Pot and politics

There’s been lots of talk about who might be running for Sacramento City Council, and who, if anyone, might give Boss K.J. a run for his considerable money.

But the body that really needs a shakeup is the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

Those seats rarely ever change hands. The most recent arrival, Phil Serna, was practically handed his seat when Roger Dickinson left it for the state Assembly.

No one has upset an incumbent county supervisor in an actual election in more than 40 years.

The Supes aren’t exactly Middle Eastern dictators, but the staid body could use a good spring cleaning.

The last person to mount a serious challenge to an incumbent was Democratic Party Activist Warren Harding—who came reasonably close (within 10 points) of unseating the incumbent Susan Peters in 2008.

It helped Harding that the 3rd District—including Arden Arcade, Carmichael, North Highlands and East Sacramento—had grown steadily more Democratic in registration over the years, and the party now holds a slight registration advantage.

Peters, by contrast, is one of the more conservative members on the board, part of an overall rightward shift of the board in the last decade. (Can we get Illa Collin back?)

Peters was part of a (failed) effort to police what people browsed on computers in public libraries; she’s been a reliable vote for developers, against needle exchange and for trying to shut down medical-marijuana shops.

Enter civil rights attorney Jeff Kravitz, who announced earlier this month that he wants to take Peters on.

Bites first met Kravitz when he was hosting a public-affairs show on KDVS called Panic Attack. The show’s theme music was David Bowie’s “Panic in Detroit,” and back then Kravitz defended strip clubs and hip-hop clubs from overzealous cops and code-enforcement officers.

He went on to try his luck as the Green Party candidate for 5th Congressional District, a seat which will probably always belong to someone named Matsui.

Nowadays, Kravitz represents a different kind of green—the medical-pot dispensaries. He’s planning on making the county’s misguided efforts to close the pot clubs one of his big campaign issues. “The county is spending $1 million to put people out of work,” Kravitz says. “They should let those businesses stay open, and let them employ people.”

Full disclosure here, the SN&R makes a good piece of its monthly nut from medical-marijuana ads. Still, you won’t find Bites shilling for the too-cute system we’ve come up with of pretending people are “patients” when they’re really just suffering from a run-of-the-mill case of needing to get good and stoned. The sooner we just legalize it, the sooner we can all cut the bullshit.

Still, voters approved Proposition 215, and Peters and Co. can’t just nullify that. They argue it’s OK to shut the clubs because county zoning codes don’t specifically allow medical pot. But if you think about it, that would exclude just about any new kind of business.

“Yoga studios aren’t in the zoning code either,” Kravitz notes.

Bites doesn’t know how strong the Kravitz campaign will be. Some other Democrats are considering a bid for Peters’ seat too—the more the merrier.

But their task will only be made more difficult by the recent round of redistricting. District 3 just lost that chunk of East Sacramento, and probably a chunk of Democratic votes as well.

Still, Kravitz hopes to raise enough money to put on a strong campaign—probably from some of the medical-pot dispensaries that Peters is trying to put out of business. Go green.