Saturday, November 1, 2014

Andrew Merkel, the Butte County Democrats and the Politics of Sleaze..

One very important, and sickening, development in the debasement of the politics of Butte County can be solely blamed on one individual. His name is Andrew Merkel and he is the CEO of Western Plant Science (a pot group) and the leading advocate for the Cannabis Industry in Butte County.

He comes armed with cash. Lots and lots of it. With this cash he was able to buy the petitioners who got Measure B onto the Butte County ballot in the first place. He spent $60,000 to get the 12,000 signatures for the Measure to make it on to the ballot. The going rate, I'm told, was a dollar a signature.

He also has used the cash to help sway the Butte County Democratic Central Committee. In exchange, the Democratic Chico city candidates, Lupe Arim-Law, Forough Molina and even the Chico mayor, Scott Gruendl allowed Merkel to run the No on A; Yes on B endorsement on the candidates' mailers. Money talks. I do think that Merkel's influence over these Democrats has led them down a path of immature pranks and misinformation that embarrasses the Butte County Democratic Party. It is shameful.

How else to explain the deception of the Democratic Party this election cycle? Where the hell did our integrity go? In one of the worst cases of deceit, Lupe Arim-Law attached her name to a slate mailer that gives the impression that she has the endorsement of Law Enforcement. She doesn't.

And now there is this mailer (see below), which involves Arim-Law, Molina and Mayor Gruendl, where they claim they are the best Republican choice. All three are Democrats. This is just not okay.

The Measure B people spent $3,000 to get a bogus Republican group to endorse No on A; Yes on B and mailed it to Republican households in Butte County. This upset many Republicans who want nothing to do with Measure B. They complained. But what do you expect from an industry that says they are growing dope for sick patients, and then market 90 percent of it (according to Mike Ramsey) out of state? The whole impetus for the Measure B is a lie. This is about a greedy industry.

Want more evidence of sleaze? How about the carpet bombing of Butte County with No on A; Yes on B signs. These signs were peppered illegally on to public right of ways and unsuspecting private property owners fields and yards. Caltrans eliminated the blight. Private property owners, incensed, took down the signs. You can hardly find anyone who will put up a Yes on B sign. Most are gone.

So what happens next? Since no one will put up a sign on behalf of Measure B, they started defacing, and then stealing, the very finite amount of Yes on A; No on B signs that we had. These signs had all been put up with the permission of the property owners (just go to the Yes on A website and you will see the form that orders a sign and also indicates that you must be the owner of the property that the sign is going onto). The Yes on A people went to great lengths to follow the rules. Now many of the signs are gone. The sign that was on former Sheriff Jerry Smith's property was stolen. Takes a lot of gall to do that.

Taking down political signs that are placed in a lawful manner is a crime.

But here is a bit of dirty politics by Andrew Merkel that hasn't been picked up by any media.

On August 26, 2014, Andrew Merkel filed three separate California Form 410 "Statement of Organization recipient Committee" documents with the Butte County Recorder. The purpose of this form is to file for a committee name, in this case one whose purpose is to oppose or support specific measures. It appears that these filings were a calculated attempt to undermine the efforts of YES on A, NO on B.

Prior to that date, there were a couple of informal groups, one I was present for the creation thereof, in order to back Measure A. One of these groups was called Butte County Safe Access Not Excess (for which a Facebook web page was created and also a very excellent web site). Andrew Merkel registered that name so only he could use it for campaign purposes. He registered three names:Two
were already groups working towards supporting Measure A. The names he registered were:

 Protect Butte County
 Butte County Safe Access Not Excess.
Butte County families Against Cannabis Trafficking

Want to see a copy of the original filing? Here they are:

Protect Butte County:

Butte County Safe Access Not Excess:

Butte County Families Against Cannabis Trafficking

Now how petty can you get? You are the leader of a Measure to increase the size of Cannabis gardens. You know the names of a few organizations that, more than likely, will oppose you. So what do you do? You run down to the County Clerk's office and steal their names. Behavior like this would make Richard Nixon proud.

And the Butte County Democratic Central Committee took money from the organization this guy leads.

When you get into bed with people who are slimy, you end up becoming a bit sleazy yourself. And that, my friends, is why the Democrats really need to apologize to this county for their behavior this cycle. We have become sleazy. And as a member of the Butte County Democratic Party, I am very unhappy with this behavior.

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