Opinion: Redwood City shouldn’t keep applications for pot stores secret; also a reporter is kicked out of Stanford mall and why is the U.S. participating in the Beijing Olympics?

This was originally published Jan. 24 in the Daily Post.

OPINION

BY DAVE PRICE
Daily Post Editor

Why are Redwood City officials keeping secret the locations where cannabis companies want to open stores?

The city government has received 26 applications. The city’s complex, multi-phase selection process is taking place behind closed doors. The applications are hidden from the public.

What is City Council and City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz trying to hide from the public?

Probably the addresses of these stores. Sure, a majority of residents voted to legalize marijuana in 2016, but that doesn’t mean they want a store in their neighborhood. Who wants the crime? And who thinks a cannabis store belongs in a place with a lot of children?

Last week we reported that Redwood City resident Douglas Ledingham discovered that the Air Supply cannabis chain wants to move into the abandoned Any Mountain store at 928 Whipple Ave.

Ledingham had no idea his neighborhood was getting such a store until he spoke to some workers who were cleaning the building after squatters were removed.

This process of keeping the locations a secret until the permits are announced is the opposite of how the state grants liquor licenses.

Liquor license applications are always public record. In fact, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control requires applicants to post a “Public Notice of Application” on the premises for 30 days. In addition, ABC can require applicants to mail a notice to everyone who lives within 500 feet of the store or restaurant and publish a notice in the newspaper.

ABC allows the public to object before a liquor license is final.

The public ought to know where a cannabis store is going before the license is final.

Why the city is taking this approach is a head-scratcher. It’s not the only odd thing in the city’s process. As I mentioned earlier this month, cannabis companies with problems in other cities are getting high marks in Redwood City’s preliminary scoring system.

One of them, TAT, is accused by a competitor of falsely claiming a local resident would be a part owner of their store in Fresno to get a higher score in that city’s ranking process. Another Redwood City applicant, Cookies, was criticized by planning officials in San Diego of using a mascot that looks like Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, raising concerns that children will be targeted with a Joe Camel strategy.

By withholding the proposed store locations, Stevenson Diaz is simply asking for more trouble.

She should remember that this process could go sideways in unpredictable ways, which is what happened in Mountain View in 2019.

After a lengthy application selection process, Mountain View was ready to award licenses to two cannabis retailers when a group of largely Chinese parents came out of nowhere to fight the city’s plans. At a May 23, 2019 council meeting, dozens of parents spoke fervently against marijuana, claiming the stores would tempt children into trying drugs and weaken their ability to have healthy minds. Council voted to drop the idea of allowing cannabis stores.

•••

Stanford’s priorities

A Post reporter covering the two purse snatchings at Stanford Shopping Center on Jan. 18 was told by mall management to leave or he’d be arrested for trespassing.

Yes, trespassing in a public place.

The reporter, who had already interviewed witnesses and taken pictures, complied with the request.

The episode makes me wonder about Stanford’s priorities. The company that runs the shopping center for Stanford on a long-term contract, Simon Properties, didn’t have a mall cop anywhere near the purse snatching. And he got away.

But when a reporter started asking questions, the mall cop was quick to intervene. Is Simon Properties priority protecting customers from criminals or protecting the shopping center from reporters?

I doubt members of the Stanford Board of Trustees get involved in the day-to-day management of the shopping center. But I wonder if they realize the irony of the situation. On one end of campus, their contractor, Simon Properties, is threatening to have police arrest a reporter for simply doing his job. On the other end of campus, they have a communications school where they teach reporters how to do their jobs.

•••

Olympics mistake

Why is the United States participating in the Beijing Olympics given China’s horrifying record on human rights? It’s too late to withdraw from next month’s games, but the U.S. ought to tell the International Olympic Committee that this is the last time we participate in any olympics held in a totalitarian country.

