I'm not saying that it's going to happen, but I might conceivably have Orly Taitz as my Co-Counsel in a case. Seriously. And it's a case I'd be happy to take.
I think that this probably requires some explanation.
No, it's not a birther case. No, I don't think I would take the case if she was going to write any of the complaints. No, I haven't been asked to take the case, although I understand that my name has been suggested.
It's a medical marijuana case -- and a free speech case. It involves the right to circulate petitions, in this case for medical marijuana dispensaries. Orly Taitz, it turns out, is an advocate of medical marijuana dispensaries here in Orange County -- and has even rented out some space to them. A person circulating petitions knows her and decided to commit civil disobedience and have Orly be the one to bail her out of jail.
(If all of that can't get you to read beyond the pungent puff of smoke below, nothing will.)
The story plays out on Orange Juice Blog, the local Orange County blog] where I spent part of my writing time these days, and was written by my friend, Editor, and Publisher, Vern Nelson. (We've just decided that my official title is "Associate Editor." I do not receive health care benefits.) You can skip to that story at any time, and you probably should, but I'll include some summary and quotations here.
Costa Mesa, California -- just north of Newport Beach, just west of Irvine, and home of Rep. "Crazy Dana" Rohrabacher -- has one of the most godawful city governments that you could ever want to see. Since the current City Council majority was seated in early 2011, they have committed numerous acts of "attempted Wisconsin" and have blown through oodles of taxpayer dollars in losing court battles. I've written about them here and here; I've written plenty on my local blog as well.
Among the things that Costa Mesa has done is to move away from the former Mayor's downright positive view towards medical marijuana. (One of Rohrabacher's own saving graces is that he is strongly against marijuana criminalization.) However, an ambitious young pork-head named Jim Righeimer -- Rohrabacher's former campaign manager -- got elected to the city's City Council and arranged to call in the feds to bust legally operating dispensaries. (If Rohrabacher had Righeimer as his campaign manager, no wonder he feels a strong continuing need to get high.)
A former writer for Orange Juice Blog named Debbie Tharp, who is now a professional petition gatherer -- yes, we have such things in California, what of it? -- came back to her "old backyard" of Costa Mesa to help obtain signatures for petitions to allow strictly regulated medical marijuana dispensaries. (Proponents of an initiative need to gather 6000 valid signatures by July 7 -- meaning many more than that, in practice -- to get on the November ballot.) She chose to do so at Mother's Market & Kitchen -- a health food store that by the way was my favorite restaurant when I was growing up next door in Huntington Beach the late 70s and early 80s -- in Costa Mesa. Mother's Market has allowed anti-GMO petitioners in the past -- apparently even inside their store! But, apparently, it does not want pro-pot dispensary petitions.
*(Sorry -- I saw that it was already 4:20 and of course I had to hit publish.) I'll continue to add to this, but by all means go read the story now if you'd like!)
I'll let Vern tell the next bit, starting after she was told that she did not have the right to circulate the petitions in this shopping center, under a crabbed interpretation of the famous Pruneyard Shopping Center decision:
A few days later – that’s last Tuesday, June 5 – the Costa Mesa police, under orders from City Attorney Duarte (who in turn acts under orders from Riggy’s council) changed their tune. Debbie was back at Mother’s, and manager Julie called the police, and this time they said that they were under new instructions and that if Debbie came back to gather signatures one more time she would be arrested. Seemingly refusing to grasp the arguments in her above piece, they kept referring to how the Pruneyard decision doesn’t protect her. [Video and audio of the exchange will be uploaded soon.]And the weird thing is -- apparently it wasn't even the police who were being the jerks here -- it was the City Council and the health food store! Anyway, now we have a live controversy -- and lots of publicity for the petition drive. Check out Vern's full story, if you'd like, and watch for a video of the "provocation" and arrest. Share it on Facebook if you are so inclined!
Deborah then decided that she WOULD come back and be arrested, if it came to that. She contacted your humble blogger, and she got herself legal counsel. You’re gonna love this part – I told you she also works as a journalist? Well, one of her recent pieces had been a very entertaining interview with Senate candidate/birther/dentist/realtor/attorney Orly Taitz. And it turns out Orly is intensely interested in this issue, not only opposing the Obama administration’s usurpation of states’ rights with their marijuana crackdowns, but actually renting property to a dispensary herself. Who knew? I guess that does make a sort of sense.
Orly agreed that if Debbie was arrested, she would come bail her out the next day, take her case, and talk to the press.
Technically it was the police assisting in Mother’s making a citizen’s arrest of Deborah for trespassing. The police wrote her a ticket, which she had the option of signing and leaving and going free, or signing and staying and being arrested, or not signing and being arrested. She opted to not sign the ticket and to be arrested. And, as an extra punitive measure, she was taken not to the Costa Mesa jail but to the OC Central in Santa Ana, where she languishes now – a miserable and rough place, I can tell you!