Claycord – Talk About Local Politics

February 9, 2018 19:00 pm · 25 comments

voted1

This special post is “Talk About LOCAL Politics”.

Please use this post to talk about LOCAL politics, and keep state and national politics out of this thread.

Thank you, and be kind to each other.

Please Note: Users who use multiple names will be deleted. Please choose a name so others can easily chat with you. Users must provide a name in the ‘name field’, please do not use the ‘@’ symbol in the name field.

Concord Mike February 9, 2018 at 7:25 PM

Back in November the Concord City Council voted to impose a temporary ban on all Marijuana businesses, with the exception of home delivery, and a ban on all outdoor growing of Marijuana plants. The vote was 3-2 with councilmembers Birsan and Leone opposing the ban.

The council then asked city staff to develop regulations for such businesses so the city council could review and reconsider the ban later in 2018. The council also asked city staff to move forward with a ballot measure to get approval to tax these businesses in the event some uses are eventually approved.

City staff has even set up a website for the marijuana issue (http://www.cityofconcord.org/marijuana ).

The city is sponsoring their first public meeting to develop the regulations this coming Monday, February 12, at 6:00 PM in the City Council chambers. This meeting is called: “Neighborhood Meeting / Stakeholder Meeting Testing Laboratories, Manufacturing, & Distribution”.

Sounds reasonable so far, but wait till you hear the rest of this story:

City staff has an email list of “interested parties” who were informed of this meeting, but the meeting was not advertised to the general public. In fact, this meeting (as of this afternoon) was not even listed on the Concord website in the calendar of meetings.

Why the apparent secrecy? I understand this is a very contentious issue, with ample public comment and interest expressed when marijuana regulations were discussed last year at several council meetings. That fact should argue for more public communication, not less.

As I asked more questions of city staff, I was told not only emails had been sent to “interested parties” but 500 letters were mailed to property owners adjacent to a “proposed location”. What? How can we possibly be considering a proposed location when regulations have not even been reviewed with the city council?

When I asked: Approximately where is this “proposed location”? I was told: “That information is not publically available yet”. What? 500 letters were mailed to property owners with this information and the city can’t tell anyone else? I was not expecting that answer. Very disturbing.

Unfortunately I have a scheduling conflict and cannot attend this Monday meeting. I asked if it was being videotaped or recorded for later review, and was told no. Based on the lack of general publicity for this meeting, I suspect most/all of the people attending will be marijuana business advocates (“interested parties”) and possibly the owner of the “proposed location”?

I hope someone reading this note who shares my concerns about both the process and product of this meeting will decide to attend. (Somebody needs to be the skunk at this picnic.)

Even if you think Concord should be the central county epicenter for these marijuana businesses, I Hope you are as disturbed as I am about the lack of general public notice and the push to pick a location ahead of council review.

I am not a cynical person by nature and I am willing to hear an innocent explanation for all this.

And here is a link listing this meeting and others planned over the next several months.

http://www.cityofconcord.org/pdf/projects/marijuana/schedule.pdf

By the way, did anyone get the notice the city mailed out? I am very curious about the “proposed location”.

Forsythe February 10, 2018 at 7:51 AM

Thank you for the link to the City of Concord’s new “pro marijuana” web page. Our local tax dollars are paying for it.

Those who believe that tax revenues from legal marijuana will improve our communities, are not seeing the costs to society that normalizing drug dealing and drug use will bring.

From “Smart Approaches to Marijuana—SAM”
https://learnaboutsam.org/learn-more/

While a “War on Drugs” approach to marijuana hasn’t worked, legalization is a serious mistake. The marijuana industry is dangerous. And it continues to grow in power and influence. Once marijuana is legal, it is tough to stop.

From “The Real Facts About Marijuana”
https://calmusa.org/calmcablog/2017/11/7/blowing-smoke-the-real-facts-about-marijuana

When you tax marijuana you encourage the black market. The higher the taxes to cover the harms, the more people will choose to purchase on the black market.

What can be done?

We need to create local ordinances to protect our communities and cities from the industry. This is tough to do when local politicians only see dollar signs from the tax revenues. They overlook the future tragic costs to their local communities, families, youth.

When there are more pot stores than Starbucks in Concord, it will be too late.

We need targeted federal enforcement against large growers and traffickers. And, we need to tell our friends, neighbors and associates the real facts about today’s pot. If you talk to your neighbors, most have no idea how dangerous legalizing pot really is.

The City of Concord needs to wake up before it’s too late.

Hope Johnson February 10, 2018 at 8:16 AM

Concord Mike – Definitely agree with your post. It shouldn’t be so difficult for you or any other Concord resident to get the information you asked about. Most of it would have to be produced under a public records request (although I recognize that won’t help you out for Monday’s meeting). If I can attend the meeting, I’ll report back here on it and I will also request better notice of info for everyone so both opposition and support can be heard, as this lack of notice has recently become a pattern with the City.

AlwaysBePositive February 10, 2018 at 10:42 AM

f, your fear of a plant is misplaced. On the list of dangers to your community, alcohol and cigarettes cause far more damage than weed.

It came from a different area of social change, but COYOTE…
Call
Off
Your
Old
Tired
Ethics

Concord Mike February 10, 2018 at 11:10 AM

Hope, thank you. I know you are a great advocate for honest and open government.

Forsythe, I agree with you. I believe those who voted for prop 64 hoping it would reduce the illegal drug trade and promote public safety will unfortunately be proved wrong. They will eventually realize the only benefit to prop 64 will accrue to the multi-million dollar pot manufacturers and retailers who will rake in $$$.

I believe any new tax revenue will have to be spent cleaning up the mess created by new addictions, especialy among young people. The best we can do here in Concord is to minimize the damage by minimizing the local availability.

Kenji February 10, 2018 at 12:36 PM

Mike, as you know, I disagree with you on this issue and am in favor of permitting and regulation of cannabis businesses in this city. But you’re right, that meeting should have been posted publicly and not just noticed to an interest list. (I am on that interest list.) I don’t think the lack of full public notice is a Brown Act violation since it’s not a meeting of a public body and no decision is being made, but it’s still bad practice and contrary to transparent and accountable governance.

Nature Lover February 10, 2018 at 1:44 PM

Thank you Concord Mike!

anon February 12, 2018 at 2:26 PM

I had my attorney call the City regarding the marijuana meeting tonight to make a public records request. The response was that the the City is considering an overlay zoning map for the permitted locations of retail marijuana outlets. The draft map will be posted at the workshop meeting and supposedly available as a handout. My attorney was was told that there is no specific location or written staff report prepared or available at this time. It seems to me that anytime the City is considering a new zoning map for marijuana sales, the process should be well publicized and the outreach should be broad.

Concord Mike February 13, 2018 at 7:42 AM

@anon, Thank you for your efforts to get to the bottom of this.

Will city staff now post and share their “zoning map for permitted locations for retail marijuana outlets” as widely as they posted the recent district elections maps? I hope so. That would be appropriate given the level of public interest and concern this plan is generating.

anon February 13, 2018 at 5:10 PM

You can visit the Permit Center at the City and ask for a copy of the map that was handed out at the meeting. I don’t think there are any plans to post the proposed map on the Web. The “cannabis overlay” touches several separate areas of town such as across from the Golf Course and down Bates Ave. into the large light industrial area. Near Costco and near the Water district headquarters abutting Concord Ave. and going North. The map is designated as “manufacturing, testing laboratories, and distribution.” areas.

Later there will be another map for “storefront retail.” Hold on to your hat for that one. Once the zoning laws permit a certain type of retail, it gets hard to object to any kind of permitted use within the zone.

I worry about ugly security measures that will inevitably be required. Are we going to be looking at flood lights, 10 foot fences with razor wire and guard dogs? In Concord, they’d probably let that happen because our esthetic standards went by the wayside a long time ago.

Publius February 9, 2018 at 7:58 PM

Of course, Leone opposes the ban……anything he can squeeze money out of he is ready for.
By the way Leone is currently working for Clayton Valley Charter as an advisor while he is signing on as a co-signatory for a charter in Antioch. At the same time he is running for county superintendent of schools, a position which he is demonstratively unqualified either by education, experience, or ethics.Leone has done nothing except to try to line his pockets in politics. He got run out by every school district he was in.

Recall 'Em All February 9, 2018 at 8:08 PM

Sounds like a couple of issues here:
1. The process is not transparent enough
2. Concern for the establishment of “pot lots” and the location.

Time to know February 10, 2018 at 5:16 PM

Claycord – Jeff Kasper, former Chairman of the Board for the Concord Chamber of Commerce, was accused of child pornography and Internet impersonation in May 2016. Do you know what his status is now? Is he in jail? Is he roaming around Concord scout free? Is he in jail? Does he have computer access? Is he still a “good neighbor” as according to Faith Barnidge? Makes. Me. Vomit.

He was initially arrested May 2015. Why is it that the Concord community has not been kept updated on this creep’s status? Not just on Claycord, but the news media as a whole.

When this story originally broke, I remember that there were many, many comments. Concord residents were extremely interested in the arrest/ crime. Why has the story simply disappeared?

What is the story? And what is the story behind the story?

Human beings who want to protect children want to know.

Time to know February 10, 2018 at 5:35 PM

Concord residents – Am I the only one wondering about the status of Jeff Kasper’s child porn case? Surely not. Please speak up.

Kentucky Derby February 12, 2018 at 2:28 PM

I don’t know what’s going on with Jeff Kasper, but I know he’s not in jail. A friend of mine is his neighbor, and she see’s him walking his dog.

Forsythe February 12, 2018 at 5:28 PM

FAQs From CalmCA.org

–Isn’t marijuana safer than cigarettes?
No. It has the same carcinogens as cigarette smoke, and 20 times more ammonia than tobacco. Marijuana users typically breathe the smoke more deeply, so they tend to do far greater damage to their lungs. Marijuana impairs judgment and perception, making driving under the influence very dangerous.

–Marijuana doesn’t kill. What is the harm?
Many violent psychotic acts were committed by pot smokers such as Jared Loughner (shooter of Gabby Giffords, killed 6, injured 13), James Holmes (Colorado theater shooter killed 12 injured 70) and the Tsarnaev brothers (Boston bombers). Children of pots users suffer neglect. About 125 Americans die daily of a drug overdose—virtually all used marijuana when they overdosed. Marijuana is a gateway drug.

–Isn’t marijuana safer than alcohol?
No. Over 60% of American adults drink alcohol regularly. Only about 10% drink to get drunk. Virtually all pot smokers use it to get high.

–Won’t the black market go away if we legalize marijuana?
No. In Colorado about 40% of pot sales are on the black market. Drug cartels don’t go away; they move into other businesses such as heroin and human trafficking. California produces about 60% of all the marijuana in America, making California the largest “drug cartel”.

nytemuvr February 12, 2018 at 6:59 PM

CalmCA.org…..Not biased at all….mmmkayy

Forsythe February 13, 2018 at 6:07 AM

Of course, it’s biased.

But consider this (from another biased source):

Like Big Tobacco of yesteryear, Big Marijuana knows that it needs lifelong addicted customers to prosper.

Addictive industries generate the lion’s share of their profits from addicts, not casual users. This means that creating addicts is the central goal.

And — as every good tobacco executive knows (but won’t tell you) — this, in turn, means targeting the young.

khttps://learnaboutsam.org/the-issues/big-tobacco-2-0-big-marijuana/

Silva February 13, 2018 at 5:06 PM

I came across the following Change.org petition;

“Restore the relevance of the 4th Concord CA district maps hearing!
The City of Concord is in the process of changing from “at large” elections to ‘by-district. Under California law, this process requires at least 5 public hearings to consider alternative district map scenarios and other important considerations. On February 6, the Concord City Council made final decisions about district maps during the 3rd of the 5 legally required public hearings, effectively cutting off further public input and discussion of alternatives.

The Concord Communities Alliance will be sending the letter below to the Concord City Council. If you agree, please sign the petition – this will email a copy of the letter to the City Council’s email address. We are asking the Concord City Council to respect legal process and public input!
Thanks for your support!”

http://bit.ly/2Bs07id

Concord Mike February 13, 2018 at 8:21 PM

@Forsythe, I agree with your comparison of marijuana to tobacco. Both products when smoked create dozens of documented carcinogens. Not every tobacco smoker or every marijuana smoker will get cancer, but it is such a clear risk both products should be considered serious public health threats.

Also there is plenty of scientific evidence of an addiction rate for marijuana of from 10%-30% of users. Not has high as tobacco, but still a significant public health problem.

The determination and persistence of the pro-marijuana lobby in part reflects the power of this addiction, in my opinion.

KAD February 13, 2018 at 9:15 PM

Signed.

Hope Johnson February 14, 2018 at 9:07 AM

After my public comment at the end of the Concord Council meeting on Feb. 6 re lack of adequate notice of city neighborhood meetings, I was advised staff would work on setting up a calendar of these meetings on the city web site. Before last night’s meeting I was told staff is working on it and it should be up soon. Let’s see.

KAD February 14, 2018 at 12:14 PM

Thank you for speaking up on this issue.

KAD February 14, 2018 at 12:12 PM

Someone spoke during Public Comment portion of the City Council meeting last night regarding the meeting videos not being posted in a timely manner. I have been writing letters about this for months. I was told the same thing she was told before the meeting. The City has a technical issue. This problem goes back to Oct. and it is still not fixed. This is no way to run a City.

Lars Anderson February 16, 2018 at 6:38 PM

Does anybody have an update on Laura Hoffmiester health? I have heard she is sick and possibly won’t be running for re-election.

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