NOW WITH VIDEO! Mayor Harry Sidhu Votes to Legalize Cannabis Dispensaries in Anaheim.

.

.

.

The Anaheim Mayor with his “pot entrepeneur” son Rohan, on a bed of weed.

… and then, 28 minutes later, he changed that vote retroactively to a NO, claiming that he was “confused” about what he was voting on!  Was the Mayor high on something?

Harry has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, and it appears he changed his vote AFTER he realized that the measure had FAILED, and that he had just made a controversial vote that didn’t even end up having any concrete benefit to his Chamber of Commerce funders (who’d originally pushed for the motion) OR to his “pot entrepeneur” son Rohan.  (If he didn’t happen to be the Mayor, he may not have been allowed to change his vote after the fact like that.)

Remember, this measure – to repeal Anaheim’s current bans on marijuana dispensaries and “regulate cannabis distribution, manufacturing, cultivation, retail sale, deliveries and testing laboratories,” was only put on the agenda thanks to MAYOR HARRY SIDHU providing a “third” to a motion from the very pot-enthusiastic Lucille Kring and Jordan Brandman on April 21. 

Moreno – a different set of priorities.

(It used to be a councilperson only needed a SECOND vote to put an item on the next meeting’s agenda, but last year, in an effort to keep Jose Moreno‘s items off, Harry changed the rule to THREE. In fact, here’s a good place to consider just a few of the items that Jose has been unable to get onto the agenda even for discussion, thanks to this “third” rule)…

  • putting a rent cap on mobile home parks, some of whose owners have been raising rents exorbitantly;
  • putting a rent cap on apartments, some of whose owners were raising rents exorbitantly (until the state stepped in);
  • extending no-cause eviction protection planned by the state for January 2020 into the final months of 2019; 
  • publicizing the city-ordered appraisal for the Angels Stadium property;
  • granting more time for public review and input over the Stadium deal;
  • a vast array of campaign finance reform measures;
  • dedicating the day May 30 to Anaheim’s graduates who were denied a ceremony by COVID-19;
  • and just last night, passing a “Black Lives Matter” resolution… (and much more I’ll remember later.)

So, those are the sort of things that Jose Moreno has been unable to get onto the council agenda for lack of a third, but Mayor Sidhu happily provided a third for bringing cannabis dispensaries into Anaheim.

**********************

Rohan Sidhu, chilling at the pad.

Then, investigative journalist Duane Roberts discovered that Harry’s 23-year old son Rohan, who lives with Harry in his vast palatial Anaheim Hills mansion, is in fact a “pot entrepeneur” – see Duane’s story “Anaheim Cannabis Push Could Make Mayor Sidhu’s Son a Wealthy Man!”

Reaction to that revelation of what would appear to be a conflict of interest to just about any normal person led Harry to consult with the City Attorney, who told his boss there wasn’t really any conflict, BUT to avoid even any APPEARANCE of conflict, “in an abundance of caution®,” he recused himself from the discussion at the May 12 meeting.  And then sent in a letter to the FPPC for advice on the matter.

And a couple days ago the FPPC, which in reality is just about the mildest little watchdog you can imagine, wrote back that NO, thanks for asking, you can perfectly well go ahead and vote on this matter without conflict.  So Harry began discussion on this item last night by proudly announcing his official lack of conflict, and that he would be participating in the discussion but couldn’t yet say how or whether he would vote.

(I kind of wish I hadn’t dared him publicly so many times to vote FOR it;  somebody must have told him how controversial pot still is in this somewhat backward town, and how much his “yes” vote will help his recall.)

Stephen can hold his head up this time, I guess.

And although he announced he’d be part of the discussion, he uttered NOT A WORD pro or con.  Even when Denise Barnes demanded to know his opinion, he chided her like a nosy child.  O’Neil, Barnes and Faessel remained adamant ANTI-POT votes.  You could practically hear Stephen Faessel pounding his fist on the table like Churchill:  “This is something I BELIEVE IN, this will be my LEGACY vote!”  Jeez, what pressure he must have been under from the Chamber – but at least now he can make a proud defiant face instead of a pained humiliated face!

So there was no way measure 28 (the measure that legalizes and regulates dispensaries) was gonna pass without both Harry and Jose, and Jose played the coquette at long length, wringing out several concessions from Jordan and Lucille, both of whom seem to be drooling for this to happen.  They agreed to change 600 feet from schools etc to 750 feet.  They agreed to language to prevent adjacent pot shops.  They limited the number of dispensaries to 18 max total; 3 max per council district.

PROBABLY BECAUSE OF ALL OF THAT, Harry assumed Jose was going to vote yes, which JOSE DID NOT.  So Harry cast a useless yes vote, and then had it changed after he realized it had failed.  (Took him 28 minutes to realize that, apparently – I bet he got a text or call.)  LOL.  He said he was “confused.”  And Jose taunted, “Mayor, we CLEARLY heard you say YES.”

There was a LOT more that happened in this discussion and the ensuing one over the related tax measure (which also failed.)  High drama, slapstick hilarity – all you have come to expect from Anaheim Council meetings!  But I can’t get to the video right now, it actually says “PERMISSION DENIED.” 

LOL again, or rather LMAO – are they trying to edit out Harry’s yes vote?  I’ll write more here when that video comes up tonight or tomorrow, but for now I wanted all of you to know – MAYOR HARRY SIDHU VOTED YES ON CANNABIS DISPENSARIES IN ANAHEIM!  (Before he voted no.)

************

Here you go, made this back in July, but forgot all about this story! …


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.