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LA Times: Marijuana Mars Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Elections

'Pot shops provoke bitter Neighborhood Council election,' the paper says.

Click here to read the full Los Angeles Times story—and share your thoughts about it in the Comments section below.

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Click here to read our Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council topic page, which contains past stories about the ERNC.

Andrew Hindes October 16, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Wow, the election is over, but the sniping apparently continues. For what it's worth, I'm not a "pro-hibitionist," I think it probalby makes sense for pot to be legalized and regulated similarly to alcohol (i.e not sold to kids) and I believe patients who need it should have access to medical marijuana. However, I think it's disingenuous--and even a bit insulting--for people like Mr. Ryder and Mr. "Strong" to insist on this charade that the majority of patrons of the cannabis collectives are there for medical reasons. It's a legal way to get pot and it's a first step toward legalization, which may be a good thing, but really, let's call it what it is.
AFG October 16, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Their disingenuousness takes the focus from those that are really sick. These are the people that they allegedly are supposed to be supporting!
bbkong October 16, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I almost agree with you completely Andrew. People who promote the use of the herb and are familiar with it are tired of the misinformation and condescension of those who don't like it for any reason. Anger is a normal reaction to being falsely accused. Let's watch what happens in Colorado and Washington. If they legalize it across the board it will likely turn into a constitutional showdown between states and the federal government, and my money is on state's rights on this issue. If that happens this local issue will go away overnight, as it should have already.
Andrew Hindes October 16, 2012 at 06:29 PM
For what it's worth, when I moved to Eagle Rock in the 1990s--pre-neighborhood councils--there was another deeply divisive (and much longer-running) local battle being waged. That time it was between residents, on the one hand, and the owners of longstanding businesses on Colorado Blvd. on the other. The residents, as represented by TERA, wanted the Colorado businesses to reflect the needs and aesthetics of the changing community. The business owners, represented by the Chamber of Commerce (led by Michael Noguera) felt the residents were telling them what to do with their private property and should butt out. Similarly to today, the two sides were extremely polarized and were seemingly unable to see past their differences to find common ground--or even speak civilly. Fortunately, that period has passed and most of those rifts have healed. Hopefully the same will happen with the pot store debate someday.
bbkong October 16, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Interesting that you bring up those times as I remember them pretty well. TERA didn't represent all of ER residents, just a certain group, and they drove certain businesses deep into debt with their harassment. One business survived as I recall, maybe one or two more. The pot store issue will fade but the reputation for the taste for a good fight probably never will.
MissGuinness October 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I completely agree. A truly disappointing thing to witness. The "1%" that did come out from Eagle Rock showed nothing but racial profiling and ate up what obsessive Mikey and Nogueira spoon fed them. Tsk Tsk Tsk. All over a plant.
rebecca niederlander October 16, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Which businesses would that be, bbkong? Are you talking about Rantz automotive or something else?
rebecca niederlander October 16, 2012 at 07:16 PM
nicely said.
bbkong October 16, 2012 at 07:19 PM
That last phrase feels a bit awkward to me after thinking about it for a few minutes. To be more clear, I think ER has a reputation for being unfriendly to incoming business owners. That, along with the continuing parking problems serves as a pretty strong deterrence to starting a business here. I'm left wondering where TERA is with the proliferation of massage parlors.
MissGuinness October 16, 2012 at 07:22 PM
And ME, Tim. Include me too. :) Ignorance has ruled this town and I want to help educate.
bbkong October 16, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Yes, Rantz. Wasn't his legal bill ~$1M? That's what I heard. The harassment was despicable and embarrassing.
Michael Turmon October 16, 2012 at 07:43 PM
@bbkong: The proliferation of massage parlors was caused by a recent change in state law (I think it was SB 731 in Sept. 2009) that took some of the licensing requirements for masseurs out of city/county hands and placed them in a statewide organization. The idea, I think, was that you shouldn't have to get a separate massage license to operate in Pasadena versus Palmdale (or whatever). Some cities that used to regulate massage parlors by these licensing requirements were caught flat-footed when that means of regulation disappeared. In short, I think this is a city-wide problem. And basically, there may be no easy means of regulation of massage parlors at the moment. Sound familiar?
