Thomas Schumann, Teenager 5/10/17

The following demonstrates Tom’s thoughts on reality and consciousness at the age of 16, easier to follow than his physics calibrations in his later years, however it does leave room for argument about his conclusions, if only he were here to argue with….

Written by Thomas G. Schumann on March 5, 1954

Let us assume that all conditions have a ause of causes, and that all causes have a definite effect or effects. Therefore all conditions now existent are effects of previous causes. These causes are in turn effects of a still more previous cause and these are effects of still more remote causes and so forth. Hence we see that all present conditions are, finally, remote effects of causes or conditions present at the beginning of the universe.

All conditions present t today will become causes of future effects. These effects will in turn become causes for still more remote effects and so forth ad infinitum.

Hence all future conditions will actually be results of causes or conditions present at the beginning of the cosmos. These conditions will determine these results. That is to say they will bring about these results and could not possibly bring about any other effects. Hence the future is determined by these primordial conditions, thus inductive chance, as it is commonly understood, is actually non-existent. If all prevailing conditions were known or all conditions prevailing at any time in the past were known, and if they could be pieced together by a hypothetical “super-natural mind”, an unlimited knowledge of the future could be acquired.

“But”, you may say, “this might be true if it were not for intelligent living organisms, especially human beings, which have a will of their own.”

I believe this to be false, I believe that all matters about human beings, their thoughts and actions, as well as of other intelligent living organisms, are just as determined as events happening to inanimate objects.

And man’s thoughts and actions are determined by his present environment and by his mental and physical construction. His construction is, in turn, determined by his past environment and his heredity. Man cannot, of course, control his heredity. Neither can his parents, for that matter, since as we shall se later, that the very fact they mated and he was borrowers just a matter of cause and effect and was determined by conditions present several billions of years before their birth.

Man also cannot control his environment. He does, of course, change his environment, but the fact whether he does this or not or whether he even wants to or not is determined by his construction and by his surroundings. His Construction, in turn, is determined by his past environment and his past construction which is determined by his still more remote environment nd his still more remote construction etc., until we see that man’s thoughts and actions are ultimately determined by his heredity and the environment , which, as we have shown earlier is determined, he has had throughout his life.

Thus man’s thoughts and actions are determined by causes existent long before his birth. All man’s thoughts are just reactions to stimuli both external and internal.
Since man’s characteristics or his construction, as well as his thoughts and actions are completely out of his control – in fact caused by conditions existing billions of years before his birth, both his attributes and his faults are beyond his control – as everything else is. Because hate, love, scorn, and respect are based on the objects attributes or faults, hate, love, scorn and respect for one person more than for another person is, of itself, illogical. Of course these emotions may have a temporary practical purpose, but there is no other logical reason for them. Pride and shame also come in this classification as does gratitude. since all one’s attributes or faults are the results of conditions beyond one’s control, there is no reason to be proud or ashamed of them.

Since, as we have stated before, man’s actions and characteristics are determined by causes completely beyond his control, he is not responsible for his actions or characteristics. Since he is not responsible for his actions, and cannot control them, it is not just to punish him for them. Thus it is just as unjust to punish a wrongdoer as it is to punish an innocent person because neither is responsible for his actions.

Of course we must punish criminals anyhow to prevent them from repeating a wrongdoing, and, by showing others that if they commit a criminal act that they will be punished, prevent others from committing crimes.

But we must not pretend that this punishment is just, it is not, it is only necessary in order to keep an orderly society. Thus a revengeful punishment is illogical. Only a preventive punishment should be used.

Law and Citizens 7/13/16

The other day Museum Docent Karen Laux, former Sierra County Undersheriff David Marshall and me, a former Sheriff’s Office employee were sitting in front of the Downieville Museum talking about some of the heart breaking recent events in the world. David asked us what we saw as a solution to the ongoing issues between law enforcement and race inequality.

You could see the smoke rising as we  all started thinking… it isn’t an easy solution to answer. I blurted out training, Karen mentioned hiring officers who were not overly aggressive, we meandered through our ideas for awhile and I asked David, well what would your solutions be?

The first thing he mentioned was Community Policing, I immediately remembered how important that was during the twelve years I worked for the SO. Sheriff Lee Adams, Undersheriff Marshall, Sgt. Lou Foxworthy and Sgt. Steve Peterson were my superiors and community policing became an important part of all training for Deputies and Correctional Officers.  We lived and worked in the communities we served. The idea of an  “us versus them” was discouraged. In the Jail the inmate we were booking and charged with might be our neighbor who would be working alongside us during an emergency in the community.

Undersheriff Marshall said the importance of living in the community you work in may be most important. You get to know people and understand the issues affecting their lives. This is easier in a rural community, in a urban area there are clear definitions between low, middle and high income housing areas, based on the cost of housing and it would help if those who worked would move into a troubled area.

I pointed out the natural struggle of us all is to move ahead, live in a better neighborhood, give our kids more, and be able to enjoy life without adversity, David said he understands that and Community Policing where law enforcement (LE) was involved in the community, possibly have small substations in neighborhoods with an open door policy of welcoming the residents and get to know each other, to have LE involved in activities, sponsor basketball and baseball, soccer clinics.

We the community need to be open and welcoming to our law enforcement people, help them to get to know us and be part of the neighborhood. Smile, wave, be inviting and courteous at all times. We may not always agree but we can all get along with a little more than a little effort.

DeVita Editorial 4/27/16

Take Back Sierra County Government

The Sierra County Board of Supervisors passed a group of ordinances April 19, 2016. The ordinances represent a complete reversal of the county’s previous position on medical cannabis of a year before.
The process from which the ordinance was produced was very badly flawed. During what was supposed to be a public hearing, Supervisor Adams argued with citizens, accepted no input, and made it clear he was taking unilateral action.
Only Supervisor Peter Huebner declined to support the ordinance, for the reasons we all should insist on: it didn’t follow proper process, and it wasn’t fair.
The new ordinance will have many negative effects on our community. Two of common concern are property rights and due process.
The new ordinance, in an attempt to bully citizens, gives enforcement unreasonable powers, including the power to retroactively cite for something that is no longer there. It allows the county to come on anyone’s property at any time for any reaon.
Both members of the Board and members of law enforcement have agreed that the new ordinances will produce more crime, and will likely increase environmental degradation.
The environment takes a further hit when the Board sends medical cannabis patients inside, with indoor grows. If all patients and caregivers do as the Board intends, the negative impact on the environment from greenhouse gases will outweigh any benefit the ordinance might have had.
I will sign the referendum because the process by which the ordinances should have been determined was flawed; we were denied due process.
I will sign because property owners are harmed.
I will sign because the environment will be harmed.
I will sign because patients deserve to grow their medicine.
I will sign because I believe in liberty.
Laurenc DeVita

Laurenc L. DeVita MA
resilientsierra.com

DeVita Editorial Response 10/7/15

Thank you for reading the Fringe in the Prospect, and thank you for taking time to comment.

The tragedy in Oregon does nothing to impact my remarks, and instead actually demonstrates the reason I wrote that section.

