The July 28, 2021 FBI bulletin reveals that our mayor had been offered $100,000 in exchange for two dispensary permits in September 2017. Despite having been offered a bribe, (a felony offense), the mayor lobbied the council to grant the permits to his briber, even complimenting him using his first name. The council approved the permit in September 2018. Coercion is defined as exploiting a position of authority to pressure another to do something which he or she would not otherwise do, abuse of a relationship, the threat of taking away from another something he possesses. Certainly, it was abuse of relationships by the mayor who was putting pressure on the council to approve the offender. Given the loyalties of the council members to the mayor and also to the county supervisor, they may well have faced the loss of something important to them – a job, or political favor – if they had voted otherwise. Would they have voted for the permit if they knew the mayor had been offered a bribe? Who knows? All I know is that they all attended parties hosted by cannabis applicants, some were fundraisers, some were “birthday parties.” There is no doubt that the county supervisor colluded with the cannabis mogul.
Here’s the thing about “birthday parties.” The term is code for parties where “birthday” presents (money) will be given to the birthday boy or girl. You have to bring a present to get in. It’s a great way to throw money at politicians because the council members can all attend at the same time without it being considered a “secret meeting” because government sunshine laws allow a government board majority to go to social events, and gosh, you have to take presents to a party, so who can get after anyone for providing presents at a private party? And even if they can, it’s pretty hard to track cash donations and easy not to report them. Heck, the supervisor was even quoted in the LA Times as asking for a birthday celebration.