bbkong October 16, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Haha! Sure does. Of course that wouldn't prevent a self appointed "posse" from harassing them out of town. Maybe this is way off base, but Eagle Rock can't have the rights and privileges of being it's own little city like Glendale or Pasadena without forming a charter and raising its own taxes. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
Andrew Hindes October 16, 2012 at 11:08 PM
@bbkong--But isn't that exactly the purpose of the neighborhood councils? To give communities within Los Angeles more autonomy regarding land use and other local issues withiout forcing them to secede from L.A.? And why shouldn't Eagle Rock have a say over issues within its own borders? Why would someone who lives here would be against that?
bbkong October 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM
I'm not against Eagle Rockers having a say, I'm against unelected posses. When a small group of like minded people take it upon themselves to force a change in Eagle Rock and don't have a mandate from the majority, it isn't democracy, it's demagoguery. Very plain and simple. Before you give credit to the vote we just had, note that 50 votes do not make a mandate, nor does 300 out of a population of 30,000. From another perspective, there's 29,600 people here who didn't care enough either way to come out and vote, so there is no mandate to push an agenda.
Andrew Hindes October 17, 2012 at 12:12 AM
@bbkong--I'm not sure who you are refering to when you say "unelected posses," but Americans do have a constitutional right to assemble. Neighborhood groups like TERA have a right to voice their opinions, affect public policy and take legal actions, just as business groups like the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce do. (I probably don't need to point out the irony in the fact that Michael Noguera, who was cast as the enemy by MMC advocates in the recent ERNC election, was the champion of Rantz and the other busineseses you apparently supported in the TERA-Chamber battle back in the day). As for mandates, virtually no election in this country results in anything close to a majority of citizens--or even eligible voters--casting ballots for the winning candidates. Yet the winners are still are vested with all the powers and duties of the offices they are elected to. If people don't vote, they relinquish the decision making process to those who do.
rebecca niederlander October 17, 2012 at 12:33 AM
@bb, and about Rantz: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nelalist/message/19289 Know the details before bringing up stuff, okay?
AFG October 17, 2012 at 12:39 AM
@bb: I think that perhaps you are assuming that people didn't care about the election, but several of my friends didn't even know there was going to be an election. Perhaps there should be some type of mail in ballot sent out so everyone could really tell their opinion. I also think that your assumption that the majority of that 30,000 support MMDs, just as they are, is incorrect. None of our friends or coworkers like the way this has panned out in ER. Perhaps there is some accurate way to survey how the residents feel.
bbkong October 17, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Hehe. No, I haven't missed the irony re: Mr. Noguera. Actually, when all that was going on I wasn't even aware of him or any role he may have played there. At the time I was preoccupied with building motors, my recording studio and running a band and not even sure which was going to be my best shot at a steady income (it turned out to be 2 out of those 3) and wasn't paying much attention. I was just a witness to the grief being dished out by TERA and now the ERNC. Populist that I am, I saw no reason for it besides "we don't like yer kind". I'm a strong believer in letting market forces dictate which businesses fail or succeed and my opinion of the pot shops is consistent with that view. I don't disagree with you about a mandate either, except that there was no mandate to pursue this business of pushing out the pot shops. It was an agenda driven by a minority and publicized with an inordinate amount of disinformation, false claims and drama and to put it plainly, it stinks as badly as TERA's activities. In the long run it won't make a bit of difference, but now Eagle Rock has another black eye and a distinctive reputation.
Andrew Hindes October 17, 2012 at 01:07 AM