From your comment, it seems to me what really bothers you is death. That is a different subject, but I could have added to my article, “I don’t know why people have to die.” Except, we all know people have to die, don’t we?

In all our long human history, having a weapon has made the difference between being a victim and surviving. Whether it is a rock attached to a stick or an AK47, a weapon changes the equation in an emergency situation.

This is why the right to keep and bear firearms is listed in the Bill of Rights; these are rights we have, important rights like freedom of speech and assembly and freedom of religion.

What you object to, I think, is death. But, really, very few people are murdered with firearms in the US; and only a few of those are mass shooters. We have 320,000,000 people in the US: the world’s third largest population, and we have 100,000,000 million firearms, yet only about 12,000 people a year are murdered with firearms. A few thousand more are killed by police, in self defense, or under other circumstances. More than half of firearms related deaths are suicides. Japan essentially has no firearms, and yet their suicide rate is far higher than ours: clearly firearms don’t cause suicide. Further, I think suicide is a personal decision, and not something the government should stop; most state laws agree with me.

If we want to think that “even one death is too many” then we aren’t very realistic. People die from bathtubs, from concrete steps, from aspirin, from hands. We can’t stop death, and if we did, there would be no life left between the rules and laws.

If what you hate is death, you’ll consider that the greatest number of people killed in a school mass murder was generated not with firearms, but with bombs. Now, take every mass shooting, and give the killer bombs instead of firearms. In Oregon, some people lived simply by saying they weren’t Christian; could the killer have exercised that restraint with a bomb? In Germany, for instance, a man in a school killed 10 and injured 22 with a home made flame thrower and a piece of steel on a pole. Stealing our right to own firearms won’t prevent what you obviously object to: human suffering.

If death is our enemy, let’s look at this instance closer. The shooter singled out Christians in a way that is becoming typical of terrorist attacks of this nature. Why would anyone want to kill Christians in the US? Perhaps because of all the death we deal in the Middle East?

What if our problem isn’t firearms, what if it is that we are a violent nation, one that imprisons more of its people than anywhere else, one where the wealthy have recovered from the recession but the average person hasn’t, one where a White man with a high school diploma will likely earn more over his lifetime than a Black man with a four year degree? What if mass shootings were just symptoms of violent, war like nation in the throes of social change? Will taking my firearms away remedy any of that?

I live in California, one of the worst states for an honest person to buy a firearm. It is humiliating, expensive and time consuming; states all around us allow free trade in firearms and suffer no worse from it. The list of firearms we can’t have is much, much longer than the paltry list we may have. None of this changes anything except that it makes criminals out of decent people who did nothing except be ignorant of a draconian and ineffective law. Every year the California legislature nibbles away at our firearms rights. Each year, they pass harsher and harsher laws, though nothing changes. Most likely, all the worthless laws you might like to have passed are already in effect in California.

In truth, murder is down across the board in the US. However, politicians and those who would like to see us helpless use tragedies like the Oregon terrorist attack to drive good people like you not with logic, but with emotion. You hate death. They know that. Rather than link the death to our badly dysfunctional society, they want you to link it to my grandpa’s old shotgun. In my view, people who capitalize on this kind of tragedy are no better than the people who send drones to kill civilians in other lands. Oh, wait, it is the same people, isn’t it.

Registering firearms is virtually the same as confiscating firearms. History is full of examples, from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Plains of the United States. First locate the firearms, then take them, then do as you wish to the defenseless. Before you disarm your neighbors you should be absolutely certain of two things: first, that the sheriff’s department can get there on time, and second that our government can never fail. It is unlikely you can assure me of either case.

I hate death, too, but I especially hate the deaths of people I know and love. Anti-gun nuts claim a firearm in the home is more likely to kill someone in the home than an intruder, but that becomes much less true if you allow people the right to end their own lives and deduct suicide from “violent gun deaths”, which I think should only mean actual violence. It becomes even less true if you deduct drug dealers who know each other and shoot each other at home, and so on. For most people, who keep a firearm in a responsible manner, it is safer than many items commonly found in the home.

We were given the right to have and use firearms to protect ourselves, our families, our communities and, if need be, our nation. American hunters represent the world’s largest army, armed and ready. It doesn’t seem important now because we dedicate literally billions of dollars to a standing military, but it was citizen soldiers that freed our nation from the British. Should the government no longer have billions, we could do it again.

So, I have to stand by my original sentiment: I don’t know why people want to steal a civil right from their countrypeople when what they really should do is address the social issue of violence in American, from our warmongering government, to our increasingly violent cops, to our hideous passion for death and misery in our entertainment. If you could just keep the government from using guns and death as political policy, that would save lives abroad, too.

I don’t know why you don’t do that.

Lesniak VS Wittner 6/17/15

Editorial Response by Paul Lesniak to the 6/10/15 Column by Lawrence Wittner

For a website that declares itself the source of “All Things Sierra County”, the Prospect is sure heavy with imported, neo-marxist agit- prop coming from people who more likely than not have never set foot in the surrounding zip codes.

It reached a crescendo this past week with the publication of “Will Americans Vote for a Democratic Socialist?” by someone named Lawrence S. Wittner, a professor of history at State University of New York / Albany.

The accompanying photo reveals a bespectacled, hirsute, and somewhat gaunt denizen of the faculty lounge right out of central casting.

Mr. Wittner enthusiastically supports the presidential candidacy of the one declared socialist in the US Senate, the grizzled and stooped 74 year old bolshevist throwback from the People’s Republic of Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

He goes to great lengths to separate socialism from its less user friendly cousin, communism, which is simply ‘pickin’ pepper out of flyshit’ because Karl Marx stated unequivocally that the goal of the former is to soften up the population for the imposition of the latter.

Mr. Wittner sings the praises of the socialist ideal, conveniently ignoring the staggering body counts and economic and cultural degradation of societies who have implemented the socialist / communist governmental paradigm.

He also fails to note that governments all across the socialist / communist spectrum have been abandoning their attempts at re-engineering human nature and have turned to functioning capitalist approaches because they have, as Margaret Thatcher predicted “run out of other peoples money.”

But I guess we can’t blame this city slicker that resides three thousand miles away for being ignorant of the fact that right here in beautiful California, the American interpretation of the socialist ideal is fully realized and functioning.

Wittner does do something quite helpful when he cheers the success rabble rousing socialists have had in infiltrating such public arenas as race relations, women’s rights, employee unions public and private, the educational establishment, open borders advocacy, and the environmental movements.

Because of there successful infiltrations, California is now a one party state, with its progressive politics dominated by the overwhelmingly Democrat voting major coastal population centers.

This has produced completely predictable results.

Income inequality has never been higher, especially in the wealthy and overwhelmingly white coastal areas where we now find near feudal levels of have’s and have nots.

Middle class and lower income families, usually of color, are being squeezed out of those areas by astronomical property values and ever increasing rents.

These property values have predictably skyrocketed because of relentless opposition to any and all forms of construction or development, all in the name of protecting the environment.

Away from the Golden Coasts, the onerous environmental dictates popular with the coastal elites have all but killed extractive industries and the industrial manufacturing base.

