In your July 2 issue, you ran a delightful cartoon by Terry Torgerson displaying the Cannabis Chorale. On July 16 ("Letters"), Hezekiah Allen criticized your cartoonist for lampooning California Cannabis Voice Humboldt. Hezekiah represents the Emerald Growers Association (EGA), which backs CCVH. I respond:
1. TRUST. CCVH Executive Director Richard Marks recently told The Independent that he made "about $5,000 during his eight months" of working for CCVH, but the CCVH Political Action Committee filing last fall alone shows CCVH paid Marks $10,000. Is this what they mean by trust?
2. ENVIRONMENT. Ministerial permits are the dark alleys of environmental rapists. The CCVH proposal has got them. Take "lawful sources of water." Under their proposal you "attest" to the Agriculture Commissioner that you have them. "Attest" is a fancy word for just say so. If the county were to check on the facts, that could mean CEQA environmental review for which no ministerial (automatic rubber stamp) permit works. CCVH's way makes it nearly impossible to correct anything. The grower who doesn't bother with permits gets only a misdemeanor. This darkness hides environmental trashing.
3. MEGA-GROWS. Hezekiah ignores monster grows by deflecting discussion to a perverted idea of "small" grows. His 6,000 square foot "small" grows are triple the maximum size most growers chose in our polling. The EGA/CCVH construction co-opts small farmers and makes monster grows look modest.
4. DIVERSIONS AND POLLUTION. Island Mountain ("Week in Weed," June 26) showed plenty of bad environmental behavior. How much of it will CCVH people own up to? Trust them?
Casey O'Neill (EGA president) and Hezekiah Allen (EGA executive director) should tell us how much money is shared between EGA, CCVH and funders. What are the ties? And Hezekiah should tell us how and why his name is on one of those Island Mountain deeds. This time, check first to see what your figures "really" are, $5,000, $10,000? Or did EGA/CCVH "forget" to report them?
Robert Sutherland, Ettersburg.
Editor's Note: A June 26 article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat notes that Allen is listed as an owner of one of the properties, but says Allen told the paper he doesn't grow pot and has previously attempted to remove his name from the property's deed.