Brad Peceimer: Leadership missing in Nevada County
In recent weeks I have read Supervisor Dan Miller’s and Robert Ingram’s exposés on cannabis cultivators and their supposed “unwillingness to provide funding for programs such as the homeless issues within Nevada County.”
I am here to clarify this issue.
The Americans for Safe Access and Cannabis Alliance groups have been involved with numerous community fundraising activities, have donated thousands and provided thousands of hours to the community in numerous efforts. This has included many efforts supporting the homeless and other efforts to clean up our community when problems are left by criminal entities. I personally have cleaned up over 130,000 butane canisters discarded by local criminals, but my efforts were met with a cease and desist letter from our county. What does that say about cooperative behavior?
Let’s have a short discussion on economics, honesty and integrity about the economics of cannabis and the possibilities for Nevada County. Studies have shown that cannabis provides approximately $250 million per year of pre-cost income to Nevada County businesses and families, and I agree with the concept that Nevada County programs such as the homeless and schools should benefit from this business.
Based of Sheriff Royal’s numbers, and if each one of the cultivators — who have been Nevada County residents for a minimum of three years — were allowed to produce a typical yield, Nevada County stands to make $12 million to $17 million on taxes and license fees. However, the market has changed substantially since then and no one knows for sure where it will bottom out. But one thing is clear — issuing permits will make money for this county and prohibiting cannabis will continue to cost us money, increasing law enforcement and court costs.
This income would add approximately 25 fully burdened (all costs covered) jobs to Nevada County’s payroll, including additional staff to law enforcement.
Revenue: How many units could be built annually with $4 to $6 million? I am suggesting that 50 percent of this proposed tax should be used to create homeless and low-cost housing in conjunction with organizations such as Sierra Roots, which is currently working on a proposal for 30-unit development in Nevada City. Talks with contractors indicate that roughly 30 to 65 units per year could be built, and the low cost rental income could generate $240,000 per year, to cover all facility housing costs. This construction should utilize Nevada County contractors, providing a multiplier effect revenue again in our community.
Schools: how many times have parents been required to work late, or had a sudden emergency worrying about your children? What if this revenue could provide a safe after school program for our children? I am calling for funding a program where staff is there until 6 p.m., providing activities where kids are safe until you arrive. This revenue could fund programs for high school students where they can be tutored, learning vocational skills such as the skills taught in our FFA programs, or computer training skills preparing our kids for college or a job once finished.
This revenue could fund a number of other community needs such as Hospitality House, firefighting equipment for volunteer firefighters, Tahoe Timber Trails, Bear Yuba Land Trust, South Yuba River Citizens League, the Low Income/Homeless Pets Group, among the hundreds of others that enhance our community.
Supervisor Miller wrote about Hospitality House, yet the unfortunate thing is that Nevada County provides zero income to Hospitality House operational programs. And in the past eight years, Nevada County Board of Supervisors have wasted millions of dollars on different schemes, preventing a reasonable discussion on the cannabis issue until voters decided differently. This county has spent millions more on the Ridgeline lawsuit, and provided money to fund the ERC, both black holes with no shown return to date.
I remember when I was young I asked my late father what a politician’s job was. His answer was simple. “Their job is to resolve issues and problems, reflecting on the views of their voters …”
Have our politicians done this? I think my father was a pretty sharp guy, and I certainly hope that we just have not wasted another nine months and another $110,000 on the community advisory group after most recent the meeting with NID general manager, who had some interesting nonfactual points of discussion.
Leadership is missing in Nevada County. Why can’t residents find creative, intelligent individuals to fill these voids in our leadership with the insight to fix these issues?
Brad Peceimer lives in Alta Sierra.
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