They have also turned great swathes of some of the most productive farmland the world has ever known into a desert wasteland to insure the survival of an insignificant bait fish.

With those industries associated jobs rapidly disappearing, the California middle class is now an endangered species, save for those receiving government paychecks.

California’s public employee unions are the most powerful political entity in the state.

Woe betide any politician who dares to challenge their power.

Their outsized influence is direct result of the channeling of portions of their taxpayer funded paychecks into coerced union dues, which then flow into the campaign coffers of the elected officials on the other side of the bargaining table.

This effectively seats public employee unions on both sides of the negotiations, able to elect or remove those who either enthusiastically support or dare to oppose their programs.

The predictable result is an entrenched and unaccountable bureaucratic behemoth that enjoys generous pay, benefits and retirement packages unheard of in the private sector, which are now underfunded to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Because of relentless bureaucratic interference from these same employees of government agencies seeking to justify their existence, California has the most hostile business environment in the United States, some of the highest state income and property taxes, and coincidentally, the highest percentage of those living in poverty.

Unemployment rates in the Central Valley, the Inland Empire and Sierra High Country are routinely in double digits, and often exceeding 20%.

Despite this high unemployment rate, California’s Southern border is virtually open, flooding the state with low skilled and barely literate immigrants who drive real wages down and are stretching the states tattered social safety net to the breaking point.

California spends more money on its schools than almost any other state in the nation, yet consistently ranks at or near the bottom in teacher effectiveness and student performance.

Crony capitalist back scratching is the order of the day in Sacramento, with connected insiders routinely strip mining the state treasury under the guise of serving the people.

What is clear is that the progressive / socialist dream is in full effect here in the formerly Golden State, with completely predictable results; racial and class division, out of control and unaccountable state bureaucracies, unrestricted immigration and crippled commercial activity, while connected insiders, their crony enablers and dependent elected and appointed government officials and employees live in luxury, laughing at the chumps.

Socialism is indeed here, and it is working exactly as planned.

If you ever wonder why when a perfectly normal high school kid is shipped off to the university, and comes home for holiday visits wearing a Che T-shirt and quoting from Mao’s little red book, you can thank agenda driven historical revisionists like Lawrence S. Wittner.

Things Will Get Worse 11/5/14

A Facebook Posting I fear may come true…..

So, what have we learned from this election? We’ve learned that Republicans truly don’t believe in democracy. True democracy means, among other things, that everyone should have the right to vote, and be enabled to vote. Republicans have spent millions on making sure that people who might oppose their viewpoints don’t have that opportunity. We’ve also learned what Republicans are AGAINST: President Obama. (Of course, they made that clear the moment he stepped into office, and have made opposing anything he proposed — whether it was good for the citizenry or not — their goal over the past six years.) What we haven’t learned is what Republicans are FOR; that’s because they spent this whole election cycle pointing out how bad President Obama is, and how terrible are the things he has, somehow, managed to accomplish. And, what are those things that the Republicans think are so terrible? Provisions for health care for several millions more citizens. A lowered unemployment rate, and a nation that is digging its way out of the economic disaster that the previous administration had left as their domestic legacy. A commitment to an environmental future that offers some hope for our children and theirs, and the generations to follow. These are the things that are anathema to Republicans. And, it is the overturning of all these things to which Republicans are committed now that they control Congress: you just have to listen to the soon-to-be Senate majority leader to know this is true. So, for those of you who think that things in this country have been bad under the current president (set aside for the moment the fact that the Republicans in Congress the past six years have made it almost impossible for anything positive to happen), let me now predict that things are about to get much, much worse. Paul Guffin, Downieville

The DeVita Speaks 10/29/14

Schooling Jerry on the Wet Stuff: Prop 1; let’s see the dollars

by DeVita

Laurenc DeVita

Laurenc DeVita

The ballot is next week; there are likely to be few surprises.

We all know Prop 1 is going to pass. People are so certain that some have already laid down their principles and are ready to stick their hands out, on the theory that, as long as it’s going to happen to them anyway, they might as well make a little money. How could the Prop not pass? It has a big purse and has promised something to just about everyone. People who think water is wasted in the ocean (I could do an entire editorial just on this) are getting dams; people who like little froggies are getting some conservation stuff; Central Valley farmers get more water (they use more than 80% of the state’s water); the cities get to keep growing. They even threw 50 cents at hazard fuel. Jerry did his homework and this thing is a masterpiece. Prop 1 money is good at the bank right now.

And that gives Jerry a perpetual sweaty pink glow. With money like that he can leave the legacy his old man failed to, kind of a creepy GWB thing going on there. He’s going to give money to everyone.

Ooops, almost everyone! The places where the rain and snow fall, places without big cities to gulp the water up, we don’t get so much. That’s where Jerry is flubbing the fondle. He needs to come up and spend the day with the boys and girls who live up here. We could school him on what makes the creeks flow. And, we could tell him how to use his new ill gotten gains to good purpose. I have the following recommendations.

How to have enough water in California

1. Save our asses! I prefer trees to cities, but it’s pretty clear more water would go down the rivers if there weren’t so many trees in the watersheds pumping it out. True, they put it in the air to make rain elsewhere, but this is about our rain. The trees are far too numerous and far too close together. A lot of growth is on steep hillsides where only fire can easily reach it.

Here’s the picture if we’re ignored: eventually all the hills will be burned. The air quality will plummet under the weight of carbon and soot in the air. The soil, stripped of trees, will now wash down the steep slopes into the creeks, which will leave their banks from accumulated forest debris, ash and mud. How do you like your water now?

Sure, it’s expensive to cut on steep hillsides and haul the biomass hundreds of miles, but you have SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS, Jerry! This is a good investment. It is also part of the the cost of the debt you incurred for using our mountains to clean your air and catch your water.

Forest biofuel is renewable, but not very green. A sincere effort at removing excess forest biomass includes running it through a cogen plant. You have the money, make it happen. Mastication is good for the forest, and should be a first choice for smaller material, but larger mass needs to go off site. Maybe the same trucks could haul the minerals and ash back to the forest.

2. Pay us for not piddling in the river! It sounds disgusting, and it is, but humans have a long history of agreements with upstream folks not to do some things in the river. More than that, we actively care for the mountains, both as landowners and as residents. Our economy was once tied to the rivers, now our destiny is tied to them. State laws require more of us and give us less and less in terms of regulations and codes. If the state can discourage us from traditional uses, it can pay us for the loss. A tax of a couple of cents for every gallon leaving the water producing counties for the Central Valley and areas south. It will keep us from prostituting our lands and our kids to exploitative businesses. Most of all, charging down stream users a realistic price for water will do more than low flow toilets to reduce water use. Conserve water, or pay the hillbillies more. Also, paying us in conservation grants is not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about cash money deposited to the counties to build long term sustainable rural industry.

3. Reverse “county of origin water rights”. Currently, a county of origin can claim water rights only to encourage development. If you want to live in a city, go to one. Development, as has been demonstrated, is not sustainable; indeed, the person who coined the term “sustainable growth” was a mathematician who meant it as a JOKE. Give counties the power to keep more water in the watersheds without development.

4. Go cold turkey on the drug of perpetual economic growth. California persists in boasting the “eighth largest economy in the world” but at what price? Can we boast if we only have the 12th largest economy? The end has to come sometime, or LA will cover the state. Going green means more than driving a Prius and using solar panels. There is no way to negate the impact of population on the environment, or population density on political power. In short, greed is driving the demise of what we love most about California. Institute policies which reduce growth in the most densely populated areas first, and then tax populated areas for their uses of open spaces, such as cleaning air and water and mediating weather, and use that money to help unspoiled communities to keep local control of land use and keep land values high enough that they don’t become meat for developers chased from cities. It’s a little hard to grab all that. I would ask him to take out his smart phone and go here: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fuvmbored.com%2Fevent%2Ffilm-hooked-growth%2F&h=KAQHK1kfW

5. Pay your bills. With all of that drug money (in this metaphor the drug is water, but in truth the drug is always and only money) maybe you can shake money loose somewhere else and pay your bills to the counties. Pay for Fish and Wildlife land; pay much more to communities around state parks. Pay back everything you “realigned” and, since Sacramento made the laws which created so many prisoners, take your prisoners back, too.

Prop 1 is no doubt a done deal; let’s see how much of that $7 billion sloshes this far up the mountain.

You Are Wrong DeVita 7/30/14

This week the Fringe DeVita explains why western Sierra County has to stop expecting too much on our health care.  After all he says, “many towns bigger than Downieville” don’t have what we have`. He minimizes the service area which is all of western Sierra County including many resorts, campgrounds, summer home tracts, 6 well established towns Alleghany, Pike City, Goodyears Bar, Downieville, Sierra City,  Green Acres and many outlying homes scattered along Highway 49 and side roads. In the summertime the population triples in size.

He is right about the problems that are hurting the clinic, “policies and economics “determined in another more populated county. The Downieville Clinic does not need the massive staff and overhead costs of the Nevada County site. The Clinic in Downieville needs the support of the locals using it as Primary Care, use it or lose it. We need a full time provider and 2 or 3 Nurse Practioners who are willing to rotate for some of the 24/7 urgent and emergency care. If we were an independent entity again we could use the same medical billing company that Downieville Ambulance does for billing, we would need assistant LVN’s or RN’s  to help the Providers, a secretary/receptionist, the phone calls for after hours clinic assistance could go through the Downieville Fire Department who are able to reach the provider immediately. There are overhead costs of course, payroll, taxes, insurance and all of these things need income, income provided by the Affordable Healthcare Act, everyone has insurance, provided by smaller grants for smaller facilities. Nevada County needed the 850,000 “330” grant but there are many grants, endowments and other sources of fundings to seek if it was directed at our small Clinic.

Unfortunately one source of friction right now is the difficulty in understanding why the Downieville founding source of the WSMC has been the stepchild who has to clean the ashes out of the stove for some gruel to be tossed to them. It has been suggested that Downieville residents are responsible to raise money, write grants, get  funding to support our Clinic. Which makes me and others wonder, are the citizens of Grass Valley and Nevada City being asked to do the same for their site.  We are asking for one provider 5 days a week, and some rotating relief personnel to help cover the 24/7 urgent and emergency care.

Lauren Alderdice, FNP, Flene Folsom PA-C, Lora Lee Grutkowski, FNP,  Heather Lucas-Ross, MD, Elaine Lundy, MD, Galen Martin, MD, Celia Sutton-Pado, MD, Glenn Thiel, DO are all Family Practice/Family Medicine at the Grass Valley WSMC.

Lora Lee Grutkowski FNP will be working in Downieville 4 days and week including the Clinic off hours for urgent and emergency care. Celia Sutton-Pado was recently given a contract to be the Sierra County Public Health Officer which is for 8 hours each week but doesn’t really involve any Downieville clinic work right now.

Meanwhile in Pediatric Care there is Michael Curtis, MD, Kris Jessen-Mathers, RN, PNP, Joseph Lambert, MD, Douglas Wagner, MD and Sarah Woerner, MD  at Grass Valley WSMC.

Then there are J. Alberto Chavez, DDS, Elizabeth Miltner, DDS and Justin Pfaffinger, DDS for dental care in GV-WSMC, Dr. Chavez is up here one day a week and I heard it will soon be two days, we can only hope.

Let’s move on to Behavioral Health, Kelly Cirner, MSW, Tracy Deliman, PHD, Karen Higgins, MD, Jennifer Sale, LCSW all at GV-WSMC.

Case Management/Nutritionist Jerusha Horlick,RN ; Diane Miessler, RN, Danielle Yantis, Dietician, MS at GV-WSMC. and last but not least is Maternity Health: Vanita Lott, RN and Midwife and Wendy Paye, RN .

So there are 25 medical staff on their website.   http://wsmcmed.org/index.php/about-us/medical-staff/

Let’s look at Executive Management, all salaried personnel : CEO Scott McFarland, CMO Glenn Thiel, CFO Tom Morrisey, DD Justin Pfaffinger, COF Francine Novak;   CIO Dan and PDD Cheryl Rubin. To be fair,Thiel and Pfaffinger see patients too, I think.

Of course there is the Management Team: Office Mgr Leo Avelar, Director of Clinical Services, Jennifer Edwards, RN, and Exec Admin Asst. Jessica Fraser and Downieville Clinic Manager C.C.Gelatt.

http://wsmcmed.org/index.php/about-us/board-leadership/

The Board of Directors:Sierra County residents: Larry Allen, Tim Beals, Jon Peek, Don Russell and Brandon Pangman, Nevada County Residents: Florence Lyss, Anita Daniels, Derek Williams, Scott Browne, Katherine Medeiros (also CEO at SNMH), Richard Kuhwarth, Jeannie Medley and Lupe Peterson

So where is the money going and if we merged why don’t we have the same service here. We don’t need the same service, we need the basics, what we have always had. We need Primary, Urgent and Emergency care in western Sierra County 24/7. We are not asking for the moon. In Grass Valley, in addition to the WSMC site there is  a plethora of doctors and dentists, urgent care centers, a hospital and emergency room. In all of western Sierra County we have the WSMC Downieville Clinic…. come on… we are not spoiled. Grass Valley needs to stop whining about how costly we are and start facing who is really sucking up the money… and it ain’t us.

 

 

Why Not? 7/2/14

“Don’t ask why, ask why not.” This quote said in different ways by both President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy has reverberated for me in the past four weeks when I hear some people say that the citizens of western Sierra County are “spoiled”, that we think we are “entitiled”, that no other rural area has health care available at “our beck and call” and that we should not expect 24/7 emergency health care or even a clinic with scheduled appointments for 5 days a week.

We are lucky, 38 years ago, Frank and Bette Jo Lang moved to Sierra County to provide healthcare to this rural frontier community through the auspices of the National Health Corp. They stayed, raised three sons and developed the Western Sierra Medical Clinic in Downieville into a state of the art facility with cutting edge care and capability. Staffed by Family Nurse Practioners overseen by a Medical Director, assisted by Registered nurses, Nurse Practioners and LVN’s, WSMC provided medical and dental care to the residents, visitors, inmates at the county jail.

