Cannabis Tax; Landscaping; Showing Police Respect… Monday Night’s Simi City Council Meeting

By Kevin Harris

The Simi Valley City Council unanimously decided that it will ask voters to consider a commercial cannabis tax during the general election in November. Also passed unanimously during Monday night’s City Council Meeting was a resolution approving local landscaping assessments, and a request by one City Council Member for a new city ordinance concerning the way local businesses treat off-duty police officers carrying concealed firearms. 

Should We Tax Cannabis? Um… Should We LEGALIZE It?

During a Public Hearing presented by Simi Valley Council Staff, a general tax of 29.45% on commercial cannabis activities was proposed, to be presented to voters on their November 6, 2018 General Election ballots. Some key provisions of a general tax are as follows:

  • No restrictions on appropriation
  • Available for any governmental purpose
  • Must be approved by 4/5 of City Council
  • Requires only a simple majority of voter approval    

But a key question concerning the tax proposal is, why even consider taxing a product or service that remains illegal at the local level? Currently, none of the cannabis services commonly available, such as commercial marijuana testing, growing or distribution, are lawful in Simi Valley. 

A lengthy Council discussion, however, revealed that it is widely believed that legalization is eventually coming to Simi, and they want to get ahead of it as far as zoning, taxation and other regulations are concerned. This discussion, led largely by Mayor Pro Tem Glen Becerra, also ended with the bullet point being made that a retail dispensary is not being considered at any point for Simi Valley. 

Following the presentation came a Public Speakers period, where just one person spoke. Bruce Boyer, a Ventura County Candidate for Sheriff, started out by saying that he’s a non-user in favor of legalizing peoples’ personal choices. The outspoken Libertarian also said he feels that Simi voters should be able to choose things such as whether retail sales can happen and whether to tax those sales, and at what rates. One of his more intriguing points, however, was about potential dispensary and retail zoning. “I would prefer that if someone is going and getting their weed and getting stoned, they have as little distance (on the roads) to travel as possible,” he said. 

No Council members or staff responded to Mr. Boyer’s comments. (ED. note: Brown Act forbids responses to public comments, but that is sometimes ignored)

The Council will include the ordinance for the tax measure when they call for the November election, during the next City Council meeting, on June 18, 2018. Simi Valley residents will then get to vote on the measure on November 6, 2018, and if approved, the tax will become effective on January 1, 2019. 

Subsidized Landscaping Continues

Another Public Hearing on Monday night centered on adopting the proposed 2018-19 Simi Valley Landscape Assessments for District 1. The Assessment being proposed did not include any new cost increases, in large part because the city is continuing to subsidize the landscaping through its General Fund. 

When asked about the subsidy by Council Members, staff said that raising assessments would require a vote from local property owners, which historically has proven very difficult to get a majority of to approve. 

The resolution approving the landscaping assessments passed unanimously. 

Local Police Disrespected Over Concealed Carry

Item 9B during Monday night’s meeting was City Council Requests for Future City Council Agenda Items. Council Member Mike Judge, a police officer, said he was upset about an event that took place at the recent Simi Valley Cajun Festival. 

Judge first pointed out that Simi Valley has always been, and remains, a very police-friendly city, where 2000 – 3000 officers call home, which only added to the event’s outrage. 

“The Cajun Festival on Saturday and Sunday was turning away officers that came to the park carrying their legally-concealed firearms. I found that highly disturbing,” Judge said. 

The Council Member then proposed a city ordinance requiring any establishment or event to publicly pre-announce any such restrictions early. “When I say early, it has to be on their advertisements. It has to be on their tickets. It has to be on the door of their business. Because that way you don’t have the embarrassment of a law enforcement officer honorably serving our community, walking up to a gate, and told they can not enter because they’re doing their duty and carrying their firearm while off duty,” Judge concluded. 

Mayor Bob Huber commented that he’d like to “put non-police officer concealed carriers in the equation too,” and said if we’re going to bring the issue back to the Council later, “ we might as well look at everybody,” to which Judge replied, “absolutely.” 

Council Member Mike Judge

The next Simi Valley City Council Meeting will be on Monday, June 18, 2018, at 6:00 P.M. Both the meetings on video, and the meeting agendas, can be directly accessed by going to the following URL: http://www.simivalley.org/i-want-to-/view-watch-/city-council-meetings.

 

Kevin Harris

Kevin Harris is a reporter, editor and journalist, previous President of Cal State Northridge’s Society of Professional Journalists having worked for the LA Times and Newhall Signal. He is now also a Realtor and videographer, and lives with his two children in Thousand Oaks. 


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3 Responses to Cannabis Tax; Landscaping; Showing Police Respect… Monday Night’s Simi City Council Meeting

  1. Citizen Reporter June 9, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Oh, great, now the Cajun festival is another gun-free zone for victims.

    Reply
  2. Mike T Judge June 8, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Mike Judge is a current LAPD Officer not retired.

    Reply

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