In March, the U.S. State Department declared China is committing “genocide and crimes against humanity” in detention camps holding 1 million Muslim Uighurs. They’re subject to forced sterilization, rape, torture, forced labor and “draconian restrictions” on their freedom of religion, expression and movement, according to the State Department.

We shouldn’t be in a country that does that. The Biden administration’s “diplomatic boycott,” in which the U.S. doesn’t send bureaucrats to Beijing for the games, seems like a timid, milquetoast reaction.

Going forward, we should tell the IOC that if it returns to China or Russia or any similar country, the U.S. won’t participate.

A better solution would be to set up permanent sites for all future games. Host cities often lose money building Olympic venues. Let’s solve that problem at the same time as we stand up for human rights. Have Athens become the permanent home of the Summer Games and locate the winter games in Switzerland, Norway or Canada — countries where there aren’t any problems with human rights.

Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is price@padailypost.com.

18 Comments

  1. Dave, I’ve always enjoyed reading your pieces as you seem to be someone who is not afraid to voice his opinion and that is becoming rarer and rarer these days.

    My question and response to your three opinions,

    1. I agree with you in problems that cannabis stores can have when they are located near schools and residential areas. Question is how can we stop them, and if there are enough “voters”, can democracy prevail? And why do you think these stores locations are kept secret, and if so, can residents vote to make it transparent?

    2. In regards to the shocking incident of that man robbing the elderly woman in broad daylight, it reflects many problems in our society. The question to why did “they” kick the reporter out, perhaps because “they” don’t want bad publicity for Stanford or the surrounding area?

    3. Why is the US participating in the Beijing Winter Olympics? To correct you slightly if I may, it’s the US athlete competing, not politicians in suits. The athletes have trained almost all their life, sacrificing and working hard for a brief two weeks or so of competition, why should they be forced to give it up due to the political squabbling between two modern super powers? Yes, the new Cold War as I like to call it and we all may agree that propaganda would be rampant during these times, and I’m not talking about from the CCP. The Uyghuir population in China has apparently steadily increased over the years, the exact number I forget, but it is at ALL TIME HIGH as of now. So if the Chinese government is really trying to systematically exterminate a group, or at least limit/slow down their growth by ways of sterilization and such, they don’t seem to have a hand on things, perhaps they need a lesson or two from the most successful genociders, Americans… after all we did do some pretty horrible stuff to the indigenous people of the Americas. And don’t get me wrong… I’m not ruling out the possibility that the ccp is really committing genocide… but my question again is if they are committing such horrific acts against humanity aimed at eliminating a group, then how is this group steadily growing in population numbers? So either the ccp doesn’t know what they’re doing, or perhaps the American sources is not to be relied upon? But I’ve always believed in the truthfulness and accuracy of our media and intelligence reports, after all we were spot on about Iraq having WMDs… (I hope you get my joke here)

    And speaking of Iraq, yes, the illegal invasion of that country and areas around it started by Baby Bush and his goons more than 20 years ago. I know perhaps our intentions were good, after it sounds pretty damn cool and American to go after the bad guys (in this case, Islamic terrorists supposedly backed by an evil dude named Saddam) but do consequences matter? Even unintended. “We” (technically our political leaders and military) have decimated their country, evident from many Afghan refugees coming to our country and other Middle Eastern people fleeing to Western Europe due to the mess our government made there. And if our government is truly concerned about the welfare and “rights” of Muslims, who has killed the most number of Muslims in the last 30 years? It definitely isn’t China, as somehow their mad genocidal plan is resulting into more Uyghurs being born in China than ever…

    Yup, you guessed it, it’s our government. We’ve killed the most Muslims in the past decades, we’re the Olympic champs again. After all, killing countless innocent civilians in drone strikes intended to kill terrorists isn’t considered human rights abuse.

