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LOCAL VOICES: Compton mayor mutes residents’ concerns at marijuana workshop

In 2013, Aja Brown promised to shutter marijuana dispensaries, but in 2016 she has become an aggressive advocate of the weed business in Compton  By CYNTHIA MACON and SUSAN ADAMS With all due respect to the dignity

In 2013, Aja Brown promised to shutter marijuana dispensaries, but in 2016 she has become an aggressive advocate of the weed business in Compton

 By CYNTHIA MACON and SUSAN ADAMS

With all due respect to the dignity of the office, you have to understand Mayor Aja Brown and her methodologies or deceptions. They were all on full display at the Compton City Council meeting held Sept. 13, where Proposition 64 and her about-face in support of the marijuana industry finally came front and center.

While the city’s Marijuana Initiative Workshop began in educational mode, it ended exactly where expected — as a ringing endorsement and full-out public service announcement by Mayor Brown to bring the commercial marijuana industry to Compton. And this from a mayor that ran on a campaign in 2013 of closing marijuana dispensaries and being against marijuana approval in Compton.

Citizens’ comments muted at “public” workshop

Mayor Brown is on record in a 2013 Huffington Post video voicing her disapproval of marijuana dispensaries and declaring to shut them down in Compton. Now, amazingly, the mayor says the Huffington-Post is less than a credible news agency — fails to write “real articles [and is] not a good source.”

Someone tell the Huffington-Post, Aja Brown has flip-flopped on the people of Compton and this is a certifiable fact since she likes to claim she is the only one who deals in fact. So, Brown deployed her usual tactic — discredit the source and disavow all knowledge.

unnamedAfter City Attorney Craig Cornwell repeatedly announced there would be a time for public comment during the workshop, Brown, reading the audience’s disapproval, abruptly announced no public comment would be allowed citing the excuse, the meeting was “workshop.” The Mayor then proceeded to line up speakers who were proponents of marijuana  — largely Compton outsiders — to take the microphone and campaign to bring their cannabis business to Compton. Evidently, it was a move to control the message.

The most shocking announcement was by a Research & Development firm called Advance Nutrients, a multi-national cannabis fertilizer testing firm with offices in British Columbia, Canada, and Europe. The firm has intentions to relocate their main headquarters to Compton.

Other speakers represented a cultivator called LA Bloom, a representative of the California Minority Cannabis Task Force, a cannabis education consultant, a former Compton medical marijuana dispensary owner, and an information database cannabis specialist from Colorado who devoted her allotted time to chastising Compton Sheriff station Capt. Michael Thatcher for his report on the criminal downside of marijuana, what she called “propaganda.”

Sheriff Dept. outlines spike in marijuana-related crime  

The public was not allowed to speak, nor was a single specialist allowed to voice an opposing view rejecting marijuana business in Compton. Apparently, none were invited. The disrespect shown the public was inexcusable. Past workshops were actually “workshops,” purposed to elicit input from the community. This workshop was one-sided with the voice of the people silenced. Workshops that were interactive have changed under Mayor Brown, who evidently seeks to control the message and outcome.

But shout out to the Capt. Thatcher for letting the genie out of the bottle, standing firmly and telling it like it is. He shared statistics on a 40 percent overall rise in crime in Colorado relative to the legalization of marijuana in the state, including an upsurge in marijuana-related  murders, juvenile abuse, car accidents and DUIs, hospitalizations, black market sales, extortion by gangs and organized crime, unrealized and uncollectable tax revenues in a cash-driven business, poisoning of children, the sale of illicit drugs out of dispensaries, and a 60 percent rise in burglaries, fire and EMS calls.

By simply relating crime statistics, Capt. Thatcher destroyed Mayor Brown’s pretty picture of marijuana bliss she was painting for public viewers. Incredibly, City Attorney Craig Cornwell admonished Thatcher to be “balanced,” in the midst of an unapologetic, completely one-sided biased and bold in-your-face propaganda workshop. Drink the “Kool-Aid,” Annie May.

Look for the mayor to attempt to replace Capt. Thatcher. Compton is not like other cities, so when the Sheriff Department tells you directly they do not have the resources or capacity to police the marijuana industry and that the existing drug issues in Compton are far beyond others — the mayor and council should listen.

But, Mayor Brown countered in her usual manner, suggesting taxes and revenue would lead to more revenue and therefore law enforcement on the street. After all, when all else fails, she reverts to offering up city influence or monetary incentives using citizen’s money, which some characterize as a form of corruption. Brown’s motto, figuratively speaking: “If you can’t beat them, then write a check.”

