Running a city is not easy. We get it. It'd be foolish to expect a place as complex and sometimes-provincial as San Francisco to always smoothly operate, yet occasionally there's a municipal breakdown that defies easy explanation. And, it's quite possible, city law.
Take the Marijuana Offenses Oversight Committee (MOOC). The City Hall-sanctioned body was formed by the Board of Supervisors and is under the jurisdiction of the General Services Agency (Mayor Ed Lee's old stamping grounds). It has a few key tasks, but none more important than ensuring the city adheres to its
To do this, MOOC is charged with requesting marijuana arrest totals from the police department. SFPD is supposed to release these numbers to MOOC, which then advises the Board of Supervisors on law enforcement trends and suggests reforms to ensure the city is adhering to its own laws.
In past years, MOOC has been able to do its job. It required much haranguing and hand-wringing to get the SFPD to release the numbers, but release the numbers the SFPD always did.
This year, however? No response, no calls, nothing
"We've done everything I can think of," says Smith, who says that multiple requests sent via registered mail as long as three months ago have gone unanswered. "I don't know what else to do."This year's numbers would be particularly interesting to flesh out: in 2010, as the state geared up for Proposition 19 and as numerous marijuana-themed events and expos sprouted up around the Bay Area, the SFPD reported a 17 percent increase in marijuana busts. While troubling at first consideration, it's quite possible that such a spike can be tied to an overall increase in the availability and proliferation of marijuana -- like the feds' plant seizure totals, which have gone up since 2006 -- but without cops to contextualize this for us, we're left to speculate.
Does that mean MOOC's days are numbered? Smith hopes not, but the options are limited. "Aside from going to every member of the Board of Supervisors and begging them to help us," she said, "I don't know what to do."
Not become another one of these arrest numbers, at the very least. Whatever they are.