Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost
Posted by CN Staff on November 13, 2008 at 12:31:05 PT
By Jessica Lussenhop 
Source: Metro Santa Cruz 
Santa Cruz, CA -- On Friday, Oct. 10, one of the final days of the marijuana harvest in her garden, Valerie Leveroni Corral feels the first real chill of fall on the deck of the home she built in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Stepping around her geriatric dog Ebo and over a deaf cat lying supine in a pool of morning sunlight, she pulls a coat on over her tiny frame and gets into her old Volvo station wagon to drive the gravel road to the garden.
A few members of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the collective Corral founded with her husband, Michael, are making the drive up through the cool redwood forest that envelops the house. Michael will be by shortly as well, despite the fact that he and Valerie separated two years ago. He is still a close friend and remains WAMM's marijuana cultivation expert.On foot, the garden is about a 200-yard hike from the house on a dirt path through the redwoods. Inside a barrier of wire and fencing to protect against rooting pigs, deer and rabbits, a dozen marijuana plants grow in great bushy formations more than 6 feet high, sometimes drooping under the weight of the sticky buds. The plants' green and dusky purple leaves fill the air with a heady scent mixed with the muskiness of the desired product. In front of the Corrals, who've been growing marijuana since the '70s, the impulse is to act unimpressed, but the marijuana seems almost supernatural or mystical. It's more of a presence than a plant.It's not obvious by looking at Valerie that she's sick, but she smokes pot about once a day to help control her epilepsy symptoms. At 56 years old, she has lines in her face from the wind and sun but moves with the impatience of a grade schooler. She stands just a bit over 5 feet under a long cascade of dyed red hair that contrasts sharply against the supersaturated greenery around her. She steps up to one of her plants and inhales deeply. "Oh, that smells so good," she says. "My favorite."The WAMM volunteers arrive, a young couple, an older woman with breast cancer, another woman with AIDS and two dogs. They snap on pairs of black rubber gloves and begin popping the five-fingered leaves off the stem. But instead of bagging them like usual to be put through a long process of drying, filtering and blending to create a THC-spiked flour for baked goods, Michael tells them to let the leaves fall to the ground. "It has to do with the sale. We don't have time," he says. "If the sale of the property goes through, we won't be here."Michael is in the middle of drafting a counteroffer for the land on which the garden and the house sit. After advertising on Craigslist and by word of mouth, they're in talks with a man who grew up nearby, on Last Chance Road, and whose ideas mesh well with the Corrals' hope that the wilderness surrounding their rustic home will remain largely untouched. "We hope that it will be monitored and loved and honored," says Valerie. "The big hope is that we wouldn't have to leave it. But that doesn't seem possible." If the counteroffer is accepted, they'll be off the deed by January.Their land is a 106-acre parcel off Swanton Road north of Davenport that Valerie likes to say is shaped like the state of California. It scales a steep incline, the top of which offers a spectacular view of the ocean, the dramatic plunge of the tree-covered hillside and, on clear days, a view of Año Nuevo Island. It is generally accepted as truth that Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills & Nash owned the land before the Corrals, and on Google Maps, it's possible to see an aerial view of the marijuana.Valerie loves the property fiercely, like it's a person. "It's been such a great gift to so many people, it's changed our lives incredibly," she says. "We want whoever comes here to serve the land in at least a fraction of the way it served so many humans, providing medicine and food and making their lives less painful."But as of July this past summer, the land that the Corrals called their home for over 20 years is slipping away. Because of a perfect storm of factors--plummeting donations to WAMM, the DEA raid of the property in 2002, death and taxes--Valerie can no longer afford to stay in her home, and WAMM is losing its iconic garden. "I'm exhausted," says Valerie. "I'm losing my land, the place I thought that I'd be buried."Though the situation is complex, Ben Rice, an attorney who has represented the Corrals for the last 15 years, blames the situation solely on the federal government. Without the DEA's continual assault on California law, medical marijuana organizations would not be raided, would not spend their savings on legal defense and would not lose precious donations due to spooked members. "WAMM is sort of the soul of the medical marijuana community," says Rice. "This never would have happened if the feds had taken the time to look at what WAMM was about and who Mike and Val were."For them to lose this property--they've given everything they have to WAMM, and this is what they get for it. It's so, so sad." Back to Nature   The land first came to the Corrals long before WAMM and the trouble with the feds. As a young couple in the late '70s and early '80s, they lived off the grid near the summit on 35 acres they cultivated themselves. "We were so buff in those days," says Valerie. "I used to say we lived in a shoebox and bathed in a teacup."When they befriended Alexander Peter Willoughby Leith, a wealthy Englishman who'd moved to the area looking to create a Tibetan Buddhist retreat, he was impressed with the Corrals' talent for land management. "He wanted to live rurally, but he had no knowledge of how to do that," says Michael. "He asked us to sell our property and go in with him on this piece of property we're at now."That meant that after an up-front sum the rest of the Corrals' 20 percent of the land would be paid for in labor--building roads, turning expanses of 7-foot-high weeds into garden and generally making it livable. In exchange they could live rent-free, enjoying the fresh food they grew themselves, spectacular views, the privacy and the experience of living intimately with Mother Nature."We view it as sanctuary," says Michael."Do we ever," says Valerie quietly."The idea was that Val and I would just be able to live here until we died," says Michael.Though the Buddhists never ended up having a strong presence on the property, WAMM carved its identity out of it as the early '90s brought medical marijuana to the forefront of the Corrals' lives.Originally, the couple grew five marijuana plants in the small garden in front of their house for Valerie's epilepsy. In 1992, the plants were spotted in a helicopter flyover, and the ramshackle house built from reclaimed structures that fell during the 1989 earthquake was raided by sheriff's deputies.It was not the first time they'd been questioned by law enforcement, but it was the first time their explanation--that the plants were medicinal--fell on deaf ears. Reagan's zero tolerance policy had trickled down and local cops, even in laissez-faire Santa Cruz, were no longer willing to turn a blind eye.The fact that Valerie's trial occurred just before Santa Cruz residents were to vote on Measure A, the Marijuana for Medical Use Initiative, thrust the Corrals into the media spotlight, with Valerie as medical marijuana poster child. After the measure, which encourages local officials to do everything in their power to help make marijuana available to patients, passed by 77 percent of voters, District Attorney Art Danner decided to drop the charges against Corral. The publicity brought ailing patients out of the woodwork; they read about the Corrals in the Santa Cruz Sentinel and found them in the phone book.The first was Tony Degnan, who at only 35 years old was dying of colon cancer. "Tony was so ill. His parents had no idea who to call; they called one of his friends and the friend freaked out," says Valerie. "He was like, 'Oh, my god, Tony's parents are calling me about pot!'"At first, they divvied up the two-year supply the Corrals usually grew for Valerie free of charge. But as the calls flooded in, they eventually decided to also donate their time and expertise and began growing additional plants."Every year after '92 or '93, the garden grew out of necessity," says Michael. They began growing the marijuana in the larger garden among their tomatoes, squash and corn, but it didn't take long for the pot to take precedent, from five plants to 16, and then to 40, and up and up.The WAMM collective was officially born as an incorporated nonprofit in 1996, the same year that Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, passed. The cannabis indica and sativa, strains from Afghanistan and Malawi respectively, were carefully dried, processed and distributed for free to WAMM members who smoked the herb for a variety of ailments--chemo sickness, glaucoma, chronic pain, AIDS. As the number of members grew to 250 people, so did the garden, until it was a lush forest of 200 plants standing shoulder to shoulder, enjoying the moist ocean air that blows up the mountain. Baggie Buddies   Fridays from 10:30am to 2:30pm at WAMM headquarters on Almar Street are joint-rolling days. Ten middle-aged members have gathered around a long table in the back room under the "Wall of WAMM," a collection of photos of all the 191 members who have died. The men and women are patiently assembling near-uniform joints with cigarette rollers, ZigZag rolling papers and a little spit. They chop the marijuana up with scissors and chatter loudly. They are both patients and caregivers, some of whom have their wheelchairs pulled up to the table."This is therapy," says Diana Poppay, talking loudly over the others, who then mm-hmm in agreement. "We forget about our little this and little that.""Have you guys had smoke yet?" asks Valerie, coming in to the room. "Have you taken a break?"The voices in the room rise as one roller stops and lights up a joint at the head of the table. The rolling club has the air of a revival church, praising WAMM and praising marijuana. The members sprinkle three-quarters of a gram into the rolling paper, twist it around inside the roller and pop out joints the size of cigarettes, which are packaged in bags of seven--one for each day of the week. The rollers usually produce about 250 joints in one Friday session."I have some good news, everybody," says Valerie, struggling to get everyone's attention. "We found out we have a little more medicine than we thought. We thought we were going to run out."After carefully counting out all the incoming donations of marijuana, it turns out that at the close of the growing season, the WAMM members will have enough pot to make it through the winter. WAMM, like the Corrals, hovers in a near-constant state of uncertainty, with only enough financing to predict on a month-to-month basis how much longer it can maintain its operations, so the news is a huge relief. With the pared-down garden, it was essential that the members grow for themselves and donate back to the collective for WAMM to function as it has for 12 years."These are all donations," says Valerie, pulling zip bags of bud out of a paper sack. "This member gave back more than half of what she grew."Earlier in the growing season, Valerie decided to run a little social experiment. "I asked WAMM members, 'Hey, guys, you want to come up and help me with the garden?' They said, 'Well, is there pot?' And I said no. You know, just to see," she says. "And they said, 'Nahhh.' And I went ... 'OK.'"There is real disappointment in her eyes when Valerie tells this story. If the land is lost, she will no longer be providing the bulk of the pot. She says she fibbed to the members in order to encourage them to grow for themselves and the collective, but also, it seems, out of insecurity over the true generous spirit of the WAMM members. After 15 years dedicatedly growing for others--some estimates say she and Michael have given away about $20 million worth of marijuana--Valerie has reason to be looking for some reassurance. It's not enough to distribute marijuana to the ailing poor; Valerie desperately wants WAMM to be a community. But without the garden, without joint-rolling Fridays and fall harvest, Valerie is trying to figure out what her place is and how much time she can continue to dedicate to WAMM. "I'm tired and I take care of my friends when they're dying and I'm ill," she says. "Facing the loss of this land, I need to know, What should I do in the future? What kind of investment should I make?" The Big Bust  In the life of the WAMM garden there are two eras: before and after the DEA raid.It's not hard to imagine the way things looked to DEA agents six years ago as they drove quietly up the road to the Corrals' place in the dark--the winding lane through the trees makes the place seem clandestine and the people who would choose to live there guilty by association. So when Valerie and Michael were awakened early on Sept. 5, 2002, by 30 agents in full gear who'd come to arrest them