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Rump Measure K Committee Excludes Public Comment, Loses Audio Tape
by Robert Norse
Monday Jan 19th, 2009 3:20 AM
On December 15th, the Measure K Committee held a meeting that initially locked out the public, excluded me from oral communications, and refused all comment on agenda items other than one. The Measure K Committee is charged with making sure the SCPD respect the 2006 Initiative requiring enforcement of marijuana "crimes" in private be the lowest priority. Defended by one member of the Committee, I responded with a letter to the staff member Tina Scholl demanding the Committee redo its meeting with adequate public access.
Two City Councilmembers have still not appointed their members after many months--Tony Madrigal being one of them.

Homeless people are particularly vulnerable in the city and county's "Drug Hysteria War" against marijuana since they have no private spaces of their own generally. However Measure K applies on any private property making marijuana enforcement supposedly the "lowest priority" for the SCPD for anyone under 21, using, cultivating, selling, transporting, buying, possessing, etc. marijuana for any purpose.

Last summer the SCPD blatantly ignored Measure K, endorsed by 64% of the voters in the 2006 election (though opposed by PD, the City Attorney, and the City Council generally) in the case of Craig Canada--who was approached, arrested, cited, and had his marijuana (medical marijuana at that!) seized on private property.

Measure K Committee Chair Mary Lou Goeke refused to amend the report including that violation, or even to allow the issue to be brought up at Oral Communications.

The Committee's semi-annual "report", prepared by Tina Sholl, missing any complaints or criticisms of the PD's marijuana enforcement policy, is not on-line. The minutes of the meeting are not expected to be prepared for another five months, and the official audio recording does not exist because of "defective equipment."

One interested figure that does appear in the semi-annual report is that marijuana arrests have increased by 50% over the last year from the previous year. In other cities with similar measures like Seattle, marijuana busts declined by 75% in the years immediately following passage. Tina Sholl dismissed this major increase in police anti-marijuana activity as insignificant.

Those who want to hear my audio recording of the meeting, made on a hand-held tape recorder, should go to http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb090118.mp3 (download and go forward about 43 minutes into the audio file). Those interested in Anita Henri's commentary on the meeting can go to http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb090111.mp3 (download and go forward about 2 1/2 hours).

For prior info on the sabotaging of Measure K see "Measure K Committee Old-Timer To Air Concerns at Committee Meeting 5:30 PM Today (12/15)" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/12/15/18554978.php and "Gutted and Depleted Measure K Commission Meets Tonight 6 PM (10/8)" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/10/08/18452900.php .



On January 17th, I sent the following e-mail letter to staff member Tina Sholl. In it, I outline some concerns I had regarding the 40 minute, once-in-six-months meeting that the rump Measure K committee held at 5:30 PM on December 15th in the (locked) City Council chambers.

TEXT OF MY E-MAIL TO TINA SHOLL

Questions Regarding the Equipment Failure Around the Last Measure K Meeting and Brown Act Demand‏

From: Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Sent: Sat 1/17/09 1:47 PM
To: cmpa [at] ci.santa-cruz.ca.us; City Attorney (agoble [at] abc-law.com)
Cc: Various

Tina:

After not hearing from you after two prior phone requests, I was glad to get your phone call responding to my written request and advance payment for an audio copy of the December Measure K Committee.

Can you please advise me what was the nature of the equipment failure? Have the meetings of any other advisory committee meetings been lost? Did you get a partial audio record of the meeting? Was the machine turned on? What equipment were you using, and what are you using to replace it--if any--to avoid a future problem?

I'm particularly concerned about this meeting because, as you know, I reported that I found all the doors to the meeting room locked when I arrived and had to pound on the window to get in. In spite of this illegal situation, I was denied the right to comment at Oral Communications, even though the doors were locked.

I was also-on your advice to Chair Goeke--denied the right to comment on any other item on the agenda other than the annual report.

Please clarify exactly what the problem was with the equipment.

Also please treat this request as a Brown Act demand that actions taken at the meeting be declared null and void and a second meeting held, properly announced, that will allow full Oral Communications and comment on all items--in a room open to the public.

Oral Communications is a particularly important part of the Measure K Committee meeting, as you know, because it provides the only public opportunity to bring forward complaints ignored by the SCPD. Last year, the annual report had to be modified to reflect three complaints that were not addressed by the SCPD, but which only came forward due to Oral Communications (those of Dennis Holt, Brian Parquette, and Craig Canada).

You're also aware that you cancelled the regular meeting of the Measure K Committee the week before without informing those of us who asked to be advised of the schedule.

These irregular and prejudicial procedures disadvantage the public and defeat the purpose of the Measure K Committee. These kind of problems indicate to some of us that--as I mentioned in earlier Measure K meetings--your position as a city staff member trying to serve both the PD and those trying to oversee the PD, involves a significant conflict of interest that serves none of us.

Please acknowledge receipt of this letter, advise me of the equipment situation, and let me know when a properly agenda-ized open Measure K committee meeting will be held to redo the business improperly done at the last meeting.

Thanks,

Robert Norse
(423-4833)


THOSE WHO WISH MORE INFORMATION OR WHO WANT TO SUPPORT REAL ACTION TO END THE DRUG HYSTERIA WAR IN SANTA CRUZ CAN PHONE ANITA HENRI AT 425-3444 OR E-MAIL HER AT MedEx95060 [at] aol.com

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Oh puhleeeze
Monday Jan 19th, 2009 9:34 AM
We have a drug hysteria war on pot in Santa Cruz like the beach has a sand shortage.
by Flicka
Monday Jan 19th, 2009 4:06 PM
I noticed in Robert's little letter that he mentions the police cited and arrested Craig J Canada on private property, a violation of Measure K.
The only problem with making that accusation is that Craig J Canada was not on HIS OWN property when he was cited and arrested. He was on someone else's property when cited and arrested.

Robert may also want to find out the correct spelling of people's last names when referring to them in his little letters and "articles".
by Robert Norse
Monday Jan 19th, 2009 9:23 PM
Measure K related to all private property, not just one's own private property.
See http://www.smartvoter.org/2006/11/07/ca/scz/meas/K/

Feel free to correct spelling errors, while the rest of us try to correct official lawlessness, cover-up's, stacked and steered committees, inappropriate SCPD agenda-setting, and more drug war hysteria.

by skeptic
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2009 8:21 AM
1. The sidewalk outside of the shops on Cathcart is NOT private property. That was where Craig was busted the first time, openly smoking herb on the sidewalk.

2. If you're referring to the time he tried to light up in Logos, and the managers complained about it, which led to Craig having a big crying fit on the floor, well, that one is different. However, if you think that places of business can't call to complain about people smoking pot without their permission, well, then, you're stupider than you look.

The law is about people smoking on THEIR private property, you numbskull..
by Sandy
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2009 11:09 AM
Robert knows that the private property clause pertains to one's own private property. Not someone else's private property and without their consent. If a person calls the police because a stranger is lighting up on their property the police are within the law to arrest the person.

This has to be one of his weakest arguments yet.
by Sandy
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2009 11:16 AM
While Canada was on public property while lighting up on Cathcart Street he was also within the 1000 foot limit of a community and youth center. Robert conceded this point in a comment about a year ago. Canada's reply was how was he to know how far he was from the center? If you're going to light up in public it is your responsibility to know where you are allowed to do it and where you are not.

The police did not cite Canada in the episode on Cathcart. He was told to stop what he was doing and move along. That is something they did not have to do.
Actually I was referring to the time Craig medicated in the MacPherson center outdoor area, private property open to the public, in an area secluded from the public, presumably more than 20' from a store entrance (and hence not "No Smoking" applicable).

