[This is the addended transcript of my regular KVMR commentary broadcast on 17 May 2017.]
We live in confusing times when much of what we hear is manufactured or fake news that overwhelmingly serves to polarize us. It’s hard to tell whether the late-night comedy hours or the news programs are leading the stampede to put out the ever more unprecedented and outrageous. Nationally we are embroiled with a constant tirade of Trump trashing, recently focused on Comey’s firing for allegedly not pulling FBI investigations of Russia’s impact on last fall’s election and of selected members of Team Trump.
The manufactured allegations continue to be cited as accomplished fact that require only a bit more evidence to bring Trump’s administration to an early end. Few understand that Comey’s dismissal in no way affected the ongoing investigations. And no one seems to recall that there’s never been any evidence about Russia’s impact, nor even identification of any feasible means by which Russia could have impacted the election. But when such news is fashioned out of whole cloth, none of this matters, especially when your audience is made up mostly of sound-bite citizens.
Here in Nevada County, believe it or not, we have the local, and perhaps more sophisticated version, of manufactured news – we do most of it in our newspaper’s op-ed pages and the local blogs. Marijuana is hands down the county’s major cash crop, and we have traveled the rocky road to legalizing its production, distribution, and consumption over the last several years. How MJ is regulated in Nevada County continues to be a hot-button issue that divides us. Our county supervisors’ recent formation of a citizens advisory group, or CAG, generated some heat about its make up, and unfortunately motivated one of our prominent voices on the Left to help widen our differences with his erroneous reporting and just plain snark.
Mr Boardman then piled on by viewing the appointment of Mr Bessee to be “analogous to appointing an atheist to the Vatican commission that considers candidates for sainthood.” The citizens group is supposed to come up with a draft MJ ordnance that balances the concerns of the community with those promoting legal MJ grows in the county. Mr Boardman believes that “opposition to cultivation makes it unlikely you'll be selected to serve on a committee that wants to establish grow rules.” – in short, our neighbors with other views should have no voice in producing the draft ordinance that the Citizens Advisory Group will submit to the Board of Supervisors.
There is much more to the story, and I’ll cover parts of it in the addendum to this commentary on my blog. But the point I want to leave you with is that Mr Boardman’s gratuitous attack on conservatives and their community values regarding pot is hypocritical to the usually espoused progressive mantras about inclusion and balance, and serves only to widen the locally experienced chasm between conservatives and liberals.
I am on record as a proponent of legalizing the regulated and taxed consumption of drugs beyond nicotine, ethanol, and opioids. The question now is how to legalize, regulate, and tax additional drugs in a prudent and reasonable manner that stifles criminal activity and minimizes the generation of human detritus. Both sides should work together to bring that about.
My name is Rebane, and I also expand on this and related themes on Rebane’s Ruminations where the addended transcript of this commentary is posted with relevant links, and where such issues are debated extensively. However, my views are not necessarily shared by KVMR. Thank you for listening.
[Addendum] Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I am a fan of George Boardman and consider him the most erudite local exponent of liberal causes. Although I have never met the man, from his writings I gather that he is as devoted to his ideology and its critical examination as am I to mine. The above is only a critique of the rhetorical methodology he brought to bear on the county’s cannabis controversy that has now advanced to the drafting of a hopefully live-and-let-live MJ ordinance. I join with those who want voices from more sides than just pro-grower advocates to join in wordsmithing the draft ordinance.
By opposing that kind of balance, Mr Boardman didn’t need to get nasty about the local opponents of liberalizing MJ hereabouts, especially since that does not promote the kumbaya entreaties that the progressives always claim are absent from the polemics of the Right. So it was hard to determine the point of Mr Boardman’s piece other than its being a gratuitous mocking of local conservatives and their community values by linking them to inappropriate historical happenings and false facts. He is a better man than that and such ‘pseudo-factual’ commentaries demonstrate how the fake news phenomenon has leaked into other written observations of current events.
Nowhere do I imply that Mr Boardman didn’t have the right to write what he did. I’m just questioning the utility of it, as the utility of the many pieces I have written over the years has been questioned by the other side. Now back to the CAG issue.
In personal correspondence I received a copy of the letter Mr Hren wrote to the BoS. In there he pointed out the factual imbalance of the originally nominated membership, offered to share background references, and made no demands/recommendation on who else should join CAG. Supervisor Scofield also sent me a copy of his rough notes indicating his agreement with Mr Hren’s arguments and specifically recommending Mr Bessee’s membership as a knowledgeable anti-MJ advocate, and also that of Mr Richard Johansen to increase representation of the county’s agricultural interests. Both were added to CAG. Supervisor Scofield also noted concern about the rush with which CAG was initially empaneled.
Of the six scheduled CAG meetings, only the first four are open to public input. The last two, during which the actual recommended ordinance is drafted, will be closed to the public. I believe the public should be allowed to witness and hear for themselves how the final draft, which after all will be an exercise in compromise, comes together – specifically how all the diverse voices are heard and their influence on the final copy. It is that kind of sunshine which will garner the best possible support for the final ordinance that the Supes finally adopt.