All three Democratic city council candidates that endorsed Measure B lost.
It was not much of a surprise to me that the Democrats lost the Senate. They sort of deserved to lose as they scrambled to run away from their President; one candidate from Kentucky wouldn't even admit to voting for Obama. Not that Obama is any great bastion of Progressiveness---however, there was no reason for the beating the Dems took last night. They should have flaunted health care, jobs, the debt going down and raised a platform of things to vote for that would move this country forward. They did neither. So they lost. Deservingly. Timid fearful little rodents that they are.
You have to give the people a reason to vote. The Democrats didn't do that.
Locally, the Democrats did even worse. In a county that should be purple, the Dems lost handedly. The turnout was low, only 40 percent, in a county that has 80 percent turnout in Presidential years and 60 percent in Midterm years.
In the Chico city council race that I spent the last two posts ranting about the horrid tactics of the Democrats---the three who backed the pro-Cannabis Industry lost. The Liberals lost the Chico city council. All three conservatives won. Why?
The liberal city council mishandled scads of money. There were budget problems. They did some good things, like a plastic bag ban, but for the most part, they didn't manage the city well.
And then it came down to tactics. The Chico Democrats endorsed Measure B (a cannabis ordinance written by the pot growers) which turned out to be a hugely unattractive Measure. The Conservative Chico ER, the Paradise Post, The Oroville MR, and the liberal Chico News and Review, uniting the entire political spectrum, all endorsed a No vote on Measure B. The Democrats were stupid to endorse this Measure and to take the money from the Pot Growers. Measure B lost 68% to 32%. That's 36 points. A wipeout.
Measure A, which severely limits the size of Cannabis gardens and essentially eliminates a commercial Cannabis Industry in Butte County, won 61 percent to 37 percent. It comes down to people being sick of the social and environmental costs of pot growing. Drifters galore come here for the bud and trimming jobs. They come here to get rich. They come here to get high. And they are everywhere. Every street corner has a beggar with a dog, usually a youngish male, looking for money to do god only knows what. The Democrats didn't have a solution to the problem. In fact, they endorsed what causes the problem: an of control Cannabis Industry that has no regulations and no license required to grow the stuff.
This was all part of a little noticed backlash against the Cannabis Industry in the rural areas of California. Shasta county voted to do away with outdoor grows; Nevada County voted down a Measure put forth by the pot growers to liberalize their laws; Lake County voted down two ordinances written by the Cannabis Industry. The rural people have spoken. The way we are going about this Cannabis thing is not working.
Eighteen years after legalizing medical marijuana this should have been a cake walk for the industry. They should have won the hearts and minds of rural people by now. They haven't.
California picked the wrong model. When anybody can grow commercially without getting a license to do so, the criminal element quickly moves in to make a buck. That's what we've experienced all through out rural California. Until we license the production, distribution and sale of Cannabis, we will not solve the social and ecological costs of Cannabis production.
The Foothills have spoken. The Democrats should listen.
So what should the local Democrats do now? Give back the money they received from the Cannabis Industry. Apologize to the voters for not listening to their concerns. Start talking about the social and the environmental costs of cannabis production in Butte County. But mostly, they need to get the ideas out of their heads that regulation of the Cannabis Industry is prohibition. REGULATION IS NOT PROHIBITION.
And what of the Prius driving Enviros? The Butte Environmental Council (BEC) was pathetic around the whole debate. They were too timid to engage in it. The biggest threat to Butte County's watershed and wildlife is the current method of production of cannabis. Yet they said and did nothing. I went to the BEC dinner where Joni received an award and not a word was spoken about this problem. The blinders were on. And I'm fairly certain that writing this won't make me popular with either the Enviros or the Democrats.
And so, this time around, the Conservative voter turned out to be the best Environmentalist. We should give them an award at the next BEC dinner. The Butte County Voter was the Environmentalist of the year! And the Chico Conservation Voter? They turned out to be the worst enemy of the environment.