Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Calaveras County -- The Changes Are Not Good

Back in the late 1990s, I was in Washington state on business. While at a restaurant, a young man at the next table interrupted my conversation to ask if I was from California?

I had already met a few folks in Washington state who definitely felt a lot of hostility toward people from California. Yes, a few times by then. So I figured this was going to be just another one of those times when someone there wants to tell me how he or she hates people from California. And yes, I was right.

After I replied that I live in California, he then went on to tell me how he was "tired of California people coming to the Sound, and taking our jobs, raising our taxes, and raising the cost of living."

I laughed. And no, he didn't like that. But then his face changed when I looked him in the eye and told him that I was originally from Hawaii. I went on to tell him that I decided to live in California after getting out of the Marine Corps since most all of my immediate family had moved to California. I also told him that I used to hate California as well until I figured out jerks were found everywhere.

Besides, my living in California was my being practical about things. In the 1970s, while Hawaii was great for tourists and people with "connections" to get a job, the economy and the availability of jobs there was horrible. So like many people, I relocated to California for a better life. Yes, I relocated to the "Mainland" where opportunity to get ahead seemed a lot better.

Now as if he found a kindred spirit, he nodded his head and said, "I understand. But I'm sick and tired of people from California coming to Seattle. They sell their big homes, then they pay enormous amounts of money for homes that were half the price before they arrived. They are also taking our jobs."

Again I gave a small laugh. This time he wasn't too happy about me laughing and asked, "What's so funny?"

Since I'd already heard most of his complaint, and knew that a lot of the animosity started when Silicon Valley businesses left the high taxation and over regulation of California for the more business friendly state of Washington. And yes, for you folks who are thinking that the exodus of businesses leaving California isn't still taking place for all the same reasons, it is.

I laughed and said, "And yes, then they get here and want to change the way you live! So how's it feel?"

After seeing his dumbfounded look, before he could answer, I told him that while growing up in Hawaii, we "locals" had no problems with people from California and the rest of the "Mainland" coming to Hawaii and visiting. My family really didn't even have a problem with them coming over and wanting to live there.

I explained to him that just as with what was going on Washington state at the time, people from California, and other places in the "Mainland," moved there after selling their homes and was able to buy homes that us locals couldn't. And of course, people from out of the state came in to take the few jobs there were there. So of course, as with Washington state, property values soared and jobs were looking scarce.

Soon locals couldn't afford to own a home or find a decent job, that is other than work for the hotels which is not what I call making a "decent" living, in the place where their families called home for more than a hundred years. And while all of that pissed off a lot of people in Hawaii, and created a resentment that still lingers today, that wasn't what created the bad blood that locals have had for people from the Mainland.

No, the thing that added insult to injury was the fact that the people moving to Hawaii wanted to change Hawaii. Negatively change Hawaii. Make it what they wanted instead of leaving it the way it was.

They were hypocrites. They went to Hawaii on vacation and loved the weather, the scenery, and of course the ocean. They loved the people, and how the locals had a no rush laid back attitude. They loved the friendliness, the welcome. Yes, they loved the "Aloha" spirit. They loved it so much that they went back to where they came from with a dream of living there one day.

Some negatively changed Hawaii by bringing in things like drugs and such which were never there before. Others brought in the criminal ways. And yes, there are those who arrived in Hawaii to live their dream and make changes politically. As soon as some of them arrived, they wanted to get on the school boards and the city council to make "changes." Because of this, a lot of locals saw the people from the "Mainland" as negatively changing the way we lived while being unwilling to assimilate.

On the other side, the people from the Mainland, fought politically to make changes to the way everyone lived somehow thinking they knew what was best for others. And yes, they did achieve their goal as they soon turned Oahu Hawaii into Los Angeles and San Francisco all in one.

You see, they said they wanted to live in the Hawaii that they visited, but in reality they wanted to make Hawaii into the very place they just left.  And today, today Oahu's traffic and overcrowding resembles Los Angeles. And as for it's politics, it truly resembles ultra-liberal San Francisco.