@bbkong. Given that you just admitted you weren't paying attention to what was going on back in the TERA-Chamber battle days, I think you'll agree you've sort of disqualified yourself on that one. And snce few residents would say Eagle Rock was a nicer place back then than it is now, I'm not sure how that's a "black eye" for the town. As far as the mandate issue you keep bringing up, there's even less evidence of a mandate for a pro-pot shop agenda--despite the presence of "factual-based stakeholders" from far and wide--so I'm not sure where you're going with that. And as AFG points out, we don't actually know whether the ERNC's position is "driven by a minority." Like him or her, I know very few Eagle Rockers who think the proliferation of storefronts in ER was ideal--even though most people I know believe, as I do, that patients should have access to medical marijuana and that pot laws need to be reformed. I'm sure it's comforting to believe that most of the pro-pot store candidates lost because of "disinformation, false claims and drama" from the opposition. However, based on numerous conversations with voters I spoke to, it was actually the combatitive, single-issue approach the slate's leaders took that turned voters off and made them turn instead to longtime community leaders--even ones whose views they haven't always agreed with.
ERHS Moms October 17, 2012 at 01:57 AM
That was the exact same experience that we had. Everyone we spoke with said that the main reason they made the effort to vote was because they feared what would come if the pro pot candidates won.
Michael Turmon October 17, 2012 at 01:58 AM
I generally agree the free-for-all you see in LA helps keep things interesting. I have less faith in pure markets than you do (another topic for another forum), and so I'd draw the line in a different place. In particular with the pot shops, the rub-and-tugs, and the auto businesses, I think that a disregard of the feelings of the community will backfire (has backfired). The pot shops have tried to stymie all regulation by using a series of legal challenges, which rubs me the wrong way ;-). But I appreciate your position.
AFG October 17, 2012 at 02:18 AM
It has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. It seems that they would have gotten further by cooperating with regulations (or making regulations) rather than fighting them through legal means. That does indeed appear to be the main reason that things backfired on them. Sometimes it even appears that they tried any means possible just to make as much money as possible for as long as possible. Someone in another thread made a reference to the fact that they had the goose that laid the golden egg in their control, but that in their greed caught for the golden egg they ended up killing the goose.
bbkong October 17, 2012 at 02:59 AM
@Michael Don't mistake my position on this, I do agree that they should be regulated. The push back on regulation didn't help their position at all. However, just what regulation are we talking about? They already had security guards that wouldn't even allow someone to enter unless they were a registered member and their hours already appeared to be limited.
bbkong October 17, 2012 at 03:20 AM
@Andrew "Given that you just admitted you weren't paying attention to what was going on back in the TERA-Chamber battle days, I think you'll agree you've sort of disqualified yourself on that one." Au contraire mon frere! I may not have seen the fight but I saw the bruises. Maybe we should consult with Mr. Rantz on that matter. I do however believe in market forces and a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights. "I'm sure it's comforting to believe that most of the pro-pot store candidates lost because of "disinformation, false claims and drama" from the opposition." It's not comforting or imagined at all, it was on full display right here at the Patch, and I would imagine in other places as well. "I know very few Eagle Rockers who think the proliferation of storefronts in ER was ideal" On the other hand, I know very few Eagle Rockers that cared much one way or the other. I asked a lot of strangers on the Colorado sidewalk on my walks and the most common answer was, and I quote "meh". This is all academic anyway. The tide is turning and it's only a matter of time. Soon there won't even be a need for the potshops.
bbkong October 17, 2012 at 04:41 PM
That was a funny read, especially the "unsightly and malodorous" part. Nobody wants a Farmer John plant in the neighborhood but don't you dare ask them to give up bacon. The "design professional" part was icing on the cake. There was nothing there that shook my opinion about posses, it just confirms it. Nothing short of an army of bulldozers will ever turn Eagle Rock into a silk purse.
bbkong October 17, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Ah, for once you have a good point AFG. Perhaps the ERNC should consider using a part of their budget to send out flyers to everyone in 90041 to let them know what's going on.
EagleRockMom October 18, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Actually, a candidate from the Eagle Rock Neighbors party visited my home and provided election information several days before voting commenced. The flyer he gave me is the one I took to ER City Hall Saturday. Also, the ERNC booth at the ER Music Festival had election information, as well as the ER Patch.
EagleRockMom October 18, 2012 at 03:46 AM
@Erykah Your party loss because genuine Eagle Rockers weren't buying what you and your Green Slate had to offer. The voting majority does not want illegally operating dispensaries lousing up our community and we certainly don't want you or your husband in office. By the way...how many votes did you specifically get, Erykah? Isn't that dismal number a clue and a half?

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