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Gutted and Depleted Measure K Commission Meets Tonight 6 PM (10/8)
by Robert Norse
Monday Oct 8th, 2007 1:02 PM
The "Lowest Enforcement Priority" for Marijuana Initiative created Measure K last year with a 63% yes vote from the City. City Council sued the proponents to weaken its enforcement; City Manager has recommended cutting back its meetings. It meets tonight at City Hall 6 PM in City Council chambers. Show up and speak up!
BACKGROUND
Measure K was put on the ballot over the objections of City Attorney Barisone, the silence of the City Council. Council could have passed it by 4-3, or put it on the ballot by 4-3, or endorsed it once anti-Drug War supporters had gone to the trouble of rounding up 4000 registered city voter signatures. They did none of the above. Councilmember Porter and Vice-Chief Sepone publicly opposed it.

In response to the voters passing this by a heavy majority , the City Attorney got the City Council to take the measure to court to gut it of requirements that police cooperate with it and supply date and liaison. The City Manager's office mandated that its meetings be bi-annual (after three initial meetings). They did authorize $50,000 to "support" it (i.e. pay Tina Sholl's salary--the Commissioners don't get paid]. City Council members declined to appoint members for many months (it still has only 4 members) in spite of repeated appeals.

See City Manager 2/27/07 Staff Report Recommending Very Infrequent Meetings of Measure K Commission
and preparing the way for a court challenge.
http://www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/cc/archives/07/2-27meeting/2-27rpt/cm312.htm

City staff held an empty two-minute meeting in March (required by the law) with no members and didn't get together the statistic documenting police compliance as required by the initiative at the time of the 2nd (and most recent) meeting in September.


CITY COUNCIL-BACKED EMASCULATION OF MEASURE K'S OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
To understand the shadowy power of the SCPD and their allies in the city attorney's office, city council, and city manager's office, look at what happened to the key provision of Measure K, which originally mandated regular SCDP reports. Check out the text of the measure and note the deleted sections:

9.84.060 COMMUNITY OVERSIGHT.


(1) A Community Oversight Committee shall be appointed to oversee the implementation of this chapter and shall serve voluntarily. The committee shall be formed and begin meeting within 100 days after the enactment of this chapter, even if some of its members have not been appointed. Each Santa Cruz City Councilmember shall appoint one city resident. [DELETED: and the Santa Cruz Police Department and the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office shall each send a representative as a non-voting liaison to the meetings.] Each committee member shall serve at the pleasure of the council member who appointed him or her, and city council members shall appoint replacement committee members on an as needed basis.


(2) Responsibilities of the committee shall include:


(a) ensuring timely implementation of this chapter; [DELETED: with the cooperation of the Santa Cruz Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in providing needed data;]


(b) receiving any grievances from individuals who believe they were subjected to law enforcement activity contrary to the lowest law enforcement priority policy;


© [DELETED: designing a supplemental report form for Santa Cruz law enforcement officers to use to report all adult marijuana arrests, citations, and property seizures, and all instances of officers assisting in state or federal arrests, citations, and property seizures for any adult marijuana offenses in the city of Santa Cruz; the report shall be designed with the goal of allowing the committee to ascertain whether the lowest law enforcement priority policy was followed;]


(d) [DELETED: requesting additional information from any Santa Cruz law enforcement officer who engaged in law enforcement activity relating to one or more marijuana offenses under circumstances which appear to violate the lowest law enforcement priority policy. An officer's decision not to provide additional information shall not be grounds for discipline; and]


(e)submitting written reports semi-annually to the Santa Cruz City Council on the implementation of this ordinance, with the first report being issued nine months after the enactment of this chapter. These reports shall include but not necessarily be limited to: the number of all arrests, citations, property seizures, and prosecutions for marijuana offenses in the city of Santa Cruz; the breakdown of all marijuana arrests and citations by race, age, specific charge, and classification as infraction, misdemeanor, or felony; the percentage of all arrests in the city of Santa Cruz that are for adult marijuana offenses; any instances of law enforcement activity that the committee believes violated the lowest law enforcement priority policy; and the estimated time and money spent by the city on law enforcement and punishment for adult marijuana offenses.

