Pubdate: Tue, 03 Apr 2012
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Chip Johnson


On many fronts, Oakland is in dire need of federal assistance.

The city needs help reducing violent crime and would benefit from the 
feds' expertise in investigating allegations of government corruption.

Unfortunately, Oakland doesn't need the kind of help federal 
authorities are giving us now.

On Monday, officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration, 
Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Marshals Service raided Oaksterdam 
University, the state's first school for people in the cannabis 
industry, and the apartment of its founder, the outspoken and 
wheelchair-bound Richard Lee.

Thank goodness. Now I can sleep at night.

Because for all the shootings and murders and break-ins and violence 
occurring on the streets of Oakland every day, the mere thought that 
Lee, who was detained and questioned, is out there rolling around the 
streets of our city is absolutely terrifying. He certainly qualifies 
as Public Enemy No. 1 in our town.

Is this some poor, misguided attempt at federal humor?

Lee is about as menacing as a litter of kittens.

Around 7 a.m., federal authorities broke down the door and entered 
the school on Broadway at 16th Street. Once inside, authorities shut 
down a dispensary and seized sacks full of marijuana plants.

If federal authorities were truly interested in helping Oakland, they 
would help us carry the piano instead of merely grabbing pillows from 
the sofa and expecting us to be thankful.

And if any federal decisionmaker doubted the depth of Oakland's 
continuing troubles, Monday's mass shooting at a Christian college 
should have made it clear.

Right around the same time the feds were protecting us by tearing 
down a legally formed business, a gunman opened fire and killed 
several people in an East Oakland classroom at Oikos University.

It would be in the best interests of everyone if law enforcement 
efforts in Oakland focused on taking down the real bad guys - the 
ones shooting other people.

Oaksterdam University isn't the problem the city needs federal 
assistance to curb. And Richard Lee isn't the biggest danger to 
others in this city. Not by a longshot.

It is counterintuitive to use three federal law enforcement agencies 
to close a marijuana school and dispensary while ignoring illegal 
street drug operations in Oakland that continue to thrive, causing 
more violence.

Oakland is at the forefront of the national debate over medical 
marijuana, and the City Council emphatically supports the policy. It 
recently approved initial plans to open more dispensaries.

Even if the state and federal government are at odds over whether 
California can allow the sale of medicinal pot, the priorities of law 
enforcement should remain in place.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom