To the Editor:
Wow! Am I reading the Star correctly? And I quote our City Manager Mr. Rowlands: the vote "tells me the community is open to the possibility of cultivation and taxation of marijuana...the thing with Proposition 64 is it has to do with recreational use. They're saying they are comfortable with the medical side, but they do have concerns about the recreational side"
Let's be clear on this issue of 'medical use' marijuana that our Mr. Rowlands wants to tax- there are only a few strains of pot that are cultivated without the 'high' associated with it, and there are few growers out there that are making a profit. For the rest of the 'medical pot' there is currently no verifiable standard of the THC content on every portion that is sold. It is the majority of pot strains, that comes to the user at seven times the strength it was in my youth, that is the pot that is mainly sold as 'medicine' to card holders. All medical pharmaceuticals, without exceptions, are required to identify what their product contains but currently there is no verifiable standard of the THC content, let alone any other chemicals, in every portion of 'medical pot' that is sold. Ask any hospital doctor/nurse how they could justify giving something which they don't have a clue its strength or purity.
And all these financial transactions for medical pot? There are no paper trails because it is an all cash industry- that makes it an industry rife with corruption and crime....so, actually Mr. Rowlands, neither the government nor we in Fillmore are 'comfortable' as you say, with the way medical pot is handled in our communities- because it can be so easily abused.
But now after the State vote we are contending with the recreational aspect of pot (and even in the most fundamental of ways, like just how police will get high drivers off the road, since there is no standard in place for this DUI?) And that our city hall thinks it has figured out what the federal, state, county and city governmental bodies, police, medical establishment and each and every family that has been affected by marijuana has not....well, it is the ultimate hubris on our City Hall's part. Our state is now in a panic over how to implement something that will cause so many societal issues- just do a random check on the internet to what is happening in the states of Washington and Colorado when it comes to spiraling crime, overdoses and addiction rates and disfuntion in the communities there.
We can throw up our arms and give up with the reality that recreational pot is now legal in California...(heh, might as well get some tax loot out of what is now ok to have in our homes!) But we all know what this tax on pot money represents. Each community still has the right to refuse to deal in the pot industry, even after Prop 64. We can, and I pray will, join the many other communities and counties that refuse to join the gravy train in the pro-pot states, because it is simply the right thing to do...as one neighbor said the other day, 'it sure looks like City Hall is diving into a another sewer of filth just to pay for a boondoggle sewer plant that they voted for'...folks, we are so much better then this!
And let's be clear about that vote put to our town that the city manager pointed to as evidence of our wanting pot was so vaguely written that one felt like it was a 'do it or lose it' issue we were voting on...and as for the State Proposition 64, well, there was no city in the county had a higher percentage then Fillmore AGAINST bringing pot production and distribution to our backyard. I just don't get where our City Hall comes to the conclusion that the citizens are for involving our town in the pot industry, but I do see so much evidence that there is an agenda at City Hall to cash in on the almighty tax potential. Let me point out, yet again, what the citizens of Fillmore are saying and doing about the issue of marijuana.
This is the town that pulled together a 'Safeguard Fillmore Group' overnight when it found that the various people who work for our City Hall wanted to push it at a city meeting(such a huge decision and it was quietly being moved along as if it were voting on what day to pick up the trash!)
Fillmore is the town that brought out HUNDREDS of its citizens against any pot industry in our community after word got out what was up for city council vote. The city of Upland, with a population of over 75,000, had 35 people come out against it at their city meeting. That city then drew up what are considered some of the tightest regulations on marijuana to protect its citizens. We had close to 300 family and neighbors at our city meeting, yet we are still trying to get our voice heard in our City Hall.
Our town's police chief and sheriffs stood up against it repeatedly.
The School Board, Teachers and Superintendent of our schools came forward with a powerful Proclamation by the entire district in opposition of the direction our town was taking on marijuana.
Pastors from half a dozen churches and their congregations stood to say 'not in our town!'.
