Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux used his appearance at this month’s Three Rivers Town Hall meeting on Monday, March 2, to make it official:
“Deputy Frick is now your permanent resident deputy,” he announced.
Boudreaux said Deputy Frick, with his experience and familiarity with Three Rivers, is a good fit for the job. The naming of Frick should come as no surprise to most locals.
Deputy Frick, who has been assigned the Three Rivers beat since last summer, has made the transition a seamless one to replace former resident deputy Scott Doyle. Deputy Doyle was granted an extended leave to deal with a family medical emergency.
Deputy Frick said that it will be a few months until he is actually moved into a house in Three Rivers but it’s the job he has wanted for several years.
Also at the town meeting, Dana Dierkes, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks public information officer, announced that Ned Kelleher, formerly the Kings Canyon subdistrict ranger was recently promoted to the parks’ chief ranger post, filling the position recently vacated by Kevin Hendricks.
The first cases Deputy Frick worked after he arrived last summer involved raids on clandestine marijuana grow sites in Three Rivers. Monday night’s program on medical marijuana, he said, was intended to be a refresher on the local ordinance and remind everyone of the protocol relative to Tulare County’s enforcement of state and federal marijuana laws.
Two members of the Sheriff’s Department SWAT team explained what they are encountering when they receive intelligence that pot is being grown at a particular site. The largest of these grow sites are often located on public lands but more are being discovered in rural and residential sections of the valley floor.
Indoor grow sites are becoming a health problem because they promote mold and utilize chemicals where children are present. Faulty wiring, sometimes used to bypass meters and steal electricity, have started a number of fires.
“When you see the telltale glow from the grow lights, it’s obvious what’s going on,” said one of the presenters. “When we get a tip or a complaint we arrange a visit to the property.”
Many of the growers use the marijuana cards to shield criminal activity from the law, it was reported. Others are ignorant of the local ordinance that allows for a maximum of 24 plants per legitimate medical marijuana cardholder.
Two members of the audience took exception with the ordinance and asked the SWAT officers if they understood the original intentions of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Under the original Prop 215 passed by voters, a doctor could make a recommendation that allowed for the cultivation for 99 plants for a single cardholder.
Supervisor Allen Ishida said the state law leaves the enforcement of the statute to county jurisdictions. As a result, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance in 2011 that stipulated all grow sites must be within a permitted building.
A greenhouse or netted covered structures are not in compliance with the county ordinance. So many of these property inspections end up being civil matters where the property owner must meet the conditions of compliance.
If they refuse to cooperate or challenge the law they might end up forfeiting the property, said Michael Grove, who represents Tulare County in the civil cases. Grove said that out of the 1,100 cases since 2011, only about 10 percent have had difficulties with compliance.
In 2013, the Board of Supervisors passed an amendment to the ordinance placing a moratorium on new marijuana dispensaries within Tulare County. Currently, there are three in county territory and two in the city of Tulare.
Greg Thompson, a Three Rivers business owner, asked if home delivery of medical marijuana is an option. Though home delivery is legal in other California jurisdictions, county officials said home delivery is illegal under the local ordinance.
Park Service updates
Michael Theune, parks’ fire education specialist, said a fire crew completed the burning of 97 brush piles at Lookout Point. A vacancy for district fire manager is scheduled to be announced next week, he said.
The next town meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 7. Already on the agenda is a presentation by BLM managers to discuss their plans for Three Rivers area BLM lands.
For more information about the Three Rivers Village Foundation, the meeting sponsors, or about an agenda item: call Lee Goldstein 561-3204.