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Friday, January 18, 2013

Smoke A Joint, Pick Up Trash In Emeryville

The Debt: Smoking Marijuana
The Payback: Picking Up Our Trash


Emeryville's problem
It can be said the people of Emeryville hate the sin but they don't hate the sinner.
The sin, marijuana smoking, is a bridge too far we Emeryvillians collectively say.  But even though we can't abide by those who flagrantly violate the law by smoking the demon weed, we're not without mercy; we will allow them to pay us back by picking up our trash.

Emeryville's solution
The program, the Alameda County Sheriff's Alternative Work Program (SWAP) brings law breakers into our town to pick up trash as a way for these violators to perform court ordered community service in exchange for reduced fines and jail time.  The Sheriff's office reminds us only non violent offenders are considered for the program that commonly draws those convicted of crimes such as DUI and possession of stolen property.  Possession of small amounts of marijuana also can make one a candidate for the SWAP program but not "big time dealers" according to the County.  Well, we're glad for that.

So next time you see a young man with SWAP blazoned across his orange vest picking up trash in Emeryville remember he could be a marijuana smoker and while we are dismayed at this kind of lawbreaking going on around us by these kids these days, we acknowledge the young man in orange is trying to make amends, he's paying us back for his abominable act.
We can feel good about ourselves that we're letting these people pick up our trash here in our town, for while we know marijuana leads to heroin, maybe just maybe with this program here in Emeryville, we're helping with interdiction; we're throwing a wrench in the gears of drug addiction...if not a wrench maybe some cigarette butts or an empty beer can or a Slurpee cup.

Emeryville is compassionate:
Work will set you free


  1. Right Here In River City:

    Trouble with a capital "T"
    And that rhymes with "P"
    And that stands for Pool!
    Soon they're gonna wanna

  2. let me begin by saying that i have been a reader of this site for years now, and have enjoyed Mr. Donahue's contributions greatly. his willingness to speak his mind and expose issues that others would have swept under a rug are a welcome breath of fresh air that the people of this town deserve. i am, however, left confused by his latest entry, and i feel that further questions and comments about this article need to be addressed.

    namely, was there a point or agenda to this piece?

    ill be the first to admit that im not the the most intelligent being, but i cant tell where this was meant to be going. is this some form of sarcasm? or does the author really feel that there is some danger with having non-violent offenders come and lend a hand with keeping emeryville beautiful? with the public works dept running a skeleton crew, and the city being unwilling or unable to hire additional staff, the ONLY reason the town looks the way it does is due to the work being performed by the community service members. not only do they perform manual labor that saves the city thousands, they also pay restitution for their crimes to the courts, and then pay additional fees to alameda county for the opportunity to come and take part in this program, which in turn saves the county even more in funding that would have gone towards keeping them incarcerated for petty crimes and lapses in judgement. much of the weed abatement (no pun intended) that goes on in town is performed by them. much of the so-called "illegal dumpings" (a.k.a. the furniture and other garbage that residents are placing in front of their homes because they are too cheap or lazy to dispose of it on their own) that gets picked up, are being loaded into trucks by them. the relatively clean and well stocked marina restrooms are that way because of their efforts. take a look at the streets of neighboring oakland and see the gutters full of trash and then take a glance at our own, and i think the value of having these "sinners" in our town becomes apparent. if left to the public works agents alone, the city would be swimming in its own filth within a week!

    so while i cannot say what emotions the author intended to solicit with this opinion piece, i for one can say i appreciate the benefits that having a community service program within our town brings, and i tip my hat to those SWAP workers that are giving up their time and money to make up for their transgressions.

    p.s.: which 1930's propaganda film were those comments about "demon weed" and knowing that "marijuana leads to heroin" being ripped from? id love to watch it for a few laughs.

    p.p.s: while its not an official figure, id bet some 90% of the people that come through the program have no interaction with marijuana or drugs at all, and are instead there because of alcohol related offenses. so if interdiction is the goal, perhaps more focus on BevMo, Black & White, 7-11, and all the countless other locations in town providing booze would be in order?

    1. Confusing? What's confusing about it? The people of Emeryville are outraged that someone would smoke marijuana and so we've signed on to this County program to let them pay us back for all the trouble and consternation they've caused us by their incessant puffing. We've been hurt by their actions but we're offering them a way to pay us back. It's a win-win because while we get paid in kind by the trash pick up, they too may be helped by the cleansing and palliative effects a little hard work engenders. Our outrage is lessened and their guilty feelings are assuaged. And our trash is picked up. It's all good.

    2. perhaps i simply misunderstood your sentiment. as i said, im not the brightest of the bunch.

      with some of the descriptive phrases that were used, coupled with the word that is circulating the town which claims you personally would like to see the community service program done away with, i was left with the impression that you were looking down on the members, and were prepared to throw the first stone. if your intentions were rather to shine a light on the numerous benefits that having such a program brings to our beloved city, then i stand corrected. if that is the case, then i would like to thank you for enlightening those readers who may have stood in the dark about who these workers are (typical everyday folk of all ages and from all walks of life), and why they are here (generally DUI cases and small, non-violent offenses). once again your efforts to pass along knowledge to the good people of this community are commended.

      one thing does still leave me puzzled: while we all might agree that there are some who engage in certain practices at the wrong places and the wrong times, if the people of this city are so outraged and hurt by the consumption of cannabis, then why has there been talk of changing our laws to allow a dispensary within city limits? does an influx of funding soothe all wounds (as the politicians might urge when speaking of new developments, i.e. single unit apartment complexes and retail locations)?

      i personally feel that the benefits in this particular case (allowing a collective non-profit group to distribute cannabis products for use by those with medical ailments) do outweigh the risks, but decisions regarding this city's future are, and always should be, about what the moral majority of the residents feel is most appropriate, and should not be decided by any one individual, nor by a collection of five representatives elected to speak on their behalf if they go against the will of the people. wouldn't you agree?

    3. Can you quantify the trouble marijuana smoking has caused Emeryville?
      Are there any examples of harm being done to the city by marijuana users?

    4. Our collective feelings have been hurt. We're left utterly flabbergasted (by the idea that someone might smoke marijuana) and therefore impotent and paralyzed. This hurt is demonstrable and these tokers owe us. They owe us big time.

    5. You must surely be using sarcasm? How does someone else smoking cannabis in anyway at all bother you, or anyone else? So what if you have to smell it? We have to smell the stinking cologne that you politicians and 'uptights' wear to cover up the smell of your ignorance. Please explain how this hurts you in any way other than being 'butt hurt' because you can't have your way. Were you a single child, or did your parents just always let you and your siblings get what you wanted?

    6. You need to re-read the story...what we're talking about here is hurt feelings...our feelings are hurt...very very hurt. And yes, my parents always let me get what I want and what I want now is to stop all this infernal marijuana smoking. It's gotta stop dude.

  3. LOL. Your feelings are hurt? You are butt hurt. lolol. Get over it. The world doesnt revolve around you. Sometimes we get our feelings hurt, and we deal with it. We don't act like children and cry about it. At least those of us that actually do something meaningful in the world.

    1. Butt hurt...don't trivialize it dude. It's almost as bad as the hurt one gets from the idea there could be marijuana in this world. We're talkin' real hurt here...more than butt hurt even.

    2. Brian, I think it would serve you well to utilize some kind of sarcasm indicator, as some folks seem to be missing it entirely.

  4. so you think the swap people are there because they got caught with a joint? hahahaha funny its a little more than that

  5. Jesus... My feelings are hurt that you're a narrow minded moron. Maybe it's time for you to sign up for swap.