Posts Tagged With: violence

LEGALIZING CANNABIS

After three killings in Calaveras County this year over protecting marijuana patches, the county began to wrestle with the subject of legalizing cannabis. Commercial Growers and individual users who grow their own plants, if my assessment is correct, are following state laws, that conflict somewhat with Federal law. Something clearly needed to be fixed.

I’ve been waylaid on this subject for eight days as my hard drive in my computer began to gasp and die. I attended a meeting July 12th hosted by the Calaveras County Democrats Club. They invited speakers Merita Callaway, Bill McManus and Bob Bowerman to explain the benefits, the inherent problems, and possible solutions involved with legalizing marijuana/or banning it outright.

Former supervisor, Merita Callaway spoke for the Callaway-Stevenot initiative.  The initiative has qualified for the November ballot as Measure D and only deals with growing.

LAND USE:  A grower must have a minimum size of 2 acres. Set back from property lines  is 75 feet. Growing is not permitted in Residential-1 zones. Cultivation cannot exceed 15% of the growing  area. One/half  acre of total canopy is permitted.  Growers can use green house culture or outdoor plantings.

SECURITY: Grow must be secured by a 6 foot fence screening plants from the public. They must submit a security plan. Growers must allow reasonable on-sight inspections; Grower must be fingerprinted and submit to criminal background check. Generators must be operated from an insulated shed for noise compliance.

ENVIRONMENT: Growers using natural waterways must be Permitted by Fish & Wildlife. They must submit a water use plan. Well users will need a well permit and be metered for use. Outdoor light must be shielded by canopy to prevent light pollution and glare. Canopy cover must also shield plants from public view as they rise above fence height, in areas where the public is legally allowed to be. Growers must comply with regulations for use of fertilizers and pesticides and must get a permit through Environmental Health. Growers must comply with storage rules for hazardous materials. The grow site must be inhabited by a permanent resident of the county in a dwelling. (The grower is given a year to provide a permanent dwelling.)

The initiative is carefully constructed, looking to cover any loopholes of definition, plant type, and anything that will affect the quality of life of others.  The initiative also deals with caregiver and personal cultivation uses. It has an appeals process if needed. It discusses fees and enforcement. I am impressed by the 32 page document and the work it represents. I am also concerned with what I see as weak areas.

Number 1: The potential for noise other than a generator is also an issue. Gunfire, barking dogs, and increased traffic on rural roads. Our county Noise Ordinance is very weak and non specific, and in my opinion useless. They do not enforce it unless an inspector, a cop or someone official is there to hear it. They will not accept a tape unless it records noise levels in decibels, and the source is provable.

Number 2: Reasonable inspections does not do it for me. What constitutes reasonable?  More a concern for dispensaries than a grow, but certainly a surprise element, so no cover-up occurs. All inspectors should have access to grower gates for emergency services, like fire.  It should be available for inspection on demand at any time to effectively monitor regulations. I didn’t see, but may have missed whether dogs are used as warning security. It becomes an issue for neighbors. I saw nothing addressing dust. Where cultivation occurs, ATV’s can create enormous amounts of dust that affect neighboring properties and air quality. In general, the document is stricter than state requirements, and I believe that to be a plus. I commend Callaway and Stevenot for their efforts. Changes after the fact are always hard to make.

Speaker Bill McManus is a passionate proponent of banning marijuana grows, and thus, dispensaries,  in the county. His group of locals supporters got enough signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot as well.

McManus maintains that regulations do not work. They’ve been tried and they’ve failed. They are unenforceable. He sites Yuba County allowed legal cannabis, then banned legal outdoor growing after two shootings. Growers tend to protect their crops with deadly force. He says the industry always touts the jobs and money created by cannabis grows. But, the statistics don’t show an increase in taxable income. He also sited a legal grow in the county where a neighbor is afraid to let her children outside. The growers warn the children away asking them not to look in that direction nor go anywhere near the property. She owns the burned out property and can’t afford to move anywhere else. She is scared in her own house.

One question from a ban supporter, a nurse, cited a 17% increase in vehicular accidents since marijuana has been legalized. She also points out there is a test for alcohol, but not for cannabis impairment. A very valid point. She posits that a test can be developed but it won’t cut down on the impaired drivers. They will only increase with legalization. A given and a worry.

Another negative about cannabis use as compared to alcohol. You have too many drinks and from three to  seven hours later, you are sober. With Cannabis a user can remain impaired  for 24 hours.

