Dirtbags, Miscreants, Undesirables and Low-Lifes pt1
I’ve heard a lot of talk about the invasion of “dirtbags”, “miscreants”, and “undesirables” in our community. I agree with a lot of this talk. I agree that this invasion has gotten out of hand. Every town can handle a few “dirtbags”, but they have overrun our small town.
This invasion has gone on far too long, and its high time we took decisive action to take back our community. These “people”, I use the term loosely here, wreck our environment, suck up our resources and tear at the very fabric of our society.
I also agree that we should do everything we can to drive these undesirables from our midst. We should make them feel unwelcome. We should insist that the Sheriff enforce every law that applies to them, punish them to the fullest extent of the law, and, if that’s not enough, we should pass draconian new laws that persecute them more directly.
I am in complete agreement with the sentiment I see expressed in our local papers, and hear around town. We should take back our community. We should drive “them” out of town. My only disagreement with the prevailing sentiment, is who exactly “them” are.
This week, part one of a two part series about “them”, the real “undesirables” and “miscreants” who suck the life out of our community. For part one, I offer this letter to the editor of The Independent, inspired by one of the letters I read there on this issue. A highly abridged version of this letter will appear in The Independent, but I thought you deserved to see it in its entirety.
I cheered and said “good riddance” the day I saw that Country Real Estate had closed their Garberville office. I had hoped that would be the last we would see or hear from George Rolff, so reading his repulsive letter in The Independent disgusted me doubly.
I am not writing to weigh in on the issue of people hanging around in Garberville and Redway. I know that the abundance of poor people around town creates a real challenge for the retail merchants in town. It really is a lot for them to deal with, and the marijuana growers in the hills should step up to the plate on this issue.
After all, kids all over America smoke Humboldt weed, listen to reggae music, and pretty soon, they start to believe in it. They say “goodbye” to Babylon, grow dreadlocks, and come here. They know that all of their money has been coming here for years, and they think that folks here have been using it to “make Babylon fall”, instead of blowing it on status symbols like oversized diesel trucks. They don’t realize that the marijuana industry is a bottomless pit of greed and indifference that wants to suck them dry.
One of arguments I hear the most, from the people who make their living from marijuana, yet oppose legalization, is that, in a legal environment, big corporations like JR Reynolds would take over the industry. RJ Reynolds spends billions of dollars funding cancer research, and medical facilities, and millions more on public art. They’ve learned that they can buy some respect, if they take some responsibility for the social problems they create. Folks around here might take a lesson from the tobacco giant when considering what facilities to include in that new community park they are all so proud of. We don’t really need another expensive “middle-class” status symbol for drug dealers around here.
But that’s not what pissed me off about George Rolff’s letter. What pissed me off about Geoge Rolff’s letter is that someone in the real estate industry had the nerve to complain about all of the poor people around town. If the marijuana industry is a bottomless pit, the real estate industry is the Grand Canyon of greed and indifference, as perfectly exemplified by Mr. Rolff’s attitude in his offensive letter.
While bankers orchestrated the housing bubble and the collapse of our economy, the real estate industry acted as their highly paid mercenary army. During those bubble years, people like George Rolff, Blake Lehman, and the rest of the real estate industry collected obscene commissions on inflated land prices. They made those deals that went bad. They appraised land at those ridiculously inflated prices. They turned housing into a luxury that only the rich could afford. They made millions of people homeless, and they got filthy rich doing it.
I saw George’s Harley, and his wife Melinda’s Mustang. They wanted everyone to know that they were doing well. Thanks to them, a lot of people in town aren’t doing very well. Personally, I find conspicuous consumption much more offensive than conspicuous poverty, and I find complaints about poor people, from people in the real estate industry particularly odious.
It is not a crime to be poor, but what the real estate industry did to our nation, our community, and our economy was a crime against the American people. It’s shameful for George Rolff to blame his victims, and to attempt to sweep them under the rug.