[DELETED: (3) Santa Cruz law enforcement officers shall submit to the committee the supplemental report form as designed by the committee within seven calendar days after each adult marijuana arrest, citation, or property seizure, or instance of assisting in a state or federal arrest, citation, or property seizure for any adult marijuana offense in the city of Santa Cruz. Such reports shall be public records to the extent permitted by state law and made available to any citizen that requests them.]

Initial Full Text of Measure K
http://www.santacruzpl.org/ref/measures/textfiles/2005_2009/2006november/measurek.shtml

Current emasculated Measure K text: http://nt2.scbbs.com/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=195497039&infobase=procode-1&softpage=Browse_Frame_Pg [go to MC 9.84.060]


INVITATION TO AN INQUEST
Councilmember Rotkin's feeble defense of this surrender to SCPD supremacy can be found at
http://www.gtweekly.com/ticker/marijuana-law-enforcement-goes-to-court-36 ["Marijuana law enforcement goes to court"].
City attorney Barisone's comments are reported in the Santa Cruz Sentinel's Shanna McCord story at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2007/February/15/local/stories/04local.htm ["Santa Cruz leaders challenge new marijuana law"]
I've noted that when ever City Council wants to direct a crackdown (say on the homeless as Coonerty/Mathews/&Robinson did through their secret Downtown Improvement Task Force or against the public as with the Halloween Triple Fines Zones), they have no trouble doing so. But when citizens themselves try to rein in or hold accountable the SCPD (as when we suggested criminal penalties for cooperating with Patriot Act decrees) Rotkin protests that the City Charter prohibits such "interference".
I left a call with Councilmember Rotkin and Attorney Ben Rice, asking for specific understanding of the charter section that supposedly requires gutting the Measure K Commission. Rice is the attorney who agreed to this strangulation of public oversight in an action agreed to in Superior Court in late May. I still don't understand why.
The deleted provisions need to be restored (and strenghtened) and can be by City Council vote (though the SCPD may sue, of course: how dare we oversee them?!). Come to the 6 PM meeting today at City Hall at demand some action.


HELP NEEDED
The Measure K Initiative was initially funded with out-of-state money and out-of-county staff in preparation for a broader "Tax and Regulate" measure in 2008. If you go to "Bathrobespierre's Broadsides", my radio show, on the http://www.huffsantacruz.org website, and scan for "Measure K" you'll find my critique at that time. Proponents were sending $10,000 on a study to determine how to frame the measure. I felt the money could be put more profitably into fighting the local war by documenting police harassment of marijuana users, D.A. prosecution of marijuana growers, and city council/supervisor collusion/inaction on this issue.

Now all the advocates (with the exception of me and Anita Henri) seem to have vanished or moved to Hawaii. And the SCPD and its allies are tearing apart the bones.

Anita Henri, appointed by Mike Rotkin (!) on the Measure K Commission, is a long-time anti-Drug War person. She has been doing a home delivery of medical marijuana service (Med Ex) for the last decade or more. But she's also not in the best of health, slowing down, and isolated. She needs help.

Give her a call at 425-3444 or e-mail her at MedEx95060 [at] aol.com .

Alliances need to be formed with folks in other cities who successfully defended their laws (similar laws were passed in Santa Barbara and West Hollywood). The public needs to be alerted to what's going on.


TODAY'S MEETING
At the meeting today, Anita will be supporting a letter being sent to City Council members asking them to quickly fill the long-vacant slots on the Commission (3 are vacant as of noon today though there are numerous applicants including Thomas Leavitt: apply by contacting City Hall at 420-5020).

I have urged her to add to letter the Commission's demand that their powers be restored in accord with the will of the voters, however annoyed that makes the SCPD. Come to the meeting to support this demand.

Those with concerns about SCPD enforcement should also come to the meeting.

Notice of the meeting is not posted where other advisory committees have their agendas posted but instead in front of the City Council offices. I've suggested to Tina Sholl that's a problem, but she keeps doing it.

Tina was also the point person for the City Manager's office/SCPD in presenting their Triple Fine Zones for Halloween. When I suggested she had a conflict of interest at the Measure K meeting (since she's serving as their staff person in a group that's supposed to be overseeing the police), she took great offense.

We really need activists working with Anita outside the Measure K Commission on broader Drug War stupidity.
Remember, the ass you save could be your own, or your friend's.


FOR REFERENCE
Measure K Advisory Committee; Minutes from Last Meeting and Current Agenda
http://www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/council/MK/mk.html