The questions are; why is this unusual in America? Why is there even a thought that we are wrong in expecting this kind of responsive health care? Why would anyone suggest that we should be satisfied in regressing to a situation, as many rural areas experience, as having no immediate health and emergency medical care available? I don’t understand this kind of thinking.

Not only should we maintain and continue to enhance our health facilities in the county, we should be advocating and helping those areas where needs are not being met.

The Downieville Western Sierra Medical Clinic created standards of excellence and set an example for others to follow, we should not allow this standard to be trampled into the dust because “other rural areas don’t have clinics why should you” mentality.

So stay strong, chin up, be proud of what we have and let’s do everything we can to continue another 38 years of successful health care in western Sierra County.

Wise Words of Alan Grayson 7/2/14

I recently received a letter from Alan Grayson who is running for U.S. Congress in Florida. Following is an excerpt that I found so interesting I decided to share it with you. I think this is a guy who absolutely should be part of our U.S. Congress.

“And now on to something that I need to get off my chest. This past week, to absolutely no fanfare whatever, the last declared chemical weapons left Syria. (Isn’t it interesting how the drums of war earn endless media coverage, but the dove of peace flies unnoticed?) I say the “last declared weapons” because those are the only ones that we know about, but any evidence of undeclared chemical weapons in Syria is even harder to find than any evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So as far as anybody can tell, all of the Syrian chemical weapons are gone.

And this was accomplished without U.S. military intervention in Syria.

I was very outspoken about my opposition to military intervention in Syria – outspoken in seven national TV interviews in a single day, and over 40 media interviews in four days. I said that Congress would not authorize war against Syria, because the Administration’s military plans were costly and dangerous, they would not achieve any strategic purpose, and they would not and could not eliminate those chemical weapons. And I was right. If the Administration’s war plans had come to a vote in the House, they would have been defeated by a margin of roughly 10 to 1. Because the American public spoke up – people like you spoke up.

I understand that there are some who think that the threat of Congress authorizing military action is what drove Assad to relinquish chemical weapons. I’ve always been skeptical of that argument, since there were five different public counts (including one at the Washington Post ) all showing that House opponents of military intervention outnumbered supporters by 10 to 1. Anyone with internet access could find that out, and I assume that Assad has internet access. Did Assad relinquish those weapons because his command-and-control structure had broken down, and he could no longer control when and where those weapons were used? Or because he was afraid that they might fall into rebel hands, because so much of his weaponry already had?

In the words of two great (albeit fictitious) military strategists, Francis Urquhart and Frank Underwood, “You might very well think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.”

Now think about this: What if we had gone to war against Syria last year? We would have:

(a) hit the Syrian regime hard, and
(b) delivered the Syrian chemical weapons into the hands of ISIS.

Yes, ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The ones whom the Administration is helping the Iraqi Government to fight. Those are ones who crucify and behead their enemies. Picture what they could do with poison gas.

So my enemy’s enemy is my friend. Unless it’s my enemy. And what about my enemy’s enemy who also is my friend’s enemy, even though my friend is allied with my enemy?

As far as I can recall, I’m the only one who pointed out last year that just because you’re hurting the bad guy (Assad) doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re helping the good guys, or whoever passes for that in Syria these days. I remember one national TV interview in which the interviewer asked me whether we should be helping the Syrian rebels. I answered, “Which ones: the Al Qaida graduates, or the anti-Semites?”

The German military strategist Carl von Clausewitz understood this problem well. He referred to it as “the fog of war.” Here is a translation of what he said:

“War is an area of uncertainty; three-quarters of the things on which all action in war is based are lying in a fog of uncertainty, to a greater or lesser extent. The first thing needed here is a fine, piercing mind, to feel out the truth, with the measure of its judgment.”

Or to put it as Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did, ironically in the context of explaining why we never found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq:

“There are known knowns; there are things that we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

President George W. Bush wasn’t exactly a “fine, piercing mind,” and so in the search of those nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we flushed roughly 4,000 American lives, 400,000+ Iraqi lives and $4,000,000,000,000.00 down the you-know-what. After that lesson, I was hoping last year to see some “fine, piercing mind” emerge from within the Administration during the debate of U.S. military intervention in Syria. But I was disappointed. It was more along the lines of “let’s just toss in some missiles, and see what happens.”

One of the greatest unknowns in war is in knowing – or really, not knowing – what effect your own actions will have. On that subject, we must turn to yet another great military strategist, Yankees Manager Yogi Berra:

“It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.”

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a lesson that our leaders need to take to heart. To which I offer this sequela:

When in doubt, PEACE.

Courage, Rep. Alan Grayson “

DeVita Won’t Accept Subservience 3/26/14

A Question for the Boardfringe logo

A Fringe Inquiry from DeVita

The drought declared by California Governor Jerry Brown not only alerts us to how serious the current drought is, with its attended increase in fire danger and decrease in meadow grass, it also contains a harbinger of more lasting problems with the state.  The declaration weakens water rights, a constant and reoccurring threat to the North from the over populated South of California.  The threat against our water rights joins other problems foisted on the county by the urban South, including unworkable building codes and county mandates.  Living under laws made for the populated South is driving people out of the rural North.

I realize the County Board of Supervisors has very little power over the state; if they did, they might be able to get the state to pay the money already owed the county.  I also understand that the Board sends members to important regional organizations, and it writes stern letters to various state officials when it seems it might help.  The Board is as active as reason would allow in trying to defend county residents from the tyranny of the South.  Even so, can we ask the Board, isn’t it time to make a stronger statement against Sacramento, and against the tyranny of the South over the North, to witness and demand a change?

I don’t denigrate the efforts of RCRC and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, nor the efforts of the Board to directly impact legislation at the state and sometimes even the federal level.  Those are efforts we must maintain.

But, isn’t it time to join other Northern California counties in a direct and unmistakable message to the South and take part in the movement to start the State of Jefferson?

Most people know the State of Jefferson found its first effort in the days just before World War II, and the war derailed further action then.  Named after our most famous Founder, Thomas Jefferson, the state would be formed from counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon.  The effort reflects a reality which was apparent even 70 years ago: urban areas are a drain on rural areas, they wield an unfair but inevitable power over their citizens in the rural lands.

The State of Jefferson isn’t the only effort to separate the rural North from the South; there have been many attempts to split the massive area called California into more manageable and accountable chunks.  Those efforts have all failed.  Likely, this effort will fail, too.  It will fail because, to pull away from California and form a state with Southern Oregon, the legislators of the states would have to agree.  I think we know that the people of the urban areas are not going to let go of their water resources, or of their recreation opportunities.  Even so, we must try.

We have also heard how much Southern California gives to the impoverished North in terms of funds for social services and roads.  In truth, the South takes from the North, not just taxes and fees, but resources.  The effort to break free and form a new Western rural state probably won’t succeed, but if it did, we would have little to fear.  The money has always come with strings attached.

