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We Cannot Let Bad Apples Spoil the Bunch!Eric Salerno Salem-News.com
Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing.
(SACRAMENTO, CA) - In my last article I spoke about unity in our community. Then I was asked, what about people who take from our community, and cause damage?
This question brought me to those who are feeding off the Prop. 215 patients and cannabis legalization community. Often times these bad apples begin to spoil the bunch when the need for help is at the forefront. This poignant question reminded me that their are those who are using the community as a feeding trough. These individuals are using it for their own personal gain, but at what cost to the community as a whole?
After speaking with a number of local MMJ organization members, current criminal defendants, and initiative drive sponsors (all very proactive in the community), a list of rotten fruit began to pile up. Some of the names were those of people I had met and advocated with personally.
This fact perplexed me and so i began research to separate the truth from the fiction. The fact findings of these persons was even more astounding as each individual circumstance of unethical behavior increased in magnitude. The first was a former law enforcement officer, Nate Bradley, who I had advocated with since 2009. I had met him via his website, lawmenpro.org/Lawmenpro/LPP_MAIN.html
After a brief email correspondence, I invited him to attend a moratorium at the Butte County Supervisors Chambers. We met in person that day and began advocating for patients' rights in the North State on multiple occasions.
I ran into complications with the law recently and its acceptance of collectives rights to distribute medicine to members. After paying Mr. Bradley a sum of money most lawyers ask to receive as a retainer, I was confident that he would help.
My confidence was broken soon after, when he performed 3 witness interviews, two court appearances, and began asking for more funds.
This past week another story stemming from a situation earlier this year came to light, with two Sacramento MMJ community activists, Shelby Lucero and Gus Sands.
These two upstanding individuals experienced Sacramento County Sheriff deputies raiding their home, and the First Amendment Collective on the 4th of July 2012.
The media outlet KCRA Sacramento Channel 3, claimed over 80 pounds of cannabis wers taken, but court documents revealed a little over a pound was confiscated.
Shelby claims she too payed Nate Bradley a substantial fee, and he never accomplished any task other than installing one video camera, and removing her items without permission. To rub salt in her wound after the raid, Nate Bradley's cohorts removed grow equipment and supplies while she was incarcerated.
Mr. Bradley then proceeded to set them up at his home, according to Shelby. After her release, she asked Mr. Nate Bradley to return the items he took, and she says he has not done so to date. This is very disturbing, as his motto is "Lawmen Protecting Patients" - not the opposite.
He recently wrote a book and is still feeding off the patients in our area, claiming he is here to protect them. When I thought it couldn't get any worse, another claim of thievery came to me this week via email. Costa Mesa's Robert Martinez who ran the Newport Mesa Patients Association, was one of 27 facilities that was shutdown after all out ban and closures by federal officials at the behest of the City Council.
Mr. Martinez was very outspoken and critical while the host of the “Cannabis Community” radio show that aired Sunday mornings on local station KOCI 101.5 FM which also was subsequently taken off the air following the raids.
Mr. Martinez was was duped into hiring an unsavory character named Weston Brent Mickey, who claimed he would secure a voter initiative drive to overturn the city's ban. After producing over sixteen thousand dollars as payment to Weston Brent Mickey, the signatures were never gathered by Weston, After a month passed nothing was gathered. Robert went to the street himself to gather votes; the initiative drive barely fell short, by only 108 votes.
Robert asked me, "Don't you think our group could have easily achieved those lost votes with the money we payed Weston Brent Mickey"?
Since 2008, Robert Martinez an army veteran, has been tirelessly advocating for Prop. 215 patients in the Los Angeles area.
These horrific encounters with supposed helpers of the cause are unforgivable.
I was astonished at what little recourse is available to the victims.
In Sacramento County court, Shelby Lucero and Gus Sands are fighting for their lives against felony charges. They have no money for civil remedies to bring justice out of their encounter with Nate Bradley, the former Law Enforcement Officer turned petty thief.
From this writer's perspective, my hope is that we remove bad apples like those listed here in this article. Before you hire or pay any individual I would encourage you to ask for a reference of their positive accomplishments.
We must not let these types of bad fruits spoil our entire harvest!
Be Well, Eric L. Salerno
Eric Salerno is a Salem-News.com writer from Butte County, California. His background is with State and Federal Agencies assisting in recovery efforts in disaster stricken states.
In 2008 he began advocating for medical marijuana in his home state. This journey began after the supervisors in his district of Butte County enacted a moratorium on legal Prop. 215 patients rights to access and grow their own medicine. He was one of only 10 people to show up at the meeting and voice his concerns with their actions.
That year a coalition of mores than 300 residents was formed and a Vote NO on measure A campaign began. These residents of Butte County united to stop the interference of the county.
This campaign was successful with a large voter drive initiative and media campaign securing 55% of the voters saying NO on measure A.
Today Eric works endlessly from Southern California to Northern California advising and implementing political tactics, to ensure every Californian has the right to access legal safe medicine under the law.
You can write to Eric at this address: Ericsalerno@sbcglobal.net
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