County Supervisor Das Williams Defends Reputation at Marathon Vent Fest
It wasn’t so much what was said or even the intensity with which it was said. Instead, it was the astonishing number of people who jammed shoulder to shoulder into the Carpinteria City Council chambers Monday night to speak their minds — pro and con — about the burgeoning cannabis industry that’s taken over the greenhouses of the Carpinteria Valley.
More than 200 people showed up — a record for Carpinteria — spilling into overflow rooms and choking the aisles. More than 60 spoke. Two former city councilmembers found themselves forced to share just one seat. One councilmember lamented afterward how the crowded aisles precluded a much-needed restroom visit.
At issue was a resolution expressing the City of Carpinteria’s displeasure with the County of Santa Barbara for allowing so much cannabis to be cultivated in such close proximity to two high schools — one public and one private — and within smelling distance of so many Carpinteria residents. The resolution — which carries no binding weight — castigated the county for its “permissive” regulatory environment that allowed for “an overconcentration” of commercial cannabis in Carpinteria. It complained about lack of enforcement and that the county supervisors had “largely ignored” repeated concerns expressed by the Carpinteria City Council over malodors and other issues for the past two years.
County Supervisor Das Williams — who lives in Carpinteria — was as conspicuous by his presence Monday night as he was by his absence two weeks ago when the Carpinteria Council held the first of two public information sessions on cannabis. Williams chose not to attend the first meeting because, as he explained at the time, he didn’t wish to become “derailed” from issues like climate change that prompted him to run for supervisor three years ago. Since then, however, Williams’s cozy social relationships with cannabis-industry lobbyists and growers were highlighted in a lengthy Los Angeles Times article about Santa Barbara’s blooming cannabis industry.
Published: June 19, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News