and ravage the pot garden's crop, it was not a shock, but it did change WAMM and the garden for good. The agents chopped down 167 plants that morning, stripping the garden to a skeleton of arbors and deer netting.What happened next became a part of Santa Cruz lore. The city banded together with the Corrals and WAMM in a show of support for the club, Prop. 215 and the local ordinances that permit the use and growth of medical marijuana. On Sept. 17, 2002, the mayor, the City Council, the county Board of Supervisors and former Santa Cruz mayors gathered at City Hall with WAMM to publicly distribute medical marijuana in an act that would come to define Santa Cruz quirk. "Making medical marijuana available is an act of common sense and compassion. ... I'm standing with the Corrals," wrote Mayor Christopher Krohn in an Op-Ed in The New York Times."That's the tenor of this community," says Valerie with pride. "The government needs to cross out Santa Cruz on their list."In 2003, Valerie pursued a lawsuit naming former Attorney General John Ashcroft and John B. Brown III, the former administrator of the DEA, as defendants, and was joined by six WAMM members, WAMM itself and both the city and county of Santa Cruz as plaintiffs. Although no charges against the Corrals were ever filed, the lawsuit could have major implications for the future of medical marijuana,"We think this was an attempt to improperly hijack our state's right to make laws like this," says attorney Rice, who is representing the county. "There are so many good people in the community and supporters in the medical community and in our local government--what's happening to WAMM is a terrible, sad situation, but it's not going to mean that medical marijuana is not going to be as viable here as before."While impending court decisions could buoy the medical marijuana cause, in Valerie's case, she is in essence fighting to grow in a garden that in a matter of months may not be hers anymore. She will continue to fight, but that fight will change when the Corral name is taken off the deed. Will Power  Michael Corral has already moved off the land. He left it and his 30-year marriage to Valerie two years ago, though they have not divorced. Michael, an athletic man who shaves his head bald, his structured good looks punctuated by the two dark slashes of his eyebrows, moved in with roommates in a house outside of the Santa Cruz Gardens in the Aptos hills. It's where he does much of his prepping as an expert witness for the defense in marijuana cases. Though the house has a garden and a bevy of potted plants, it's definitely city living compared to the land.Michael is a pithy man who watches what he says very carefully, so he'll only admit that the departure from the land was "difficult." But the differences between him and Valerie make it so that his exodus will be much different from hers. Michael has been the pragmatist, Valerie the dreamer when it comes to dealing with the impending sale. It seems a typical position for Michael."The last year my father was alive, my mother and I took care of him, and he looked good. But I kept telling my mother, 'Mom, he can go at any time.' It kept her from going to that space where, 'Oh, everything is fine now.' When it really isn't," he explains. "And that's what I did with the land. I knew that we weren't going to be able to keep it." Valerie, on the other hand, has started buying lottery tickets for the first time in her life.For Michael, the beginning of the end came when Peter Leith, whom the Corrals considered a partner, died in 2001. Zoning laws had proven prohibitive to his plans to build a Buddhist sanctuary, and the investors had become interested in a different piece of property in New York state. Nevertheless, the agreement stood between Leith and the Corrals that they would inherit an additional 20 percent of the 106-acre parcel upon his death, and be able to continue to stay on the property.But as Leith was dying in his native England, his attorneys saw that to save the estate money they would have to dramatically trim the amount of things being left in the will--including the promise made to the Corrals. "It was a very creative estate plan at Mike and Valerie's expense," says Jane Becker, a tax attorney the Corrals retained when the IRS audited them for unclaimed income while living and working for Leith. "There was very little paper trail. They went on trust."Within a short time after the death, Michael and Valerie discovered they'd been left a fraction of the joint interest, and that the heirs and Buddhist guru Sogyal Rinpoche's organization wanted to sell. The Corrals took out a loan that has sunk them close to $1 million in debt, and bought out the other owners in 2004. It was theirs, but this was not a happy acquisition for Michael. "We were just buying time," he says. "The amount of money we are making isn't enough for us to be able to pay off or even come close to paying off this loan."Without the land and their deal with Leith, the life Michael had envisioned for himself had utterly changed, seemingly overnight."We had set up our lives so that we were all set. We didn't need to make a lot of money," says Michael. "So we both dropped out of the job markets and all of that has flown by us, so neither one of us are qualified for new jobs out there." The arrangement had essentially permitted them the time and energy to start WAMM; now that time off began to look like a liability.Michael predicted they could hold on to the land for two years, making payments as best they could from the modest $2,500 monthly stipend they get from WAMM, but they've been able to stretch it out to 4 1/2 years. The IRS audit sucked another $100,000 out of their savings, and though the Corrals can still conceivably continue to make payments for another year and a half, Michael decided to put the land up for sale this past summer when he realized they were going to have to borrow more on their line of credit and start selling retirement assets. "We have no savings left. We're basically living month to month," he says.In late October, Michael finally heard about his counteroffer. The buyer had decided to pass on the property, and the Corrals are back to square one. Michael decided to list the property with a real estate agent and Valerie decided to start renting Peter Leith's empty house. So while there's no longer an impending move-out date for Valerie, the future remains uncertain. Leap of Faith  On Oct. 28, at Viking Hall, WAMM is holding its annual Halloween party and "day of the dead" celebration. Besides eating, drinking and dispensing each member's weekly allotment of marijuana, Valerie has filled her Volvo with good-sized, smooth rocks for the members to paint. There are 191 stones, one for each of the WAMM members who has died, and Valerie has a typed list for members to pick from. The mood, one of the members says, is much more solemn than most Halloween parties. The task is heavy, as is the timing of it--the stones are to be placed at the small graveyard Valerie created on the land, and there's no saying how much longer WAMM members will have access to it.Michael calls the cemetery "boot hill" and Valerie calls it "the jumping-off point." Under the boughs of a 300-year-old oak tree, there's a collection of memorials and trinkets to 26 people, most of them WAMM members who have died and asked that their ashes be brought up to the land. There are some mason jars, half of a surf board, blanched from sun exposure, candles and prayer tiles, strewn somewhat haphazardly in the yellow grass since marauding pigs tore through it looking for mushrooms and roots.In addition to both Valerie and Michael's fathers, the cemetery has become the final stop for the ashes of some important names. A portion of Dr. Timothy Leary's ashes are there, as are his ex-wife Rosemary Leary's, who lived and died in Aptos after coming out of hiding. Valerie says she purposely placed author Nina Graboi's ashes in between them, "to keep the peace." Peter Leith is buried with a small Buddhist shrine. Harold Allen, the second person to call the Corrals for help back in the '90s, is here. Michael Chelosky, who's named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, is there, as is Lucy Garcia, a local artist whose 17-year-old daughter Shayna has become Valerie's adopted daughter. This is where Valerie had hoped to be buried. "They are my welcome guests here," says Valerie. "Maybe I'll drop my bones up at the oak tree with my friends. Who can say?"As Valerie, dressed in a bee costume, flits around the room making sure everyone has what they need, someone is passing around a poster of a toddler picking at a wedgie, and all the members are signing it. The poster is a surprise for Valerie. "You know, because she's very picky-picky," says Jackie Russell, who's dressed as a marijuana fairy."We did it to make her feel better. The land has been a real upset," says her husband, Jared Russell. "It can feel like the whole world is crumbling."If that world is truly crumbling, Valerie is not ready to fully accept it. It's not denial, exactly, but she has not really made plans about where she will go next. She still maintains hope that a rescuer, some millionaire, will drop out of the sky, pay the debts and keep WAMM running for years to come. She hopes this investor, or maybe the lottery, will allow her to stay on the land, continue to grow and, indeed, drop her bones at the jumping-off point. But she has begun to do small things: give things away, pack her hat collection and her grandma's crocheting that she keeps in the same room where the marijuana hangs from the rafters to dry.In the meantime, she says she tries to remain in the present, enjoy her view, eat the grapes and the butternut squash she planted, smoke the pot she grew and feed the feral cats who wander in and out of her doors. "Will I be sad to leave it? Utterly. But we leave everything in this life," she says. "I sit with people and discuss with them and listen to them speak about losing everything, including their lives, and realize the magnitude of that is great."I would have to say this is a practice."Note: After 15 years of devotion to the medical marijuana movement in Santa Cruz, WAMM founders Michael and Valerie Corral face the loss of their land and the end of a dream.Source: Metro Santa Cruz (CA)Author: Jessica Lussenhop Published: November 12, 2008Copyright: 2008, Metro Publishing Inc.Contact: msc metcruz.comContact: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #30 posted by museman on November 18, 2008 at 10:31:45 PT
Our 'enemies' are much more in the 'domestic' arena than the 'foreign' arena.Our government is unconstitutional-plain and simple. Oh maybe there is some lip-service to the constitution, and a lot of legaleze blather spouted from the 'bench', but in the original intent and belief of the founding fathers, this government is illegal. This government is less benign than the one we fought to be free of. This government makes old king george of 1776 look like a kindly old gentleman, and the modern cops make those hessian troops look real friendly. Hitler would be proud of amerikas accomplishments since the CIA adapted the SS philosophy and tactics shortly after incorporating them in the late 40's. Todays cops make Roman Centurians look like humanitarians. Todays 'justice' system would make all those torture/dungeon masters jealous.In short, the illegal, unethical, immoral government is deserving of nothing but dissolution, certainly not the continuing mislaid support of the people, but then the people have been so deliberately alienated, mislaid, and betrayed by the ones who are supposed to be serving and protecting them, no one is sure of whom to trust, so we trust no one, except the ones who bludgeon our consciousness on a daily basis, through mindless labor, propaganda everywhere you look and listen, and armed thugs making sure no one steps off the status quo line- Zig Heil Amerika!911 was an inside job -and it looks like they are going to get clean a way with it. DAMN THEM ALL.And Obama- you better not let us down.....FREE MARY JANE FOR EVERYONE
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Comment #29 posted by Hope on November 18, 2008 at 05:28:02 PT
Museman Comment 21
I'm sorry about what happened to your family's wonderful evening. It sounded wonderful... until the authorities did their number.Nine eleven, even in this matter, according to your research, apparently made authorities go nuts and yes... literally, take from us and lock them away, all those rights and freedoms our enemies supposedly hated so much.The reason we were attacked, we were told, is because this country's enemies hated our freedom and liberty. Our enemies may hate us... but it's the "I know what's best for you" authorities within our own nation and system that actually despised and hated our freedom and rights.Once the message from authority in a situation like nine eleven might have been. There may be more enemies in country. Be alert. Be careful. Now it's the opportunity to give the authorities more "tools" and make their jobs "easier" by rounding up every right and freedom they can and locking them away... for our own good of course.
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Comment #28 posted by FoM on November 18, 2008 at 05:18:18 PT
We bought land and built our home near the Park because we love nature. We have never allowed hunting on our property and animals roam free and aren't afraid. We wanted our land to be a sanctuary for animals that lived here long before we did. We have people that come down to our county get drunk and have guns and would spot deer and kill them even though it isn't a fair way to hunt. When the Park closes the animals in the woods have their home back for the night. I share my land with the animals. I'm a serious animal lover so I think of their peace too.PS: The Park has hunting areas when it's hunting season. 
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Comment #27 posted by gloovins on November 17, 2008 at 23:44:39 PT
FoM, Museman
I agree with the fact that closing down nature is impossible. Once the government starts trying to protect you, that's where I think they should stop. Common sense protects best. This is what our society moves away from more and more each day. Stupidity kills. Always has, always will. I mean take the concept of a 2 lane highway and how dangerous it really is in fact. Cars zooming by one another at 60+ mph. Is this not so dangerous? Okay well if driving is so dangerous than why not mandate we all wear helmets when we drive. Heck, if it saves just 1 life it's worth it, no? I don't want my government passing laws against the common good of the people. The right to be free is so important but eroded these days because of the status quo and the apathy it loves to create. No one questions authority anymore without fear. People just pay the fine because they know no better. They are a happy cog in the wheel. I'm not.I believe too NO ONE can close nature. I feel bad for the poor soul who kills themselves slipping off a rock at night - drunk or however incapacitated but why should their ignorance constitute a policy that then now bans open, free access to everyone?Freedom: a precious commodity in todays world.I want and crave you?
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on November 17, 2008 at 17:31:08 PT
I've been away visiting my niece or I would have responded earlier. We don't pay anything around here for the use of our State Park. It's free! It's costs to stay at the lodge or rent a ski boat but the rest is free. The beach too. They have bands in the summer in the evening and they are free too.
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Comment #25 posted by museman on November 17, 2008 at 11:19:59 PT
Not Enough Care
When we were younger, we might've done something,but the money just got in the way.Some they got too much, some they got nothin'and the rest just got their bills to pay.When the dust was clearin' none was left standin'They'd all gone to pay their way.I tried not to sing songs of despair,but everywhere I look its just the sametreatin' life like it's a game,and we only got ourselves to blame. Not enough care. Not enough.Have you got an answer, or are you just a dancer?Look what's been done to our home.You make the change come, forfeit the ransom,your money's no seed to be grown.And you better do it today,light the candle, carry the flame.Now don't you believe what the money-man say...I tried not to sing songs of despair,but everywhere I look its just the sametreatin' life like it's a game,and we only got ourselves to blame. Not enough care. Not enough.(I think I remembered all the verses. Written in 1987.)
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Comment #24 posted by museman on November 17, 2008 at 11:07:55 PT
"I think safety is the reason for some of these laws. "Oh no, don't believe that for a minute! That is just an EXCUSE for the 'law.'The reason it is there is for power, control, and revenue. No other reason.If 'safety' was the concern, I have to pose the question; "How much Big Brothering do we need?" I mean just because someone is stupid enough to go in the dark without a light, or walk on trails while intoxicated, doesn't give the government the right to assume that everyone is as stupid as they are.I have been to more than a dozen hot springs in about 6 different states, and until Bush got into office, everyone of them was open 24/7. After all, like I said, how do you CLOSE NATURE?I just did some checking today, and all of the rest of my favorite hot springs have all been ordinanced into the coffers of their respective counties. And all done at the same time -after 911. I mean we wouldn't want terrorists to hang out in hot springs after dark! STUPID!I knew we were losing our freedom, but losing the ability to go to nature is just not exceptable.But of course those who are willing to pay the fees to experience what it is their human, and constitutional right to enjoy FREELY, in my opinion, almost deserve to have their liberties taken away, because they don't know how to use them anyway. -and don't believe the lies about how that money is used to 'maintain' the parks. The damn rangers get paid to do it, and their money doesn't come from fees. And in any case as far as hot springs go, its usually the people who maintain and keep the hot springs clean -without compensation.Complacency comes in the form of continuing to pay taxes that are illegal. It is believing that your boss is somehow more deserving of their higher wage because of some certification from institutions that support, perpetutate, and actually create the illusury belief that 'reality' is somehow only what they say it is. It is playing the game and calling it 'life'- at the expense of the future of our planet and ourselves. It is going along with the status quo, even though your heart, mind, and intuition are screaming at you to the contrary.Complacency is finding arguments to justify a corrupt government, because one is in denial about their own willingness to cooperate with that corruption out of fear or ignorance.I surely realize the dilemna and catch-22 situation the rulers have gotten most of us in. "No one can buy or sell without the mark of the beast...." Freedom is now just another commodity. Even Creation itself is now regulated by Satan, in the form of the US Government.I can handle the facts, and deal with them, just like anyone else, but I get real tired of hearing all the excuses that people come up with to justify the cops, the 'law,' the money, and the over-all capitulating attitude of the general population, when that in itself is the NUMBER ONE REASON why we are in the mess that we are.Complacency. Not Enough Care.Lyrics next post (music still on my hard drive)
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on November 17, 2008 at 07:57:51 PT
I'm really sorry for the problem you and your family had. Our local State Park closes at dusk. A young person a few years ago died from slipping and going over a cliff.We had a young neighbor girl go over a cliff about a quarter of a mile from here and we found her and she was life flighted to Columbus and she lived. I think safety is the reason for some of these laws. 
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Comment #22 posted by afterburner on November 16, 2008 at 22:52:50 PT
museman #21
Don't despair, brother."The momentum of the past election year cannot be allowed to fall back into the complacency of the last 3 decades."Amen to that. 
lotta love - neil young Obama Seeks Tech Savvy Staff is essential to truly resurrect paradise. We don't want no stinkin' NWO, false-Patriot, corporation as person rewriting of the Constitution, like the W.Bush years have force-fed us with. I'd like to see the Love grow and let the political rebirth flower from that seed. Action to the vision.
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Comment #21 posted by museman on November 16, 2008 at 11:58:12 PT
paradise lost -literally
This crime against humanity is on a long long list. I can only hope that there are generous patrons of liberty and justice out there who value people, and Gods Creation/s more than their money - I have to say the outlook is bleak.I hope this doesn't detract from the focus on the Corrals and their immediate need, but the title of this thread gives me the best place to post what I have to say today.Last night my eldest daughter, who prides herself on being a 'lawful' citizen, while being fully cognizant of the hypocrisy of the laws and the society/culture, got her first threat, harrassment, and intimidation from ameriKas finest -the BLM- cops of the woods - all for making use of one of Gods finest creations; Hot Springs.Since the Terwillager hotsprings were discovered sometime during the late gold rush, people have been enjoying its healing waters, and the wonderful scenery of the Oregon forest. For over 3o years the people have been cleaning the pools, carrying out garbage left behind by less conscious people, picking up broken glass, improving trails, and in general taking care of the hot springs. -with no funding, or assistance form the government.I have some wonderful memories, hanging out in the pool in the middle of January, watching the snow fall. And other memories that reveal too much about stuff that the fed spies who monitor this blog don't need to know...The best time to experience the hot springs was always after dark, when the tourists had left.So some of my kids and I decided to go. I haven't been to Cougar Hot Springs for over 15 years. The first thing I noticed when we got there was a toll booth sitting on the trail with a sign saying it cost $5 to go in. I asked my kids about it, they said; "That's for day use, the rangers don't come around at night." As it was already near complete dark, the ranger had left, and so we made our way up the trail.What I missed, (poor eyesight these days) and my kids neglected to tell me was the fine print that said "no overnight use."Well we passed several individuals who were leaving on the way up, and funny thing, not a single one of them warned or advised us that the hot springs were closed. (how do you 'close' nature?)So we hung out, I was the ony one partaking of medicinal cannabis (which turned out to be a good thing) and it was a beautiful clear starry night.We did some 'primal screaming' (which felt real good) and then we did a long Om which was high.Just as we were getting dressed, a couple of flashlights came down the trail, and began flashing in our faces. The questioning began."Do you have any marijuana or alcohol?" "You are in violation of code blah blah number blah."They of course didn't ask me anything, so I didn't have to lie like them (though I don't have any compunction against lying to cops-who are the biggest liars on the planet) but that wasn't the end of it.When we came down to the parking lot they were waiting for us. Then the threats and intimidation escalated. They threatened to impound my daughters car, ticket us all for being in the hot springs after dark, and 'let the dog loose.'To allow us to get the frick out of there, my daughter accepted the $125 ticket -for enjoying nature illegally- (without Big Brother's documented permission and fee).I told her not to worry about me, because I can take care of myself, and I know more about the law than any of these dogs in uniform. But this being her real first encounter with police harrassment, she was severely intimidated and afraid, so I kept out of the exchange.My daughter has a masters degree in political science. She has traveled the world, can speak 5 languages fluently, and has been at the forefront of politcal lobbying of our government to deal realisticly with global warming. If you added the IQ of every cop on the scene together, it wouldn't measure up to half of my daughters...My son spoke up and said to the cops "We're not criminals, you don't have to treat us like this." Whereupon the cops threatened him with a citation.And then it was over. A short time before as I was leaving the pool, I turned around and thanked the spirits of the hot springs and the ancient trees for the wonderful times I had in the past, wonderful memories of Spirit-filled healing and magic, speaking with regret that I would never ever be able to have such experiences again because of this (literally) GOD-DAMNED Government THAT IS NOT OURS!Lost. The access to the gifts of nature and God. The wonderful healing of the under-the-stars hot spring experience. The constitutional right to enjoy the assets of this wonderful land being destroyed by these disgusting excuses for humanity, and their equally disgusting masters -the government-of-the-rich-by-the-rich-for-the-rich has been 'trumped' by the unconstitutional authority given to these thugs because of first the WOD and the final coup-de-gras of our liberty -the 'Patriot Act."I know that this is a 'minor inconvenience' compared to the suffering and pain of the thousands whose lives are interrupted, compromised, ruined, and ended by specificly the WOD and cannabis 'laws', yet it is indicative of the struggle we actually face in getting our country back from the fascists who have had it for so long now.It's not going to be enough to just focus on one aspect of the loss of our liberties, even though the cannabis crux issue is a big stone in the building of the false temple of blind-and-unequal jusrtice. If a significant number of people do not get into focus on the root issues of constitutional rights and liberties -as a whole, then the power given to the dogs of enforcement is going to remain and grow until Amerika makes Nazi Germany look like a pleasant alternative (Except of course for the rich who need look no further than their money for comfort-because it has been proven that liberty, justice, and freedom only exsit for those that can afford it).If there has been any thought on the part of the fed-cop (or any other cop for that matter) that the recent election is going to affect their behavior in any way- it became quite evident that they haven't spent any real time in considering changing their act to reflect the so-called 'mandate of change' that the people just voted for.It is also obvious, that even though one has intelligence, and the intent to stand up for their rights, when faced with the dogs of law-enforcement, most cave-in almost immediately to save them the 'inconvenience' and 'hassle' of dealing with the BS of the 'justice' system. Its where they (the cops and corrupt government) get over, time and time again.If people don't start standing up to the pigs, cretins, and slavering dogs errantly called 'keepers of the peace' and 'servers and protectors', then more individuals who do have the guts to stand up to Big Brother are going to suffer, while the intimidated public bends over and takes