If a business wants to have someone removed for trespass, that's another issue and one that is not (though perhaps it should be) the lowest enforcement priority. However the law is pretty specific, as is clear from the wording. There's nothing about it being your OWN private property. It's on any private property. This means if someone complaints about marijuana being smoked on private property, it shall be the lowest enforcement priority.

Of course, we know that under Mathews, Rotkin, and Coonerty, merchant complaints have become much higher priority--even biased and abusive complaints.

Here's the wording of the key section.

"9.84.050 Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Policy

(1) Santa Cruz law enforcement officers shall make law enforcement activity relating to adult marijuana offenses their lowest law enforcement priority. Law enforcement activities relating to adult marijuana offenses include, but are not limited to, investigation, citation, arrest, seizure of property, or providing assistance to the prosecution of adult marijuana offenses.

(2) This lowest law enforcement priority policy shall not apply to the following:
(a) distribution or sale of marijuana to minors;
(b) distribution, sale, cultivation, or use of marijuana on public property; or
(c) driving under the influence.

(3) This lowest law enforcement priority policy shall apply to cooperating with state or federal agents to arrest, cite, investigate, prosecute, or seize property from adults for marijuana offenses included in the lowest law enforcement priority policy.

(4) Santa Cruz law enforcement officers and other city employees shall not accept or renew formal deputization or commissioning by a federal law enforcement agency if such deputization or commissioning will include investigating, citing, arresting, or seizing property from adults for marijuana offenses included in the lowest law enforcement priority policy.

(5) The city of Santa Cruz shall not accept any federal funding that would be used to investigate, cite, arrest, prosecute, or seize property from adults for marijuana offenses."
by Sandy
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2009 4:35 PM
ROBERT: Actually I was referring to the time Craig medicated in the MacPherson center outdoor area, private property open to the public, in an area secluded from the public, presumably more than 20' from a store entrance (and hence not "No Smoking" applicable).

If a business wants to have someone removed for trespass, that's another issue and one that is not the lowest enforcement priority.

SANDY: There are a few things wrong with your statements. The area behind the MAH is clearly marked "Private Property, No Trespassers, Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted". The property is private, run by a private organization. They don't have to allow access, but they do.

That courtyard also acts as the back entrance for quite a few businesses. If you draw a 20 foot radius from each of their doors it effectively eliminates smoking in the entire courtyard. The front courtyard is a different story.

And don't assume I am anti-MM. All I am saying is if you are going to do something then be aware of the restrictions surrounding your activity. That way you don't get in trouble.


by Robert Norse
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2009 5:29 PM
Tickets for smoking should be for smoking--not involving the seizure of medical marijuana. So obviously police weren't enforcing that law. If someone in authority wanted them to leave, they could have cited them for trespass. However calling police on private property, even your own, for marijuana enforcement, is a violation of Measure K. Which the SCPD failed to note, the Measure K Committee declined to put in its report, and Tina Sholl has not followed up on.

We clearly disagree here.

The real issue is frustrating the will of the voters, continued institutionalized hysteria around marijuana, and continuous denial.
by Sandy
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2009 5:45 PM
ROBERT: However calling police on private property, even your own, for marijuana enforcement, is a violation of Measure K.

SANDY: Wrong. Big time wrong. Laughably wrong. You know better then this and I am quite honestly shocked that someone such as you who knows about the law could stand behind that statement.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2009 7:00 PM
Sandy probably won't be persuaded short of a legal opinion from a city attorney. Let me kinow if you get one, one way or the other.

The point of Measure K was to prepare the way for a "tax and regulate" measure state-wide that would finally legalize marijuana. You can't have someone arrested for doing legal activity on your property. You can expel them if you don't want them under threat of trespass prosecution. But you can't have them arrested for what they're doing if it's legal. Likewise, you can't expect your friends the SCPD to come running to hassle someone if it's supposed to be the lowest enforcement priority if they're doing nothing else illegal.

Measure K was a weak partial measure anyway, but even that measure was too strong for the SCPD, our city attorney,and our city council. The issue is whether we want police running after marijuana users--particularly medical marijuana users, particularly in Santa Cruz--no matter how much if offends some merchants, residents, etc.

Gay marriage, after all, is most offensive to some. Does that mean it's not a civil right? Not according to enlightened people, even the otherwise noxious Attorney General Jerry Brown.

by A Guy
Wednesday Jan 21st, 2009 8:21 AM
LAst I heard federal law trumps local ordinances. Pot is a federal controlled substance and passing a local ordinance to make it legal doesn't make it legal. Supreme court ruling robert.
by As usual
Wednesday Jan 21st, 2009 8:23 AM
Robert is mixing messages and metaphors to make his point, but he's clearly exaggerating the realities of what the public wanted with measure K.

Robert says:

"However calling police on private property, even your own, for marijuana enforcement, is a violation of Measure K. "

and

"The real issue is frustrating the will of the voters, continued institutionalized hysteria around marijuana, and continuous denial."

Now I might believe either one of those on their own, but no way do I believe them together.

There's no way, IMO, that the average Santa Cruz voter intended, nor would support, the idea that they can't call the cops to stop a stranger from trespassing on their private property to smoke weed.

You show me a homeowner who's will is frustrated about that Robert, and I'll show you where the flying monkey lives.
by skeptic
Wednesday Jan 21st, 2009 8:31 AM
First off, I'm very pro-MM and just very pro-M, period! I support Measure K and complete legalization nationwide.

That being said, Robert, your stance just doesn't make any LEGAL sense.

" You can't have someone arrested for doing legal activity on your property. You can expel them if you don't want them under threat of trespass prosecution. But you can't have them arrested for what they're doing if it's legal."

-Robert, marijuana is still ILLEGAL. In California. In the US. In Santa Cruz. However, our city council did the right thing in making it the lowest enforcement priority. That does not mean it is somehow "legal".

"Likewise, you can't expect your friends the SCPD to come running to hassle someone if it's supposed to be the lowest enforcement priority if they're doing nothing else illegal. The issue is whether we want police running after marijuana users--particularly medical marijuana users, particularly in Santa Cruz--no matter how much if offends some merchants, residents, etc."

-I certainly don't want the police coming after users who ARE USING IN THE PRIVACY OF THEIR OWN HOME. However, if a business person doesn't feel like having someone smoking in their business or on their property, the police SHOULD come and do something about it. Some places are inappropriate for pot smoke. Second-hand smoke will get you high! For example, Marini's which usually has small children in it is an incredibly inappropriate place to smoke. Plus, it's just plain rude! Robert, would you light up in someone's house that doesn't like people smoking anything in it? Of course not. Why shouldn't the same apply to a business owner?

"Gay marriage, after all, is most offensive to some. Does that mean it's not a civil right? Not according to enlightened people, even the otherwise noxious Attorney General Jerry Brown."

-I believe it is a civil right. However, smoking pot is not a civil right, though I think it should be. The Supreme Court has ruled that states can prohibit medical marijuana. While I wish the case had gone the other way, it didn't, and "facts are tricky things", Robert.

http://health.dailynewscentral.com/content/view/999/62
by Sandy
Wednesday Jan 21st, 2009 1:13 PM
Robert, here is the exact wording from Measure K

9.84.050 Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Policy
(1) Santa Cruz law enforcement officers shall make law enforcement activity relating to adult marijuana offenses their lowest law enforcement priority. Law enforcement activities relating to adult marijuana offenses include, but are not limited to, investigation, citation, arrest, seizure of property, or providing assistance to the prosecution of adult marijuana offenses.

(2) This lowest law enforcement priority policy SHALL NOT APPLY to the following:

(a) distribution or sale of marijuana to minors;

(b) distribution, sale, cultivation, or use of marijuana on public property; or

(c) driving under the influence.


Also, Santa Cruz Citizens for Sensible Marijuana Policy stated the following.....

Does Measure K allow people to smoke marijuana in public?
NO. Public dealing and public consumption will continue to be enforced at current priority levels.

It also says NOTHING about marijuana being seen as "legal". So for Robert to say that it is legal and no one should call the police for a stranger doing something legal on their own private property is shameful. He knows better then this.
by Troll Buster
Wednesday Jan 21st, 2009 1:58 PM
Sandy:

Does Measure K allow people to smoke marijuana in public?
NO. Public dealing and public consumption will continue to be enforced at current priority levels.

Troll Buster:

The phrases "in public" and "on public property" are not equivalent. (Measure K makes an exception regarding consumption "on public property" - that's a no-no.)

A person can smoke "in public" (frinstance, on the front porch of his house on private property) without being "on public property".

But Sandy probably doesn't care...
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Jan 21st, 2009 2:47 PM
Quite a bit of obscurantist blather going on here.

On private property (whether it's "in public" or not), marijuana enforcement is supposed to be the lowest priority. No matter whose private property it is and whether they like it or not. There are other laws to get someone off your private property if you don't like what they're doing.

And yes, sadly, marijuana is still illegal, but the point of Measure K is that it's supposed to be LOWEST PRIORITY. As the upsurge in marijuana arrests shows (up 50% according to the SCPD's own records as presented to the Measure K Committee in their semi-annual--still not on line--report), it looks like the SCPD is amping up rather than down the marijuana hysteria war.

Time to stop quibbling with each other and take action to expose and change that situation.

Unless, of course, you're a fan of such busts.
The SCPD is not providing records that allow the Measure K Committee to determine if they're carrying out the voters' will.
by Sandy
Wednesday Jan 21st, 2009 3:09 PM
Wrong. I do care. Or to be more specific, I could care less if someone wants to smoke pot on their own front porch. Pull out a joint, pipe, bong, hukkha, who cares. I sure don't. I've had parties where many of my friends will go out on the front lawn and light up I feel good that they can do so without any fear of

But Robert is drawing conclusions about Measure K that do not exist. Being informed about what you can and cannot do, regarding marijuana, will save many people legal trouble.
by Robert Norse
Monday Jan 26th, 2009 3:58 AM
...Give a call to Measure K Committee member Anita Henri at the number above and get her perspective. Or contact the PD and ask why their tickets for marijuana have sped upward by 50%. Or contact SAFE or NORML to ask what they think of the Santa Cruz situation.
It's clear you won't believe anything I write.
by Sandy
Monday Jan 26th, 2009 2:59 PM
So didn't the number go from 120 in six months to 180 in 6 months? Yes that is 50%, but so is from 2 to 3.

180 in six months is approximately one per day. Without knowing the details how can you say this is unjustified? One per day. And you know quite well that Measure K did not eliminate ALL marijuana crimes from being considered lowest priority. One per day. Considering the amount of people walking around downtown lighting up one per day is not something to cause grave concern.

One per day.

How many homeless people do you help transition from the street into sustainable housing? One per day?
by Robert Norse
Monday Jan 26th, 2009 8:16 PM
One marijuana bust per day for any reason is a marijuana bust too many. If other cities (like Seattle) have dropping rates and Santa Cruz has a rising one--this is cause for concern.

The fact that you don't think so tends to make me think you have an agenda different from the 64% of voters who passed this Measure in 2006; you seem to be in favor of funding the SCPD Marijuana Prohibition War. In a time of budget cutbacks, it's even more outrageous.

The fact you don't seem to want even the most elementary monitoring of local police on this issue is another gloomy indication of what seems to be your underlying bias.

You have a right to your bias, of course. Folks need to be aware, however, that City Council and its appointed Measure K Committee is both thwarting the will of the voters, and championing a medieval agenda--which has been thoroughly discredited in the last half century.

Those who want to fight back should get in touch with Measure K Committee member Anita Henri at 425-3444.