I spoke with one person who cited the difficulty in Mendocino County. The growers often use Mexican labor, legal or not. They pay in cash or buds. Another huge problem that did not come up at the meeting is that Federal law prevents cannabis growers from having a bank account for their money.The law was made to prevent money laundering for illegal substances.  Growers have gobs of cash. They are vulnerable to criminals and violence. A grow and a dispensary can be a dangerous business in any neighborhood. A partial solution is to form a Union for cannabis employees, with benefits. It would benefit the county and provide a measure of safety.

Bob Bowerman is a member of NORML, which stands for the National Organization for Reforming Marijuana Law. He has visited legal marijuana grows all over the state and in Washington and Colorado. He claims, “I’m a realist. Marijuana is here and it is not going anywhere. I’m for regulating it and getting the illegal growers out.”

We’ve had illegal grows on Public Lands, and in hidden canyons on private lands where an owner may be unaware his land is being used. I remember trying to do the census some years back and the growers command some of the back roads and don’t allow anyone to trespass. It was scary to meet a man with a rifle who ordered me to turn around.

They use booby traps and guns and dogs to protect their grows.  They sell to the drug cartels. The drug cartels very professionally target college campuses and our young adults. Statistics show that 20% of the population uses cannabis.

The state, and other states are legalizing cannabis and it won’t be long before recreational cannabis is legal as well. The push for growing is for  medical benefits, but everyone knows, it is easy to get a medical card and do what you want.

When the county decided to accept grower applications at $5,000 each for a permit, they had no idea they would get, from last count, over 900 applications. They have yet to be sorted. Criminal  background checks have to be done. And, thus far, the $5,000 from applications is slated for enforcement.

One guy in the audience griped, “They want to fingerprint and background check every employee?  That is ridiculous.”

More tomorrow.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.

I hooked up to Lady Bits an internet site written by Quinn Norton who wrote a four-part series on violence against women. She travels all over the world and has had horrible, horrible threats because she speaks up for women’s equality. I’ve given some generalized quotes from her first article below.

I basically did errands all day yesterday and have more today. So, if you don’t want to read or hear stuff like this, many women feel safer if they don’t know, read no further.

But, it is a men’s issue as well as a women’s issue. Below is PHD. Jackson Katz in a video on TEXx talks. Very much worth watching.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTvSfeCRxe8
EVERY DAY, WOMEN DIE BECAUSE THEY ARE MURDERED BY THEIR FAMILIES AND PARTNERS. ON AVERAGE, 3 PER DAY IN AMERICA AND 2 PER DAY IN U.K.

ICELAND’S NUMBERS FOR GENDER EQUALITY IN PAY IS CLIMBING WHILE THE NUMBERS IN THE UNITED STATES ARE FALLING.

THE  WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION ESTIMATES THAT 10 TO 69% OF WOMEN HAVE REPORTED BEING A VICTIM OF VIOLENCE. (THAT IS WORLD WIDE.)

HIGH PROFILE WOMEN GET MORE THREATS OF VIOLENCE THAN REGULAR WOMEN.

THE VITRIOL, THREATS OF RAPE, BEATINGS, DEATH, DISMEMBERMENT, ENSLAVEMENT AND MAIMING AGAINST WOMEN WHO DARE TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST SUCH BEHAVIOR IS REAL IN SOME CASES AND JUST MEANT TO INTIMIDATE WOMEN INTO SILENCE IN OTHER CASES.

SOCIAL MEDIA, AND WHAT WOMEN ARE TALKING ABOUT ON THEIR BLOGS, IS THERE IS A TERRIFYING NUMBER OF MEN WHO THINK IT IS OK TO RAPE AND KILL WOMEN SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE WOMEN.

MEN CONSTRUCT MANHOOD. THEY DO IT TOGETHER. THE WHOLE WORLD NEEDS A MANHOOD THAT DOES NOT RELY ON THE ABILITY TO ATTACK OR DEMEAN WOMEN. TO KEEP THEM IN SERVILE POSITIONS AND PAY THEM LESS THEN MEN; TO ASSUME A NEED TO FEEL SUPERIOR TO WOMEN.

IT CAN ONLY BE FIXED BY MEN.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VIOLENCE TAX

In Calaveras County we have a record for high turn-out on election day. People take their politics seriously. As far as I know, competitors have treated each other with civility during the thirty-four years I’ve lived here.

