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Mendocino County Today: December 3, 2012

DOPERS REGROUP — Emerald Growers Association Press Release: In an attempt to gain access to the personal and financial information of state law-compliant medical cannabis farmers in Mendocino County, federal authorities have requested records regarding the county’s pre-2012 medical cannabis cultivation ordinance. Last week local press reported that County officials received a federal grand jury subpoena issued to the Mendocino County Auditor-Controller’s Office, demanding records of fees paid to the county by farmers seeking to comply with the ordinance in good faith. Emerald Growers Association (EGA), a medical cannabis trade association representing farmers in the Emerald Triangle region, considers the targeting of law-abiding citizens misguided and has called on residents and elected officials to take action immediately. In Mendocino County, illegal growers, some with ties to violent Mexican gangs like the Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, have taken over public lands and in the past, according to various media outlets, have fired on local residents, hikers, park rangers, and sheriff’s deputies. In addition to the resulting violence, illegal grows have contributed to environmental devastation unprecedented in recent times including the diversion of natural waterways, clear cutting of forest lands, and pushing wildlife such as the California Fisher to the brink of extinction through indiscriminate use of pesticides at illegal grow sites. While federal efforts have failed to meaningfully address the problem for residents, Mendocino County was actively working with local farmers to address and remedy these and other issues through strict local regulation, exercising its broad public interest in promoting the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. Mendocino County established a strict regulatory framework in compliance with California’s medical cannabis laws and the California Attorney General’s Guidelines for the Security and Non-Diversion of Marijuana Grown for Medical Use; in doing so the County successfully began to bring local cannabis cultivation above ground by creating incentives for farmers to comply with laws on transparency, non-diversion of medical cannabis and environmental degradation, as well as a clear means of separating state-law compliant farmers from their unlawful counterparts. Now, the federal government is attempting to punish the farmers that were brave enough to stand up and become leaders in the fight to take back Mendocino County from the hands of criminal organizations. Farmers complied with the ordinance in good faith, with the reasonable assumption that compliance with county law would not leave them worse off in terms of their exposure to federal harassment than not complying with county law. It would be manifestly unjust to hang these farmers out to dry and expose them to possible criminal prosecution by delivering their personal information in response to the subpoena. The County Board of Supervisors must defend these citizens by directing the County Counsel to do his utmost to prevent such disclosures. Federal authorities are abusing their discretion in targeting the hard working and honest people of Mendocino County. Further, these latest federal actions undermine and chill the County’s ability to effectively regulate cannabis cultivation; as such they also endanger the public health, welfare and safety of Mendocino County residents. This federal overreach works a serious injustice upon the residents of Mendocino County, who overwhelmingly support strict regulation of medical cannabis in their county. There will be a special meeting of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. The EGA is urging all Mendocino County residents to call and e-mail their County Supervisors before the meeting to demand that the County act to protect its citizens’ interests and to fight the federal subpoena by passing a unanimous resolution to direct County Counsel Tom Parker to oppose it in court, if necessary. The EGA’s mission is to “promote the medicinal, environmental, social, and economic benefits of lawfully cultivated sun-grown medical cannabis from California’s Emerald Triangle Region by advocating for public policies that foster a healthy, sustainable medical cannabis industry.”

A READER WRITES: “I am now taking finals at CR in Fort Bragg and in less than two weeks, I will be eligible to transfer to a four-year program (and I am looking at Humboldt). I may however not be able to afford continuing my education right now because of the skyrocketing costs. I do not understand all of the factors that go into decisions made to increase tuition costs and budget issues that lead to layoffs and pay cuts of faculty, but I am learning. I will contact both Barbara Rice and Kathy Smith, but I wanted to share a question that I have already submitted to CR board members. I did a little research on two-year versus four-year schools. About ten years ago, there were proposals being made around the country to allow two-year schools the option of implementing four-year programs. There are a number of US schools who have been doing this and the idea was proposed in California (San Diego County) in January 2010. But I couldn’t find evidence of the idea going anywhere. I think it is an awesome idea that would benefit everyone. Ten times the funding, greater opportunity/access to obtain a four-year degree, better pay for instructors (finally), and stronger community. Maybe there are obstacles here that I’m not yet aware of that would make this an impossibility. But I would sure like to know what they are so we could at least try to overcome them.”

K.C. MEADOWS WRITES (as of Sunday morning): “Just talked to Sheriff Allman. Some flooding but no major problems after the rains overnight. Most people were prepared ahead which is good. The question lots of people are asking is, Why didn't the Army Corps reduce releases out of Lake Mendocino? There's plenty of room in the lake for water and that could have eased the flooding in places like Oak Manor.”

COUPLA FOLLOW-UP COMMENTS on Ukiah's blundering Costco Redevelopment Agency financing moves: PS#1: (from a memo from City staff to the RDA oversight board) Summary: The Redwood Business Park of Ukiah (“RBP”) claims that it has an option to purchase property in the Redwood Business Park that was purchased by the City of Ukiah’s former Redevelopment Agency (“Agency”) in 2009. The Successor Agency disputes this claim. RBP agrees to waive any such option as to any of this property that is purchased by Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”). The City of Ukiah (“City”), RBP and the Successor Agency are considering an agreement to toll any time deadline for requesting arbitration to resolve this dispute. If Costco purchases all of the property that will render the dispute moot and avoid any need to arbitrate the dispute. PS #2: The City was using $1 million in RDA funds to pay salaries and benefits, including a big chunk of the City Manager, the Assistant City Manager and the assistant to the Assistant City Manager (who was called the Grant Administrator, or something like that). With the demise of the RDA, were any of these positions asked to take a hit to help close the extra million budget gap caused by the loss of RDA funding which could no longer be used to offset admin salaries? No! That is not well received by line staff who are being asked to take a 10% pay cut, as the City finally gets around to making the hard decisions that the County faced almost three years ago.

KEN SALAZAR, Secretary of the Interior, Gets Punchy

By David Gurney

Salazar

On election night in Fountain, Colorado, Nov. 6, 2012, a reporter tried to ask Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar a couple of questions about his involvement in the the fate of wild mustangs on public lands. When Salazar became uncomfortable with the questions, the Secretary menacingly told the reporter "if you ever try to set me up again, I'll punch you out."

Later, one of Salazar's aides emailed a message "expressing regret" for the incident.

Salazar became uptight when award-winning Colorado Springs reporter Dave Philipps asked him, after pleasantries, about his association with neighbor and former employee Tommy Davis. Salazar's associate is accused of selling more than 1,700 wild mustangs to Mexican horse slaughterers. The meat ends up in Europe and Japan.

To make way for cattle grazing, natural gas fracking, and transport pipelines, wild mustangs are being cruelly rounded up with helicopters on wild Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and California. Mr. Salazar comes from a wealthy family of Colorado cattle ranchers.

After roundup, Mr. Davis purchased the horses from the BLM, presumably with Salazar's knowledge and approval, for $10 dollars a head. It's unknown how much Davis got paid in Mexico to have the horses killed and butchered.

When Salazar could not comfortably lie his way out of Dave Philipps' questions, he threatened the reporter, and warned him that if he ever tried to "set me up" again, "I'll punch you out."

A shocked Dave Philipps responded by politely telling Salazar that he'd tried to contact him through his office numerous times in the preceding weeks, but had never heard back. An audio recording of the encounter can be heard here:

http://chirb.it/8zx4Dh

More on the Wild Horse slaughter and Salazar's involvement:

http://rtfitchauthor.com/2012/11/24/salazars-ties-to-wild-horse-slaughter-buyer-questioned/

More on efforts to save Wild Mustangs:

http://www.thecloudfoundation.org/

http://protectmustangs.org/

Secretary Salazar is a much hated man throughout the west, for his heartless involvement in the extermination of Wild Mustangs, a living symbol of American freedom and wilderness.

On Nov. 27th Salazar announced he was opening up huge new areas of the Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil drilling. (http://noyonews.net/?p=7988). The following day, he made an extremely unwise and unpopular decision to close down an ecologically sustainable and beneficial oyster farm in Drakes Bay, California based on scientific misconduct and conflicts of interest, and possible corruption. (http://noyonews.net/?p=7974 )

A look at Mr. Ken Salazar's Facebook page reveals post after post of people expressing their rage and contempt, with the hope this Secretary of the Interior will soon be fired or forced to resign (or worse):

http://www.facebook.com/SecretarySalazar

My opinion?

Although Salazar looks like he'd have a hard time punching his way out of a paper bag, he does seem downright creepy, and looks the part of the soulless villain that he truly is.

BRUCE RICHARD INVITES YOU TO HIS OWN RETIREMENT PARTY

PS. You can’t get there by bus. Funny, you'd ask.

PPS. How many people send out their own retirement party announcement? (The three recommended hotels are all on Airport Park Boulevard, in the City of Ukiah, even though the event is at Barra's, north of town beyond the city limits. You'd think the Discovery Inn, on the north end, might at least get a mention. Especially since the Discovery Inn pays Bed Tax to the County, and the County, through the Mendocino Council of Governments, provides most of the funding for Richard’s MTA.)

PPPS. Wes Chesbro has purchased an old Ukiah Golf Trophy and inscribed it: “Good goin’. I love you, bro. You’re just like me, never did an honest day’s work in your life.” Jim Mastin is already blubbering in anticipation of Richard’s retirement speech.

PPPPS. The dinner will be paid for out of a Department of Transportation grant.

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