Pubdate: Wed, 30 Sep 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


Three Initiatives and One Recall

Yuba County voters are already being asked to sign three petitions 
that could lead to separate special elections. Now they'll have the 
chance to sign a fourth, this one to allow medical marijuana dispensaries.

County election officials last week gave the go-ahead to dispensary 
supporters to begin gathering signatures of registered voters to 
place the matter on a special election ballot.

Observers said they could not remember when there have been as many 
petitions eligible to be circulated at the same time.

"In my 15 years in office, I have never seen this kind of activity 
through initiatives," said Supervisor Mary Jane Griego, noting 
initiatives over the last decade for a Yuba County casino and for the 
River Highlands development. "But to have four all at one time is 
unheard of for Yuba County."

Yuba County Clerk-Recorder Terry Hansen was not available Tuesday to 
comment on whether the proliferation of signature-gathering drives 
provides any hardship for her office.

But the answer may depend on how successful proponents are in 
gathering signatures. Once submitted, election officials have 30 days 
to certify enough are of registered voters to qualify for a special election.

The deadline for proponents seeking a change in land-use codes to 
allow dispensaries is Feb. 13. They need the signatures of 20 percent 
of registered voters in the county based on the last general election.

Proponents in June made a pitch to supervisors to work with 
proponents to develop an ordinance to allow dispensaries in the 
county. But supervisors took no action on the request.

Currently, there are no land-use provisions in Yuba County under 
which an application could be submitted to locate a cannabis dispensary.

Deadlines to file petitions for three other signature drives are:

This Monday to recall Supervisor Andy Vasquez. Vasquez was first 
served with recall papers in April during a Board of Supervisors 
public hearing on the new cannabis cultivation ordinance. Recall 
supporters need signatures of 25 percent of registered voters - or 
1,069  in Vasquez's 1st District to force an election.

Nov. 17 for an initiative filed by two Camptonville residents seeking 
to ban the sale of groundwater in Yuba County. They maintain pumping 
groundwater from the valley aquifer for sale elsewhere impacts wells 
in the foothills. Water officials say the areas are served by 
different aquifers, and sales from the valley aquifer have no impact 
on foothills water levels.

Jan. 19 for an initiative to replace the new county medical marijuana 
cultivation ordinance with another less restrictive. It is being 
proposed by a group called the Progressive Business Alliance.

It's difficult to project when special elections would be held even 
if the three initiatives and the recall effort gather the required 
number of signatures. It's unlikely four separate special elections 
would be required, an election official said.

Under the state election code, special elections must be held no less 
than 88 days or more than 103 days following an election order.

But there are separate provisions to consolidate special elections 
with regularly scheduled elections, such as the June 2016 primary, 
when a special election is declared within 180 days of that election.

Griego acknowledged the board's action to tighten cannabis 
cultivation restrictions is the main reason for the initiative and 
recall efforts.

"But I don't believe it's all the same people," she said. "There are 
some who want to dialogue and come in to discuss how we can meet the 
needs of people who have legitimate medical needs. There are local 
people who have real medical needs.

"It's just these outside businesses who are looking at Yuba County 
for growing and profit."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom