It has been a tumultuous past two weeks at the Gazette.

My Editor, and best friend at the paper for the past 28 years, Wanda Castel de Oro, was recently hospitalized for a serious illness.

She is doing better now but has some challenges ahead. Without her steadfast management things run a little slower. We miss her at the Gazette. Our prayers are with her for a speedy recovery.

In the meantime, the Gazette is blessed to have Tenea Golson to take over many of the most important duties in Wanda's absence. Tenea has done great work for the Gazette in the recent past. She is the daughter of Susan Golson who also did great work for us for more than 10 years. We have a great team while looking forward to Wanda's recovery.


A special meeting of the Fillmore City Council was held at city hall last night. I regret I was unable to attend. The question presented concerns the most important issue facing Fillmore in its history - should the city permit a large medical marijuana co-op to move into our new Business Park?

This co-op wants to build a 9-acre medical marijuana farm and dispensary. Fillmore would then house the largest such dispensary in the entire state. Tax revenue to the city is anticipated to be $3-8 million per year.

That's a lot of money. It could be spent to revitalize the city. We could get our motorcycle cop back, put in an intense anti-drug program in our schools, etc.

But, there is another, dark, side to the question, as Sheriff Geoff Dean and Police Chief Dave Wareham told the standing-room-only crown at city hall last night. The flip-side of these tempting millions is crime; crime as we have never known it before. Marijuana attracts criminals like cheese attracts rats.

Captain Wareham just returned from an investigative trip to Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, where marijuana has been legalized. In short, most of the counties want nothing to do with legal medical marijuana, and others regret legalizing it. His report last night awakened the crowd to the salient facts. The costs to remedy the damage marijuana has caused (crime cartel murders) school problems, serious medical problems due to the huge increase in potency of marijuana today, and the edible products (cookies, candies, brownies, etc.) which trick children into overdosing, exceeds any financial benefits by more than twice. In other words, it costs twice the millions we might get to overcome the problems. It changes whole communities quickly, for worse. And it would scar Fillmore's reputation forever.

Legal medical marijuana growing and dispensing is a town-killing proposition. Our City Council has been placed on notice, by the huge turnout last night, that the citizens of this small town do not want to have anything to do with bringing marijuana production and sales to Fillmore.

I'm sure the message got through.