Do you know which business is the top sales tax producer in all of Grover Beach? Hold your breath and exhale slowly ... because it's a cannabis dispensary. Yes, Natural Healing Center (NHC) claims it fills Grover Beach's tax coffers like a big bong rip fills pot smokers' lungs ... cough, cough, cougher.
You'd think the city of SLO would like some of that fat marijuana money, but nope to dope. Well, at least one company's dope. The city just decided once and for all to rescind Natural Healing Center's permit to open a brick-and-mortar pot shop at 2640 Broad St.
It's a big bummer for NHC, which has poured a lot of money into the new building that was supposed to be opened more than a year ago. According to SLO city ordinance, once a permit is issued, the shop is supposed to open within a year. This one's going on two.
The decision to terminate, according to the city, is because NHC's former big cheese, Helios Raphael "Bobby" Dayspring, is a liar-liar pants-on-fire who misrepresented himself when filing for the permit.
"An applicant submitted false or misleading information about criminal misconduct to city officials in the business's permit application," according to the city's news release. "Effective immediately, the business will not be permitted to operate in San Luis Obispo."
"No fair," cried NHC's new CEO Valnette Garcia! "Dayspring is no longer associated with the company!"
That's true! He pleaded guilty to bribing former 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill with $32,000.
Helios also pleaded guilty to evading taxes, for which he will pay $3.4 million to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). He's also agreed to cooperate in the government's ongoing investigation, which might help lower his potential prison sentence. The statutory max for his two offenses is 13 years in federal prison.
Oh, and the reason he's no longer with NHC is because he transferred his ownership share to ... wait for it ... Valnette Garcia, his girlfriend!
Oh the tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive.
NHC's attorney, Randall Fox, appealed to the city to reconsider its decision: "The city's stated factual determinations are erroneous. You have attempted to disqualify and terminate NHC's permit based on the alleged conduct of one of its former members, who was neither the legal 'applicant' nor the permit holder. As the application form makes clear, NHC was the applicant, and is the operator permit holder."
Well, that's an adorable attempt to escape culpability, but everyone involved knows Helios was at the helm of the company during the application process. That didn't stop a bunch of NHC employees from showing up for a protest on the steps of SLO City Hall on Oct. 19 to plead for their jobs.
New CEO Garcia was there, as was the company's government affairs liaison Joe Armendariz, former head of the anti-tax group the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. They talked about their new state-of-the-art but yet-to-open building, about their success in Grover Beach, about how unfair it is to their employees, yada-yada-yada.
Speaking of their employees, the SLO location never opened. How many people were working there? Also, I would love, love, love to know if the attending employees were on the clock and essentially paid protesters. Not that it matters much. While the protest was ongoing, City Manager Derek Johnson sent out an e-blast reiterating the city's termination of the permit.
During the subsequent SLO City Council meeting, Councilmember Andy Pease said she sympathized with the employees but noted that the city's rules don't have any meaning or integrity if they're not followed, and new SLO Mayor Erica Stewart seconded that emotion.
The truth is the city didn't screw NHC and its employees, Helios did. The sad thing is the city didn't seem to do its due diligence. It gave NHC two extensions on its permit, even while Helios' bad actions were coming to light.
"Natural Healing Center would never have received the permit had we known then what we know now," said Deputy City Manager Greg Hermann in the city's press release.
OK, but why'd it take you so long to figure out a lot of shady shit was going down? Are you just trying to save face because you're embarrassed by your ineptitude?
Speaking of an inept response, have you heard of the "Devious Licks" challenge? It's a trending social media phenomenon in which punk-ass kids do stupid-ass stuff that usually involves vandalism and destruction of property, which they film and post to social media. It recently happened at Paso Robles High School when some little shits stole a pride flag, took a shit on it, and tried to flush it down a toilet, a video of which was posted to TikTok.
In response, Paso High banned flags that are bigger than 2 by 2 feet in dimension. Um, is that to make them easier to flush? Is it harder to poop on a smaller flag? What sort of dip-shittery is this? Some rotten, hateful, disrespectful bigots steal private property, defile and destroy it, and the school's response is to ban flags bigger than a certain dimension?
Whoever's behind this decision, please put on a dunce cap and sit in the corner until you come to your senses, dumbass. Δ
The Shredder is high AF. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.