I believe we have to try because not trying will doom us to continued serfdom, with no chance of relief.  If we form a concerted effort with the other counties of the North, our voice will gain strength.  Maybe we can’t wrestle free of the South, but maybe we can wrest a better relationship, one that recognizes that the North and the South have different cultures, and different needs.

The second reason I believe it is important to sign on to the Jefferson effort is if we don’t, if we quietly accept our subservience to the South, we are complicit in our own exploitation. To remain silent is to agree.  I can no longer agree in silence; I hope you feel the same way.

The Board would join other Northern California counties: Glenn, which just signed on, Modoc, and Siskiyou, and Humboldt and others are considering.  Let’s not be the tail of the horse, heading out the gate, let’s join the front.

The question now is not so much “if” Sierra should join, but “when,” and the answer must be “why not now?”.

I ask the Sierra County Board of Supervisors, will you join the effort to help liberate the North now?

DeVita Inquires 1/22/14

A Question for the Board

A Fringe Inquiry from DeVitafringe logo

The drought declared by California Governor Jerry Brown not only alerts us to how serious the current drought is, with its attended increase in fire danger and decrease in meadow grass, it also contains a harbinger of more lasting problems with the state.  The declaration weakens water rights, a constant and reoccurring threat to the North from the over populated South of California.  The threat against our water rights joins other problems foisted on the county by the urban South, including unworkable building codes and county mandates.  Living under laws made for the populated South is driving people out of the rural North.

I realize the County Board of Supervisors has very little power over the state; if they did, they might be able to get the state to pay the money already owed the county.  I also understand that the Board sends members to important regional organizations, and it writes stern letters to various state officials when it seems it might help.  The Board is as active as reason would allow in trying to defend county residents from the tyranny of the South.  Even so, can we ask the Board, isn’t it time to make a stronger statement against Sacramento, and against the tyranny of the South over the North, to witness and demand a change?

I don’t denigrate the efforts of RCRC and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, nor the efforts of the Board to directly impact legislation at the state and sometimes even the federal level.  Those are efforts we must maintain.

But, isn’t it time to join other Northern California counties in a direct and unmistakable message to the South and take part in the movement to start the State of Jefferson?

Most people know the State of Jefferson found its first effort in the days just before World War II, and the war derailed further action then.  Named after our most famous Founder, Thomas Jefferson, the state would be formed from counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon.  The effort reflects a reality which was apparent even 70 years ago: urban areas are a drain on rural areas, they wield an unfair but inevitable power over their citizens in the rural lands.

The State of Jefferson isn’t the only effort to separate the rural North from the South; there have been many attempts to split the massive area called California into more manageable and accountable chunks.  Those efforts have all failed.  Likely, this effort will fail, too.  It will fail because, to pull away from California and form a state with Southern Oregon, the legislators of the states would have to agree.  I think we know that the people of the urban areas are not going to let go of their water resources, or of their recreation opportunities.  Even so, we must try.

We have also heard how much Southern California gives to the impoverished North in terms of funds for social services and roads.  In truth, the South takes from the North, not just taxes and fees, but resources.  The effort to break free and form a new Western rural state probably won’t succeed, but if it did, we would have little to fear.  The money has always come with strings attached.

I believe we have to try because not trying will doom us to continued serfdom, with no chance of relief.  If we form a concerted effort with the other counties of the North, our voice will gain strength.  Maybe we can’t wrestle free of the South, but maybe we can wrest a better relationship, one that recognizes that the North and the South have different cultures, and different needs.

The second reason I believe it is important to sign on to the Jefferson effort is if we don’t, if we quietly accept our subservience to the South, we are complicit in our own exploitation. To remain silent is to agree.  I can no longer agree in silence; I hope you feel the same way.

The Board would join other Northern California counties: Glenn, which just signed on, Modoc, and Siskiyou, and Humboldt and others are considering.  Let’s not be the tail of the horse, heading out the gate, let’s join the front.

The question now is not so much “if” Sierra should join, but “when,” and the answer must be “why not now?”.

I ask the Sierra County Board of Supervisors, will you join the effort to help liberate the North now?

Get Off The Couch 1/22/14

Hi folks
This is what is up with the Declaration for the State of Jefferson.  It is not secession in any way.  Secession will not work, the Civil War proved that.

Article 4 Section 3 of the US Constitution says specifically that a state can be formed from the land within another state if the State Legislature votes for it with a simple majority and if The Congress and Senate vote in favor of it with only a simple majority.  We can form our own state.  It is a long shot but it has been done before, (West Virginia, Maine, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee).

It is legal to do it.

With all of the idiotic laws coming out of Sacramento, people are tired of not having any say in things.  For example the Child Transgender Law which the governor just signed.  How would you like some little boy watching your daughter shower just because he claims he should have been born a she?  I could go on and on but you get the point.

We need everyone to make this work.  This is not about Republicans and Democrats.  This is about Rural California having a say in how their live are run.  The lack of representation in Rural Northern California has to change or our lives  and economy will continue to deteriorate.  Finally we will all be broke and we will all be gone.  We need to convince Democrats this affects them negatively as well.

No one left out.  We all have to be in this together or we will lose and nothing will change.  Do not be fooled by the territory scheme or anything else.  We are fighting to have our own state because nothing less will change our lives for the better.  Attached to this website is all the documentation you need: Declaration and Facts.

We need to reach out to neighboring counties so if you know anyone outside of Siskiyou who is not afraid to get off the couch and do something, get them in contact with me.

It is time!

If people choose to do nothing we will lose.  If we cannot involve Democrats, we will lose.  Democratic Legislators control the State House.  This is not a party issue, it is a chance for us to form a government which represents the will of ALL of the people of the North State.  Something which we do not have now.

We want to have as many rural California Counties pass the Declaration as Possible. We will then use the publicity and support to go to Sacramento and to Washington DC to have Legislation introduced.  If we win in both places we have a Real State of Jefferson and we can “Start Over”, avoiding the mistakes California has made.

We do not need and should not pay for over 5,70 state agencies.

We do not need and should not pay for huge tunnels under the Delta.

We do not need and will never benefit from a high speed train in Southern California.

California is so large, it is ungovernable in its present form and its present size.  We can get “Back to Basics” of good government.  For example a part time legislature, a state constitution which protects us against unwanted federal programs to the highest degree the law allows. We do not need a state police force.  The county sheriff is fully capable of delivering all the law enforcement we need within each county.

A favorable business and corporate tax structure will have all of the business which is leaving California relocate to Jefferson.  Our economy will improve.

Our lives will improve.

Remember this has nothing to do with secession.  This has nothing to do with trying to form some territory inside of a county or anything weird.  This  is the legal and ethical method of forming a new state which comes from the US Constitution.

We can “Start Over”  we can go “Back to the Basics of Good Government”.  State Government which represents the will of the people who are subject to its laws.

If you can help contact me.  If you know responsible people who will follow through, in other counties, contact me.  If you are willing to start calling people, contact me.  If you have questions, contact me.  This is real and we can do it!