Brown, Galvan opt for marijuana; third possible vote a mystery

Common sense, real experiences, and knowledge of Compton’s bleak and violent history due to drugs should inherently say that orchestrating a Compton drug-industry will someday prove explosive and volatile. As one woman, wept, who lost a son to local violence, who can believe a council that feigns concern, while introducing marijuana into Compton’s violence equation? Anyone with roots in Compton should know this; Mayor Brown may be in Compton, but is not of Compton. Don’t get it twisted, mayor!

unnamed-1And as the two newcomers to Compton on the dais, Brown, and Councilman Isaac Galvan raged passionately at the workshop, hell bent on having the marijuana industry in Compton. The other three council persons — Janna Zurita, Emma Sharif, and Tana McCoy, sat quietly.

And lest you do not understand Brown’s future game plan and why she brought up January 2018, the last date for cities to enact their own local ordinances on marijuana businesses to supersede state control, it’s called stalling. Stalling until she can get the citizens to drink the “Kool-Aid,” until she can get a third vote on the dais while aiding in another council person’s  recall, until the April 2017 election when she can steal, oops we mean win, the next election and enough council votes.

And expect any future public hearings to “hear the people” to be sandbagged with pro-marijuana supporters, including some of Compton’s finest citizens the mayor has sold on benefiting from the illusion of increase taxes. Any future concerns about delays to gather public input is just a part of the mayor’s stalling tactic. Call for transparency while working feverishly to dim the lights.

Compton could become a giant marijuana grower, supplier

To contrast, other surrounding cities like Cerritos, Torrance, Lakewood, and 200 additional California cities have passed complete bans, many moving into emergency mode. Other cities are not taking any chances on any misunderstanding arising between the state and asserting local control over all aspects of the marijuana business within their cities. They are not hesitating to vote now to bow out and ban marijuana businesses altogether and preserve their quality of life, neighborhoods, and children.

But Brown’s strategy is to keep Compton citizens in the dark — like Measure P and bridges — until the deed can be done.

During general audience participation, which did not come until after 9 p.m., as intended, with name after name called who had come to speak against marijuana businesses, but left due to the lateness of the hour, the few remaining exponents spoke overwhelmingly against marijuana businesses in Compton.

One individual pointed out cultivation has led to wild land speculation in Colorado resulting in residents fleeing the state due to the rising cost of rents and property. With Browns and Black people in the Los Angeles experiencing displacement and gentrification, and a declining ability to find reasonably-priced housing, this is the last thing the council should present to Compton if they want constituents and residential living to continue in Compton.

In an attempt to counter negative press, Mayor Brown assailed long- time resident  Susan Adams, alluding to persons who need to “check their facts” publishing “puff pieces” which amount to “personal attacks.” No, instead it is the mayor’s worst nightmare, as people are responding after four years of articles about her in various publications and newscasts around the country amounting to nothing but self-serving PR, and miscasting of the real truth and reality here in Compton.

Residents might remember Mayor Brown’s recent account on CNN that crime was down in Compton under her administration, when, in reality, murders were skyrocketing? While the mayor may fool a national audience, she cannot fool the  people of Compton who are living the reality. When knowledgeable persons wielding the facts do publish probing articles reflecting truth and not the mayor’s myths, it turns out to be an unqualified First Amendment American right.

And since Brown uses her power on the dais wrongly, as she clearly demonstrated with marijuana, to silence the voice of the people within the chambers, she cannot silence Freedom of the Press.

In time, the Compton public will know what is truth and what is fiction. In the meantime, since smoke and mirrors and propaganda is part of the narrative, “puff-puff.”

Cynthia Macon and Susan Adams are Daughters of Compton.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are not necessarily the views and opinions of the Compton Herald.

 

 

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Los Angeles County, California, and the world.

2 COMMENTS
  • Tomas Carlos September 19, 2016

    Mathew 16:26
    Very simple and to the point.
    BTW, the 3rd and 4th vote already poked its head…
    My guess 5-1 vote and maybe a 4-2 in favor.
    When weed gets to be too expensive, the consumer will levitate to synthetic marijuana aka FLAKKA for pennies on the dollar. Do your research and you can see what the synthetic drug https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S0VbCHnvbU. Last month, there was an article published regarding about an outbreak of synthetic drug that occurred downtown LA.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/08/24/synthetic-marijuana-spice-sickens-dozens-in-los-angeles-what-it-is-why-people-take-it/
    Oct 7 2014
    Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called the legalization of marijuana a “reckless” decision, reaffirming his longstanding opposition to the vote that legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana in 2012
    Here is another article written on Jan 23/15
    “If I could’ve waved a wand the day after the election, I would’ve reversed the election and said, ‘This was a bad idea,’ ” Hickenlooper said Friday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
    http://thehill.com/policy/finance/230511-colorado-governor-legalizing-pot-was-bad-idea
    One last comment:
    The presenter, Maricela Marroquin, stated that the city size of Compton, you are looking at about $1 mil in tax revenue if marihuana is legalized.
    So the going price to sell out the City of Compton is $1 Mil….

  • Michael Hill September 17, 2016

    This just can’t be a good sign, and now we see it for what it really is. Selling us out to the highest bidder and with impunity. God needs to deal with this and sooner than later, please, Lord. We don’t need this here. Crack nearly left us in dire straights, once. And I still see crackheads on the streets, so the love of money is still the root of all that is evil, even in politics. I voted for someone else, last term and now I’m so glad I didn’t drink the darned Flavor-Aid this time. But many did and they brought their crew of thieves to take us down a dark path, looking like light. Just the way Satan has worked since the dawn of Creation. Now we know who we’re dealing with. A Christian in sheep’ wool and driving a Range Rover. Not at all surprised she doesn’t want to meet with me as I requested in a voice mail. I’ll never hear from her office now, because even her hubby knows, I don’t bend nor kiss butt. All it took was a breakfast one day for him to find out who I was and no contact since. I understood from the outset what was up, and maybe they thought I’d buy the brand. Independence and awareness is my mantra, and after meeting a few celebrities on a film lot, I know quality people from fake friends. Sony taught me so much about life and dealing with human beings. For that I’m eternally grateful. We’ve got some real smooth operators here now, and life here will be up for grabs in a minute. Political appointees all around us now, and they’re trying to storm the castle and take it all away. But I’ve noticed, payback always comes, when you least expect it, especially when you think you’re the smartest gal in the room and you get overconfident, and that mode has already started I’m noticing. She despises us and really doesn’t care about any of us unless we’re on board with her agenda. I don’t buy it, and probably never did really. Just waiting for the DA’s office to drop the hammer and maybe this time, it’ll be the Feds too. Wait for it. Dirty deals and deference always get you tripped up when you least expect it. Lying is it’s own trip wire too. Then they come for you and it’s all over. Time and time again, I’ve seen it happen. But if you walk a straight line and be truthful in God’s eyesight, you become victorious every turn. How it works in God’s eyes.

    The Greek word “pharmakia” literally means “drugs”, and appears five times in the New Testament: in Gal 5:20, Rev 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15.

    “Pharmakia” is translated into our English Bible as either “witchcraft” or “sorceries”. We also get our English word “pharmacy” from the Greek word “pharmakia”.

    In each of the above five passages, “pharmakia”, or “drugs” is listed as a work of the flesh of man as opposed to the Spirit of God working in us.

    For example, Gal 5:16-23 in the KJV:

    16 “[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

    17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

    18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

    19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

    20 Idolatry, witchcraft (“pharmakia” or drug use), hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

    21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    So you can have it all while here, or make decisions that ensure you’ll inherit your place in God’s Kingdom. You choose, but if you make the wrong choice, deal with the consequences. Many will not see God’s Glory and they need to stop pretending to be something they’re truly not. God is watching and his justice is always on point.

    Seems a shame to ensure your place separated from God’s Grace and Mercy for all eternity, but look at what’s happening and understand, God is not mocked, though He be long suffering.

    This should be interesting to watch as it unfolds. And the Sheriff was absolutely right. Funny how when truth is preventing you from the sin you want to indulge in, you’ll find so much to counter the wisdom of good people dedicated to preserving public safety. Money will do that to you after you decide to worship your “god” just like in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. There’s always time for repentance, but I think in this case, the false god of profit will win over sound reason and sanctification.

    Hell is not a nice place to end up, because you had avarice and greed for…more. Guess she wants a Tesla too, by any means necessary. Shame, you can’t drive it in Hades. Only suffering and gnashing of teeth, according to my Bible. Become “lukewarm” and God will spew you out of his mouth. Can’t have it both ways. Choose this day, who you will serve. I choose God. What say you?

    Oh, and for the record, fame is a drug too. Many just can’t handle it well. But after meeting Will Smith and Denzel Washington and others on a film lot, I see that many handle it quite well and deservedly so.

    Compton is just a small town in the middle of a hub. Just got here and already ignoring the wise heads who know right from wrong. Not too smart. Besides, even when one hears them speak, they don’t sound as “educated” as someone in the White House. I listen to people speak all day and when I hear inappropriate usage of the English language from someone with a degree, I wince. Tells me a lot about the individual, especially if they’re of African descent. Guess I learned that from voice over work and from working in radio awhile back. Words will tell you a whole lot about what’s in someone’s head. A whole lot about their sophistication or lack thereof.

    Old saying goes, “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”. (or queen) Think about it, it’ll make sense in a minute. Maybe, maybe not.

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