Your average outsider would think that based upon the sheer level of discussion of medical marijuana in Mono County, that we as a County are the most health-conscious people on Earth.
If not the most health-conscious, at least the most paranoid.
Which circles us back to the marijuana.
About two weeks ago, I get a fax sent to me entitled, “Booth, Kendall, Boiling in Pot.”
It was an eight-paragraph screed which ripped the Mono County District Attorney’s office and the Mono County Sheriff’s Dept. for their “lack of knowledge” about laws governing medical marijuana.
The cover sheet said I could confirm the facts of the fax with local attorney John Manzano.
It also generously added that “You may use this news story as your own.”
Tempting as it may have been to attach my byline to this little leaflet of propaganda, I figured I’d try speak to the author himself. Given that the fax advised me to “confirm facts” with Mr. Manzano, I assumed he’d written the letter.
No, said Manzano, who represents the Eastern Sierra Center for Holistic Wellness (ESCHW). An ESCHW member must’ve written it.
I asked Manzano about the paragraph regarding the arrest of ESCHW volunteer Bill Crosby.
The paragraph states that “Sheriff’s Deputy Seth Clark ignored the guidelines of the medical marijuana ID card” when he arrested Crosby. It also noted that Crosby’s bail has been dropped and no charges had yet been filed against him.
Which seems like a gross injustice, given that the Sheriff’s Dept. ran a huge press release complete with photos when Crosby and six others were arrested by Mono County narcotics officers for the alleged cultivation, sale and distribution of marijuana.
Crosby confirmed via telephone interview that indeed, he has yet to be charged.
He went on to explain that ESCHW was one of five initial applicants for the Town of Mammoth Lakes two collective permits (which went to Green Mammoth and Mammoth Lakes Wellness), but before it reached the planning commission stage, ESCHW, aka mammoth420.com, ditched its application, choosing instead to operate via a delivery system as opposed to a storefront.
“Patients wanted delivery,” he said. “A storefront dispensary [to them] was the equivalent of walking into Vons.”
Why take on rent and all the associated expense of a brick-and-mortar business when people wanted discretion, he asked rhetorically.
Crosby maintained ESCHW was operating legally, licensed and organized under the guidelines set forth by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown two years ago.
“I’m not sure he [District Attorney Booth] can have an opinion when the Attorney General, his boss, has already rendered an opinion,” said Manzano. “I don’t know what his game is, but it’s disturbing to me.”
Assistant D.A. Tim Kendall said this week via email that his office’s “position paper [on medical marijuana] is fairly close to being completed. We are waiting to get some feedback from the Attorney General’s office before putting it out. Bill Crosby has not be charged yet. His next court appearance is on February 28. I anticipate having charges filed by then.”
And from Kirkner’s desk, stemming from Wednesday’s Council meeting …
Watson is permanent
At Town Manager Rob Clark’s last Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Interim Police Chief Dan Watson was made permanent. Council is finalizing contracts for the Interim Town Manager and Administrative Services Director positions and will not release the names until this is completed. Mayor Skip Harvey estimated that a press release would be sent Friday or Monday, thus revealing his great mastery of the local news cycle.
Stay out of the corner
On Wednesday night, the Mammoth Town Council listened to staff’s presentation on the sign portion of the Zoning Code Update that the Town is currently undertaking. Council was asked to give direction on the progress so far. Public hearings still need to be held before anything is cemented.
Council asked that ways to enforce new sign codes be thoroughly vetted since historically the Town has not been able to back up its own signage laws. Mayor Pro Tem Jo Bacon also channeled Jennifer Grey in asking that staff not “write the Town into a corner with things that may become obsolete.”
Mammoth View will fork out $15,000
In regard to Mammoth View, Council asked that the proponent pay the $15,000 to complete a study that will determine whether or not fees should be relaxed for developers in Mammoth. Hector Caldera of Mammoth View agreed as long as the study was to be project-specific.
“If you end up using the study for a bigger-picture development discussion then we should be reimbursed,” Caldera said.
Council agreed that the Town could reimburse Mammoth View for at least half of the study if that were the case. However, Council member Rick Wood believed he could already predict the study’s outcome.
“It’s going to say that the fee structure needs to be revisited and that fees need to be reduced,” Wood said.
Hospital agreement approved
Council also approved the new agreement with Mammoth Hospital that will allow the hospital to make five annual payments beginning in June to buy back its portion of the McFlex Parcel.
Are longer meetings in Council’s future?
Mayor Skip Harvey postponed his thoughts on possibly changing the Town’s organizational structure until a new Town manager is appointed, and instead presented his ideas on a new format for Town Council meetings. His idea would be to start every Council meeting with a Public Work/Study Session at 4 p.m. with the idea being that department heads could give reports and Council could ask questions about items on the evening’s agenda. The evening session would then begin at 7 p.m. so that Council members would have time for dinner (and as John Eastman requested, a nap) before starting the regular meeting.
“My biggest question is when am I going to work?” Council member Matthew Lehman said, only half-joking.
Harvey believed that the new format would reduce the need for other commission and liaison meetings, therefore saving Council members time on other days of the week.
Eastman was not supportive of the idea, stating he already had plenty of time to talk to staff one on one, but Harvey thought the transparency of the study session format would be beneficial to the public.
Wood was concerned about the availability of the public at 4 p.m. claiming that the community, as well as commissioners had a harder time getting to a meeting at 4 rather than 6.
“Meetings aren’t just to hear ourselves talk,” Wood said. “It’s to talk with the public.”
Harvey agreed to take his fellow Council members comments into consideration and bring a revised plan back after the new Town Manager was in place.