Valley news of the week: May 29-June 4

June 4, 2011 

Readers were left to ponder the proprieties of social services, gun control and medical marijuana.

Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers on fresnobee.com.

Up in ... arms

What happened: The battle between local governments and medical marijuana dispensaries escalated Wednesday when about 200 law-enforcement officers raided five shops.

What it means: Many neighbors of four of the shops, all clustered in a Fresno County island along Clovis Avenue, said they were thrilled to see the shops closed down. Clients weren't happy. And as the week drew to a close, it still wasn't clear if charges would be filed against the dispensaries despite Sheriff Margaret Mims strong assertion Thursday that they were conducting illegal business.

What readers said:

"Disgusting! Shame on Sheriff Mims! Legalize and tax cannabis in California, it is the only way to get these overzealous LEO's back to doing their real job: protecting and serving."

-- David Fleischmann

"The sheriff's one-size-fits-all legal conclusion that all dispensaries are illegal per se isn't supported by any case law, nor does it explain why costly (and potentially hazardous) raids were used instead of civil proceedings on nuisance and zoning violations, etc.

"This isn't to say that some Fresno County dispensaries aren't following best industry practices and/or the closed-loop distribution system required by the state attorney general's guidelines. There are bad operators in Fresno just as there are elsewhere, but when cops decide to issue legal rulings before the DA and the judges get a chance to chime in (that is their job, after all), you're just throwing good operators under the bus in an ill-advised rush to judgment. Why not just be honest about what you're doing, repealing Prop. 215 with a badge and a gun."

-- Bud

"What do you expect? Buds4Life is in a residential neighborhood with families and kids.

"It was really dumb that they would have chosen such a lousy location that brings nothing but heat and unnecessary attention."

-- davemartin7777

"Props to Mims, IRS, FBI for finally trying to send a message. Tarpey Villagers are tired of these lowlifes who are using our commercial properties to do their illegal dealings. Shame on the people who praise these druggies!"

-- Joe99999

Open the books

What happened: The Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission finds itself in hot water with the state of California and the city of Fresno for, among other things, apparently double-billing taxpayers at least $778,000 for a recreation center that still isn't finished.

What it means: The EOC has to explain what happened. And, says Fresno City Council President Lee Brand, "The taxpayers were cheated, and the kids don't have recreation. This is a systematic failure of government on many levels."

What readers said:

"I think we need a state investigation into 'business as usual' at the county and city level. What happened to the rest of the grant? It's insane that all this money was spent and still nearby residents have received no benefit."

-- djkc

"Our government needs to stop pandering to the so-called irresponsible poor. The very people who get drunk and drugged up on your tax dollars have babies every chance they get and end up begging for more. There was a time when people had kids when they could afford them. Now they have them to get more social program money."

-- Joe_Smith_60

Gun tragedy

What happened: A 6-year-old girl died after she was accidentally shot by her 2-year-old brother May 29 in northeast Fresno.

What it means: Questions abound after the shooting -- why wasn't the gun secured? Will the owner, the girls' stepfather, be charged in the case? And why did he have 53 guns in the home, as law-enforcement officials revealed later in the week?

What readers said:

"Well I hope this demonstrates the need for gun control. There is no reason why someone -- other than a museum curator or someone on a military base -- needs that many guns. This is absolutely insane.

"What if someone out there has a collection and their kid shoots into a neighbors house, or takes it to school?

"This will happen again, I tell you. I'd like to hear a representative -- or member of the NRA respond to the story abut 53 guns ... seriously. How many is enough?

"This is a terrible story and I feel for the kids of this 'nut' -- I don't know how else to refer to someone who is absolutely fanatical about firearms ... I don't even think I've owned more than 53 pairs of shoes in my entire life ... phew.

"Unfortunately you will see this swept under the rug -- you won't see federal agents coming in seeking terrorisim charges against this man, and you will not see a prosecution based on his irresponsible behavior. I'm almost certain of it. The NRA mentality and its influence is too powerful in this region."

-- fresnoowen

"I am certain this is the saddest saddest, saddest story ever...

"I only wish I could be as certain that it was an accident"

-- haveyouseenmyslipper

Catching Up is compiled by Bee editors. Go to fresnobee.com/catchingup/ to comment or learn more about these stories.

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