Time For A New City Council
The current Council's latest "accomplishment" - the Medical Marijuana Ordinance - clearly shows that each of the Council members is out of touch with us common people, that they don't "get it," and shouldn't continue in office.
While on its face the ordinance allows Medical Marijuana merchants, the unreasonable conditions and outrageous application fee let the council members have their cake yet eat it too. "Oh yes, Lakewood now allows medical marijuana," they can say at campaign appearances. But the $25,000 application fee will keep many if not all prospective applicants from even applying.
A $25,000 application fee to sell medical marijuana? The question of where the $25,000 goes aside, what do an applicant and the taxpayers get for $25,000? Applicants for a top secret security clearance in the military undergo a special background investigation (SBI) that costs the government about $15,000. Why so much? The SBI involves personal interviews of the applicant, relatives, former spouses, parents, references, and at least five people named by the relatives. For example, a colleague who married a woman from a small village in South America, agents traveled as far as they could by air, then hiked two days to interview the woman's family.
Does the Lakewood application process involve that? Probably not. Fingerprinting, a national agency check for criminal activity, and perhaps a personal interview. Certainly not $25,000 worth of service. On the other end of the scale, applicants for a patent pay basic filing, search and examination fees totaling $770, and the application is examined by someone knowledgeable in science or engineering who probably earned an advanced degree. Do the city bureaucrats who may review the medical marijuana application have similar expertise?
Finally on the subject of the marijuana ordinance, the restrictions don't help a prospective merchant attract customers. Can't have a sign that displays a marijuana plant or leaf. While I can understand the need to stay away from schools, the ordinance's goal of not creating a marijuana district shows that the Council doesn't give the people it's supposed to represent credit for having any common sense. Amsterdam's Red Light and Marijuana districts don't have higher crime rates than other parts of the city.
In addition to the marijuana ordinance, the Council's vote on the Lakewood Hospital issue also shows that they are out of touch and don't represent the people who elected them. About 46 or so percent supported keeping the hospital, yet not one council member voted to keep the hospital. Spilt milk it is, but the numbers don't add up.
Item last: The Council doesn't always respond to other citizen requests to do what's best for the city. Two years ago I sent a letter to every council member suggesting the City draw a box around the intersection of Detroit Road and Warren Avenue, and make it a traffic offense to be in the box on a red light. Only Mr. Nowlin responded. Although the Mayor said they'd act on it, anyone who's stuck on a green light due to intersection blockers knows nothing was done.
It's time for some leadership on the Council. Three exceptional candidates have stepped up to plate: Brian Taubman, Meghan George, and Tristan Rader. Let's give them a turn at bat. Thank you.
Bob Soltys is a Lakewood resident and a former Navy Officer.
Bob Soltys is a former Navy officer.