Pot, Guns and Influence on the Mission Viejo Docket

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Mission Viejo City Council members are slated today to take up the issues of marijuana grow houses, pellet gun permits, a business coupon program and the modeling of a so-called revolving door ordinance designed to prevent city officials from abusing their insider intelligence for personal business gain after they leave their posts.

Each issue has its own advocate on the council. Councilman John Paul Ledesma is behind the ban on marijuana grow houses and the new process for pellet gun permits. Councilman Dave Leckness is pushing the pro-business coupon program, and Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht is fighting for the revolving door ordinance.

Ledesma said his proposed ban on marijuana grow houses would affect only commercial operations. Cultivation of marijuana for personal use would still be legal as stipulated by Proposition 215, the voter-approved state law that legalized marijuana for medicinal use.

“If it’s Joe Blow is out there growing five plants in the yard, there’s no additional penalty,” Ledesma said.

Marijuana cultivation for commercial purposes is illegal under state law, Ledesma said, but updating the city code to reflect that would “make it that much more of a pain to do it.”

The City Council is also scheduled to vote on whether city staffers can issue pellet gun permits without council approval.

A minor furor erupted this summer when the Palmia Homeowners Association was given permission to eradicate rabbits with pellet guns. A petition to revoke the permit, signed by 702 people, was sent to the City Council and the Orange County Register.

At least one result of having city staffers issue the permits would be to “diminish media attention,” Ledesma said. Having the issue go all the way to City Council for approval, he said, is “ridiculous.”

Also on the docket is Schlicht’s proposed revolving door ordinance. If the City Council approves the directive, the city attorney will craft an ordinance prohibiting “former elected officials, commissioners and high level city employees from conducting business with the city for at least a year after leaving office,” according Schlicht’s agenda report.

Schlicht wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Leckness’ coupon program would have businesses put printable coupons and their logos on the city website.

According to Leckness, the program would encourage residents to shop locally, keeping sales tax dollars flowing into the city coffers. Leckness said there is a competition between cities for sales tax dollars, one that he wants Mission Viejo to lead.

“Business is the goose that lays the golden egg in the city,” Leckness said.

The program will also drive traffic to the city website, which will keep the residents more in tune with events going on in the city.

“There’s so many good things going on, and we gotta let our residents know,” Leckness said.



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