Cannabis Chaos Takes an Unexpected Turn

By Montecito Journal   |   June 24, 2021

I am troubled by the apparent conflicts-of-interest by attorney Marc Chytilo involving his lobbying for a major cannabis grower and Foothills Forever. 

The latter is a large community philanthropic effort involving the pro bono efforts of many attorneys, but one that Mr. Chytilo seeks primary credit.

Last Wednesday, many in the First District were left reeling over the revelation that Mr. Chytilo had lobbied the Santa Barbara Planning Commissioners for G&K Growers, one of the county’s largest cannabis growers (whose parent company Glass House was recently sold to the Toronto-based Mercer Park for more than half a billion dollars). 

Mr. Chytilo, however, told the S.B. Planning Commissioners ex parte or in secret that he was representing Concerned Carpinterians (Citizens) and the Santa Barbara Coalition for Responsible Cannabis in the G&K Appeal.

I have supported both Concerned Carpinterians and the Santa Barbara Coalition for Responsible Cannabis and was told that this was not the case since both organizations advocate for residents and businesses against excessive cannabis operations and not for cannabis growers. How can Mr. Chytilo represent both sides? Several S.B. Planning Commissioners specifically cited Mr. Chytilo’s lobbying for the two groups in making their decision in support of G&K Cannabis. 

I have also made several contributions to Foothills Forever but am now distressed to learn that Mr. Chytilo lobbied S.B. Planning Commissioners for G&K Cannabis after CARP Growers (G&K’s owner is on their board) made a $20,000 contribution to Foothills Forever. Now I wonder if there was a quid pro quo.

Jill Stassinos

Same Old Buckley, Different Year

Why-oh-why does the Journal continue to give Mr. Buckley a platform since the sale of the Journal in 2019? His right-wing diatribes and sneering criticisms of people he disagrees with are so tiresome. I intended to write the Journal some weeks ago when he wrote a condescending and unpleasant “rebuttal” letter concerning a Montecito resident who wrote to the Journal about some apparently unforgivable opinion that was too liberal and Democratic for Mr. Buckley. But I procrastinated and sure enough, he finally got me off the dime with his “Hooey on the Hustings” opinion piece in your May 20-27 issue.

The persons he sneeringly condemns this time had the effrontery of being leaders in the fight to overturn voting suppression legislation in various states — which have been all in the service of the Big Lie being perpetrated by the Trump Stop the Steal adherents. Buckley seems to be particularly upset that they are “pseudo-righteous,” extremely partisan Democrats and, heaven forbid, some of them are even gay!

Now, of course, Buckley views himself as not partisan at all. Instead, he is a balanced truth-seeker intent on only preventing the cheating and ballot harvesting which he assures us is the intent of those hell bent on “Ensuring Democrat Victories Every Time, All The Time.” I guess this is supposed to be self-evident to any reader who has any sense. 

The tip-off to Mr. Buckley’s deeply dishonest style comes in his first paragraph where he sarcastically claims that Democratic Party efforts to stymie recent Georgia type voting legislation are hypocritical because it has been the party that for the “past 140 years or so” has suppressed voting, particularly in the South. Presumably, he is referring to the despicable history in the South after the Civil War on racial issues.

Now, I learned long ago that, even accepting his characterization, two wrongs do not make a right. And little Johnny doesn’t get a past from taking cookies from the cookie jar just because little Billy next door got away with it. But even more importantly, it ignores the Southern strategy which Republicans adopted in the late 1960s to flip the South to the Republican Party because of the Civil Rights Movement.

It was successful and now virtually all the Southern states are Republican and continue many racist policies, including efforts to suppress votes. I suggest Mr. Buckley read Stuart Stevens’ recent book It Was All a Lie to familiarize himself with this historical reality. Stevens was a very successful and long-time Republican strategist before “seeing the light.” So why does Mr. Buckley start his diatribe with this paragraph cherrypicking historical facts and glossing over what is happening. Does he mean to argue that if Jim Crow was right for the Democrats at one time, it’s now OK for the Republicans too? I assume so as that is the primary purpose in using the “what aboutism” argumentative style. 

Ken Anderson

Breaking Down the Arguments

I had no doubt that Mr. Buckley would respond to the critiques of his recent column. As is his style, he conjures up “straw man” arguments to defend his weak and untenable positions. My responses to these specious arguments are as follows:

1) It was Bill Clinton who pretended there was more than one meaning to the word “is” while being questioned about the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

2) Nearly 30 million more people have been able to obtain health care insurance due to the Affordable Care Act (aka: Obamacare).

3) No one knows for sure if COVID originated in a lab in Wuhan, China or a bat cave in Hubei Province. FYI: Donald Trump called COVID a “hoax” (before saying, “It will disappear like a miracle.”) as hundreds of thousands died. Now, his sycophants want to be the final arbiters on the debate of its origins. Really?

What any of this has to do with Mr. Buckley’s bogus claim that President Biden’s 2020 election victory was stolen is a mystery. On a related note: What if his hero, Donald “the stable genius” Trump, was asked to take another cognitive ability test? A commonly asked question is, “Who is the President of the United States?” What do you think Trump’s answer would be?

Just asking.

Robert Baruch


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