    Anyways I’m done for my rant, honestly I wonder how many Californians truly care about politics, or have the time and resources to. After all we live in a state where having a six figure income may mean you can finally pay rent on time, living costs are unaffordable for many even educated professionals with semi lucrative careers, unless you’re making millions throwing and catching leather balls and then complaining about how unfair our country is to some people. Is that why they kneel in front of our flag? Will they do that this weekend? Enjoy super bowl…

      • Where is the concrete proof of “forced labor camps”?

        CNN, or Fox? We know neither of these are exactly objective.

        And who woulda thought that till this day we Americans don’t seem to know or care that our government invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya because they didn’t want to go along with the petrol dollar system?

          • I see. Those sources definitely seem legitimate, after all it’s from our government. Our government surely wouldn’t lie… at least not more than it is needed.

            I’ll have to ask you though, if these reports are INDEED true, why is there no action against China? No sanctions? After all, our government and NATO allies are threatening Russia with sanctions if they dare move in on Ukraine.

            Also the Muslim world is silent about this. At least the governments… last time I checked, Iran just signed some big deals with China that would make democracy lovers shiver.

            Do you know who Salman Rushdie is? He wrote a book criticizing and disrespecting Islam, calling it some things I don’t want to type on a public website. The religious leader of Iran back then put a death wish and bounty on him, and he had to go in hiding and have British security around him 24/7.

            So if merely mentioning muslims in an unfavorable light can lead to personal safety concerns, what would a country face for supposedly trying to exterminate millions of Muslims?

            Give it thought and tell me if something seems fishy.

          • Rhetorical question, Mr L.

            See my above comment regarding the danger of even criticizing certain religions and groups of people.

            All Salmam Rushdie just wrote a book. China is supposedly genociding Muslims. Why are Muslim governments on good terms with China then?

            • 1. They have business and trade ties with China, and they don’t want to endanger them. 2. Many Arab countries have human rights records that are close to being as bad as the China’s. They don’t want any attention thrown in their direction. The only people who publicly support China are those China has bought off.

  2. Participating in the China Olympics was a big mistake. It’s like saying we’re OK with forced labor camps based on race. i’m amazed that none of the “woke” politicians have spoken out.

  3. Thanks David for eloquently stating what many Redwood City residents think about this whole Cannabis permitting procedure. Get it out in the open. Let us know where the stores might be. Yeah, it’s true: a lot of us don’t want it near schools or residential areas. It might cause crime like the smash and grabs we’ve seen at other Cannabis retailers. If it’s really medicinal then fine put these places near a hospital or clinic or something. Keep it away from kids.

  4. Dave,
    Thanks for stating your opinion on the Stanford Shopping Center incident, when a reporter was told he would be arrested if he did not get off of the premises, while he was reporting on a public assault and theft. In a “public square”.

    Since when in this country do we arrest reporters for reporting news? The public has the right to know—most especially if the occurrence is in a public space. Will the police select the news we can or cannot see, in the future?

    I was shocked and horrified to first read that story.

    It does not bode well for First Amendment rights.

  5. ‘Keep it way from kids’ should be on billboards and the first responsibility of everyone – especially politicians pushing drugs. Why do we forget about them when thinking about drug dens for pot heads, restricting oxygen flow to their brains with masks, pushing trans reading hours along with sex identity garbage in classrooms!, allowing homeless to lie on the streets, not supporting traditional families (it matters to the kids) and not demanding teachers put their materials on the web so that parents can see what brainwashing is in progress. Sorry but liberal activism in full flower and in every California office holder has not been good for the kids. Sanctuary cities and open border generosity has not and will not help the poor – not the poor kids today, not the 70,000 foster kids (leftovers from broken homes), not the struggling parents who now have to struggle more since liberals flooded the welfare and housing rolls. Why not pot in Redwood City? If we really are thinking about the kids, then we just say ‘NO’.

  6. Is it possible there is a correlation between the cavalier ways cannabis activities are being handled in Redwood City and the fact that City Councilmember Michael Smith is in the cannabis industry:

    • That would explain why Redwood City is the only city between San Francisco and San Jose that’s going to open cannabis stores.

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