Bits and pieces

Mark Herrera, Jim Nielsen and the pot busts that have gone bust (maybe)

From where I sit in my corner office at Second and Flume streets, I can see the stump of the sycamore tree Park Commissioner Mark Herrera tried to defend two Sundays ago, when he refused to move so it could be cut down.

I hope it was worth the hassle of being arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. You’ve got to love a guy who is willing to put himself on the line for a tree. I hope none of us ever becomes so cynical that we can’t appreciate such passion.

It was a beautiful old London plane, but it was also one of about a dozen ringing the U.S. Bank triangle. It will be missed but not greatly so, I expect. Besides, it was in the way of a roundabout planned as part of the downtown couplet project. Cutting it down was a trade-off: a tree sacrificed for improved traffic flow, less pollution and more bike lanes.

Frankly, I’m more concerned about the four trees directly outside the CN&R offices, which are also slated for removal. They’re not as grand as the planetree, but they shade our building in summer. Without them we swelter and our funky old air conditioner goes on overdrive. The city has said it will try to come up with an alternative plan, but I may end up like Herrera, being hauled away by the police for trying to save our trees.

Nielsen update: Charlie Schaupp refuses to give up in his effort to get Tehama County and local Republican Party bigwigs to take seriously his charge that Assemblyman Jim Nielsen committed fraud and perjury, both felonies, when he gave a mobile home in Gerber as his domicile address when running for office in 2008 and 2010.

Lately Schaupp’s targeting the county grand jury. He’s learned that its foreman, Richard James Sol, lives next door to the Gerber residence and thus is in a position to know whether Nielsen actually lives there. He’s asked Sol and the grand jury to investigate the matter.

Schaupp, a Yolo County farmer and reserve Marine Corps officer who’s twice run unsuccessfully against Nielsen in the Republican primary, has also been talking with fellow Republicans who are active at the county level. Judging from e-mails I’ve read, some of them agree with him and want to see Nielsen gone; others agree with him but don’t want to stir the pot; and others think he’s a traitor to the party for going after such a respected leader.

Pot busts go bust: As this newspaper pointed out last December and the Chico Enterprise-Record noted in an article Sunday (Feb. 20), it’s been a long time since more than 100 cops swept down on eight local medical-marijuana dispensaries and 11 private homes looking for evidence of illegality—more than seven months, in fact.

According to the E-R report, the Sheriff’s office is still investigating the case. Dispensary operators have gotten their computers back, but not the money, documents or marijuana seized. What’s going on? Justice delayed is justice denied, as the saying goes.