Opinion » Shredder

There's concrete, and there's concrete

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You know how concrete mixers go around and around? They’re hypnotizing, what with all that gray stuff slopping and slushing in there. More than once I’ve had to fight off the urge to throw myself headlong into one. It’s called Rapture of the Aggregate, and it’s how I lost an uncle.

Why am I talking about this? Aside from looking out the window and seeing a few sparrows enjoying my uncle-turned-birdbath on this, the 10th anniversary of his demise, I realized I’m not the only one with concrete on the brain recently.

It’s durable stuff, concrete is. Well, literal concrete. Metaphoric concrete? Not so much. Take a gander:

Rodney John, the go-to guy for the SLO County Narcotics Task Force—an organization I still can’t seem to fit into any mold, concrete or otherwise—said he believed “concrete proof” would lead to a dozen convictions following the recent NTF raids on medical marijuana delivery services.

Three of those 12 had their charges dismissed the other day. Oops. I guess the NTF’s concrete proof isn’t as cemented as they thought it was. Maybe some rabble-rouser replaced their concrete with Silly Putty. But you know what they say: When life gives you concrete, make lemonade—or something like that.

The task force might try taking that putty and smearing it over a newspaper and reading (backward of course) how the district attorney outright dismissed the charges against three people. For the legal layman, a dismissal from the D.A. means there’s not enough evidence to have a concrete case. Remember that our illustrious D.A. Jerry Shea doesn’t like to take cases he can’t win. One might venture, therefore, that he didn’t think these cases were winnable. They might have been unwinnable for a variety of reasons, the most crucial of which, I’d guess, is that there’s not enough merit to them to justify any further waste of time and money in the war against medical marijuana. Dr. Mary Jane is in, you might say.

I don’t mean to rub it in. Actually, I kind of feel bad for the NTF. This operation was their grand sendoff to 2010, storming into homes with guns drawn, robbing kids from their parents—an all-out good guys’ effort to save the world from the scourge of pot, which to date has killed how many people? Seriously. Anyone?

It will be titillating to watch how the rest of these cases play out, especially considering how Judge Jaqueline Duffy, the same person who signed the warrants that led to the arrests, waived bail for one of the arrestees and set him free on his own recognizance, which is a fancy way of saying he’s not really a scary dude—concrete proof or not.

When this mess gets to court, the whole thing will boil down to a matter of interpretation. The people arrested will likely interpret the jumble of crappy state laws on medical marijuana to mean they can sell people medical marijuana. NTF agents will probably interpret the law to mean medical pot is still, in fact, pot and therefore something that really sticks in their craw like it was fixed there with concrete.

Metaphorically.

Other stuff has been happening lately, too, even if it has been buried under the bungled spiral of medical marijuana lunacy. In fact, if you’ve been hanging around the county lately, you might have even received a free civics lesson without knowing it.

With both feet planted firmly in 2011, Supervisor Adam Hill is perched happily as the new chair of the Board of Supervisors. He’s positively gleaming like a kid at a pony-and-clown-filled birthday party over his new role. To start things off, he laid down a bunch of ground rules about public comment. Unsurprising stuff, really: No slander. No insults. Don’t waste time. Don’t have more than two slices of cake. Not much to get riled about.

But then, BLASPHEMY! Almost as soon as Hill had said it, a group of frequent commenters—you know who you are—slapped him down faster than you could say First Amendment. I’m not making this up, because it would be the most boring lie ever perpetuated in print, but there’s a scuffle brewing during public comment about public comment. Imagine if I wrote a column about how to write columns. You’d be lining your bird cage with so many copies of New Times it would make our advertisers’ heads whirl like a carnival ride. My face would see more bird crap than a freshly washed and waxed Ducati under a telephone wire.

The whole fight is playing out like a game of angry phone tag. So Hill says something like, “I want civility.” And then a bunch of people stomp up to the podium and say stuff along the lines of, “We the people—rabble, rabble—can say whatever we want, so take your civility and cram it you doucher.” Then Hill and some of his supervisor brethren wait until all those angry people are safely back in their seats. Then the supes gab amongst themselves as if no one else were in the room: “Mr. Chair, I would just like to comment that I agree with your comments on the uncivil comments, and no, I don’t think it’s a jerk move to hound the public the same way they hound us.”

Everyone ends up sounding like an uptight Martha Stewart when her Pomeranian licks the roast. People get up and waste a bunch of time talking about how they’re allowed to talk about whatever they want. Then the supervisors—not to be outpissed in such a match—timidly talk to each other like a bunch of automatons about how they think the public speakers are rude. They even get staffers involved to interpret the rules about public comment.

And you know what gets done? Nothing. Hell, I hear there was even a sheriff’s deputy stationed in the back of the room just in case the meeting got out of hand. What really bugs me is they’re all wasting time in order to fluff their own egos and grandstand in a fight based on why they’re fighting. Which isn’t necessarily as bad as wasting money in a crusade against that foul temptress Mary Jane. But still.

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