Cannabis, Arizona, Fire, Golf and Google

Monday: Medical Cannabis Outreach Meeting
The first outreach meeting regarding medical cannabis collectives was held Monday night at City Hall. Even though the meeting was held late in the process, it was well attended with over 150 people. There were two main groups present: residents and collective patients. Not one person spoke against compassionate use of medical marijuana in San Jose, however, both groups agreed that the locations should be away from schools, parks, daycare centers, etc. Last October, when I initially brought this issue to the Rules Committee, I advocated that we restrict where collectives can locate and include setbacks from locations like schools, etc.

A gentleman in a wheelchair brought up the point that attorneys’ offices are located next to houses and schools in San Jose and that those attorneys have clients who visit their offices that may be violent criminals, so how come we don’t regulate where attorneys can locate?

City staff proposed a “lottery system” to award a permit for collectives. Not one of the 150 people present supported this idea. Some shared that a lottery system is ludicrous because it sets up an irresponsible process to possibly award collectives that do not follow state law and may not have solid responsible procedures in place.

Tuesday: City Council Meeting
The longest agenda item was the issue about boycotting Arizona because of their illegal immigration law.  After several hours of discussion, and testimony, I voted no. I did not make extended comments because I did not think that this matter should have been on the Council agenda. On any given day the other 49 states could pass a law that I/you/we may not agree with. As a city, we do not have the bandwidth to meddle in what other states feel is right for them. This is why we choose where we live. I wrote a blog related to this topic more than two years ago stating my views that you may read here.

Wednesday: Closing of Fire Station Council Policy
I met with the fire chief on the last-minute proposal to close Fire House 7 in this year’s budget. I met with city management a few months ago and asked the question “Did the managers budget include closing any fire houses?” The response back was “no.” They shared, instead, that they were going to move forward with “dynamic deployment,” which would include moving and eliminating fire engines from stations that have two vehicles. I was told that the chief, assistant chief and a member of the city manager’s office would have a follow-up meeting with me. We did and again I was told that no fire house was going to be closed.
 
Then, on May 28, a management budget memo (MBA#39) came out that said that an elimination of an engine was going to occur. Actually, it’s the closure of Fire House 7. No one from the management office nor the fire department had the gumption to call me; thus my request for an additional meeting.

This budget memo violates the city-wide policy on fire station closures which Mayor Reed, Vice Mayor Chirco and I championed two years ago.  The Council policy states that changing the make-up of a fire house—whether it be consolidation, closure or relocation—requires a policy discussion prior to being a budget discussion, and must be accompanied by a community outreach process.

The policy focuses on using data as the basis for changing the structure of our fire houses and ensures that the community in the affected service is notified and part of the process instead of being told after the fact. Closing of fire stations based on data and outreach may occur next fiscal year but not this fiscal year. I wrote about this policy back in September 2008.

Thursday: Neighborhood Services Committee Meeting
We discussed selling the city subsidized Rancho del Pueblo nine-hole golf course. I suggested we sell the entire 30-acre parcel to create a housing/retail village and create 1-2 soccer fields for open space as well. I believe there is higher demand for soccer fields then golf. We would take the money from the land sale and pay off the mortgage for Rancho del Pueblo 100 percent and pay down the mortgage on Los Lagos Golf course by approximately $12 million based on medium density housing. The more density we allow the more money and open space we can get.

Friday: San Jose Municipal Rose Garden
More than 200 Google volunteers came out to paint, mulch, fertilize, rake and deadhead at the Historic Rose Garden Municipal Park. In 2007, I pushed for a policy that would allow volunteers from private companies to work in our parks when their respective companies have a community service day.  I remember asking again and again for the council to allow this change and the persistence paid off.  None of the Google employees were interested in switching careers but they thought the park was a real gem. I wrote about this policy change 2.5 years ago.

Please vote for our San Jose Rose Garden Park to be considered America’s Best Rose Garden.

19 Comments

  1. Just where does the buck stop on the closing of the fire station?  That individual should be drawn and quartered in public view.