I don't know, but it sure seems like this is a town that is deffinity NOT pro-pot...so what is it City Manager Mr. Rowlands? Either you folks there have your own agenda, or you are listening to the citizens of Fillmore...it sure leaves me questioning what is going on in our city hall...
Like I wonder if maybe it is the boatloads of pot money that is just too enticing...but meanwhile we in Fillmore will live with the consequences that have been experienced in every community that has gone the way of pot legalization for years to come. But if you really were trying to cash in on the taxes, why only 15% tax rate?... even the city Santa Ana has set a 22% rate- unless you want to advertise Fillmore as the 'golden tax haven' for the pot industry-and just one hour above the Los Angeles market!
I also wonder how you thought that this agenda is a slam dunk in our town for you at city hall? Is it because we are considered 'easy'? At the Safeguard Meeting when you were asked why you thought Fillmore was being targeted by the pot growers, you said it was because our population was the low educated and one of the lowest socio- economic class communities...besides being amazingly condescending of our community, it was also just plain false...if you had taken the time to look at the cross section of our community at the Safeguard Fillmore meeting you would have been made aware it is real families of every stripe and color that oppose the agenda you are pushing on us. And if you would have taken the time to listen to the 'uneducated poor' of our community you will find, that of all the classes, they are MOST against recreational because they know they are precisely the class that pays the highest price of pot's destructiveness.
If this last election cycle says anything at all, it is saying that the citizens of this great democracy of ours, no matter what party you voted, are just plain tired of dealing with a government that is unresponsive to our voices. And if democracy functions best at the community level, then I say we need to clean up our own backyards first.
I realize Mr. Rowlands was just hired on for another two years as City Manager, so it is my hope that our new City Council has the wisdom to see the truth and good for our community, regardless of the information source. And I hope our Mr. Rowlands can step back from his current agenda which has all the hallmarks of using the pot tax as a panacea for our budget woes. Do the hard, but real, work of finding better ways to sustain a community then a addictive, corrosive and damning vehicle like pot.
I always told my classroom students that to carry a public servant office is a great responsibility and a noble calling. I ask you Mr. Rowlands and Council, please, as a true public servants for the citizens of this blessed community of Fillmore, listen to the voice of your constituents...And we are saying that if it is truly medical marijuana we are talking about, not THC pot, then Fillmore would be the first to stand by the needy. But please end this charade of the 'medical cards'- because we all know the vast majority of pot is used for the addictive high. Now with the recreational pot allowed in California, we ask that our city leaders do everything they can to of keep it out. Every community has the right to refuse involvement in the pot industry, even post-Proposition 64, whether it is the growing, distribution or selling. We ask our City Hall to join all the communities that have stood up and said "not in our town" ...and that includes the tax bonanza that goes along with this industry...because there is no amount of money worth yet another family losing a child to addiction and crime.
Regina Stehly Nunez
To the Editor:
Access to Sespe Creek and Fillmore hiking
I was deeply saddened to learn that they have fenced off the end of Grand Avenue near Fillmore, where I have been accessing the Sespe Creek to hike to Devil's Gate for many years.
Other cities, such as Ojai, have more hiking trails every year. But each year Fillmore has fewer places where people can walk in our natural areas. Now there are practically none.
Decades ago, people used to be able to hike up Pole Creek or to the top of San Cayetano Mountain, for which a local school is named. But now, private property blocks the access to the Los Padres National Forest from these areas.
The Tar Creek area in the Sespe Condor Sanctuary is also closed, due to the trash people were leaving in Tar Creek and the hazard it poses to the condors. This closure I understand, but it is one more area not accessible anymore.
Another area I used to hike was up Santa Paula Peak, where the owners of Diamond Ranch kindly let us walk through their property in Timber Canyon. But since the ranch was sold a couple of years ago, the new owners will not allow access anymore to this spectacular hiking trail.
The one place left to hike near Fillmore is the Dough Flat trailhead, which is closed in the winter and spring, and is a 45 minute drive from Fillmore.
We can see the mountains that surround our town, but we can't get to them.