From DAVE SMITH
June 30, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California
Mendocino County has not yet been hurt badly by the financial crisis – for three reasons. First, because marijuana is our number one product; second, because that product, unlike timber, is bought and sold in cash; and third, we were not on the fast-track, high-growth frenzy that had captured other areas in the state south of us.
We have heard for many years the constant whining, frustration and fury by developers that it is nigh impossible to get anything through our local planning departments. We may want to stop a minute and thank our bureaucrats for being so grossly slow and inefficient.
The Monster Mall folks finally gave up and put their dumb growth project on the ballot. They’re determined to suck the lifeblood from our county and send it who knows where, to who knows who. Citizens in Windsor, San Diego, and San Joaquin Valley had very high throughput planners to help in their building frenzies and big box growth, and now they’re suffering horribly for it. They might want to send their planners up here for seminars on how to drag their feet.
But what of our local future? A slow squeeze has begun on another of our major sources of income: decent- and good-paying (thanks to Unions) local and regional jobs supported by taxes such as teaching, police and fire, public services, etc. Unless teachers get into outlaw agriculture, growing bud is not going to take up the slack. As cash becomes scarce, small businesses will suffer, local stores will close, tax income will go down further, more jobs will be lost… and we will join the death spiral that many other communities are experiencing.
Then we will start asking hard questions about why we are spending money at big box and chain stores that send our money out of our county; about why some locals would want to welcome even more occupiers in to plunder what little money we have; and how shopping local circulates our money around and around here at home, creating jobs, rather than taking leave for parts unknown.
We will also then consider creating our own local currencies, as other communities are doing, that stays local, purchasing food from our own farmers and restaurateurs; purchasing goods from our own merchants, makers and suppliers; purchasing entertainment from our own neighbors and local talents rather than watching it on the boob tube.
And you’ll be thankful you did because what you spend and send around locally, comes back to you and our community’s common wealth in so many ways.
See also Mendocino’s Local Economy: Weed, Wine, Wood, and Water→