Medical marijuana, sidewalk sales, Mark Young & NO HAZ
September 22, 2010 - Lots of stuff to comment on this week.
First of all, hats off to Oxford Township's Ordinance Review Subcommittee for coming up with a thorough, well-thought-out proposal to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries (see Page 5).
The restrictions are quite reasonable. The language is concise. The intent is admirable.
Best of all, it gives the township the type of control it needs without succumbing to the hysteria of folks who still worry that if we let those "jazz musicians" come to town, they'll give "reefer" to our kiddies.
Bravo to the Ordinance Review Subcommittee for responding to the will of the voters and the needs of medical marijuana patients, instead of the intimidation and scare tactics of grandstanding politicians who wear tin stars on their chests.
If the village was smart, it would save itself a lot of time and effort by simply copying whatever the township adopts.
Why reinvent the wheel?
While I'm doling out the kudos, I'd like to give a heap to the Oxford Village Council for rejecting proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance and village code that would have prohibited downtown merchants from using the sidewalks as a place to display and sell merchandise (see Page 4).
I wholeheartedly agree with Councilman Tom Benner that the proposal was anti-business in nature and an example of "big government" in action.
I believe if the village actually enforces the existing code which allows merchandise within three feet of buildings along Washington St. between Broadway and East streets things will be just fine.
Outdoor displays/sales have been allowed downtown for 41 years. Why ban them simply because of a few bad apples?
If there are business owners who refuse to comply with the code after being warned, cite them as many times as it takes for them to get the message.
Send the code enforcement officer over there every day or just have village Manager Joe Young stop by on one his umpteen daily trips to the bank and post office.
It's up to every single business owner to know the village code and ordinances, and follow them to the letter.
It's when we abdicate our personal responsibility and ignore our duties that government swoops in to take over like a vulture waiting for that last breath.
Please allow me to thank Mark Young for his all his years of dedicated service on the Oxford DDA board as both a member and chairperson
Monday night was Young's last DDA meeting as an appointed official. He decided it was time for a rest. I agree.
Young did a terrific job under some very difficult and stressful circumstances.
When everyone around him had their head in the clouds or was busy riding a wave of phony positivity, Young kept his eye on important issues like why the DDA's financial records were such a mess and why he could never seem to get a straight answer about anything from the village administration.
While others were busy rubbing elbows and posing for photos, Young concerned himself with less sexy things like procedural issues, the accuracy of records and making sure the DDA was getting all of the revenue it was entitled to by law.
My many chats with Young over the years revealed him to be a man who was extremely frustrated by "The Matrix," as he likes to call it, but who refused to stop asking questions and seeking answers.
At times, Young seemed tired, defeated and downright depressed, but he always wanted to do what was right, no matter what the personal toll.
I also like the fact that he was the only DDA board member with the courage to speak out publicly about how the school district's idiotic $785,000 purchase of downtown's Meriam building would result in the loss of property tax revenue.
His leadership of the DDA will be sorely missed by all of us who don't believe that government's dirty laundry should skip the washing machine and go straight to the dresser drawers.
I tip my Tam o' Shanter to all the volunteers who worked at the NO HAZ Collection conducted Saturday at Oxford Middle School. My experience couldn't have been more pleasant or more convenient.
With two broken computer monitors to dispose of, I handed a volunteer my voucher, drove around and another volunteer unloaded them from my trunk. I didn't have to leave my car or do any heavy-lifting. What a pleasure.
Okay, let's give one more 'attaboy' to the Oxford Village Police Department for busting the teens allegedly responsible for a string of break-ins last month (see Page 5).
I'm glad Acting Chief Mike Solwold called me to share the good news. It's nice to have a police agency that works with the local media instead of trying to keep certain crimes from reaching the paper.
Reading about crimes, especially solved ones, helps taxpayers justify the tons of money that's spent on law enforcement.
If I were running a local police agency and I had a couple of important millages coming up in the next election, you can bet I would be sharing things, not hiding them.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.