It appears second homeowner Jean-Marie Webster is still feeding the animals out in Old Mammoth at her second home. It also appears the Town of Mammoth Lakes has little desire to do anything about it.
At the Town Wildlife Subcommittee meeting Wednesday, Police Chief Randy Schienle acknowledged that there have been two more alleged cases of the feeding of wildlife at Webster’s property. There is no evidence of bear feeding, but of course, the bears are in hibernation at the moment.
Committee member Dan Dawson asked Schienle why the homeowner has not been fined for recent infractions.
Schienle replied that “We basically have to to witness the act,” and that setting an officer out there to catch a raccoon red-handed in a low-hung birdfeeder is not a high priority.
As Bruce Kinney of the California Dept. of Fish and Game added, there has to be a nexus of connection between food being put out and wildlife feeding at the site.
Wildlife Specialist Steve Sear;les said Webster has had mechanical feeders installed on her property and is flagrantly flaunting the law.
He directly connects Webster’s feeding program with the habituation of wildlife which led to the depredation of at least four bears last summer.
However, Webster has forbid Searles to walk onto her property and the cops aren’t arrested in a ‘coon stakeout, so … what to do?
The Sheet asked whether or not Searles could be deputized as a law enforcement officer for some nominal period so that he could do the stakeout himself, leaving law enforcement to maintain proper surveillance of the local coffee shops.
Schienle said citizens can be deputized (known as posse comitatus)in emergency situations, but that this particular situation falls short of that standard.
Sgt. Karen Smart followed up with an email on the topic Thursday morning:
“Penal Code section 150 is the legal authority, enacted in 1872. It speaks specifically of what we associate with the days of the old west: forming a posse to aid in arresting wanted persons or recapturing an escaped wanted person. It also talks about ‘able-bodied’ people ‘above 18 years of age’ assisting in ‘preventing any breach of the peace or the commission of any criminal offense’ when such assistance is requested by a peace officer.
As Chief Schienle mentioned, its current interpretation is still about asking for citizen help when law enforcement personnel need immediate extra hands in stopping a crime or effecting an arrest, but without the saddling up for a long ride. What hasn’t changed is that it is incident specific, AND it is assistance directly focused on a crime in progress. That, of course, would not apply to Steve Searles’ use of a firearm on public lands for aversive wildlife conditioning, or anywhere in Town to depredate a bear.”
But could it apply to nuisances, such as Jean-Marie Webster?
Mammoth Lakes Planning Commission approved the language for a zoning change on Wednesday which would allow for the establishment of medical marijuana cooperatives within Town limits.
This zoning change proposal will go before local voters this June.
The zoning change is not to be confused with a separate ordinance which would establish regulations to govern marijuana cooperatives.
The zoning rules laid out Wednesday call for a maximum of two cooperatives within Town limits to be located in the Commercial General or Commercial Zones. Cooperatives cannot be located within 500 feet of each other.
Commissioner Tony Barrett told The Sheet Thursday that some of the regulations called for in the ordinance include no cooperatives within a 750-foot radius of the schools, and no signage or advertising allowed from cooperatives which directly reference marijuana.
Expect that ordinance to be rolled out to the public sometime next month.
And from Geisel’s desk …
To be Fair …
And responding to requests that the Mono County Tourism Commission look into establishing a presence of some kind at the upcoming California State Fair, commissioners discussed a few different scenarios.
The Fair, scheduled this year for July 14-Aug. 1, and will have 33 counties among the exhibitors.
In addition to exposure for the County to prospective visitors, another attraction to being there is money. The Fair awards cash prizes for booth design, though those bucks typically go to larger counties with bigger population and sponsorship bases.
One scenario involved an offer from Inyo County to partner with their contingent, for an $8,000 fee, the hitch being that Inyo gets to keep any prize money awarded to their booth, which is already designed. The County said they’d considered counteroffering $5,000, but Commissioners generally said they prefer not to partner with Inyo under those conditions, in favor of other options.
The County has had offers from a local artist to design and man a booth for $5,000 (and any additional prize money awarded), which would be a representation of Bodie with a possible “interactive” component (having your picture taken “in Bodie” and uploaded to a website). Commissioners favored this idea more, agreeing that, while the money would almost entirely go to the artist, it would be going to a local artist, who would also be looking after the booth’s collateral material as well during the event.
The Commission plans to discuss the options with Mono County’s Board of Supervisors during its Feb. 16 meeting.
And an update on Chris Hernandez from his Facebook page … “Some of Chris’s pain in his leg is from his meniscus tear, which was diagnosed after his X-rays and MRI last week. He is working hard on [physical therapy] … and likes the (frozen) cheesecake they serve and wanted everyone to know he appreciates the comments and support. He said the pain is bad, but that is the way it is and he will keep working, to get better. Chris’s Ortho said he can now put up to 50% of his weight on his leg during physical therapy … As of Wednesday, Chris was moved into the Renown Rehab Center.”