    • Pier, what about Station 30? That Station will be left without any fire supression units.  Only the Paramedic Supervisor is slated to stay by himself.  Station 7 was spared because of the affluent neighborhood.  Doesn’t Deb Figone live there?  Oh yeah, it’s o.k. until its in your backyard.  BTW most Fire trucks that will now be at houses do not carry water!  Fire Engines do….So for those of you who will now be served by a Fire truck without a fire engine in that house, make sure your home owners insurance is paid on time…

  2. > The longest agenda item was the issue about boycotting Arizona because of their illegal immigration law.  After several hours of discussion, and testimony, I voted no. I did not make extended comments because I did not think that this matter should have been on the Council agenda.

    Good grief!  An attack of common sense.

    If this keeps up, we’ll have to go back to “I Love Lucy” re-runs for entertainment.

  3. > The first outreach meeting regarding medical cannabis collectives was held Monday night at City Hall. Even though the meeting was held late in the process, it was well attended with over 150 people.

    I will grant that the federal government is not good for much.  But one of its legitimate responsibilities IS the control and regulation of drugs and food products.

    That’s why there is a Food and Drug Administration.

    If cannabis has ANY legitimate medical uses, it is the FDA’s charter to examine the relevant evidence and promulgate rules and regulations for formulation, quality, labeling, distribution, and usage.

    THIS IS NOT AN AREA FOR POPULIST AGITATORS AND CROWD PLEASERS.

    I think it is safe to say that there is no one on the city council who has the expertise and the access to scientific and technical resources to make competent assessments of the safety and efficacy of substances represented as having “medical” purpose or benefit.

    There is a reason that San Jose doesn’t have a Navy.  And there is a reason that San Jose doesn’t have the power and authority to regulate drugs and food.

    San Jose’s “outreach meeting regarding medical cannabis collectives” is pure populist sham and certainly a violation of the spirit of federal drug regulation laws and likely a criminal conspiracy to violate federal law.

    If the feckless and useless Obama Administration were on the job, the “outreach meeting” should have been attended by FDA enforcement agents, and the organizers of the meeting should have been collared by the feds and perp-walked by the TV cameras and into the paddy wagons.

    • The laws against marijuana are stupid, and in any event, California passed Proposition 215 back in 1992.  Marijuana is an herb, and the FDA does not regulate herbal products (other than those sold specifically as food, such as for use in seasonings ie., oregano, mint, cilantro, and the like).  Doctors sometimes recommend various herbal preparations, such as St. John’s Wort.  Marijuana is no different, within the context of Proposition 215.  The Federal government is, of course, free to ban marijuana from national parks, military bases, and other Federal lands & installations within California.  Next time I visit the National Maritime History Museum at Pier 39 in San Francisco, I’ll be sure to leave my weed in the car, if that makes you feel any better.

      You really think people should be arrested for attending & organizing a public meeting?  Me, I kinda like the First Amendment.

      And on a related note, I have grown extremely tired of people trying to appear all hard by using the ever-so-lame and shopworn phrase “perp walk.”  It just makes it look like you’ve watched too many episodes of that horrible “Law & Order” show*, FYI.

      *There’s really no reason to watch that show, as we all know the crime was committed by the wealthy, sexist, homophobic White male character who invariably crops up in every episode.

      • >  Marijuana is an herb, and the FDA does not regulate herbal products (other than those sold specifically as food, such as for use in seasonings ie., oregano, mint, cilantro, and the like).

        Carbon dioxide is not a herb and the Oba-morons, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the trust fund children at the Sierra Club are happy to have the government regulate CO2.

        If the gubbermint can regulate CO2, it can regulate “herbs”.

        And by the way, if ANYONE is promoting ANYTHING on the basis of its alleged medicinal benefits, the FDA is empowered to put is boot on his or her neck.

        Let us know when and where you next intend to medicate yourself with “cannabis” and I will alert the FDA swat teams and the video crews from “Cops”.

        Oh, and for maximum dramatic effect, please resist arrest.  It improves the liklihood that the video footage will actually be aired.

        And try to remember to ennunciate: “Don’t taze me, Bro!  AAIEEEEAAAHHHH!”

  4. Failing to see the significance of pointing out that the gentleman speaking about lawyers offices was in a wheelchair.