On Sept. 3, 2013, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors approved by a 4-1 vote a Declaration to withdraw from the State of California, which included grievances specific to Siskiyou County. Significant national media covered the issue.

Then on Sept. 24, 2013, the Modoc County Board of Supervisors approve by a 4-0 vote the Declaration to withdraw from the State of California. Again, national and local media covered the issue.

Now the Jefferson Declaration Steering Committee is helping start Declaration Committees in other counties. This is a ground-up, grassroots approach to creating equal representation and local control. Committees are working in Del Norte, Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Lake, Glenn, Sutter and Yuba Counties. Town Hall meetings have been held in 7 counties and more are being planned.

For more information, check out Jefferson Declaration.net on the web. Contact information is on the “Join us” page.

Thank You,
Mark Baird, Fort Jones, CA, Siskiyou County

Hey Supes – Listen Up 1/1/14

What the Board should Know about Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Laurenc DeVita

The Sierra County Board of Supervisors has a committee writing a medical marijuana ordinance.  The ordinance the committee chose, the “Tehama” model, was chosen because the good people of Tehama county sued their county over the strictness of the ordinance, and lost, meaning Sierra County would win a lawsuit and good people be damned.

One of the more draconian (that is, pointlessly cruel) suggestions the Board will consider is a ban on medical cannabis dispensaries.  The Sierra County Prospect.org quoted one of the participants of a committee meeting as saying “why make Sierra County the place for such a business”; a very good question indeed!

We should make Sierra County a place with such a business because:

1. It will make it easier for people who can’t grow their own medical marijuana to purchase it locally (if you have cancer and six months to live your crop will come in just in time for your funeral wreath).

2.  It will provide a local outlet for our Sierra County medical marijuana growers who now have to go to the Sacramento Valley to legally deliver surplus product to a dispensary.

3.  Sierra County is broke, going to stay broke, and Loyalton might even die.  A medical marijuana dispensary is a legal business which will bring tax revenue into the county and provide a few jobs.

4.  It will discourage unregulated sales of medical cannabis.

5.  It will give the county control over a growing commercial market.

All those reasons will no doubt get thoughtful Republican’s on board, but what about others?  Some people don’t believe it is legal to sell medical marijuana to a dispensary; I’ve heard D.A. Larry Allen say there is no legal way for medical cannabis to find its way to dispensaries.  And yet, there are more legal dispensaries in California than anybody has been able to count; cities and counties are making money off medical cannabis dispensaries. How does this happen?  Indeed, without a way to get medical cannabis to patients, what is the point of AB420 and medical cannabis?

Turns out it is very legal, the process is described in California law, the Board of Equalization describes how to tax it.  Many counties and cities permit or license dispensaries; others allow them unrestricted behavior as long as sales taxes are paid.  Not providing a legitimate and regulated opportunity for dispensaries would be a ministerial failure of county residents.

Further, in August the Obama Administration announced they would no longer fight a losing war with medical dispensaries in California.  The California Attorney General even published guidelines, not of what the law permits, but what the AG would like to see.

The Board should take a studied, impartial, informed look at the issue, and act like a governing body in the 21st Century.

Editorial by DeVita 12/25/13

Sierra County Board of Supervisors medical cannabis ordinance

Public Input from DeVita

The Sierra County Board of Supervisors is considering a medical marijuana ordinance in the county. The Natural Resources, Planning, and Building Committee met and discussed a template for an ordinance. In the last five years in Prospect editorials I’ve encouraged the county to enact medical marijuana ordinances to benefit local med-can patients and protect their rights.

Throughout California, the combination of a gray market for marijuana, crashing house prices, and increased personal financial woes have encouraged more and more people to grow medical marijuana.

On the one hand, this can be seen as very good; sick people who might otherwise have found themselves on the street have been able to stay in their homes by growing a little extra for the dispensaries.  The cities have the markets for medical cannabis, and the highest profits are to be made from boutique med-can indoor grows right in the city.  Bud is sold at top dollar, and the stems and inferior plant parts go to make THC distillates such as “dab” or “shatter” or similar products.  Even so, there is enough of a market for outdoor organic or local indoor organic so that small entrepreneurs can make a living.

On the other hand, the proximity to the city makes most rural counties susceptible to “green rush” exploitation, where old houses are destroyed from mold and structural damage due to “get rich quick” pot growers, and vacant land is used without owner permission.  Drifters move in to small blocks of rental houses.  Watersheds are damaged; neighborhoods hang heavy with the smell of Purple Haze and Skunk Kush.  We’ll keep those downsides in mind for later discussion, because some ordinance enforcement is complaint driven, and because worst-case-scenario pot grows are often used as evidence for stricter enforcement.

It isn’t surprising that a county would want to prevent the damage to homes, land and neighborhoods that the green rush in medical marijuana has produced.  Further, there is nearly always an uninformed portion of the population who is against medical cannabis on “moral” grounds; the result of the racism/xenophobia which has been with cannabis prohibition from its inception, and of a lifetime of “just say no” propaganda from our mad uncle Sam.  It isn’t surprising that many people can’t think straight about the issue.  So, many California counties have tried to get a handle on med-can, both growing and distribution.

Some are simply restrictive: the Tehama ordinance has been challenged in court; it prevailed, at least the portion which was challenged.  This might be one reason for a committee to recommend it. The Tehama ordinance withstood one challenge (and an appeal) on one segment; this has encouraged pro-access people to find new ways to challenge the ordinances.  Far from being “challenge-proof”, the Tehama model might actually draw the attention of people who want to challenge the law in a small county.

This approach to regulating medical cannabis, the “restriction” approach of reducing the size and number of small or even medium (up to 250 mature female plants) medical marijuana grows, is easily demonstrated as counter-productive.  However, it’s not hard to see how the committee might arrive at its conclusion.  The safest thing for a bureaucrat or politician when the lion of public opinion stalks is to do is nothing; when that isn’t possible, do what others in your herd are doing.  It is the logic of the deer and cow, and it works well enough.

 There have been several counties who have tried hard to both mediate the number of large medical marijuana grows, and allow a brisk business and so easy and affordable access to medical marijuana.  Larger cites and some counties have done as I suggested Sierra County do, and regulated and taxed the sales at dispensaries.  Some have been wholly or partly successful in controlling and regulating med-can dispensaries, but actually regulating growing is difficult, for a simple reason: the herb doesn’t know about law, and will grow anywhere there is sunlight, soil and water.

But some county programs, like Mendocino’s zip tag program, have brought grief from the Feds for being too official in their tracking of med-can grows.  When county “sherff” says she or he needs to be a jerk about medical marijuana because it’s still illegal at the federal level, there is a tiny seed of truth to that.  The feds do occasionally pounce on county officials.  But, they do so at a far smaller rate than the rate the lion takes the deer or cow; mostly that objection is simply justification.  In Mendo, the feds pounced, or at least lunged, and as a result, the county has been forced to turn over records from its now defunct medical marijuana program.  The program sought to regulate medical marijuana as a commodity; it was voluntary and many saw it as a good first step to moving medical herb from black market to legitimate market while still preserving the advantage of the non-corporate grower.  So far, the feds have just cost everyone money.

What kind of medical marijuana ordinance should we seek?  It’s not so hard to figure one out.

We start with the realization that, regardless isolated good news, most rural people are in an economic funk that they will never recover from, particularly older people, since they often can’t compete for work with younger people.  It’s the economy, stupid.

We then recognize that in some rural counties up to 40% of working class and underclass people are earning money from marijuana under some aspect of Prop 215.  The phenomenon is very wide spread, which means there is actual competition between growing areas.

We next consider the wonderful success of the war on drugs, and in particular, the war on pot-heads.  It has filled prisons and made the careers of cops, prosecutors, and drug lords.

Then we take a hard look at the reasons for enacting an ordinance.  Rather than focus on thick headed pilgrims and chauvinistic loyalty to a failed war, we’ll look at the manifest reasons: green rush.

It is absolutely terrible how some people grow ganja.  They show up to rent a house with a nice little bunch of kids, rent the house, and a loser moves in to watch pot grow while the house wiring sizzles and smokes under the load of grow lights.  They cut holes in floors and walls, steal power, snort crank, and then leave owing rent and utility bills.  They buy nice family houses and set up grows and then after a few years just stop making payments and the bank gets a grow shack back.  They dam up streams, put grow chemicals right in the water.  They either don’t protect their grows, and so encourage pirates and violence, or they do protect their grows and injuries result*.  They cut trees and steal water and electricity.  They leave pot where kids can grab a branch, and encourage rootless, criminal people into the area.  The poster child for “why we need a med-can ordinance” is the huge grow, that disturbs the neighborhood, damages property, and most of all is operated by someone from out of the area, preferably someone from a third world nation.

But, wait!  A lot of that stuff is already illegal!  If the laws we have now don’t stop those things, how is messing with a busted up old hippie miles away going to change things?

The truth is, a “medical marijuana ordinance” isn’t needed to solve any of those problems, we just need to use the tools already available.  The truth is that living near a marijuana grow is not more dangerous than living near a liquor store, which people do all the time.  There are school bus stops near places that sell liquor; do kids there have a higher incidence of alcoholism as a result?

Does your neighbor have a pot grow and your kid came home stinking of weed?  Do these things: 1. File a nuisance complaint as you would for any neighborhood problem; 2. Lecture your kid to stay in their own yard and give the “just say no” lecture in case a social worker comes by; 3. Lock up your prescription meds and alcohol, almost all of which are far worse than fresh green ganja.

Is the abandoned house down the way supporting a grow and stealing power?  Trespass and power theft.  Big outdoor grow on someone else’s land?  Trespass and resource damage.

Troubled by the smell of growing marijuana?  Sierra County has an ordinance allowing agriculture; why don’t you join up with the people who complained about the Loyalton Cogen plant emissions and call Air Quality to see if you can screw up yet another source of income for the county.

It’s possible, after the deer and the cow, the Board should do nothing first.  Legalization is right around the corner, as anyone who looks up from the sod can see.  It might be said SC needs no ordinance, or at least we need no ordinance more than we need a bad ordinance.

Coming up with a restrictive ordinance which requires registration or permits will drive ma and pa med-can growers, many of whom thoroughly and with good reason mistrust government, out of the legal business and back into crime.  An ordinance limiting grows on property will increase clandestine grows, the ones the cops already can’t find.  Allowing people to grow responsibly will allow sick people to have their medicine at an affordable price, and from a local source.  Having no medical marijuana ordinance at all on grows under 150 plants ensures local people stay in the business, which keeps prices low, which means the transient growers we all hate won’t make as much money.

The idea that, to have a thriving and organized local grow and distribution network you need government intervention, is simply not supported in the data.  Oddly to me, many people who make this claim that medical marijuana isn’t regulated and so must be bad also complain about government regulation on other businesses.  People are so funny.

A good local med-can ordinance would be crafted not by cops, but by business people.  Sierra County is bleeding out; here is an opportunity to seize a market.  The economic development committee should be making ordinance recommendations to provide for branding of Sierra County med-can in preparation for the market when cannabis is legalized.  The county organs needed to oversee a commercial med-can industry are already in place.

Large grows are problematic.  If people want to run the risk of a large, unfenced outdoor grow on their own property, they should probably be able to, so long as other regulations, such as environmental regulations, are observed.  If people own a house and want to destroy it growing pot, should there be a law against it, and who would benefit from such a law?   However, there is a solution, at least in part, to this problem.

If Sierra med-can was branded, a coop could be formed.  Large growers of ganja, like large growers of anything agricultural, will follow the market advantage.  With a sound and functional coop, people with medical cannabis prescriptions or their caregivers could form patient groups and fund larger med-can grows, for example, in the business park in Loyalton.

While the Sierra County Board of Supervisors considers an ordinance, they should think more of control through assisting locals in the med-can and soon legal recreational market.  To be clear, and as I’ve said for years now, there is a shrinking window of opportunity.  Communities on the coast are already geared up with local branding for cannabis.  The real production of marijuana will, of course, be the central valley, where most cheap market pot will be grown.  But there will be niche markets, as there are for organic cheeses and grass fed beef.

Meanwhile, community support for the supervisors would give them the justification for doing something different from the other deer or cows.  It would quiet the few holier-than-thou complainers who get a nice buzz off mean-mouthing pot at poorly attended meetings.  It would show that Sierra County (and Loyalton, the place most likely to benefit from a county brand) is looking forward, not back.

The last thing we need, in my view, are new ways to trouble the common person in the county, or new ways to keep cops busy with known growers instead of scanning Google Earth for new grows (though, for a cop it is more efficient to look for marijuana where you already know it is).  A county reliant on agriculture should not have to worry about the smell of cow poop or purple haze.

Since 215 was passed, cannabis prices have steadily dropped.  Prohibition is what keeps prices high, and it isn’t marijuana that causes crime, it’s money.  Eventually, recreational cannabis will be legalized and the profit will sink to the Central Valley, and the green rush, like all our rushes, will move on.  Until then, it isn’t fracking we’re talking about (the SC BOS would be powerless to stop fracking in the county), it’s growing a plant.  I’m pretty sure we can cope with growing a plant.

The Natural Resources, Planning, and Building Committee will meet again; the public will again be invited.  If only anti-medical marijuana people are present, that is who the committee will hear.  The Clerk of the Board will know when the next committee meeting is; it hasn’t been set.  After that, the full Board will receive the committee’s recommendation, and probably your input.  It’s time for people who use medical cannabis to come forward to explain to the board how it helps with arthritis pain (as studies show) and it helps with peripheral nerve pain like diabetics experience (as studies funded by the state show) and it helps people with debilitating injuries to sleep (as studies show) and reduces spasticity (as studies…) and improves mood.

Here comes the future!  Good luck!

Counties and cities are handling the situation in different ways.

http://safeaccessnow.net/countyguidelines.htm

*I realize this is a “no-win” situation for the growers, but that’s how this game is played; no one said you had to be fair when you deal with pot heads.