Tehama County Discusses 1A and 4A Rights – Plus A Quilt Show!

I spent last weekend at the Tehama County Fairgrounds for the Sun Country Quilters Guild’s Biennial Quilt Show. Try saying that three times fast. I broke a finger just trying to type it. Every one of the over 200 quilts on display were incredible masterpieces. The bazillion pieces of fabric measured, cut and sewn together with painstaking precision – mind boggling.

Patty Lingenfelter, Beth Wray, Lois Rogan and other local Red Bluff luminaries had amazing entries. My favorite may have been a gorgeous purplish blue number created by Sharon Roberts. The colors appealed to me, so I walked over to check it out more closely. Many different fabrics in complementing hues laid out beautifully together in larger blocks on a black field. While I was marveling at the fabrics, I noticed a tiny neon green cat face staring blankly at me. Then another. And another.

A kitty here, a kitty there…kitties everywhere!

Sharon had subtly worked this whimsical cat fabric into the quilt and the result was not just beautiful – it was fun! Like Where’s Waldo? – but with cat faces on a quilt.

Sharon Roberts’s “Where’s Waldo?” Quilt

Thanks for a great weekend, Quilting Guild.

You are all pros and run a great, tight show. Shout out to the hardworking teenage sisters who brought the vendors snacks and water all day. You rock!

I was spending a nice Supervisor-free Tuesday morning at home when my phone blew up around 11am. Numerous friends alerted me that County Counsel Margaret Long was conducting a Study Session on the roles of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors with regards to Code Enforcement nuisance abatement and fines.

Margaret Long – photo courtesy longprenticepc.com

Sounds scintillating, no? Yeah – not to most people. But to those who were targeted in the reefer madness of 2015-20, like us, it was very interesting. Long mostly talked about the procedures and obligations of the various agencies and boards, but she made a few statements that definitely got our attention.

She said a nuisance must be viewable from the street. If it’s not, Code Enforcement must get permission from the property owner to enter the property to inspect. Without that permission, they must obtain a search warrant. Then why did Code Enforement send helicopters – at great expense – to fly 50 feet over citizens’ private curtilages to see if they have a few cannabis plants? Don’t tell me the county has finally read the 4th amendment and decided to abide by it. How very constitutional of them. We’ll take our $3,000 fine back with interest, please.

Hah. We won’t be camped out by the mailbox waiting for the check, but seriously, this calls for a class action suit that would potentially include hundreds of people who paid fines or lost their land through liens because of the illegal spying tactics of Code Enforcement.

CE hasn’t targeted small personal grows like ours for several years now, probably because it was a giant money suck rather than the fact that it was wrong. Code 2062 in the budget, marijuana enforcement, jumped from $5,850 in Fiscal Year 2014-15 to $597,304 the very next year. It now stands at just over a million dollars a year, although the focus has shifted away from personal gardens to large commercial grows. Of course, with no commercial activity allowed in the county – outside the City of Red Bluff – those large grows are not regulated or taxed. If there was a path to legitimacy, the county could make money from cannabis rather than spend, spend, spend to eradicate it.

Hang on while I climb down off my soapbox. Ok, back on terra firma. After Long’s Study Session, I let the audio run into Board Matters, where Newbie District 3 Supe Pati Nolen wanted to read some Public Comments from everybody’s favorite Eagle Eye, Jenny Alexander. Since it wasn’t a Board Matter, Chairman Moule reopened Public Comments and Nolen read Jenny’s comments.

When she was done, Moule once again showed his disdain for public input. First, he decreed that from now on, a supervisor could only read public comments from a citizen if that supervisor was in agreement with what the citizen had to say, apparently not realizing how ridiculous that sounded. He said if someone wanted their comments read aloud, they should show up in person and do it themselves. D2 Supe Candy Carlson noted that Jenny has a job and attends in person whenever she can. She didn’t point out that Jenny has attended more Supes meetings in the past 4 years than Moule, so I’ll do it. Oh, I just did.

Then came the lame old argument we’ve heard for years on this topic. Get ready to clutch your pearls. What if a citizen includes an inappropriate word to be read with their public comment? Gasp! The world might come to an end!

When speakers appear in person at the lectern, they have three minutes to say almost anything they want, foul language included. It rarely happens, but a few F-bombs have been dropped over the years. Somehow we survived. Carlson stood up for our 1st amendment rights and suggested the Clerk read any letters that arrive with a request to be read aloud.

Then came the inevitable “But if we read one letter we’ll have to read them all!” I would be willing to bet this discussion took more time than reading all the public comments submitted by email or snail mail for the past 10 years.

It’s just not a big deal. Few citizens take the time to participate in government and they should be applauded. Instead, every attempt is made to deprive them of their right to speak – by Chairman Moule anyway. The other 4 supes want to hear from constituents. They care about what you have to say – that’s how they make decisions on how to vote. So keep those cards and letters coming.

Happy Easter, Passover, or Spring, my friends.

Liz Merry

Liz Merry was born in Brooklyn, raised in the Bronx, then transplanted to the Jersey Shore. She moved to Chico in 1984 and married her comedy partner, Aaron Standish, in 1990. They have lived in Manton since 1994.

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