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Jerry Smith

Jerry Smith took audience suggestions on fighting drugs and had ideas of his own.

About 40 people attended a community meeting Monday evening to address what the organizer called the blatant use of illegal substances by young people in the community.

"Kids in Elk Grove refer to our community as Rancho Marijuana," organizer Jerry Smith said in his opening comments at Rancho Murieta Community Church.

"...I heard (of) a text e-mail that went out today to several kids in the youth group that an ounce was available if anyone was interested. We have a serious drug problem. It's evident in blatant use of drugs at our Gazebo, it's evident in tagging of our pedestrian bridge. The officers know it, the neighbors know it, everybody knows it. Somebody needs to do something about it."

Smith, who works with the church's youth outreach, said he organized the meeting hurriedly last week because the problem is urgent.

In attendance were Rancho Murieta Association, Community Services District and Security officials, along with representatives of the county Sheriff's Department and county and state government.

Members of the audience offered suggestions during the meeting, which lasted more than two hours.

One audience member said there needed to be consequences for youths who break the law. Others proposed closing off the community's undeveloped back area at night, enforcing curfew, passing an ordinance to address marijuana use, working with the district attorney's office to prosecute drug violations and pushing for more sheriff's patrols in the community.

Smith called for closed-circuit TV cameras, even if they're only dummies, parental patrols with radios, and photographing and videotaping suspicious activity "just to show we're not going to take this crap anymore."  He suggested posting "drug-free zone" signs at the parks.

Pat Braziel, chief of staff for county Supervisor Don Nottoli, said the supervisor's office is always willing to help, "But we didn't know there was a problem."

That was echoed by Debbie Coil, a crime prevention specialist for the sheriff.

"If you don't report it, it didn't occur - period," Coil said. "...We're hearing all these complaints about drugs, drugs, drugs. (I) ran the calls for the last month. There isn't a single thing in there about drugs."

She added, "It's your responsibility. You live here. You're supposed to call."

Coil offered the non-emergency sheriff's phone number to report drug violations - 874-5115. When the recording comes on, press 1 to leave a message, she said.

CSD Director Dick Taylor said to call the South Gate at 354-3743 to report anything suspicious.

Murietan Jacque Villa said residents who want to participate in the Volunteers in Partnership with the Sheriff (VIPS) or file a report with the sheriff should contact the James L. Noller Safety Center at 354-8509 or 354-8511.

The group at Monday's meeting decided to form a parents' patrol to monitor drug use at the Gazebo and the parks. That's being organized by Mike Salazar, 354-2550. Audience members were encouraged to attend upcoming RMA and CSD meetings to pursue other measures.


Andy Keyes's picture
Joined: 08/22/2007
Posts: 289
Post rating: 120

Futility of reporting this

Having witnessed this kind of activity, and reporting it to CSD while it was occurring I can tell you first hand that CSD will do nothing about kids using marijuana in our community.  They referred us to the county Sheriff.  We called them and they smirked at the report and said they would send a car out.  This never happened either.  Face it, we live in the Hotel California where our largest cash crop is weed.  I shake my head and look the other way now as I know that the people who can do something simply will not.  I applaud others in the community charging the windmill though.  Maybe it will make a difference but my guess is that for the most part people here really dont care as long as they can have their lawns mowed by someone else and their air conditioners work.  I know all this sounds cynical but it lends itself to an earlier post of mine that the same kids that are toking away and spray painting mailboxes and the bridge are the same ones who have no responsibilities i.e. jobs.  The same ones that dont cut yards or seek employment anywhere.  Idle hands.......   And it really isnt their fault inasmuch they arent being parented.  Okay that is my rant for the week.  Care to chime in?

Myrna Solomon's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 427
Post rating: 745

re: the meeting

Myrna Solomon

I've already voiced my opinions about the drug use out here, and I will say it again!. I'm sure there is lots of marijuana, but from my knowledge from the 60's, when I was a teenager, usually marijuana made you want to sit around,eat candy,laugh a lot,and then get tired and go to sleep!. The kids that are staying up all night and doing all of the vandalism and theft out here are probably taking some kind of speed. I would also suspect from seeing empty cans of beer on the roads in the morning when I walk, that these kids are adding alcohol to the mix. So, this is just not about marijuana. One of my pet peeves out here has to do with not enforcing curfew. I know when my son, who is now 27, lived here, the security did enforce curfew, so I'm not sure why it isn't happening anymore. My son knew that if he wasn't in my house by 10:00pm, he was in trouble. If kids were taken to the sheriff's department if they are out after curfew, and their parents had to come pick them up, I bet, these parents might be more responsible toward their teenagers from that time on.  Most of the problems out here with the teenagers starts with lazy parents, who don't want to act like parents, and to have consequences for bad behavior. I see it at restaurants when parents do nothing when their small children scream and disrupt everyone, and so it goes as the child grows into adulthood. Okay, I will step off my soapbox now!

Myrna Solomon

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Post rating: 470

Security has not been given the requisite arrest powers

Security are not a police force. They do not have legal authority to arrest or cite under the drug laws. Primarily for fiscal reasons but also because a lot of residents didn't/don't like the idea, CSD has opted to not exercise its latent powers to organize a police department who could arrest residents for things like, oh, drunk and disorderly. Wink

It is useless to get mad at Security for not doing something they are legally precluded from doing.

There may be a viable political solution which could get them some powers to do something about this. At significant cost, which you and I would have to pay through increased taxes which we might have to vote into being, CSD could expand the legal powers of their officers. They may be able to do this by amending the District Code to authorize enforcement of these laws and other selected state criminal laws - a dicey and complex legal question, and expensive expansion of duties, which the CSD Board should explore with their counsel and explain to the residents. Or they very possibly may have to go through an entire LAFCO approval process to be cleared to formally create a police force and elevate our officers to full peace officer status with plenary arrest powers, which would foreseeably take years to get approved and cost a very large pile of cash -- from you and me -- to implement.

