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Opinion: Commissioner Sharp’s Time is Up

District 2 Planning Commissioner, Bill Sharp has never attempted to conceal his bias against commercial cannabis growers. During a March 2022 Planning Commission meeting he cited a made-up crime statistic linking the local commercial cannabis industry with a 70% rise in homicides. After Sheriff Tim Saxon countered this claim with his own set of stats, Sharp opted to give what can only be described as a non-apology-apology at the following Commission meeting—Sharp is never wrong, according to Sharp.

On more than one occasion Sharp has asserted that when it comes to creating land use policies for the cannabis cultivators, he’s not concerned with basing it in logic or science, only on opinion. This strategy goes hand-in-hand with the war he’s waged against his neighbor’s commercial cannabis farm.

During the June 8, 2023 Planning Commission Meeting Sharp’s bias crossed into dangerous territory in the wake of early May’s violent, illogical Sheriff raids on state licensed farmers. On the agenda was an appeal of  a commercial cannabis license. The neighbor that filed the appeal lives on the same parcel as the farm, adding a strange element to the case. Never fear, Underwood will be representing the neighbor, so a baseless claim may have a future. County Staff requested the appeal be moved to a future meeting, giving them time to do their due diligence. During public comment, Petko Petkov, the owner of the farm expressed his frustrations with the appeal process; it’s growing season, his CEQA was approved by the County, the appellant lives on his parcel and he has an active State license in good standing. Petkov also told The Commission that his farm is surrounded by black market cannabis farms, so why is his legal business being called out?

The Planning Commissioners voted to continue the item to a later date but before moving  to the next agenda item, Commissioner Sharp requested that Petkov return to the podium to answer a few questions. This was an unusual move but the motive was quickly revealed. Sharp asked Petkov about the neighboring illegal grows and why he had never called the Sheriff’s Department. “Because I’ve been trying to communicate and do the right thing,” Petkov responded. Next, Sharp suggests that he report his neighbors to the Sheriff’s Department and bring proof of those reports when his appeal is heard— as it will be “favorable” to his case. Wait WHAT!???!!!! Narc on your neighbor and get a decision in your favor?  This is not borderline unethical behavior, this is BRIBERY.  Commissioner Sharp needs to be removed from his position of power immediately. It’s that simple.

Per the Planning Commissioner’s Handbook: 

• Bribery. Requesting, receiving, or agreeing to receive
anything of value in exchange for an official action is a
crime. In addition to criminal penalties, an individual
convicted of bribery forfeits his or her office and is
disqualified from holding public office in the future.

Watch the meeting for yourself and call upon Trinity County to remove Commissioner Bill Sharp from his position of power. We can do better.

Full Planning Commission Meeting:

ETC post of the conversation:

YouTube player


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