From Liver­pool’s King David High School, he read law at Brunel Uni­ver­sity, Mid­dle­sex. He was called to the bar at Gray’s Inn in 1981 but his real en­thu­si­asm was for pol­i­tics.

In 1986 he was elected a Labour coun­cil­lor in the west Lon­don bor­ough of Ham­mer­smith and Ful­ham and was soon made chair­man of the plan­ning com­mit­tee. He be­came leader in 1988.

He re­signed in 1994 in the scan­dal of lo­cal au­thor­ity in­ter­est-rate swaps, when coun­cils were dis­cov­ered bet­ting against the banks on the profitablil­ity of fixed ver­sus vari­able in­ter­est rates. Lit­i­ga­tion fol­lowed and the House of Lords ruled this was no busi­ness for coun­cils to be in.

Ham­mer­smith was a lead­ing player in the con­tro­versy. Al­though Mike Good­man had no knowl­edge of the ques­tion­able trans­ac­tions, his in­tegrity de­manded that he took re­spon­si­bil­ity. He stepped down as leader, cut­ting short a ris­ing ca­reer in pol­i­tics.

He con­cen­trated his for­mi­da­ble skills of fo­cus and com­mu­ni­ca­tion on his cam­paign­ing char­ity, be­com­ing the au­thor­i­ta­tive voice in me­dia dis­cus­sion on drug re­form.

Be­liev­ing that drugs mis­use was best com­bat­ted through open­ness in in­for­ma­tion and ed­u­ca­tion, he in­volved pro­fes­sion­als from hous­ing and youth fields, as well as a wide range of cul­tural and aca­demic fig­ures.

Release’s helpline was widely used, with over 20,000 calls in 2001.

Di­ag­nosed with early Alzheimer’s, Mike Good­man was cared for at Nightin­gale (for­merly Nightin­gale House). To mark his death, flags on Ham­mer­smith and Ful­ham pub­lic build­ings flew at half-mast.

He is sur­vived by his mother, two sis­ters, his part­ner and their three sons.

Drugs law re­form cam­paigner

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