Arcata

big_fieldI was in Los Bagels the other day reading The LumberJack.  I came upon an article outlining the changes in 215 regulations for the city of Arcata.  Once again I am impressed by Arcata’s willingness to have its citizens participate in regulating its population.  Most of the new regulations would require neighbors tattling on neighbors.  For example, grow rooms must be located outside of the main living area of a house.  My personal favorite is this: To protect a sense of community, medical grows must not be detectable from outside the residence. This includes having several people visiting the house each day who do not participate in the community. So if neighbors or people passing by on the street can smell or see anything implying marijuana cultivation in the house, they can report the violation to the Arcata Police Department in confidentially. Penalties for violations depend on the severity of the violation.  I feel sorry for the police officers who have to investigate every irate neighbors claim.  

This vote by the city council illustrates Arcata’s peculiar brand of government.  Their belief that government should be involved in every aspect of our lives bothers me.  I feel as if it encourages all of us to stoop to the lowest common denominator.  In the council’s mind we need laws to distinguish between right and wrong.  Most people cannot be trusted to know or follow these unwritten social laws.  They need clear cut guidance in the form of regulations.  We are all encouraged to police our fellow man. Unfortunately that sense of power sometimes goes to a person’s head.  Believing that they know better then others, they incessantly meddle and sometimes even exaggerate offenses.

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10 Responses to “Arcata”

  1. If you wish to have a genuine understanding of this issue, you ought to read more than one Lumberjack story.

    The police don’t investigate these reports. If a house in the neighborhood has commercial activity going on, the Community Development Department department might do a property inspection.

    The problems with some of the grow houses include fires, armed robberies, cars coming and going with doors slamming at all hours, pit bulls, other drugs being dealt, neighbors being threatened, severe stench and so on. Not to mention the loss of affordable rooms for HSU students. It all adds up to the destruction of neighborhoods.

  2. inretaliation Says:

    Thank you for the clarification on the police involvement.

    I understand the problems with grow houses, and I have no problem with the City Council trying to do something about it. My problem is solely with the encouragement of neighbors regulating neighbors. For instance just because my neighbor might have a pit bull and late loud guests does not mean they are cultivating marijuana. Under the current regulations I might feel compelled to act upon my suspicion and contact the proper authorities, causing undeserved problems for my neighbor and tainting their name within the Community Development Department.

    If I were on the council I would try and encourage large cultivators to relocate to commercial buildings. In most of these buildings the wiring is sufficient to handle the large wattage and they are not disturbing a neighborhood.

  3. “If I were on the council I would try and encourage large cultivators to relocate to commercial buildings.”

    That’s part of the new land use standards. As I said, there’s a lot t this that the L’jack story didn’t necessarily include.

  4. inretaliation Says:

    Again, thank you for the clarification.

  5. inretaliation Says:

    Yet you still seem to miss the point of the post, which was not so much the regulation but HOW the regulation was to take place.

  6. I guess I don’t understand. Maybe you can clarify.

    Essentially, the new regs are a product of numerous Planning Commission and City Council meetings, which came about because of the problems listed earlier. All the stakeholders – patients, clinics, legal growers – participated in public hearings over a period of months, and a detailed policy resulted. Everyone can find things to like or not like in it.

    If your take is that its the City Council spontaneously erupted with a bunch of new laws, that’s not what happened.

  7. inretaliation Says:

    I don’t think the Arcata City Council ever spontaneously does anything. I understand that this is an important issue in Arcata. I know poor wiring in grow houses has resulted in many tragic fires. It also bothers me that many home owners find it more profitable to have plants inhabit their living spaces rather than people. I am glad so many people took part in trying to resolve the issue.

    I don’t like the encouragement of the general population to report the seemingly suspicious behavior of neighbors. It seems too easy to contrive misgivings about people we find less than savory, but are otherwise lawful.

    Of course everyone is going to have varying opinions about the decision. That is the fun of blogs, conversations, and, discussions. You disagree with me, and that just made my day.

  8. “I don’t like the encouragement of the general population to report the seemingly suspicious behavior of neighbors. It seems too easy to contrive misgivings about people we find less than savory, but are otherwise lawful.”

    I’m not aware that the new regs contain any encouragement to report neighbors. They do set forth nuisance abatement criteria for the Community Development Department to act on if they prove valid.

    Note that up until the new cannabis standards passed, the only recourse for this sort of thing was to call the police or drug task force. Now the complaints go to building inspectors and the like, averting the criminal justice system.

  9. “They do set forth nuisance abatement criteria for the Community Development Department to act on if they prove valid.”

    What I meant was, if the complaints prove valid.

  10. inretaliation Says:

    I want to thank you for persuading me to educate myself on this issue. I have a question though. I searched for the Prop 215 Regulations for Arcata, I found lots of articles on the subject but no official document specifying the regulations. So I read the Land Use Code. Just to be clear, if you violate these regulations it is a code enforcement issue? The Land Use Code is very specific on which party pays for any hearings or investigations that would result from a complaint.

    The new regulations are almost impossible to enforce without neighbor complaints. I would call that inferred encouragement.

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