This article ("No Pot on Purvine," May 16) is amazingly one-sided, and exactly what Alexa Rae Wall and her followers want you to believe. "Oh, we are all organic and natural and one with the earth." Not the case. If you want the truth about the commercial cannabis grows, ask the neighbors: they smell pot 24/7 for months; they listen to the fans to the point they can't relax in their backyards; they look out their windows at fences akin to the local jail with bright security lights; they watch delivery trucks come and go, see 15-plus employee cars come and go multiple times everyday down narrow, poorly maintained rural roads and wonder how long their well water will last with grow sites taking at least three gallons of water per plant, per day. And I'm not just talking during a couple months in the fall like grapevines.
Growers want you to believe that groups like No Pot on Purvine and Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods have called for prohibition. They have merely said that these commercial operations do not belong where families live. Put them in commercial areas like every other business and allow neighborhoods to be exclusion zones, just like they can with too many vacation rentals.
Those of you following the issues regarding the purple urchins ("Tip of the Spear," May 16) and the demise of the abalone along the Sonoma and Mendocino coastlines will want to read recent news from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife: an emergency increase of the daily bag limit for purple sea urchins taken while skin or scuba diving off Mendocino and Sonoma counties only is now in effect. The CDFW will allow a daily bag limit of 20 gallons, with no limit on possession. The emergency regulation will remain in effect for 180 days (until Nov. 6) unless extended by the commission. Upon expiration, the bag limit will return to 35 individual urchins.
We Need Reform
I have been a Sonoma County resident for many years. I have seen local policing go from "Now, you go straight home" or "How about if I give you a ride home?" to the polar opposite, especially in our sheriff's office. The resulting deaths and alleged jail beatings due to poor oversight and a lack of accountability have increased to an unacceptable level, causing unnecessary harm and incurring costly lawsuits.
Now, inexplicably, the brass at the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office have thrust a deeply polarizing conflict-based reality show, Cops, into our community ("Action!" May 2), making a very controversial patrol sergeant a potential TV star in the process. These bad decisions further divide our community and pour salt on as-yet unhealed wounds.
What is needed is a "sea change" within the sheriff's office, including: hiring, training and retention; policy and procedure; and internal investigation and discipline. We need a sheriff who is an experienced reformer, who will work diligently to change the culture.
John Mutz has the experience and temperament (and none of the political baggage) for this tough undertaking. Let's bring the shine back to the unfairly tarnished badges of our fine men and women of the SCSO.
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