Wednesday, November 21, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 37
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Santa Maria Sun / Canary

The following article was posted on November 7th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 36

Political exhaustion

Politics is tiresome, I know I'm not the only one who thinks so.

For journalists, election season can feel like a long grind leading up to the big day. We follow multiple races for months, talk to dozens of candidates, wade through legal jargon in measures and propositions, and then make it out on election night to see candidates either celebrate victory or pack it up and go home.

But then, it's finally over! Unfortunately for me, I have no idea who the winners are at the time I'm pecking away at this keyboard with my tired beak. The Sun held two pages past its usual print deadline for election night (check out pages 4 and 6), so I'm running blind here.

It's a shame, because I have so much to say about the candidates. You'll just have to wait until next week to hear what I think about the outcome of the Congressional race, the attempts at unseating incumbents on the Santa Maria and Lompoc city councils and school boards, whether locals will pay more in property or sales tax with local measures, and whether or not Santa Barbara County voters want citizen-led redistricting or the status quo.

I don't like to make predictions, but in regards to the House race between Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) and his returning Republican challenger Justin Fareed, if the greater numbers of Santa Barbara County's registered Democratic voters versus Republicans are an indication, it doesn't look like Fareed will achieve a Hail Mary touchdown but a fourth down turnover this election cycle.

According to the county, there were 37,000 more Democratic Party members registered than Republicans among the 217,417 registered voters. And that total number is the greatest in county history for a midterm election. I guess county poll workers and vote counters will be worn out from all the work too!

Politics might be tiresome, but it matters, and it doesn't go away. It's a lot of work to stay informed before you make a decision at the ballot box, but those collective decisions can shape our community in widespread ways.

I'm sure the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Cannabis Compliance Team was tired too after two days of hard labor literally weed whacking and uprooting 400,000 unlicensed pot plants in Santa Maria (see page 9). Some brazen farmers set up a massive cannabis grow among the ag fields and rural housing tracts out there, growing weed just like strawberries!

Well, it was just a matter of time ever since voters passed Proposition 64 in 2016, legalizing recreational cannabis in the state. But the slow lurch of legalization provided an opportunity for some unscrupulous landowners and growers to jump into the burgeoning industry without going through all the proper channels.

These growers must think that the Sheriff's Office is stupid, or that the people living nearby don't have working noses. Maybe these scofflaw pot farmers were just high, not on their product, mind you, but the green dollars they could stand to make.

This is why Californians voted yes on Proposition 64, to bring cannabis into the legal world. Plenty of pot farmers in the county are doing everything by the book and are prepared to pay the crazy taxes imposed on the industry. I'm sure they're tired too of all the red tape and fees, but they're going through the process just like any other local farmer. 

That's why you won't see a single tear fall from my bloodshot eye when authorities bust illegal growers and destroy thousands of plants. There's plenty to of pot to go around, and I don't predict locals will get tired of growing, smoking, or eating it anytime soon. 

The Canary will never get tired of local politics. Send your thoughts to canary@santamariasun.com.




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