Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Regulate the pot clubs? Not in Progressive Land

Every now and then the PROSF folks post items unrelated to their Ahab-like obsession with the Sunshine/PRA requests they bombard City Hall with every day. The email message (below in italics) from Arthur Evans is useful, if only to illustrate how rude the Board of Supervisors can be to the public, especially someone like Evans, whose politics don't fall within the monolithic political consensus here in Progressive Land. Why, if an item is taken off the agenda, isn't an early announcement made to that effect, thus saving those in attendance a lot of time?

Like bicycles and illegal immigrants, medical marijuana is a sacred issue in San Francisco. More than two years ago, I threw Supervisor Mirkarimi a bouquet for introducing an ordinance to regulate the marijuana clubs for the first time, even though the medical marijuana measure was passed by state voters way back in 1996. I naively thought Mirkarimi was actually interested in holding the clubs accountable.

Chris Daly was furious with Mirkarimi for pushing the ordinance and denounced him bitterly for his apostasy. But Daly had nothing to worry about, since the Murk quickly rolled over and agreed to take the teeth out of the ordinance, which is where we are today, with nothing but a pretense of regulating the marijuana clubs. Supervisor Maxwell probably didn't like having Evans remind her what a bunch of phonies she and her colleagues are on the issue.

PROSF put a snotty, witless head ("Arthur Lights Up") on the Evans message to reassure all the progs on their mailing list that they disapprove of how Evans is reminding everyone that the pot clubs are still unregulated.

From: AEvans604@aol.com [mailto:AEvans604@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, April 14, 2008 10:49 PM
Subject: Supes Punt Pot Bill

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

This afternoon (Monday), I went to a supes' committee meeting that dealt with extending the deadline for "medical cannabis dispensaries" to register with the city. All except one pot outlet have failed to register, as required by the supes' own law, with the result that they are now illegal. This is the second time the dealers have failed to meet such a deadline and the second time they have asked for an extension.

The item was the last of six on the agenda. After two hours or so of dealing with other items, the chair, Sophie Maxwell, abruptly announced that the pot item would be continued a week because Chris Daly, its sponsor, was ill.

It would have been nice if she had made the announcement at the beginning of the meeting. But that may have been expecting too much organizational acumen from her. However, she did allow for public comment on the item.

So I made my pitch: The supes should stop caving into the city's drug-dealing industry under the guise of regulating it. Instead, they should hold hearings on the role of drug dealing in neighborhood crime, both petty and deadly.

It was like talking to a herd of heifers. Aaron Peskin shuffled through some papers, off in another world, chewing on some mental cud. Then again, I guess I should consider myself lucky, since at least he wasn't drunk and yelling into a cell phone. Gerardo Sandoval and Sophie Maxwell both had blank looks in their lifeless eyes, as if they had just been drained of all their blood.

It's clear that this item has already been decided. The dealers want cash. The stoners want drugs. The politicians want votes. Put all these wants together, and you get a powerful lobby that will sweep away any obstacles in its path.

Still, it never hurts to stand up and speak the truth, even in the face of utter incompetence.

Yours for rationality in government,

Arthur Evans

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