Finding a marijuana growhouse in the Sunset is like bumping into a celebrity on Los Angeles' Sunset Boulevard: It happens all the time, and they invariably stink of pot.
But a growhouse in Laurel Heights? It's just not done! And yet, police earlier this week hauled out hundreds of plants and truckloads of pot
after a raid at 3306 California.
That's in Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier's district
. Yesterday, she fired off a letter to the Department of Building Inspection asking it take a more proactive role in seeking pot-growers illegally evading the meter and "jumping the box" to power their electric lighting systems. Sadly, this work is often done by people who stopped a few credits short of an electrical engineering degree, and leads to fires
"Regardless of one's position on cannabis, I am certain everyone can agree that public safety and and compliance with City codes is paramount," reads Alioto-Pier's letter to Vivian Day, the director of the Department of Building Inspection. "I am hopeful we can work together to ensure public safety in residential neighborhoods by properly regulating excessive electrical use."
And yet, there's the rub. Our calls to the DBI haven't yet been returned. But other city officials noted that even starting to snoop around for illegal growhouses by spotting instances of jumping the box would require an interdepartmental get-together. DBI is responsible for anything going on behind property lines, true. But the wires, sidewalks, and exterior fall under the aegis of the Public Utilities Commission, Department of Public Works, and/or Pacific Gas and Electricity.
But there's something more: By evading the power meter, people who jump the box are avoiding authorities' ability to regulate "excessive electrical use" -- that's the very point of jumping the box. They're out-and-out stealing electricity -- and you'd think PG&E would be thrilled to come down on them with great vengeance and furious anger.
If there was a way to do so expediently.
You can read Alioto-Pier's letter here: Letter to Vivian Day, 3306 California.pdf
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