Cannabis Campaign Disappointments

It is disheartening to see another instance of Supervisor Das
Williams being highly paid for favorable influence, and ultimately votes, by
cannabis growers. Is it really coincidence that in the months coinciding with
the Board of Supervisors revisiting the Cannabis Ordinance (February through
July of this year), which finally had the potential to enact a few changes to
protect neighborhoods and communities, that Supervisor Williams received
$30,500 from local cannabis growers and Supervisor Lavagnino received $7,000
(per official quarterly donation reports)? These “donations” came from 16
growers awaiting finalization of their permits running through the county
process. Very disappointing.

As you know, in politics, especially at the local level, even
the appearance of impropriety does not sit well with the voters, and does not
lend credibility to this critical cannabis implementation the county has
undertaken.

Residents who have repeatedly shown up in good faith attempting
to get fair and balanced regulations in support of their communities and
livelihoods are obviously upset that this kind of donation/voting leverage is
going on behind the scenes. It has been manifestly evident over the past two
years that the growers have had the dominating support of Williams and
Lavagnino, so this is just another “in your face” reminder that we residents
have been relegated to fringe representation, even though we are clearly the
overwhelming stakeholders in both numbers and long-term collective investments
in our communities.

The optics look remarkably like Das and Steve are knowingly and
willingly marginalizing the needs of their constituents in favor of the
growers, and in the process growing their campaign slush funds. What the voters
wanted was transparency, strong representation, and support. What we got is a
pay-to-play ordinance that has fostered an entitlement mentality with the
growers, while greatly disrupting the lives of those they are mandated to
serve.

In California there are cities and counties that have
regulations stating that no donations can be received from anyone connected
with an upcoming issue for a certain time period before or after an initiative
is voted on. It’s easy to see how such a policy would make a great deal of
sense in the current situation we are experiencing. I believe that it would be
both appropriate and ethical for Supervisors Williams and Lavagnino to either
immediately return these dirty funds or recuse themselves from any future
discussions and votes that pertain to cannabis. Most of the community has
become discouraged, having lost trust and confidence in the “leadership”
of some of our elected officials.

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