it up the posterior, while thanking the f-in monsters for not murdering them on the spot.Its bad enough that I have had to spend almost my entire life in clandestine mode, because I discovered the many wonderful properties of cannabis, but now they are going to keep me- and everyone except the 'special people' from the enjoyment of natural features that were here before this god-forsaken government ever came to be, and will most likely still be ther after the United States Of America has crumbled into the dust of thankfully forgotten history.The United States of America no longer exists. The states are not 'united' they are subjugated. The people are not free, they are enslaved to false systems, and like all good slaves are afraid to challenge their masters.As much as I want to believe, the evidence is screaming louder than my-or anyone elses- denial of it.The chance to effect change is here, but I don't see enough people getting at the root causes, so I begin to doubt. The selfish comfort of the american status quo has destroyed the patriotism that has made america great in the past.The possibility is in our hands right now, but too few are going to be able to get outside their job, their house/car payments and the overwhelming need for that new digtital plasma TV, to effectively do anything about it. And 99% of everyone the cops hassle will bend over and take it to save themselves from the inconvenience of spending their time and money to defend their rights under the constitution.When I see the concerns of those who claim to 'warriors of liberty and freedom' being so easily compromised by the intimidation of the police, and the reluctance to spend the time in a court of law addressing the situation, as well as the preimminent focus on materialism, I just don't see how any realistic hope for change can be.The fact that not one single person has given feedback on the idea of a constitutional convention is really saddening to me.-except to give me status-quo establismentarianisms as to how and why it can't happen- It tells me more about the reluctance to really do anything about the situation, than all the words and hyperbole claiming concern for the sytematic rape of our liberties - including cannabis prohibition.If people aren't willing to make the sacrifices necessary to confront the error directly, at the root, then all the hot air around the periphery amounts to just that -hot air.When we came to this country it was a paradise. It had been kept, maintained, and respected for thousands of years by the people who really are the sovereigns of this country - the 'native americans.' Our nation, powered by greed, selfishness, ignorance, fear, and false beliefs, in less than 300 years, has raped, pillaged, and destroyed more than half of our forests, and land. Our cities rise up into clouds of putrid smog, stacked together like anthills from hell, housing the slave populations that have never even seen the stars, or touched earth that wasn't polluted or dead. I have traveled all over this country seen both the untouched beauty (there is still some left -but going fast) and the literally untold damage american greed and materialism has done to the majesty and beauty. Of course I have often taken for granted that others are aware of these things, but such experiences as I experienced last night bring home the unpleasant realization that most americans haven't a clue what they are missing, and what is being stolen from them as they lead their repetitive, humdrum lives right into their graves. A large group of ignorant americans have been supporting fascism and the NWO for decades-for the distinctly american hope of a few dollars more- while the schemes of the Oil Companies, The Pharma companies, the bankers, and the ultra-rich nephalim who rule it all, have grown apace unslowed and for the most part unrealized. That group, often referrd to as 'republicans' has found enough 'support' from the scrabbling slave population over the past few decades to create a monster of biblical proportion- "Who is mighty enough to stand against the beast?"The only ones standing against the beast, are the ones the beast has forced to stand. Throw money at the beast, ok, the beast will go along with that, because by doing that we ackowledge the unchallengeble power of the beast, and negate any power we might have had under constitutional law.If anyone at this point believes that american freedom is anything other than the numbers in your bank account, I know what side you are on in this very real war against God, Creation, and Man -whether you admit it or not. Unfortunately it seems that too many believe more in money than freedom, human rights, or justice. It is evident in the way everyone thinks that money is some kind of solution to the devastation money has caused, kind of like the old cliche' - "Trying to fight fire with fire." Or hiring the same mercenaries that just raided your village and killed your people to attack themselves.I have seen the soul of this government and it is rotten TO THE CORE. I sure do hope Obama doesn't let us down, but even if he is for real, I despair that enough people will be able to get out of their status-quo bondage long enough to help effect real change.Paradise lost is a very real loss. Those who haven't experienced it may never get to now, because they are too entrenched and embedded in the service to the almighty dollar to get out and see for themselves.In 1975 I escaped Bakersfield for the first time. I tried to gather resource so I could do it with some comfort and ability, but could not get work. One day I finally just started walking with the clothes on my back, and by the end of the day I was out. As simple as that. It took a few more tries until I could make the escape permanent, but because of that one day that I proved to myself that I am master of MY OWN STEPS, I was able to follow through and make it stick, and thereby got to raise my children in some semblance of a natural life.All cities are Babylon. Argue, disagree, whatever. If you believe in your city, you are duped. If you feel trapped, as any un-programmed consciousness would naturally feel, then get out while you still can. Al you have to do is start walking. The futhre you get away from the unreality, the more reality you are going to get to experience.As I look at the few remaining years of my life, I find myself in a way looking forward to leaving this god-forsaken state of affairs, particularly if the change so many have been going on and on about proves to be just more of the same. And from what I am seeing so far the change that needs to happen in order for any other change, is the change in values and perspective of values at the root of this societies beliefs. The American God is money, and though other religions claim different gods, it is money that they truly worship, and value, higher than they do Yashua's teachings, for sure.That change is as yet to be anywhere near the forefront of change. Therefore it is most likely that the unpleasant scenarios of war, climate revolution, ecomomic control by the few, will continue until God and Nature declare WITH UNDENIABLE ABSOLUTENESS that it is over. That will undeniably be rather unpleasant or all of us, not just the ones who deserve it.I would rather that we take advantage of the rare opportunity that is now present but fading fast to dictate to those who are supposedly our representatives how we wish them to act, instead of the other way around.I would rather continue to hold onto the hope that armageddon-style inevitability is avertable, but things are not looking too good. 
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on November 15, 2008 at 17:57:45 PT
Had Enough
That is a good idea. They just showed AKA Tommy Chong on Showtime. I had never seen it before. It was good and it took me back to when it happened. Valerie and Mike Corral have been special. I followed them in the news and what they were doing. They developed a special community. If we saw more people like the Corral's do good things for people for whatever worthy cause it might become a better world.
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Comment #19 posted by Had Enough on November 15, 2008 at 17:09:56 PT
I’ll bet Willie knows how to contact him
Sent a message to the Willie Nelson contact link on his ‘contact info’ page to pass this article along to Neil if they can. Not sure if that booking agent people thing in the last post will happen so I did this too.Worth a try…Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a fund raising concert…
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Comment #18 posted by Had Enough on November 15, 2008 at 15:39:02 PT
Neil Young…I just sent a message and link to his booking agent people to have Neil look at this article.It’s the only way I could think of to help.At least it’s a try anyhow.I was very close to tears when I saw this article. If I were a wealthy man… I’d buy that property and let those people live in peace.They have given much more to mankind than they have taken.Peace…What’s so hard and wrong about that???
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on November 14, 2008 at 14:38:16 PT
EJ it would help to know how much is needed. What will it take to save the farm I wonder.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on November 14, 2008 at 14:29:37 PT
You're welcome. I feel that way too. 
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Comment #15 posted by Dankhank on November 14, 2008 at 14:23:21 PT
FoM, Thank You ...
I am blessed beyond measure ...
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Comment #14 posted by E_Johnson on November 14, 2008 at 14:22:29 PT
How much money does she need?
It's hard to figure out what to do to help without some ballpark number to work from.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on November 14, 2008 at 10:28:39 PT
A Question
How much does an acre of land cost to buy in Santa Cruz? I bet it is really a lot of money.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on November 14, 2008 at 10:07:36 PT
There's bound to be a book 
in the Woman's Alliance.People out there in publishing... El Patricio?... someone... needs to see if there is.An advance on a book might be a way of life saver for Valerie.
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Comment #11 posted by MarijuanaSavesLives on November 14, 2008 at 09:12:03 PT
We love you Valerie and Mike....
I sure hope she finds the millionaire or lucky Lottery ticket.....
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on November 14, 2008 at 07:05:27 PT
I just want to say to you Good Morning and I love you.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on November 14, 2008 at 07:04:26 PT
I love Valerie and Michael Corral. I've never met them personally but they have been a driving force in my will not to give up and just walk away. I don't want them to lose their land and home. Maybe Graham Nash would help if he knew since he owned the land at one time the article said. Maybe Neil Young would help if he knew about it. 
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Comment #8 posted by Dankhank on November 14, 2008 at 05:18:54 PT
I would like to help ... let us know ...
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Comment #7 posted by 1RastaWarrior on November 13, 2008 at 23:16:57 PT
Please Help
Blessings beautiful children in the name of the Most High, may Jah love be upon you.This story is an outright travesty. The Corrals and WAMM are at the very root of the medicinal cannabis movement. We cannot afford to lose our roots.Please do whatever you can to halt this disaster in the making. We cannot allow Babylon to prevail on this front in their war against Jah's holy plant. I'm calling upon all warriors to take up the call to arms and join I on the battlefield. I've e-mailed NORML and asked for their assistance. I'm preparing to donate money, time, etc. I ask that you do the same. Peace and Jah Bless
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on November 13, 2008 at 22:57:13 PT
"Why is that such a hard thing to understand?"Their fear that your enjoyment could somehow be "skin off their asses"... or a detriment to them or someone, somehow, I guess.I think their fears are unfounded. Sure there's wild idiots that smoke pot. There's wild idiots that drink. There's wild idiots that are just natural born wild idiots.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on November 13, 2008 at 22:48:54 PT
Thinking about a question on another thread.
I think Joy Strickland might make a very good Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 13, 2008 at 14:02:27 PT
It's really good to see you. I agree with what you said.
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Comment #3 posted by dankhank on November 13, 2008 at 13:59:19 PT
the day is coming ...
the forces of nihilism and intolerance have their backs against the wall and, like cornered rats, will lash out with all remaining strength to rend and tear even as they fade from our sight.their days are numbered, though, we know not how many they have.An enlightenment will ensue, though, many who are instrumental in the creation of the new way will little enjoy this time to be.Those of us who remain must continue to tell the stories of the brave men and women striving mightily to bring sanity to the lives of those who only want to enjoy their lives. Is that such a hard thing to understand?Why is that such a hard thing to understand?
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 13, 2008 at 13:02:47 PT
Just a Dream
As people from the 60s retire could the land be sub divided and sold to people for retirement homes? A retirement community for people of like mind maybe?
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 13, 2008 at 12:56:19 PT
Valerie and Michael Corral
This article makes me feel sick. I really hope everything will work out for the both of them.
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