Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jul 2012
Source: Times-Herald, The (Vallejo, CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Times-Herald
Author: Morgan Hannigan


I have been a resident of Vallejo for more than a decade. My 
formative years were spent here, and under the protection of a name 
that has followed me everywhere my entire life. I have a cousin who 
was an assistant district attorney here, who is married to a man who 
was a police officer here, who is the brother in law of my cousin 
Erin, whom I am certain most of you are familiar with.

I always felt as though Vallejo police were well prioritized. I may 
not have always felt safe, but I was certain that efforts of police 
in my town were well directed. I was present and accounted for during 
the third (June 22) raid of Better Health Group by the police. 
Following this experience, I have decided that I no longer feel the 
same way that I felt growing up.

My confidence in our local government, elected officials, and 
executive arm of those groups (the police) is decimated, if not 
eliminated. I loved Vallejo -- I volunteered with a few different 
nonprofits in town, and when the MMDs or collectives (pay attention 
to that vernacular) started opening in town, I quickly caught on to 
the notion that they had an excellent ability to help our community. 
They have a strong community that has been repressed for a long 
period of time. This always leads to radical and revolutionary 
efforts -- look at Malcolm X, MLK, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, 
Albert Hoffman, and Cesar Chavez.

They were also nonprofits, with an interest in partnering and making 
donations to other nonprofits. Advertisement I attended a meeting 
held by Fighting Back Partnership, where I first met Jorge Espinoza, 
Matt Shotwell, and a few other operators, whom I exchanged numbers 
with quickly, thanked for their honesty and willingness to attend the 
meeting, and left. The next week, over a discussion of dire financial 
straits at one of the nonprofits I was volunteering with, the idea 
dawned on me that these collectives would be willing to help.

I promptly made appointments with all the collectives I could, and 
asked for donations to help. The list of people who had made those 
donations bears a striking resemblance to the collectives that have 
been raided. In fact, BHG, Greenwell, Red Dog, LES, and Nature's Love 
make up that entire list. These collectives were also proponents of 
Vallejo's Measure C, which has brought far more money than the city 
anticipated, despite efforts to close collectives and despite certain 
collectives' unwillingness to pay taxes, or get politically involved. 
That collective has remained untouched -- and when I had sought out 
donations, then too, they were unwilling to make a donation. I wonder 
if Vallejo might have looked to the collectives in town to purchase 
fireworks for the Fourth of July show.

After going to virtually every city council meeting that touched on 
the issue of medical cannabis, I am left with a feeling that my 
suggestions fell on deaf ears, or were shot down. I honestly felt as 
though some on the dais at the last meeting were snickering at my 
fear. My efforts now are nearly entirely devoted to moving out of 
Vallejo, because I don't want to be shot down like my suggestions, 
for good. In a town that has had a recent rash of police 
officer-involved shootings, ending in death, a recent rash of medical 
cannabis collective raids might be overlooked. I believe the 
shootings that have occurred only exemplify the fear felt by the 
public at the hands of the police.

I urge our new police chief to attempt to open a dialogue with the 
community, rather than continue the old tactic of not letting the 
left hand know what the right hand is doing. I, for one, will not 
wait around to see if this will be the case. What I perceive to be 
the rampant corruption -- and brutality -- of the police will be the 
reason I give when my new neighbors ask why I have brought my 
vitality, volunteerism, activism, and involvement to my new 
community. I don't feel as though change will come quick enough, or 
as thoroughly as need be, to Vallejo. I feel as though the good old 
boys' network, as it has been referred to, will run this town into 
the ground, at their own benefit -- for as long as there is a town to run.

Bankruptcy will not solve our problems -- dissolution might be the 
only means to the end.

Wait, I mean YOUR problems.

Morgan Hannigan

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom