How many of you remember Laugh-In’s “Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award”? Historically, this phrase was meant to represent “an unseen and unforeseeable force that controls the direction of all living things.”
We need to bring the award back, as it pertains to the never-ending disputes and conflicts in our county pertaining to land use. That is, the perennial practice of wanting to control everything in our built environment has become not just a blood sport, but a proverbial death match. Examples include Santa Ynez residents who have been suing the Chumash for virtually anything and everything, along with their opposition to wineries, and now cannabis grows — albeit, ground zero in the war against cannabis is actually in another valley, that of Carpinteria.
The origin of today’s cannabis wars is rooted in the hope of county supervisors to reap tens of millions of dollars in marijuana tax proceeds. This despite expert testimony that the industry was slated to collapse before it got going because of over-production. Nevertheless, some supervisors hoped the millions in lost oil revenues could be replaced with cannabis tax revenues. More precisely, they chose to roll out the red carpet for pot, without regard to either the known or unforeseen impacts of the same. While rolling out the red carpet, they prepared a noose for the oil industry, which will suffer a premature death if they have their way, along with the loss of millions in tax revenue.
The plot thickens, as the people with the real beef here are the avocado growers and other farmers in the Carpinteria Valley. They have no choice but to sue everybody and their mother because they can’t protect or produce their crops due to the potential of pesticide and herbicide drift onto the marijuana grows.
The supervisors can’t roll back the red carpet they rolled out for marijuana growers, lest they get sued by the growers for the failure of business-backed expectations, i.e., the loss of their investments that were contingent on the good-faith assurance that county government would permit their operations.
Meanwhile, the pot growers are hoping and praying that large-scale hemp farms make their appearance here sooner rather than later because the smell of hemp — grown in open fields, mind you — will be orders of magnitude above and beyond what is emanating out of greenhouse marijuana grows.
We should be handing out the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Awards hand over fist to our neighbors who don’t seem to recognize a good thing while they have it. For instance, Carpinteria never lifted a finger, except the proverbial middle finger, to help the cut flower industry survive in the valley.
Moreover, most all of the oil operations in this county are remotely located and have had little to no impact on our quality of life, sans providing us with the necessities of life in the form of reliable energy.
Relatedly, I wouldn’t be surprised, should an earthquake hit the Santa Barbara Channel, that a torrential river of oil and gas emissions is unleashed from the fissures. The pressures that create these emissions have previously been relieved to some extent by offshore drilling. But none of that matters now. The supes would rather promote production of the devil’s weed while they paint the oil industry as the devil that needs to be exorcized from our economy and environment.
With regard to the fate of the fickle, maybe the oil, wine and gaming industries deserve to live. After all, they don’t smell, they add value and pay the bills, and they have been good neighbors for a very long time.