Bad Guys are Good Guys?
August 28, 2017
The Urgency Ordinance passed by the previous Board of Supervisors was supposed to get rid of the bad guys and give us citizens’ protection and safety. What do you do when a registered grow next to you has five campers with numerous workers living there, no power, no water, dogs tied to trees that get loose and harass the neighborhood, grows visible from every view of the property, and a guard patrolling the property at all times? Are these the good guys that regulation promised us?
Calaveras County Resident
July 7, 2017
Dear Citizens of Angels Camp:
Like most of you, I felt a sense of relief when the City Council finally approved an ordinance banning the cultivation of marijuana within city limits last year. The passage of Prop 64 now allows for 6 plants and overrules the ordinance, but they must be indoors, and out of sight and smell of anyone outside the home. Dozens of Angels Camp RESIDENTS/VOTERS turned out at several meetings over years and expressed our unequivocal opposition to marijuana growth on the record.
Following the emails received yesterday about out of town pot advocates trying to change the city’s mind, I read the entire City Council packet from the last meeting and discovered a very disturbing paragraph. The input of these outside marijuana entities is being invited, solicited and advocated by the city attorney! The packet in its entirety may be found at http://angelscamp.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/CC-PACKET-6-20-2017.pdf
The disturbing paragraph is buried on page 56 of the packet, last paragraph and is the tail end of the staff report prepared by Derek Cole, the City Attorney. It is titled “Other Perspectives” and reads: “A copy of a Powerpoint presentation regarding Proposition 64 from a well-known cannabis advocate is provided along with this staff report. Prior to submitting this staff report (on Wednesday, June 14), I left a long voicemail for the Calaveras Cannabis Alliance advising of this agenda item on the June 20 agenda and inviting them to attend and comment.”
WTF!!! Did the City Attorney call any Angels Camp residents opposed to marijuana cultivation and give them the same heads-up a week in advance? He has all of our names from the public comment lists from the meetings during which the Cultivation Ban was debated. Most CCA members do not live or work in Angels Camp. They are not voters in Angels Camp. The city attorney should not be serving them! I am not an attorney, and have no idea if that is illegal but it sure as heck seems like it should be. It seems to me that the city attorney is supposed to advise the council on matters under consideration, NOT solicit outside special interest groups to sway the council to harm the residents of Angels Camp.
Mr. Cole’s support for marijuana became apparent during the appeal hearing of the Pot Shop in Angels Camp on Feb 7, 2017 that the Commission had denied. He encouraged the council to approve it, despite the overwhelming sentiment in the room from citizens that it wasn’t wanted and evidence it would endanger children. At one point, Mr. Cole was providing legal advice to the marijuana applicant and her attorney. He did so even after it came to light that the applicant was not honest on her application and had lied to the commission at various points. This latest action seems to confirm that the pot agenda is far higher on his priority list than the residents of the City of Angels Camp.
I strongly advise any and all of you to show up to the next city council meeting (July 18th, 6pm) and let them know how you feel about the City Attorney conspiring with marijuana dealers and growers to pursue an activity already banned in our city by ordinance.
Angels Camp Resident
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Due to the sensitive nature of the contents on this page all testimonials will remain as anonymous for the protection and security of those individuals that are willing to share their stories.
12/14/2017 OP-ED FOR CALAVERAS ENTERPRISE::
WHY AM I IN FAVOR OF A BAN??
When first asked by the Enterprise to write a piece about why I am in favor of a ban, my first reaction was ‘Wow!’, this is going to be a pretty easy article to write. After years of advocating, studying, and gathering information, I just knew this would flow onto my computer screen. Boy, was I ever wrong. Looking back over the years, there is now an almost endless number of reasons. Since all of the reasons seem to be intertwined and almost impossible to separate, I will address them in groups.
The first and, potentially, most lethal area of concern, is our fragile Environment. With little or no oversight, marijuana growers have been free to use whatever chemical compounds and products they choose to speed up or enhance growth. With a need for huge quantities of water, many growers have diverted streams, altered run-off areas, reshaped the terrain, and drilled extra wells.3.
Earlier this year, the Sheriff’s Department along with other agencies, conducted ‘Operation Terminus’. With somewhere around thirty sites raided, 157 citations were issued for various environmental violations. The Sheriff has reported finding the deadly insecticide Carbodurfan at sites.4. This chemical has been banned for many years in this country and in other countries around the world.5. The list of chemical agents found goes on and on. Some of these toxins have a half-life of hundreds or thousands of years1.
These deadly compounds have been utilized improperly and illegally. In the chemical product world, the ‘Label is the Law’. Not one chemical product found on marijuana grows list marijuana as a designated use on the label. With unsafe storage, uncontrolled application, multiple product interactions, and no retention safeguards to keep this lethal cocktail onsite, the migration of these products and compounds has already begun. These include algaecides, pesticides, miteticides, rodenticides, fertilizers, foreign soil use, fungicides, herbicides, and more. Algae blooms, dead animals, discolored soils, chemical odors, and more, are poisoning our once pristine lands and waterways. These pollutants and chemicals are silent killers.
At present, there are no acceptable protocols in effect to safely deal with these issues. County employees and contractors, who must enter these killing fields, are not properly trained and equipped to safely conduct their inspections and assessments. Exposures may not materialize into health problems for years or decades. The danger is immediate and lethal for local residents, many of whom depend on well and surface water to maintain livestock, large vegetable and herb gardens, poultry and other small animal herds and flocks for personal consumption and sale.
Calaveras County contains the headwaters of a watershed that provides drinking water to almost 6 million people throughout Central California. Contamination of these water sources could have unimaginable consequences for those customers and result in countless lawsuits involving our county. Once the water is ruined, the price tag of clean-up and legal expenses and fines, could easily reach into the Billions of dollars. Cleaning up these contaminated sites will be very expensive. Let’s compare a fairly recent environmental contamination clean-up project in our county. The Butte fire destroyed almost 600 homes. Each burned home site is a potential toxic site. On average, each burned home site cost $230,000.00 to remediate2. If only half of the estimated marijuana grow sites were contaminated, the clean-up costs would exceed 200 million dollars! Other noted scientists have estimated the number to be closer to 1 BILLION dollars!1. This is reason alone to ban all commercial cultivation of marijuana.
Other horrific conditions exist within our communities which have severely impacted our residents. Barking guard dogs, gunfire, generators, junk trailers, rowdy workers, loud music, water trucks destroying private roads, theft of water (both private sources and utility sources). human trafficking, homicides, illegal out of state transportation, homelessness, strong odors, light pollution, dilapidated plastic fences, counterfeit money, threats, workers housed in tents, shacks, lean-tos, chicken coops, property thefts, and more.
All of this has adversely affected our communities and our, once, rural lifestyles. Residents feel trapped in their homes. Others fear they cannot sell their properties without great loss, because they are surrounded by marijuana grows, sometime two or three deep. Children are no longer free to experience the country style of living. Marijuana and its by-products are showing up in our schools in ever increasing quantities and frequency. These conditions justify banning commercial cultivation.
Perhaps more of an intangible but equally important issue is our responsibilities as law abiding citizens. All marijuana activities violate Federal Law. The myth that marijuana (THC) is medicine has been rejected. The Controlled Substance Act (CSA), Schedule 1, lists marijuana. It’s on the list because marijuana is addictive and has NO medicinal properties and has not been shown to have any medicinal effect. What kind of society do we want for ourselves and our children? One that ignores laws meant to protect us from the charlatans that would adversely impair our youth from having happy and productive lives for greed and money? What other laws will we ignore because we don’t agree with them? The battle over marijuana should be taking place in the halls of Congress, not our once peaceful and safe neighborhoods. Did you move to this county because of this mayhem and chaos? During the signature gathering for Measure B, I spoke with thousands of county residents. I heard the horror stories and I listened, while staring into tear filled eyes, as I was told of the loss of lifestyles. I felt the trembling handshakes when residents asked what they could do. I saw them again at meetings we held in every niche of the county. I get dozens of phone calls and hundreds of emails from people wanting to know how things will turn out. All I can tell them is that county government has failed them. Instead we battle on till the end, which is quickly approaching. This is, perhaps, the number one reason why I want to see a ban on commercial cultivation.
Committee to Ban Commercial Cultivation – Chairman
1. Dr. M.W. Gabriel, Integral Ecology Research Center, Blue Lake. California
2. Jeffery Crovitz, Director of Public Works, Calaveras County
3. Calaveras County Office of Code Compliance
4. Sheriff Rick DiBasilio, Calaveras County
5 United States Environmental Protection Agency