By Cheri Harris

A serious matter


To the Editor:

Mayor Baze has stated repeatedly that city council members and citizens should have known many months ago about the pot shop. He said there were presentations before the city council, numerous city council discussions on the subject, and newspaper articles. In the Oct. 29 Sentinel, page A1, the mayor is quoted as saying, “Well, it was broadcasted that 650 Llama Lane on Dec 30 was one of those addresses” [proposed for pot shops]. Yet in the same article, page A6, the mayor indicated that he did not know that the business applying for license at 650 Llama Lane would be a marijuana store until the application was received on Sep 5. of this year. Dan Byers did not indicate the nature of the retail store when he applied for the building permit, and it could have been any number of things, the mayor said. Several statements made by the mayor in the article could lead one to believe that by the time it became known that the business was to be a pot shop, there was not enough time to prevent its opening.

Those statements are conflicting, and we now know that Mayor Baze knew more than five months ago the precise nature of the business that was to occupy 650 Llama Lane. The proof is the Notice of Marijuana License Application, dated June 6, 2014, and printed on the front page of the Nov. 19 Sentinel. The Notice was sent to the Mayor of Goldendale by the Washington State Liquor Control Board in June, but was withheld from the city council by the mayor until he was pressed to reveal it on Nov. 3. Mayor Baze had the information back in June when there was plenty of time to pass an ordinance to keep pot stores from opening in Goldendale. His withholding of the information allowed a marijuana retailer to apply for a business license before the city council passed the moratorium, so now our city is besmirched with a pot shop.

I don’t know which is more upsetting and outrageous: that the mayor appears to have intentionally deceived the city council and his/their constituents, or that the mayor believes the opening of a marijuana store is of no greater consequence than the opening of a pizzeria. Both are legal in this state, he reasons, and to treat them unequally would be unfair. Both may be legal, but they are certainly not equal. One is not good. The majority of people in Goldendale agree. They have expressed by vote the belief that marijuana is wrong and they do not want it in their city. The State Attorney General says we have the right to prohibit marijuana growing, processing, and sales in our city. This pot shop has been foisted upon the voters; now that’s what I call unfair.

Regardless of one’s beliefs about marijuana, it should greatly concern us all that our mayor did not inform the city council of the Liquor Control Board’s Notice of Marijuana License Application. This was not an insignificant matter. The mayor unilaterally made the decision to approve the applicant by not responding to the notice. He did not seek the counsel of the city council on this critical matter. In fact, he withheld vital information from them that would likely have resulted in the opposite outcome.

Mayor Baze says he’s just doing his job. I think Goldendale would be better served if he changed jobs.


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