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Meddlers Report For 1/9/18

At this morning’s Meddlers Meeting, a variety of topics were addressed, two of which spurred lengthy conversations from crowd members. Both topics that sparked the most interest from the crowd were brought up while Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery was speaking. However, Montgomery was not the speaker to kick things off, that honor was bestowed was the semi-new Mayor of Auburn, Bridgette Powers.

Mayor Powers really didn’t have a whole lot to share this morning. It appears to me that she is still getting comfortable as the cities representative speaker at the weekly meddlers meetings. This is evident in her fairly consistent worry of taking up too much time or simply referring to the time for various reasons. Others on the panel would remind the mayor that she does not need to worry about going over the allotted time per speaker which is roughly 15 minutes in order to allow time for the guest speaker who closes out each meeting. There is also a certain sense of humor that floats about the meddlers group that sometimes seems to be missed by Powers. To her credit it took me a while to learn how to better depict what was a sarcastic joke or a harshly made point mainly due to the many different personalities that fill the meetings, all of which seem to have one common theme: strength.

Once Montgomery took the microphone, things seemed to really get rolling this morning as she led her 15 minutes (roughly) by bringing up a topic that evidently would bring the mayor right back into the mix of things. That topic was based around the city of Auburn’s new ordinance to begin requiring permits for those who choose to grow marijuana within city limits. Sounds simple enough, but the twist in this unique requirement on what is already among, if not thee, strictest regulations in the great state of California. Now, this twist brought in a third player, and that is Chief John Ruffcorn who stood to explain why the city decided to create an ordinance that does not, and I repeat does not, allow for any outdoor growing of the legally allowable six marijuana plants.

So, why are you not allowed to grow your, again legally grow, six marijuana plants outside? Well, according to Ruffcorn the reason is that you may bother your neighbors with the smell of the plant. Now, there is this tree which blooms a white flower each spring, that produces an odor that I cannot stand and there is no regulation on how many of these horribly smelling trees can be planted and certainly not a ordinance that would only allow for these not pleasant smelling trees, to only be grown indoors. If there was, let’s just say that you would probably have to go through a similar process of trying to get rid of indoor cigarette smoke smell, which is not anything to laugh about as I currently live in a house going through that process. My point, all jokes aside, is that when Powers said these ordinances are not set in stone and some will likely change after we assess how they currently work within the cities strict guidelines.
The topic came full circle when Montgomery said something to the effect that the county wouldn’t require a permit to grow 6 legal marijuana plants any more than it would require a permit to grow 6 tomato plants, which received many well deserved smiles. While I’m on the topic of smiles, another witty and extremely funny joke came from Keith Nessbitt who followed Ruffcorn’s indoor odor control ordinance by saying, “that’s a really sharp looking coat you have on chief.” I’m just now realizing that perhaps re-telling this one might be one of those jokes that you had to be there. However, the nearly always light hearted Ruffcorn smiled along with the crowd and replied, “Really, that’s what you got from all of that?” (Referring to his odor explanation)

The second topic brought up by Montgomery was the increasingly talked about topic of fire insurance and the many ways that people are, for lack of explanation, getting screwed. One audience member told me privately that his insurance company dropped him this year for no other reason than that his property is within Auburn city limits. The gentleman told me that he had been a customer of this insurance company for many years and has never missed or even been late on a payment in those years and was filled with frustration when that letter was put in the mailbox about a year ago. He went on to tell that he was able to find someone to cover his fire insurance but of curse at a much higher rate.

Now the story isn’t always that simple. Montgomery explained that some insurance companies are not simply going only by where you live in determining whether it would be profitable for them to accept your monthly payment for fire protection. The supervisor explained that she and her husband have taken all of the necessary steps that are recommended to keep their property “fire safe.” However, their elder neighbors have done nothing and in fact she described the neighbor’s property as dangerous in regards to fire protection. So much so that Montgomery told the crowd she offered to actually take care of this issue for the elderly couple. Whether that was done or not was not brought up, but her point is now these insurance companies are localizing their decisions to specific properties and you are only as insurable as your neighbor which unfortunately in her case will work against her when shopping for reasonable fire insurance rates. This topic goes much deeper but to bring this week’s meddlers report full circle, Montgomery only has about 15 minutes to allow enough time for today’s guest speaker.

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