Mono County Supervisors were faced with the age-old dilemma at their regular meeting Tuesday.
Pawn off difficult, politically sensitive work on others, or buck up and do the job one is elected to do.
By the squishiest of 3-2 margins, Supervisors decided on the latter.
Squishy because the swing vote (Rhonda Duggan) almost self-combusted in a haze of doublespeak during board deliberations.
The task at hand Tuesday: to determine whether this year’s decennial (every ten years) redistricting would be a board-driven process or whether the board would punt and create either an independent or advisory commission to do the job/help.
The advantage of a board-driven process? Supervisors making the ultimate decision on redistricting (how to best draw the geographical lines of all five political districts in Mono County) are on the pulse of the issue and involved throughout.
The downside? There’s an inherent conflict-of-interest in helping to draw one’s own legislative district.
Supervisor Bob Gardner said 13 California counties used independent commissions for the 2011 redistricting while 45 did not.
Statewide, California uses an independent commission to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
Gardner, along with fellow Supervisor John Peters, were in favor of a commission-driven process.
Gardner wanted an independent commission, removing Supervisors entirely from the equation. Peters favored an advisory commission with Supervisors retaining final authority.
As Peters said, an advisory commission would “protect us from each other and perceived bias.”
Supervisors Kreitz and Corless favored a board-driven process. As Kreitz suggested, why appoint proxies [to make the decision] when you can have the real thing?
This left Duggan. She hemmed, hawed, dissembled, pivoted and twirled.
It was like watching Daffy Duck as Robin Hood all over again. Ho! Ha! Ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust!
*Put that search into YouTube and enjoy.
Mercifully, the vote was soon called and she was only left with two words: yes or no. Now that the process has been determined, Supervisor Gardner outlined in a phone conversation Thursday one of his top priorities, which is a push for inclusion of the hispanic population in a meaningful way.
He noted that Anaheim recently had a lawsuit to redo its district boundaries upon determination that there was a dispersion of minority population through districts where it would be unlikely that a hispanic candidate wouild gain a seat in any one district.
In Mono County, he said, we have a 27% hispanic population. You’d figure that would be reflected in the composition of the Board of Supervisors. It is not.
The Sheet contacted Inyo County Supervisor Matt Kingsley to ask how he anticipated Inyo County Supervisors would proceed with redistricting. His reply via text:
“In the next couple of months our board will have an agenda topic and we will do the redistricting ourselves. Hoping we use common sense and don’t do too many changes unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
And from Page’s desk …
The saga of Saccullo is not yet dead in Inyo County: the Inyo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for conditional approval to extend David Saccullo’s permit for Old Spanish Cannabis and Commercial Park on Tuesday, January 19.
For background: Saccullo’s travails at the Board’s January 5 meeting were documented in last week’s edition of The Sheet. To sum it up, Saccullo hadn’t paid an outstanding annual fee for a cannabis business license and suggested he might not pay it he didn’t get an extension first. The Supervisors, predictably, were not amused but gave him a two-week extension to get the check to Inyo County.
Agriculture Commissioner Nathan Reade opened the public hearing on the matter by stating that he had received a notification from Saccullo showing that the check had been sent via UPS Overnight service, with tracking number provided.
One issue: the check arrived on Monday, January 18. Also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday, meaning that the office the check had been sent to was closed. In addition, the check was addressed to county offices in Bishop, not the agricultural department headquarted in Independence.
“It’s disappointing to give a two week extension so he can get the check in and then not have the check be here,” Supervisor Matt Kingsley said of the mishap.
Saccullo explained that he had been traveling and his wife’s mother had fallen ill in the two weeks prior; as a result, mailing the check fell behind schedule. But, he iterated it had been sent and would have arrived within the two week window had Monday not been a federal holiday.
Kingsley: ”And you overnighted that check?
Saccullo: “Yes, sir.”
Kingsley: “That means you didn’t send the check until Saturday?”
Saccullo: (after a brief pause) “Uh, Friday.”
Board Chair Griffiths intervened before the questioning could continue.
“I basically adhered to the timeframe idenfitied,” Saccullo pleaded as Kingsley could be heard saying “you kind of did, you kind of did” in the background.
Supervisor Jen Roeser said that while she is generally sympathetic to the plight of small business owners, in the case of the cannabis industry, she felt that rules and regulations absolutely had to be followed to a tee. Saccullo’s delays, she said, were setting a bad precedent for the county, and she made a motion to revoke the license, seconded by Kingsley.
Saccullo asked that the board consider the extenuating circumstances (family emergency, constant travel). “I would really greatly appreciate it if you give us the opportunity to succeed in Inyo,” he said, “We will inevitably be a very productive part of the county.”
After he spoke, Kingsley withdrew his motion and proposed another: if the check (for, $8,850) clears, the license will be reinstated. If it does not, it will be revoked.
The board voted to approve Kingsley’s motion, with Roeser asking that Saccullo be respectful of all the county employees he interacts with.
In his closing remarks, Saccullo had nothing but good things to say about the staff he had met with over the course of the licensing process. “I’ve been in cannabis for 40 years,” he said, “It is on a hyper-sensitivie, next level standard and I fully agree with you and it is a precedent that we should set.”