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Board makes the right call

Awarding cannabis moratorium enforcement to the Sheriff’s Office makes the most sense

“We are at a point now where the credibility of the moratorium calls for the enforcement of the moratorium.”

Those were Sheriff Greg Hagwood’s words to the Board of Supervisors last week and thankfully they listened. The plan prior to last week was to have the county’s code enforcement officer enforce the cannabis moratorium, but there was just one small issue standing in the way — the county didn’t have a code enforcement officer. There wasn’t even have a job description for one.

It always seemed rather odd to think that someone who would be the one to tell a resident to clean up his yard, would be the same person to police commercial marijuana grows. Just maybe a different skill net would be necessary.

That said, Sheriff personnel will have to approach their work differently when it comes to the moratorium. Deputies will follow the administrative code process, not the penal code as they are accustomed to in their work. The prescribed statutory process includes citations and fines. However, the mere presence of a uniformed sheriff’s deputy shouldn’t help but reinforce the seriousness of complying with the law.

Now that the supervisors have an entity to enforce the moratorium, they must take action to speed up the process, otherwise the growers could harvest their marijuana before the process is even completed. To their credit, the supervisors have already asked staff to make procedural changes so that enforcement can begin as soon as possible.

With the cannabis moratorium handled, we hope that the supervisors still will address what is normally handled by code enforcement — blight around the county. Recently, some Chester property owners complained about a situation in their neighborhood that is adversely affecting their property values and even their ability to sell their homes if they choose. When they complained to the county, they were told there is no one to deal with the matter. That is clearly unacceptable. And the Chester residents are not alone, there are blight situations in every community, such as homes surrounded by debris including old vehicles, structures that are deteriorating, and piles of garbage in yards.

The city of Portola has done a good job of targeting such properties. Sometimes a property owner simply doesn’t have the physical ability or money to deal with a problem, and the city addressed such issues with a combination of volunteer and business assistance. The process was time consuming, but the results were worth it.

Ballots in the mailboxes

This is a reminder to registered voters in the Quincy Fire Protection District to return or postmark their ballots on Measure A by March 6 to continue the $96 fire tax to support the local fire department and its volunteers. What amounts to $8 per month is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes from knowing the community has first-rate fire and emergency medical response available.

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