Pot, Police, and Pirates

Beware of getting news from articles that only quote the police. In the March 25 Lakeco News there was an article about the first big bust under Clearlake’s new marijuana regulations. The problem is one fact is wrong and the interesting half of the story is missing. The police embellishment about all the alarms at the grow is a lie. The alarms are all on my property 4 parcels away from the grow. I marked off the distance to the grow to look up the street number. No alarms went off as I got near the grow’s fence.

There was indeed a marijuana grow on 6089 and 6109 Vallejo in Clearlake. Ho hum, it happens all the time. But Officer Celli did not mention that the big bust swept far beyond the scope of the newly fenced in compound, and I’m certain, the narrow confines of their search warrant. Specifically, the police bounced over three heavily wooded lots and continued their eradication mission uphill to my knoll, starting with 15787 Yankee and 6009 Vallejo. But there was nothing to eradicate at this second location. That is because this is where I have been building experimental video and theater sets for nearly 20 years. I’m also creating a research library in a cargo container, which doubles as a video set.

Before I arrived on my knoll the officers apparently got bored with the professionally fenced in yard and turned their attention on the interlocked Manzanita branch barricade and heavy steel no trespassing sign at my entrance. One officer confided in me that they thought a branch barricade is typical of marijuana grows which is why they unceremoniously tore it down, breaking the interlocking structure.

Of course, a Manzanita branch barricade could also be the product of artistic sensibilities and having been the victim of 16 devastating burglaries and numerous perimeter penetrations on foot and dirt bike. But the police were not thinking anything except marijuana on this day and were not taking the time to learn that this was the very same site they had been to on numerous occasions in 2010 on harassment sorties directed by City Hall. They were on a roll…or is it a frenzy. It must be a frenzy because they tore out my driveway alarm and it disappeared.

When I rode up on my bicycle before work the police were staged on my neighbor’s illegal dump site. They were naturally curious who I was. I gave them my ID and answered all their questions. Why not? I figured they were there about the grow 4 lots downhill from my knoll. If I had known they had already ransacked my property, soiled props, and impounded my dog Ruby from her run I would not have been so friendly and cooperative. In the course of our conversation when they realized I was not a pot grower and had intelligence equal to the entire Clearlake Police Department they admitted they “moved” some of my upper perimeter barriers. For reasons that totally baffled me, the more serious cop seemed annoyed that I even had any kind of intrusion deterrent.

I left Clearlake’s finest to survey my now ignored knoll. It was a mess. Theater hats were thrown around and storage bins left open. I noticed one hat from a set of pirate hats in a bush. Then I realized that Ruby was gone. Did she break her chain defending her territory? Did the police shoot her but not tell me to maximize my cooperation? A two page notice from animal control was posted – “protective custody”, Section blah blah “mandatory spay”, Section blah blah “rabies shot”. Bullshit! She’s been spayed and has a current rabies shot. And who is being protected from who? I’m going to have to rescue Ruby tomorrow from her alien abductors. Today I have to go to work driving a bus.

I wonder if it occurred to any of these mental giants that with my barricades torn down, alarms stolen, and guard dog impounded my property is now completely vulnerable in one of the highest crime areas in Clearlake. As I went by the damaged Manzanita I spotted another one of my pirate hats on a branch. Why is it down here? I push my bike by the dump site and there’s three more pirate hats in a garbage pile. Nothing else from the knoll, just my pirate hats. I asked the cops, “Why are these here?” They just said, “Take them.” The serious cop walked off. I told the younger cop, “I’m on a mandatory 6 day work week due to driver shortage. I don’t have time for all this.”

I worked my shift very distracted. Is my dog suffering? And what were the police doing with all my pirate hats? Were they milking the clock playing pirate with my hats? After work I called my girl friend Lorna about my police invasion and Ruby’s abduction. She offered to come by in the morning. We didn’t know what documents animal control would require to release my dog. I went to the vet to get copies of her records. I knew where the dogs are held but where is the person in charge? We stopped in for coffee and a policeman in line offered to call animal control. No one answered but he was sure he saw her earlier at City Hall.

I called on the phone outside of the police department. Two women came out. The one in charge generously offered to wave the 50 dollar abduction fee and would call the kennel keeper to release Ruby. The boss’s back-up said another reason they came on my property was because I was uphill from the grow area so I must be a look-out. What?!! I’m a suspect because of something going on 200 feet downhill from my property? Are properties uphill from me responsible for what I do deep in the brush?

Oh yes, and she brought up the barricade again. I said, “Look, the reason it looks like a white supremacist compound is because I keep on getting hit again and again. And I’m planning to do a lot more starting with trail cameras that I bought.” If nothing else, next time it should keep the cops from mincing around in my pirate hats while they make each other walk the plank. Unless of course they steal the cameras.

We picked up Ruby at the lock down and Ruby squealed with delight. Lorna got us home and I got to work. It was another distracted day but not as distracted as the day before. I feel violated. I want some answers. And I want to see some paperwork from the Chief of Police. Anyone know a good 4th Amendment lawyer?

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