  5. Let’s be honest – most marijuana users are recreational and the overwhelming majority of clients at cooperatives and dispensaries are not sick. Getting a referral for marijuana is fast and inexpensive. There is a gold rush underway and the number of marijuana related businesses grew exponentially in San Jose over the last three months. Pick up a Metro Newspaper this week and you’ll find more than thirty marijuana related advertisements.

    Marijuana advocates have done an outstanding job on marketing, publicity, and lobbying. This week there was a story in the Mercury News that there will be a Red Cross sanctioned blood drive at a marijuana collective. All I can say is – wow! These people are writing the book on how to change public opinion.

    It is difficult, but the job of the City Staff and Council is to sort out the facts, develop regulations, and make sure that the silent majority of citizens who go about their daily lives and never gave marijuana sales a second thought, don’t wake up one morning to find they are living or working next to a nuisance created by a marijuana related business.

    San Jose needs to get an ordinance in place ASAP, and there are plenty of other cities ordinances that can serve as legally tested models. Reading that the City Staff suggested a lottery torpedoes their credibility and prompts one to question what value they are adding to this issue. Councilman Oliverio should forge ahead with his proposals and hopefully the Council will concur.

    • I’d certainly agree with YYY that a large percentage of “medical marijuana” users are just dopers looking to get high.  They just find a sympathetic M.D. and it’s “up in smoke” for them.

      That said, the entire marijuana proscription is just silly.  Looking to the FDA to regulate it is equally silly.

      Make the punishment for driving under the influence of pot, and selling it to minors HUGE.  And leave the adults alone if they wanna get high @ home and eat a bunch of Doritos and M&Ms;.

      • > Looking to the FDA to regulate it is equally silly.

        Why?

        It’s clearly in the FDA’s charter.

        Are you one of those who thinks that bureaucrats and politicians should pick and choose the laws they enforce?

        Why not just make laws banning and taxing everything, and let Obama hand out waivers, exemptions, and indulgences?

      • “And leave the adults alone if they wanna get high @ home and eat a bunch of Doritos and M&Ms;. “

        Finally we agree on something! Please pass the Doritos.

        • The Obama regime will demand that the makers of Doritos and M&Ms; comply with OSHA regulations, Fair Labor Standards, the IRS code, FDA regulations, etc, etc.

          The Oba-morons will look the other way while the suppliers of cannabis organize criminal cartels, employ slave labor, violate immigration laws, bribe and threaten public officials, and—oh yeah—ignore FDA rules.

    • I especially like the quote from one of their council members, “I just hate to see the guys at the bottom take the brunt of this; meanwhile, we have guys at the top that are virtually taking no brunt at all,” Grocott said”. That is what is happening here in San Jose. The high priced upper management at all city departments in the city has taken no cuts because they deem themselves as essential. The city council needs to start chopping upper managemnt and also reducing the staff members for each city council member. The council should also get rid of their $700 a month car allowance.

  6. Personally, I don’t see why it matters if a store that sells marijuana, as per Proposition 215, is located near a school, daycare center, or park (and as a matter of practical reality, how many place AREN’T near one of those?  Especially when you add “et cetera” to the mix).  When I attended Louise van Meter Elementary School in Los Gatos (1980-82), there was a liquor store practically across the street (I’m almost positive its still there).  That didn’t turn us all into alcoholics, and most marijuana “dispensaries” (as they are commonly styled) are rather discrete affairs.  Any children which attempted to enter one would surely be shooed out the door almost as soon as they stepped inside.

  7. I think that the idea of using volunteers should be expanded from beyond the parks and into other city services facing cutbacks like the libraries.  There are a lot of folks who would volunteer to work for the library to try and extend the hours and days of operation.

  8. Any chance we could turn the $70 million dollar glass rotunda at city hall into a gigantic green room to grow some good stuff for the cannibas collectives? That will create some green jobs for our economy.

    • > Any chance we could turn the $70 million dollar glass rotunda at city hall into a gigantic green room to grow some good stuff for the cannibas collectives?

      Nope. No chance.

      The taxpayers and future taxpayers of San Jose didn’t have their pockets picked for the stupid city hall only to have it used to subsidize the illegal, sociopathic habits of a bunch of work and hygeine-averse potheads.