Margaret Joehnck: Time to hit the reset button
This current election couldn’t be more important. We have a chance to take Nevada County into a future that is welcoming and open to possibilities or we can be stuck in the status quo which is not appealing to the very people we want to move here to keep us a growing and viable community.
As Hilary Hodge stated in recent column, the keynote speaker at the Economic Resource Council pointed out that we need to market to the people we want to reach. Ms. Hodge noted, “I don’t think that our county officials and its economic development cohorts understand the demographic they are targeting. Our current ballot initiatives and recent ordinances make it clear that Nevada County’s politics and policies are out of touch with the 20-something crowd and specifically the Bay Area Tech Industries demographic.”
Take Measure W — the current board’s attempt to “regulate marijuana.” This same speaker at the recent ERC meeting, whose company did research on people looking to move and found “the number one thing they (those targeted) could agree on was “Marijuana should be legalized.” To be clear, this ordinance we are voting on is really a virtual ban for most medical cannabis users. It reminds me of the famous quote attributed to Marie Antoinette by Charles Dickens when she was told that the people were demonstrating in the street because they were starving. “Let them eat cake,” she said.
The writers of this ordinance seem to think that all those who use medical cannabis has a garage or outbuilding they could transform or money to build a greenhouse complete with concrete floor and high quality carbon filter system, or even another building. Of course, that supposes that they or their caretakers are the owners of the home in which they live. Just today, the Associated Press released research showing that two-thirds of Americans, include a surprising number of households making over $100,000 per year (38 percent) would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 in an emergency. And, if you think, that “they” can just drive to Sacramento to get what they need, that isn’t so easy. A drive to Sacramento costs time and money that many don’t have. Plus, many medical cannabis patients here have worked long and hard with a particular grower to get the specific strain that will work for their problem. That can’t be duplicated by driving to Sacramento.
An ordinance that those who wish to be law abiding citizens cannot follow, is a very poor solution to a very real and urgent problem. All the legitimate growers and most all of our citizens want marijuana to be regulated; on that we can agree. I join with the Nevada County Democratic Party and CABPRO (California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners) in supporting a No vote on Measure W to send this ordinance back to the board of supervisors to work on with constituents and stakeholders and forge an agreement that will work for all concerned.
However, that brings up the current board of supervisors. This board seems to have a habit of writing broad, sweeping ordinances and rulings that leave stakeholders dissatisfied, and restrict the use of private property thereby lowering economic opportunity, and/or end up costing the Nevada County taxpayers to settle lawsuits. The outdoor events ordinance and the scenic ridge ruling are examples. We need to take this opportunity to elect supervisors who will work diligently with all stakeholders to find solutions.
I urge you to vote for Heidi Hall for Supervisor if you live in Supervisorial District #1 (Nevada City and south of it east of Dog Bar Road) and Richard Harris if you live in Supervisorial District #2, south of Nevada County (Alta Sierra, LOP and environs). Heidi has 20 years experience in collaborating with stakeholders to develop public policy. Richard Harris has been in business in Grass Valley for 30 years as an owner of an insurance brokerage and would bring valuable information as to the risk involved to property owners as the result of this or any other land use decision that the board might make.
Vote No on Measure W. Vote for Heidi Hall and Richard Harris for supervisor.
Margaret Joehnck lives in Auburn.
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