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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Drug War | Government & Elections | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons
Rump Measure K Committee Excludes Public Comment, Loses Audio Tape
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)
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.
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