By Allen David
Here’s to you, Steve’s Hydroponics for your wink-wink, nudge-nudge approach to positioning yourself in the market. Apparently, the good folks running Hemet’s local gov find that there might be something just a tad suspicious about the Florida Avenue business that sells indoor irrigation systems and growing lights. Gosh—you don’t think that people might be using this stuff to grow—no, no, say it isn’t so!—marijuana? You’re not gonna put anything past Mayor Eric McBride. “It’s on my personal radar,” he tells Press-Enterprise reporter Brian Rokos. “What they are doing is selling things that are legal to sell,” but he adds that the stuff might (just might) be used to cultivate that devil reefer weed. Now, co-owner Steve McCann doesn’t go so far as to say that all of his hydroponics goodies are strictly used to help Aunt Gertrude’s petunias grow faster or add a little extra zing to grandma’s indoor tomato garden. Maybe it’s sort of like the smoke shops with their signs that say “Products intended for tobacco use only” and an insistence on calling certain devices “water pipes” instead of “bongs.” It’s all on how you say it, I guess. Notwithstanding, the guys at Steven’s Hydroponics insist the business is all aboveboard. “We do everything 100 percent legal,” McCann says. So, that should ease minds over at Hemet City Hall. Case closed. But—wait a sec. Marijuana is illegal . . . but medical marijuana is totally legit. Thank you, letter of the law.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30
Remember when everyone was on the less-than-lethal force bandwagon? When activists and civil libertarians were getting on law enforcement’s nuts to ease back on purported trigger-happy cops? Remember Tyisha Miller? Or this recent case against that BART cop up in the Bay Area? Then came the Age of the Taser. Hooray! Now all those pesky cops-shouldn’t-have-shot-the-perp-right-off-the-bat problems can now go away. Spoiler alert. Now Tasers are the new police misconduct. That is if you believe a grand jury report released today that suggests Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies might be getting a little Taser-happy. In one case, a person was shocked eight times when the rule is to shock folks no more than four times in a single incident, in another a suspect was shocked beyond a five-second rule. Surprise, surprise, a department spokesman, Sgt. Joe Borja, declines to comment, saying he was not given a detailed review of the jury’s findings—which is another way of saying, “Screw you, media. We’ll shock people when we like, as much as we like.”
THURSDAY, JULY 1
They sure are optimists. That’s the impression you get regarding San Bernardino County prosecutors after their attempts to vex Rex (OK, OK, Rancho Cucamonga Councilman Rex Gutierrez) fall flat. In this case, it’s a mistrial that prevents DA Mike Ramos from sticking it to an elected official accused of defrauding taxpayers for 22 months by turning in false time cards in connection with a cushy job he allegedly got through the influence of a powerful developer. So, even though jurors say the district attorney’s case was weak and there were some credibility issues among those that testified, none of this raises the, ahem, hackles of Assistant District Attorney James Hackleman. Back to the drawing board? No way. “We’ve worked with our evidence for some period of time and still believe it establishes a strong case.” Now that’s optimism. Hey, OJ Simpson beat a murder rap…but they got him the second time around, remember?
FRIDAY, JULY 2
Anyone up for starting a three-day weekend early?
SATURDAY, JULY 3
I find myself in a dreadful moment of Freudian giddiness after learning that Ontario is now ground zero for the latest sausage fest—this time in the form of an Anaheim Angels-branded meat wiener that’s ambitiously trying to give the Dodger Dog a run for its money. Villa Roma Sausage Co. each week cranks out 50 tons of sausage for Trader Joe’s and Albertson’s and now the game plan is to vend their new hot Italian Halo Grillers and Rally Brats at a Costco near you. Though the funny thing is that Villa Roma owner Edward Lopes has heard all the jokes about avoiding “sausage being made” and insists it’s all YouTube friendly. To prove a point, he’s posted a video on his website that allows folks to get a good eyeful of the production process or, as I like to call it, a hell of a lot of meat by-product being squeezed into a long skinny tube. Still hungry?
SUNDAY, JULY 4
After years of spending my Fourth of July watching Mt. Rubidoux burn, er, I mean, watching a spectacular fireworks show atop Riverside’s landmark hill, I’ve opted to make this Independence Day just a lil bit different: Bakersfield. As in that’s where my in-laws are currently residing. As in, that’s where I’m gonna be enjoying an evening chock-full of pyrotechnics—after spending an afternoon raiding a cooler-full of Miller Genuine Draft. Beer and gunpowder—if that doesn’t spell liberty, then call me Kim il-Jong.
MONDAY, JULY 5
Leftover fireworks blow up so much better the next day.