A public debate of what is feasible, and what it would cost, to legally confer powers on our officers to enforce the state's drug laws, and whether the taxpayers would support it, would be a worthwhile undertaking.

Meanwhile, it's not our Security officers' fault that they are by law denied the powers to do anything besides phone it in to the Sheriff's office, who don't drop everything to go write "pot tickets" anywhere else in the County, and shouldn't be expected to do it here, either. Neither the officers nor the Chief write those laws which tie their hands.

Jerry Smith's picture
Joined: 08/28/2007
Posts: 1
Post rating: 0

Point of Clarification

As a point of clarification: 

First, I am quoted as saying that a text message was sent to church youth announcing the availability of an ounce.  That text message was indeed sent to various teens in the community - but none of them (to my knowledge) belong to any church youth group. Secondly, while kids from other communities refer to us as Rancho Marijuana, no one is under the delusion that only marijuana is being used.  Those in attendance at the meeting were made fully aware of the other drugs that are bought, sold, and used in RM.

 

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27727
Post rating: 1387

Addressing the error

The incorrect insertion of "church" into Jerry Smith's comment has been corrected.

Here's what it said originally:

"...I heard (of) a text e-mail that went out today to several kids in the (church) youth group that an ounce was available if anyone was interested."

Here's what it says now:

"...I heard (of) a text e-mail that went out today to several kids in the youth group that an ounce was available if anyone was interested."

Wilbur Haines's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 474
Post rating: 470

CSD Security Committee meeting on Tuesday morning

I'm told that the CSD Security Committee meets next Tues., 9/4, at 8:30 a.m. at CSD.

Somehow I have a hunch this is going to be on the agenda, whether written down as such or not. That meeting would be a good starting point for a discussion of whether the limits on Security's law enforcement powers can and should be addressed to empower them to deal with not just this problem but others as well which the current legal limitations restrain them from acting upon.


I would urge attendees to keep in mind that it is not simply a matter of CSD not choosing to do anything about it.
It's expensive and very complicated to take on those much broader law enforcement powers than they currently have. But if a significant number of residents want something done about this and other more serious criminal behaviors behind our gates, then it should at least be publicly explored and debated, and this is as good a time as any to begin that process.

Myrna Solomon's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 427
Post rating: 745

re: drug issue

Myrna Solomon

Because these teens out here aren't dumb, they know that there really isn't much that anyone will do about much of anything they do. Not the Security, nor their parents. If the community doesn't want to pay for the powers that are necessary to stop these kids who have run a muck, than it is obvious to me that those who have had enough of this must take matters into their own hands and start patrols at night. Gees, when did parents decide that the whole world should put up with their badly behaving kids!

Myrna Solomon

Lynda Gavelis's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 19
Post rating: 0

Much more than marijuana

There is much more serious drug abuse going on here.  From a source I have talked to the kids are abusing prescription drugs such as Percocet and other pain meds, sleeping meds, ect. that they are getting from their own parents medicine cabinets as well as other sources.   Alcohol is the other large source of the problem.  Marijuana is a very small problem compared to the other drug abuse happening here.  When we had teens at home we installed a lock on our alcohol cabinet.  It was not that we didn't trust our kids, but having a lot of teens in and out of the house we needed the peace of mind that the temptation was removed.  I now know that the other place to lock up is the medicine cabinet if you have any type of narcotic drugs.  Our homes are the first source our kids will go to, it's up to us as parents to make that source off limits.  The next source is the street and that is the next line of attack.  I am very glad to see concerned citizens here willing to move forward and attempt to make a difference in the lives of the RM teens and preteens.

Myrna Solomon's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 427
Post rating: 745

re: drugs

Myrna Solomon

I totally agree Linda, and I've said so on the other blog ranchomurietaonline.com. I have no evidence but feel fairly certain that the night time vandalism and theft is done by teens that are taking drugs like Meth that cause you to stay up all night. People are only focusing on marijuana, and although many out here were teens during the late 60's and 70's and smoked pot, seem to be now acting holier than tho and blaming all of the bad behavior on pot. If you have teens, start observing their behavior; are they grinding their teeth, always fidgeting, not hungry, and not sleeping, and then sleeping all day. I observed this behavior in a teen I knew many years ago, and had to talk to a counseling to find out what these symptoms meant. Parents must start noticing changes in their teens, and stop being in denial about them. It all starts with Parents getting real about their children; they aren't perfect, and they might need their help.

Myrna Solomon

Michelle Garren's picture
Joined: 08/08/2007
Posts: 8
Post rating: 0

Drug Abuse

Did you know last year 3 million kids between the ages of 12 and 17 abused prescription drugs?  The reason for the increase is the availability of prescription drugs. I am an ER registered nurse that has seen first hand what can happen to kids that take their parents’ prescription drugs. Last year in Susanville, Ca a 13 year old girl shared her parent’s methadone with a few friends from school. Seven of the kids died that night and the girl who shared her parents methadone committed suicide a few days later. These kids mistakenly thought that because the medications where prescription they were safe. I know that none of us want this to happen to the kids we have watched grow up in our community. As parents if you are taking any prescription drugs please lock them up! If you suspect your child is taking these medications you need to seek help.  As parents we need to send a strong, clear message that abusing any kind of drug is wrong. As parents it is our responsibility to try to get to know your teens' friends, limit unsupervised time, keep close track of medications in your homes and don't assume it can't happen to your child. IT ALL STARTS AT HOME

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