Going to Pot: How odd it is that the Santa Barbara City Council is fretting about a problem
that doesn’t seem to be a problem?


Two-thirds of city voters last week voted to make possession of
small quantities of marijuana by adults the lowest police priority,
but now the Council is pondering whether to enforce this. The
people have spoken, so why should their public servants want to
reverse the decision? Besides, as I understand it, dope smoking on
private property is already pretty much a low police priority.

If the Governator and feds want to do something about it, let
them. The ball’s in their court. The people have spoken. Similar
measures have been passed in a couple of other cities with no
crackdowns yet by the long arm of the law, backers claim. Voters
may not have realized, however, that the law requires the City
Council to send a letter to President Bush (along
with other state and federal officials) advising him of the Santa
Barbara law and asking him to get busy enacting similar federal

Whether or not Bush ever inhaled of a leafy substance in his
younger, wilder days, he seems unlikely to push the new Democratic
Congress to ease up on dope-smoking, in Santa Barbara or anywhere
else. “The Bush administration has made marijuana, medical or
otherwise, the number one priority in their failed drug war,” said
proponents of Measure P-for-Pot, which passed last

Mayor Marty Blum, normally a reasonable sort, is
insisting that the council should meet with City Attorney Steve Wiley about the burning
issue of Measure Pot. “We might possibly take it to court,” she
said, adding, “We do respect when people vote for something.” Aha!
Democracy in action!

Still, the council plans to meet December 5 in closed session
over Measure Pot. But would that be legal under the Brown “secret
meeting” Act? It allows closed-door sessions only in certain cases,
such as personnel actions, real estate deals, and threatened
lawsuits. Even if the council can make a case for secrecy, I think
the voters would be interested in hearing the views of council
members, right out loud at City Hall instead of after a decision is

Some, I suppose, will observe that Measure Pot, mild as it may
be, seems to be something of a quaint echo of some campaign from
the 1960s. From what I see, even in little Santa Barbara, the
social dangers of drunk driving (booze being legal) and abuse of
prescription drugs (also legal) deserve major attention. Maybe the
city moms and pops can work on that.

VIP Voices: All those robotized calls voters
got from VIPs and celebs promoting or bashing candidates or ballot
measures last week — what if comedian Rich Little was
doing them all, jokes Sol Morrison? Sol also
suggests that we take all the campaign propaganda that was stuffed
into our mailboxes and let the incendiary charges set off a big
bonfire in De la Guerra Plaza in front of City Hall. (In view of
air pollution and other hazards, better to recycle the stuff, along
with the losers.) rich%20little.jpg

Wedding March: “My wife cries every time she
hears the Wedding March,” said the guy sitting behind me at the
Arlington concert last weekend. The Santa Barbara
was about to play Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s

“Why? I asked.

“Because the first time she heard it turned into a disaster.”
Then he cracked up. He was talking about their wedding day and
they’ve been happily married for about a half-century. “I don’t
drink as much as I used to,” he went on. “But I don’t drink any
less, either.”


Sunday Music: There were plenty of seats
available for the Saturday night Symphony concert, but Sunday
afternoon’s repeat was almost full. Sue and I like the dress-up
nights, with the musicians in tuxes and long dresses, but
apparently others prefer the less formal afternoon sessions. Or
they don’t like to go out at night.

Katrina Aid: Ronnie Mellen has
someone to drive her RV to New Orleans as a gift
to Hurricane Katrina victims, but needs donations for gas and
expenses. Donations of canned goods, clothing and blankets are also
needed, plus contacts to a church there to accept the RV and items.
Call her at 969-9699.


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