San Andreas, CA — A small group of discontented District 2 residents have fired a shot off the bow. The blow has taken the form of 20 undersigning signatures on a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition against Calaveras Supervisor Jack Garamendi.
In a nutshell, the document alleges his support for commercial cannabis cultivation regulation shows disregard for his grower-heavy district’s safety and well-being — and that the district deserves better representation from one who would not ignore those responsibilities or force a personal political agenda.
Garamendi says he was served the letter at his own front gate last Thursday afternoon although county elections officials had yet to see it arrive on their end by Friday evening; offices were closed yesterday due to a federal holiday. A copy obtained by Clarke Broadcasting indicates the 20 signer/proponents are seeking his removal from the District 2 Supervisor’s seat and a recall election to elect a successor.
Pro-ban District 2 Constituents State Their Side
The group’s letter purports that commercial cultivation has brought an increase in violent crime, environmental pollution and has put the community’s children and youth at the risk of a Schedule 1 drug. It further states that attempts at regulating commercial grows has only worsened the problem; that Garamendi, by ignoring pleas for a ban among his constituents; also that he failed to properly report on outside meetings as assigned to as a board representative on various committees.
The letter additionally provides two examples of such meetings. One with the Fish & Game Commission during which the petitioners allege the agency publicly reported that it could not cleanup, monitor or identify environmental problems on cannabis grows. The other was a gathering by the Foothills Rising group, which they say is advocating that Calaveras become a sanctuary county. The petitioners allude that Garamendi supported the meeting but seems to ignore “all the negative news regarding the criminal pot cartel’s activities” in the county.
Among the signers are Rod and Cindy Landrath of Wilseyville; Donald Fallini of Glencoe; Alexander Woodside, III of glencoe; Wayne Woodard of Mokelumne Hill; Andrea Tobias Dellezzara and Gailan Dellezzara of Moklumne Hill; Barbara Woodside of Glencoe; Steven Leiga of Mountain Ranch; Mary and Thomas Hall of Mountain Ranch; Steven McConnell of Mountain Ranch; William and Josephine Ward of Mountain Ranch; Lana and Patrick McCartney of Mokelumne Hill; Kathleen and Frederick Dodge of Mountain Ranch; Jodi Steneck of Mokelumne Hill; Ellen Acosta of Valley Springs (with a listed PO Box address in Mokelumne Hill); John Shaw of Mokelumne Hill; Debbie Bridges Shaw of Mokelumne Hill; Pam Bridges of Wilseyville; Mark Fischer of Valley Springs (with a listed PO address in Mokelumne Hill).
Garamendi Not Buying Their Written Arguments
For his part, Garmendi replies the petition document statements are false and misleading. He states, “I am a fifth generation resident of Calaveras District 2, where I work, live and raise my family. The entire premise that I have a disregard for the safety and well-being of the residents of the county is ridiculous. I am invested in this community and ran for Supervisor to represent the residents of our district and make our community safe, healthy and prosperous.” Continuing, he emphasizes, “I support a highly regulated cannabis industry — because I feel the only way to rid our community of illegal growers is by taxing legal growers, and using the money to fund the Sheriff and enforcement. A ban without enforcement is no ban at all and will harm our environment and community.”
Garamendi also addresses the accusation made by the petitioners that he did not report out on meetings he attended as required, calling the claims as “patently false” as their accusation that he does not care about the environment or the impacts that illegal cannabis farms have on it. Explaining why, he states, “To the point that I spoke to a community group that the petitioners don’t like: I am a non-partisan elected official and as such I will speak to as many groups as possible, seeking their input, be it conservative or liberal — that is my job.”
This month the supervisors plan to review a proposed ban ordinance that recently cleared a Planning Commission review. The controversial measure was created by county staff at the direction of a three-vote majority bloc of supervisors intended to replace the urgency ordinance on commercial medical marijuana that is set to expire next February. It remains to be seen whether the three votes needed to pass it will be there or if the measure might yet be pushed to a “vote of the people” on an election ballot.