Pubdate: Sun, 28 Oct 2012
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Ukiah Daily Journal
Author: Shawn Murray


To the Editor:

I am 26 years old, born and raised in the north county and currently
live in Redwood Valley. I work two local jobs while attending school
in Santa Rosa. Someday I hope to be a health care professional. I have
read with great interest the article about the recent raid on the
property of the family of a Mendocino County Sheriff's captain in
Potter Valley. This is the last straw for me, and I feel I must speak
out. This is the first letter of any kind I have ever written to a
newspaper, but who knows, maybe it will inspire me to write again, or,
heaven forbid, become a reporter or run for office.

First, I want to say that, growing up and living in Mendocino County,
I have been around marijuana my whole life. I am an occasional
marijuana smoker just as I am an occasional drinker.

I don't have time or money for any more than that. I do, however, know
a number of people with medical marijuana cards.

Some of them have 25-plant grows. Whether we like it or not we are
right in the middle of an issue regarding how we are going to view not
only the use of marijuana, but also the enforcement of the confusing
laws about it. On one hand, it is supposedly legal to grow 25 plants
if you have a medical card, but if the authorities come during harvest
you will be arrested for having marijuana for sale by a "major crimes
task force" with apparently no local oversight, who can and do thrash
your house and take whatever they want, led by the most notorious "law
enforcement professionals" you could ever imagine.

However, in their defense, in a situation where the laws are
confusing, the authorities can't help but be corrupt.

Our Sheriff, Mr. Allman, has been quoted in the Press Democrat as
saying that his focus now that the war against the "cartels" is being
won in the hills, is on stopping the intrusion of grows in suburban
areas where supposedly these cartels have relocated because there's
easy water, electricity, etc. I don't know where he gets his
statistics but my friends in the north county where I grew up say the
big grows in the hills have never been bigger or more numerous and no
one can understand why there are relatively few raids anymore.

The fact is reflected in the price of the product which has apparently
never been lower.

My thought is that it costs the Sheriff's department's "major crimes
task force" too much to mount up and travel three hours up into the
mountains to bust a big grow. That would require lots of overtime and
gas money too. Plus they might get shot at. Far easier to bust the low
hanging Mom and Pop fruit right here in town. It's cost effective and
there's booty to be had. They're modern day pirates with a badge.

They can get all amped up on their search warrants and stimulants and
act like tough thugs against the timid rather than dealing with the
real criminals in the cartels. Mom and Pop trying to get through tough
times with their medical marijuana don't shoot at you. It's easy money.

It's kind of like when the CHP patrolmen sit at Burke Hill and write
speeding ticket after speeding ticket for everybody heading home from
Santa Rosa rather than waste the gas to actually patrol.

That's OK in a sense.

The Sheriff's department is no different than any other for-profit
enterprise. They have to meet their revenue targets. And we all know
that although the Sheriff's budget has been cut far less than the
other county budgets which actually serve people's needs, it has
nevertheless been cut. So what's the solution? Bust every small Mom
and Pop you can as close to the jail as possible and in conjunction
with the DA's office we'll sell them misdemeanors. Grow a small indoor?

No problem.

We'll raid you, thrash your place, take what we want - you'll have no
recourse other than to buy a misdemeanor later.

Sounds like a great cooperative business plan on the

The problem is this: the DA and the Sheriff and their staffs are
hypocritical and, I believe, crooked.

Law enforcement is into growing marijuana and everyone knows it.
Remember the Assistant DA's recent bust? This Captain Johnson incident
is just the latest. Captain Johnson didn't know his dad and brother
were growing 500 plants next door? Really? We're not that stupid.

And, more importantly, it took the DEA to step in to deal with it? His
own boss and the "major crimes task force" couldn't? Of course not.
Obviously, it's OK to grow if you're a "law enforcement officer" as
long as you are an efficient harvester of the low hanging fruit.

Mark my words here: Captain Johnson will get off after a thorough
"internal affairs investigation." Just the same way the DA referred
the Assistant DA's bust to the State Attorney General where it will
die while the Assistant DA is allowed to slip away and go into private
practice right here in Ukiah. And that's not all. Officer Hoyle.
Moral? Steal newspapers and get a promotion to lead the Mom and Pop
shakedown team. Go figure.

Meanwhile the boss, our sheriff, Mr. Allman, is in perpetual
re-election mode. You can hardly appear anywhere in this county where
there are three people gathering where he isn't one of them. A sad
state of affairs.

Their reality show may not turn out like they planned.

The solution as I see it is this: Clean up the Sheriff's department.
Get rid of the crooked officers on the "major crimes task force."
Concentrate on the big grows in the hills planted by outside criminal
groups, not on the small local Mom and Pops. Pressure the DA to
prosecute major crimes, not marginal ones. If we can't get this to
happen we need to elect a different DA who won't just sell
misdemeanors and a Sheriff who will truly care as much about the
rights of our citizens as he cares about his own slant on "enforcing"
the laws.

Shawn Murray

Redwood Valley
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