Problems do develop and a recall effort against Calaveras County Supervisor Darren Spellman fell short  of the signature requirement on Monday and a verbal spat ensued between Spellman and Bill Crane, a prominent recall supporter. The Elections Clerk, Madalaine Krska,  called the Sherriff’s Department to settle things after it got pretty heated. Spellman claims he was threatened, and Crane claims he walked over and shook Spellmans hand but later called him a liar because  Spellman made derogatory cracks about his wife.

I think of the violent rhetoric we have in the news every day, supposedly mature Senators and Representatives,  and all of their related public spokespersons using character assassination as readily as immature school kids. Bullying, condoning violence, violent rhetoric unworthy of our suspected leaders. Somehow, I thought this was a modern phenomena, but, not so.

Senator Charles Sumner, gave a fiery anti-slavery speech in 1856. He condemned several states for even considering taking the “harlot slavery” as a law in individual states. In fact, those tumultuous years produced enough violence in Kansas, that the state was nearly  divided into two separated states.

Southerner, Preston Brooks, a member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina, was particularly incensed with Sumner’s speech.  Not only had the fiery Sumner ridiculed his home state, but Brooks was the nephew of Andrew Butler, one of Sumner’s targets.

In the mind of Brooks, Sumner had violated some code of honor which should be avenged by fighting a duel. But Brooks felt that Sumner, by attacking Butler when he was home recuperating and not present in the Senate, had shown himself not to be a gentlemen deserving of the honor of dueling. Brooks thus reasoned that the proper response was for Sumner to be beaten, with a whip or a cane.

On  May 22,  Brooks entered the building and walked into the Senate chamber. Sumner sat at his desk, writing letters. He waited until several women present in the Senate gallery left, then he walked up to Sumner’s desk and said: “You have libeled my state and slandered my relations, who is aged and absent. And I feel it to be my duty to punish you.”

With that, Brooks struck the seated Sumner across the head with his heavy cane. Sumner, who was quite tall, could not get to his feet as his legs were trapped under his Senate desk, which was bolted to the floor. Brooks continued raining blows with the cane upon Sumner, who tried to fend them off with his arms. Sumner finally was able to break the desk free with his thighs, and staggered down the aisle of the Senate.

Brooks followed him, breaking the cane over Sumner’s head and continuing to strike him with pieces of the cane. Brooks was later arrested on a charge of assault and quickly released on bail.

Good thing they didn’t solve their problems in those days with a gun like they do now. Sumner was attended by a doctor, who administered stitches to close wounds on his head.

Brooks was soon arrested on a charge of assault, and was quickly released on bail.  He was expelled from the House of Representatives, and in the criminal courts he was fined $300 for assault. He returned to South Carolina, where banquets were held in his honor and more canes were presented to him. The voters returned him to Congress, a hero.

Sounds just like the current news, the worse they get, the more they are revered by somebody.  In case you haven’t noticed, most violence and crime is committed by men. Incarcerated men outnumber women, (I’m guessing)  by at least twenty to one. We women pay an unfair amount of taxes for violence. I think the cure is a violence tax. Tax those violent actions and rhetoric and we could clean up politics or else solve the national debt.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UNNECCESARY VIOLENCE

By all accounts the Occupy Wall Street protests have been quiet, and orderly. Messy and annoying for city officials? Yes. Have both parties been in communication?  Yes. Do people have a right to peaceful assembly? Yes.  Do people occupying a park eventually get tired and go home? Yes. Was it necessary to  shoot beanbag guns and rubber bullets? No.  Is it correct use of tear gas canisters and flash grenades to deliberately make contact with a person?  No.
This morning, after seeing the video of the Oakland Police throwing a flash bang grenade into a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who gathered around an injured vet, struck by a Police non-lethal weapon, and were themselves than struck, at close range, from the police ranks, while trying to give aid and assistance, angers me. There are ways to break up a crowd, with a simple wedge and batons. The police form a solid wedge, and move forward with batons in action. If a protester doesn’t want to get hit by a moving baton,  he moves away from the wedge. His choice. There is no reason for a  law enforcement individual to jump out of the wedge and shoot into the ranks of protestors unless protestors attack them.  Tear gas is acceptable but not when aimed at a person. Flash grenades as well, if not aimed at a person. There is much experience in Alameda County to fall back on from the 1960’s and 70’s riot control.  These are citizens on the street, not criminals. Have we learned nothing from the protests of the 1960’s and 1970’s?  Getting  people angrier than they already are at the injustices done to them, is not going to help.

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/10/occupy-oakland-protesters-violence

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.