The young man looked at me and agreed. He said Puget Sound was a different place before the people from California started arriving and making changes. He said they tried to turn that area into "California North." And yes, he admitted that that's what bothered him the most. It was people coming in and negatively changing their way of life, and thinking they had the right to do so.

He mentioned how those relocating to the Seattle area were anti-gun in a state with a great tradition of hunting. He said every crazy Liberal in California went there and immediately wanted to raise taxes and bring in more government regulations. And yes, it pissed him off because he wanted them to simply go back to where they came from -- and take their ultra-liberal ideas of change with them.

Over the years, I've come to realize that what took place in Hawaii and Washington state is also going on in other states where people from California move to even today. And yes, many of my readers write to tell me that's the case in places like Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. I read your and fully understand your complaints about some of the jerks who have relocated to your states from this state.

So let's talk about unwanted changes in Calaveras County

When I moved to Calaveras County, I didn't want to change a thing. I loved the way it is and has been, it's rich history, it's people, my great neighbors. I assimilated into this place. I didn't disturb the great life here.

Too bad others cannot say the same. And yes, from what I understand, animosity for people from the San Francisco Bay Area has been around here for many years. Long time residents don't like many who have moved here with the desire to turn Calaveras County into the San Francisco Bay Area.

Most folks in these parts can tell if someone is from the Bay Area very easily. You can tell because they are in a rush, they are rude, they drive too fast along two lane roads that were never intended for such speeds, they tailgate, they won't move over and let others pass, and they like to flaunt their money. Oh, and yes, they immediately want to install their liberal ideas to make changes to how people live here.

For example, some Liberals have this notion that private property means nothing. They believe that they should be able to hike, cross, wonder on, and basically trespass on your property whenever they feel like it. I was even told that they have formed political groups to help make such things legal.

Friends, this area is one where most folks hunt and have guns, and are now worried about people raiding the wrong properties looking for marijuana to steal. It's not a great idea to think you have some sort of right by way of the United Nations to walk up on another person's property uninvited. It is very dumb.

Since my last article, Calaveras County -- Don't Move Heresome folks have written to tell me how I'm way off base in my fact finding. Some have said the real problem stems from meth and alcohol. Some have told me that I'm against pot and that my drinking is the real problem in our county. Of course, they have no idea that I hardly ever drink but that doesn't matter.

One person wrote to tell me that the vineyards going in are creating problems as well. For the man who wrote a Facebook comment saying how I did not mention in my article that vineyards are creating problems as well, I did reply.

I asked if he knew first hand of the criminal element that accompanies grapes? I asked if he knew of any grape growers who were creating toxic dump sites and pouring the chemicals used to raise THC levels into the ground, or onto their neighbor's properties? I asked if there has been any incidents of armed individuals raiding vineyards and stealing grapes? I asked if he knew of any neighbors who had their families threatened from grape growers?

And yes, I ask him if he knew of any grape growers who were growing grapes illegally? I informed him that if he had that information, that I could use it in this article. I have not received a response from him. Of course, I don't expect a response.

When I post my last article on my Facebook timeline, a great number of people came forward to defend the pot growers. Since many don't live in this county and has no clue what is taking place here, I really don't care what they have to say. Frankly, as we all know, not knowing what you're talking about or not be affected by a situation has never stopped people from telling others how to live. And that's how I look at those folks.

Of course some have told me that marijuana has been here for years and our crime rate is low without too many incidents reported, and that I didn't know what I was talking about. Some have said that I've over exaggerated the problems, that the county is actually very safe.

Some are saying that people like me who wants it limited, supposedly I like government regulation and paying taxes and following the rules. If he ever read any of my posts, he would know real well how much I'm against over-regulation. But friends, some things, especially one like pot that has a criminal element attached to it, needs regulating. And yes, it needs it now.

By the way, the same genius who posted that in Facebook also stated that "the millions in taxes that cannabis growers pay to the county, will help rid the county of the thugs, cartels and bad actors."

My reply is that that's not true. In reality, the money that the county has received from commercial pot licences has gone toward administration uses. And frankly, now we the residents of this county are being told that the funds collected is not going to cover the cost of monitoring the growers. In fact, funds are now going to have to be taken from other county services and directed to the marijuana problems that we are now facing.

Also, there is a real possibility in the future that residents of Calaveras County may be looking at a rise in our property taxes to cover the funds being taken from other services. All because our county sees a shortfall because of the money needed to address the problems arising because of pot growers.

To say that the pot has been here for a long time and it isn't that big a deal is being disingenuous at best. Fact is, though it has been in the county for years, the number of pot growers has never been close to this magnitude.

And frankly, there is part of the problem. The County Supervisors have not allocated any funds for law enforcement. Inspections yes, but not for more deputized Sheriff's Department personnel. And friends, our small Sheriff's Department does a great job with the few Deputies it has -- but it doesn't have the manpower to handle this situation.

This coming election Measure C places a on the ballot. Because of the fact that right now, our Sheriff's Department does not have to manpower and he cannot get assistance from the state. That is why the upcoming election is so important.

We all must vote YES on Measure C to place fees on the growers who are making millions of dollars, to help pay for more law enforcement and equipment. We want to vote NO on Measure D to stop the farce of feel good legislation being passed. Measure D does not help the situation, it makes it worse.

Why is it so important to regulate and tax pot growers? 

First, they tout that they are a cash crop great for the county. If that's the case, then let's eliminate the future financial burden that our county will be incurring with all of these growers being here. Let them pay for being here, no different than other businesses -- if they are indeed a legal business.

Since I know of no other legal "business" that has the criminal element associated with it as pot growers have, let them pay for growing and the services it takes for them to do so freely.

Second, Calaveras County already has a meth problem. Resources will now have to taken from that battle and now reallocated to deal with illegal commercial pot farms. That means needed resources to deal with both legal and illegal pot farms, and the criminal element that accompany them, will be shifted and not be available for other county services. That in itself negatively impacts our county.

Oh, as for the individual who said I was over-exaggerating the criminal element of what's taking place here, or about the concern with out-of-state criminals being here, here's some proof of that by way of a couple of incidents that's taken place in the last week. From The Calaveras Enterprise, exactly how it was reported:

Illegal cannabis grow broken up and six arrested in Railroad Flat

Suspects from East Coast and Bay Area

October 11, 2016

Six men were arrested and cannabis plants and products with a street value of about $2 million were destroyed by the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office Friday morning after deputies served a search warrant at 2500 Spruce Creek Road in Rail Road Flat, according to statement from Sheriff Rick DiBasilio.

The cannabis grow was unregistered and illegal, according to DiBasilio.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Anthony Eberhardt said Tuesday that nearly 1,000 plants were collected and destroyed. DiBasilio said 150 pounds of processed marijuana was also collected and destroyed. Eberhardt said the value of the products were nearly $2 million.

Arrested at the grow site and booked into Calaveras County jail on felony cannabis cultivation charges were Ho Lam, 66, and Thu Le Tu, 59, both of 1445 Olympic Drive in San Jose, Tien Nguyen, 57, of Stanton Island, N Y., and Hung Nguyen, 45, Du Tran, 56, and Tin Son, 47, all of Worcester, Mass.

All the suspects were released on bond, according to the Sheriff’s felony booking log. 

DiBasilio reported that "numerous code and environmental violations were observed at the scene."

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Angels Camp Police Department and Public Works Department assisted in the operation, he said.

-- end of article.

Thirty cannabis plants stolen from Wilseyville property

October 6, 2016

Approximately 30 marijuana plants were stolen from a commercial grow site in Wilseyville on Wednesday afternoon, according to Calaveras County Sheriffs Office.

The suspects were still believed to be on the property when sheriff’s deputies arrived to grow site on Mitchell Mill Road at 6:31 p.m. but, upon further investigation, no suspects were found, the sheriff reported.

The crime is being classified as a grand theft by the sheriff’s office. No arrests have been made.

-- end of article.

Now here is something to think about during this discussion.

Supporters of commercial marijuana grows want to try to divert the attention off of the topic of our security and safety concerns.  The issue is the bad actors associated with the grows, not the pot itself.

