Pubdate: Thu, 08 Feb 2001
Source: Marin Independent Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Marin Independent Journal
Contact:  150 Alameda del Prado, Novato, CA 94949
Author: Richard Halstead
Cited: American Medical Marijuana Association


Marin county District Attorney Paula Kamena yesterday came out
swinging at the people who have forced her into a May 22 recall
election, saying that they perhaps included drug dealers.

"I am fighting a recall that is the work of a small-minded group of
disgruntled litigants who had their day in court and lost. This is a
really bizarre situation," Kamena said at a press conference.

The District Attorney repeatedly emphasized that the group that
gathered the 13,942 valid signatures, which made the $500,000 special
election necessary, has refused to reveal who paid for hired signature

"Until they come out of the shadows and we know who they are, then we
might be led to believe this recall effort is perhaps supported by
drug dealers," Kamena said. "Are these the people who sell drugs to
our kids? I don't know but I sure would like to."

Kamena's sharp words were echoed by retired Marin Superior Court Judge
William Stephens, one of four people who spoke on her behalf yesterday.

Stephens described the recall as "a fraud being perpetrated on the
citizens of this county" and "a form of political terrorism."

"The primary interest of those seeking to advance the petition is to
have the District Attorney look away when marijuana is used by those
beyond the intended purpose of the (Prop. 215) initiative," Stephens

Kamena also was given a strong vote of confidence by Marin County
Sheriff Robert Doyle, Marin County Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane
Burke and Patricia Garbarino, president of Marin Resource Recovery
Center. A enthusiastic group of more than 50 cheering supporters
turned out for the press event, held at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel
in San Rafael.

Some who were not there, however, reacted differently to Kamena's

"I think Paula Kamena is in very deep trouble - if this is her way to
defend herself by attacking me with lies and allusions to this drug
war hysteria," said Lynnette Shaw, who spearheaded the recall effort,
after it was initiated by a group angry over child-custody decisions
in the Marin courts.

Shaw insists that the law allows her to withhold information on the
source of her funds, although the state's Fair Political Practices
Commission disagrees.

"They're just witch-hunting," Shaw said, regarding the request for

Shaw is the founding director of Marin's only medical marijuana
dispensary, Fairfax's Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana.

She contends the District Attorney has failed to properly implement
Proposition 215 because Kamena told local law enforcement officers she
will prosecute anyone who possesses more than six mature marijuana
plants, twelve immature plants, or more than a half pound of dried

Kamena noted yesterday that the petition requesting the recall made no
mention of medical marijuana or Proposition 215. Nevertheless, some
people who signed the petition have said they were told otherwise,
Kamena said.

"Please remember," said Shaw. "We turned in 20,691 signatures. Out of
all those, only four people complained they were misled or confused on
the concept."

Kamena explained that the recall petition actually accused her of
acting in a criminal conspiracy by prosecuting Carol Mardeusz of
Novato for committing perjury and attempting to abduct her own daughter.

Custody of the girl had been granted to the father after a Sonoma
County court battle that included accusations of drug use and child
abuse. Mardeusz got in trouble after trying to take custody of her
daughter by serving fraudulent papers on officials at the girl's school.

This was after a Sonoma judge had barred Mardeusz from seeing the girl
in 1998 because Mardeusz refused to comply with a court's order that
she undergo a mental evaluation. After she submitted to an evaluation
last year, prison psychologists found that Mardeusz suffered from a
"delusional disorder."

In July, a Marin jury convicted Mardeusz of five felonies and two
misdemeanors, after deliberating for less than a day. She is currently
serving a nine-month sentence at Marin County Jail in San Rafael.

Kamena said yesterday that although her recall was sparked by the
Mardeusz case, the effort was appropriated by "opportunistic marijuana

She noted that she is not the only district attorney under attack due
to their enforcement of marijuana laws.

The American Medical Marijuana Association, an advocacy group
supporting the legalization of medical marijuana nationwide, has said
it is contemplating recall efforts in Sonoma, Placer, Shasta and El
Dorado counties.

Shaw has said members of the association helped gather signatures for
the recall petition.

Steve Kubby, the association's founder and national director, has said
the success of the recall effort in Marin sparked interest in
launching similar campaigns elsewhere.

Authorities confiscated 265 marijuana plants from Kubby's Olympic
Valley home in January, 1999. A Placer county jury deadlocked 11-1 on
the marijuana charges and prosecutors haven't decided whether to seek
a retrial.

Kamena said it is important to defeat the Marin recall "so it doesn't
spread throughout the state."

The District Attorney made available envelopes yesterday for
submitting contributions to defeat the recall. She currently has
$13,156 in her campaign account, which could be used in the effort. Of
that amount, nearly $7,000 has been contributed since the recall
petition was submitted in November.

So far, no one has filed papers to run against Kamena in the recall.
Prospective candidates have until Feb. 21 to make up their minds.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake