Council Tackles Marijuana Plant Limits Again
Here are the items that are grabbing my attention from the Thursday, Aug. 24, Fresno City Council meeting:
- Will the third time be a charm for the city to adopt rules on how many marijuana plants a resident can grow at home? With last year’s passage of Proposition 64, cities can’t restrict residents to less than six plants. That is how much Councilman Garry Bredefeld feels the city should allow — not a plant more. The council passed that limit back in June on an introductory vote.
But a confirmation vote is required. That didn’t happen July 20, when the vote was 3-3 because Councilman Paul Caprioglio was absent. They tried again on Aug. 3 in a meeting featuring a heated debate about marijuana. Council President Clint Olivier, a libertarian, questioned if any limit was needed. Councilman Luis Chavez, who supported the initial resolution, seemed to wonder if six plants was the correct limitation.
The council at that meeting decided to hold the vote until Thursday.
- California’s cap and trade laws mandate that carbon offsets need to be purchased to counteract pollution. The council will vote to purchase such an offset in the amount of $665,941 for the Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
The consultant the city hired to broker the deal, Evolution Markets, will net a 3.5% commission, or $22,509.
- The council will vote to award a $333,367 consulting contract to Fresno-based VRPA Technologies, Inc. to determine if a change in FAX bus service “will have a discriminatory impact based on race, color, or national origin.” Such a study is required by federal funding rules. The council rejected a similar contract last May with VRPA, citing costs. This time around, VRPA outsourced its community outreach component, shaving more than $100,000 to its price.
Another consultant contract will pay Aegis Groundwater Consulting of Fresno $123,950 for quality control and inspections of new groundwater well constructions. What’s notable is the breakdown of the hourly charges. Aegis is listing $90 an hour for “administration.” GV Wire reached out to Aegis founder Chris Johnson for an explanation, but did not receive one by time of publication of this story.
- The council will hold a confirmation vote (through the consent agenda) on a ban on camping in public or private. It passed 4-1 on Aug. 17 following nearly four hours of debate (Olivier, Caprioglio, Chavez and Steve Brandau voted in favor, Esmeralda Soria voted against it, and Bredefeld and Oliver Baines were absent). Opponents said the ban unfairly targeted the homeless community.It is unlikely anything will change one week later given the vote margin and the additional support from Mayor Lee Brand.
A quick explanation of the consent agenda: It is a group of seemingly routine items (approving grant applications and ratifying prior votes are the most common elements) in one vote. Any council member can pull an item for a separate discussion and vote.
(This post was updated 11:19 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, to include the confirmation vote on the camping ban ordinance.)