They don't want to talk about pot growing and the problems that it brings. They want to twist the truth and say this is supposedly about limiting the availability of marijuana. They are trying to get people to believe that this is a fight over one's "right to smoke pot."

Those who are supporting illegal growers are attempting to demonize us who are worried about the criminal activity associated with the product. This is not about pot or its medical wonders. It is about criminal activity and the negative changes that that brings. And friends, I honestly don't think the majority of people out there care if someone smokes pot or not. I know I seriously don't care one way or another.

Knowing that, please don't be fooled by people who are saying, "This is about marijuana." It is not about marijuana. It is about commercial growing on a magnitude never been seen before and the crime associated with it.

The above article by the The Calaveras Enterprise gives a great example of where the outsiders are coming from and who they are. The incidents above and those that I spoke about in my first post, Calaveras County -- Don't Move Here are real.

We are now experiencing crime and negative changes to our county from the outside as never before. I was told that the majority of the pot growers flooding the county are not from here. While doing my research, I was told that the problems are coming from outside of our county.

No, I'm not crazy about the quality of some of people moving here. They are coming here to negatively change the way we live. To negatively impact our community. To intimidate and threaten. To make Calaveras County the same as any Bay Area county.

While the legal growers need to be regulated, the illegal growers need to be stopped. Like it or not, whether you are a pot smoker or not, the fact is that there is the criminal element associated with pot. They bring changes that are not good for our county.

And frankly, many of us are not happy that they're here now. And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa


  1. The legal growers don't bother me a bit and I don't know any of them that are making millions. (considering there is a limit to the number of plants they are allowed to grow) Maybe the illegal growers but I don't know any of them either. I would guess the illegal ones don't follow the rules anyway so that would be a possibility that they are making millions. It's kind of like gambling casinos. They are here in certain areas, they may or may not be what everyone wants but the county's concerned are making money from them and that probably won't change as long as money is indeed being made. Instead of stomping my feet and screaming about it I would rather learn to deal with it and see what happens after a few years. It may peter out due to over commercialization or it may take off. It's too soon to tell. Wineries are everywhere and they produce alcohol which is one of the curses of the communities and societies we live in but no one here is worried about that. Drunk driving is a big issue in almost every community but we have, as a nation just kind of learned to live with it. It isn't something we dwell on. This too will pass and become just another irritation to some people but not all.

  2. Dude. You are an awesome writer. However, you should've seen Calaveras in the 80's. It was wild! Crazy. (The Speed freak killers and Wilseyville murderers to name a few). People would drink and ride their horses. So... I think you're stirring up a pot that doesn't need stirring. Calaveras is great, and you can't tell locals how to be because locals just don't like that sort of thing. As for the Bay Area peeps, I grew up with neighbors who came up from the Bay Area, and they were/are wonderful. Calaveras has been and always will be a wild place. I enjoy what you wrote about Hawaii. Maybe focus on that instead of trying to make this area perfect because it's just too wild to be that way. Have a nice day. ~ a goldminer's daughter

  3. Well said. I am in complete agreement.

  4. 3 out 4 commercial pot growers near me are "bad actors". I was terrorized and threatened with the firing of assault weapons whenever they heard me near my property line, which was almost everyday, by the first pot growers. They would shoot all hours of the day and night, 7 days a week. When they finally left last year we had 2 out of state LLCs buy land Mar. 2016 just down the road on either side of us. They have a straw man for the applicant and hired thugs to run the operations. They too intimidate the neighbors, one of which made a serious threat to harm a neighbor after trapping him on a public road, then later on threatened another neighbor when they greeted him with AR15s. My life, freedom and community has been taken away from me so that investors could grow commercial drugs in our neighborhood. I cant sell my nice stick house because pot growers invest in pot not stick homes and nobody wants to raise a family in a house surrounded by commercial pot grows because of all the bad elements that drug brings. Welcome to Cannabis County and no it's not good.

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  6. I don't know about you but I would never live in California even if my life depended on it. I might try out Texas or Arizona or even New Mexico but not there. The crazy laws you have and the people. Don't think I would ever live there.


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