Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pot Grows in Trinidad - Land Use Policy

Arcata House Fire - not a grow house
Not a grow-house fire in Trinidad, but it could be.

Aracta Fire Department's response to their downtown fire was impressive - look at the size of that hose, and 3 streams too. I don't know the cause of this fire, but it illustrates a common fear here. With all of Chief Thrailkill's recent work, we seem to be catching up on our neighbors with the proportion of grow houses in Trinidad. 

I look forward to Ken's reporting on this issue and researching it more myself. It is my understanding that if we don't have specific laws in Trinidad, they default to California State Laws. I'll find out and post the results here. In the mean-time, while I've supported lawful growing of cannabis, like any other lawful act, how do you feel about it? Arcata's Cannabis Standards, and Fortuna's Work seem like reasonable places to start. There is a good article in the November 25th issue of the Arcata Eye - by Kevin L. Hoover Vol. 13 No.8.

Online, I read a post that sums up a nice policy perspective we could implement right now.

commenter idea: 

"Or, landlords could capitalize on the growers. Advterise 215 friendly rentals, allready properly wired and constructed to handle and grow."
Smarter Than You, Redwood City, CA #14Sep 20, 2008[1]

While we started exploring the dispensary issue here in Trinidad last week, McK had an interesting business proposition. According to the Time-Standard, "The Rose Center would provide growers with an environmentally secure facility that would be run in accordance with Proposition 215, Senate Bill 420 and the Attorney General's 2008 guidelines for medical marijuana cultivation." From the article, it seems this would be a medical marijuana growing collective and "The Rose Center was not designed to be a dispensary and medical marijuana would not be given to patients at the site..." The applicants seem to want to create a facility that allows Proposition 215 card-holding growers to cultivate "... more than they need for their own purposes ..." in a commercial space.

I need more education on this, because I was under the impression that 215 was only for growing / buying what you need for your medical condition. Seems like if you grow more than you need, or want to grow it to help those who cannot, or grow it as a non-profit or for-profit business, it would make sense to allow and regulate that with laws, zoning, licensing and appropriate taxing. I'm leaning more towards simplifying regulation of the industry and generating revenue, than spending money and time on investigation and enforcing complicated use laws. That being said, the laws need to be changed to allow this, and current laws need to be respected.

I continue to explore all sides of this, so please continue to comment ...


Transparency and Efficiency in our City Government - Mike for Mayor

Close-up of Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse Lens
It's my intention to lead a change in the way we've been governing here - creating more faith, respect and pride in Trinidad's government.

As a City of Trinidad Councilmember-Elect, one of the first things I'd like to do is announce my personal Councilmember Blog. Through it, I seek to build new relationships while expanding existing ones. I'd like a new perspective and deeper understanding of Trinidad resident's issues and concerns as I refine my actions around them.

I will be sworn in at our December 10th meeting, at which time I will ask the current Councilmembers to vote for me as Mayor. With our new Council-Manager form of government, I see the primary, and mostly ceremonial, role of our Mayor as a chairman for our Council meetings. What are my qualifications? After serving as Planning Commission Chairman for the past few years, I've learned not only how to run meetings efficiently, but also how to fairly promote compromise in emotionally charged and divisive situations. I've been complimented on my diplomacy by many people on both "sides" of issues, and I would like to bring this leadership to our Council. Whether or not I'm elected, I commit to leading a new openness and transparency in our Council communications - one that is also more reflective of all of Trinidad's residents, not just those who agree with me. Our government works best as a representative team with diverse and sometimes opposing resident's opinions, compromise, and ownership of issues. Our Sales Tax compromise is indicative of this. That being said, it did not pass with a huge majority, which leads me to believe we need to reach out, encourage, and listen even more.

Cronyism can flourish with a lack of openness, transparency and insufficient accountability. While I'm not accusing any specific council member of cronyism, some residents have this perception. I don't want to be part of this perception. I sought out this position because I think it is unnecessary to continue the behind-the-scenes politicking and consensus decision-making that appears to have become such a part of our local government. This develops a clique mentality and its corresponding biased influence does not come close to my new hopes for Trinidad City government. In the past, when gathering signatures for requesting a new sales tax, I participated in this style of government. Working with the City Manager and Clerk about deadlines and requirements, I gathered a supportive group for the issue, and then presented it unbeknownst to most of the Council. What was accomplished by this? A stronger presentation? Maybe, but perhaps unnecessarily so. So how can I lead us away from this? Again, what are my qualifications? I sought this government position and I'm committed to improvement and change for the better. Many residents feel several members on the Council were "recruited" into their positions to promote a shift in power during some of our less proud political days. While I think these members have found stronger, more independent voices, that is the root and some would argue the continuing influence of their service. Of course they can choose to change too, and together we can evolve an even better, more transparent form of government. That being said, I remain grateful for and I respect the service of our Councilmembers, and especially of our Mayor, Chi-Wei Lin.

Where is this coming from? Recently, I've been included in email list circulations which make me uncomfortable. Those, and cautionary emails from our attorney about blogging, prompted me to create my very public Blog and a new commitment to Trinidad residents. Regarding non-confidential City political issues - I only want to correspond with people publicly - especially if those people are fellow Councilmembers or our City Staff. I will use this Blog, and this email address, or talk in public meetings - notwithstanding necessary closed sessions. I will save all correspondence on this site and its associated Gmail site, and will maintain its public availability. So, no deleted emails, no exclusive group emails, no serialized emails or meetings, and no other gray area meetings at people's houses. Transparent communication. This concept also means more efficiency in problem-solving by gathering resident's input in a new, more organized and well documented way.

What if you don't want to use these routes? Most likely, I will send you to our City Manager, Steve Albright, first. If unresolved, I'll suggest that you present your issue to the Council. Requests to bend my ear and give advice won't be brushed aside, but I will encourage everyone to write it down, make it public, and to own it. I'm excited to see what happens, and look forward to jumping in with both feet and my whole heart on December 10th. Hope to see you there.

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