Modesto City Councilmember Kristi Ah You said Thursday that the $100,000 donation to her campaign for mayor came about, “Because I was the only one who listened and tried to help,” during a dispute between the Modesto Police Department, City Hall, and a co-owner of Phenos Cannabis Dispensary on McHenry Avenue in Modesto. The contribution is listed under the name of Angilbert Sarkis, of Oakdale, Co-owner, Phenos.
Ah You said she was contacted by Phenos personnel last week regarding complaints about police in unmarked cars stopping customers and telling them Phenos was out of compliance with regulations for cannabis sales. Rumors have circulated that the owners of Phenos want Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll fired.
Chief Carroll said on Thursday afternoon that, “Based on the information from officers at the scene, they did not stop customers. There was no formal complaint filed even though I suggested that would be the course of action if there was an issue that needed to be dealt with. The Police Department has no interest in impacting businesses in our city and is not and has not singled out Phenos.”
Ah You said that even if rumors that the owners of Phenos want Chief Carroll fired were true, “I couldn’t do that. The rules wouldn’t allow it. And anyway, I don’t think he’s doing a bad job.”
Ah You said that people at Phenos were also upset that they hadn’t been notified that authorities from the city* were coming to the dispensary for a routine inspection. Apparently city staff had emailed notification of the state visit to the wrong business.
“All that was needed was a little common courtesy and respect,” said Ah You. “The people at Phenos felt they were being targeted and harassed. When I called City Hall, they said they didn’t feel a need to apologize. These kinds of things happen and then lawyers get involved when there’s no need for that.”
“I think this particular industry is not treated the same as other businesses. Phenos is one of the biggest contributors to the City’s tax base. People at City Hall need to slow down and apologize when they’re wrong. Most of the times these things escalate and lawyers get involved because of egos,” said Ah You.
“They found out I was running for mayor and asked what I needed. I said $100,000. I couldn’t believe it when I got the donation. They said it was because I was the only one who listened and tried to help.”
Ah You said that Phenos deserves to be treated like any other business. “When they weren’t properly notified of the inspection because of the city’s error, the city should have apologized,” she said. “That’s all it would have taken to deescalate the situation.”
Ah You said if candidates couldn’t accept donations, “Only rich people would be able to run for office using self-donations.” She said that Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold had spent $200,000 during his winning campaign in 2016.
“It costs $40,000 just to send out one mailer,” said Ah You. “Some candidates are hiring consultants from outside the region. I was provided with an opportunity and I took it.”
A security staff member at Phenos said on Thursday morning that police had, “been here a lot.” While he was talking there was a steady stream of customers entering and exiting the dispensary. There were over twenty cars in the parking lot. No police were in sight.
*An earlier, incorrect version of this sentence, read “authorities from the state.”
CHRIS MURPHY says
Good for her for standing up and being straight about the donation. This violates no rules that I am aware of and this is a legal industry.
Brenda Hayes says
You left off a “0” in a pretty important part of the article. Without looking closely, it could look like $100 that she asked for. Just thought you would like to know. I would.
susan bass says
I see $100,000. in article not $100
Eric Caine says
Thanks to you, Brenda, I made the correction. We always appreciate “catches” of our errors, no matter how large or small.
Janis M Bouchard says
If police are plainclothes in unmarked cars, they might very well be mixed among the customers?
Al Lucchesi says
That is good that acted like councilperson should with such a complaint
Modesto becky says
Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it beneficial for the community. This is no different than if she accepted donations from cigarette companies. I don’t care if it’s legal take a look at the people using this crap and you’ll be want to live far away from any dispensary. I will not be voting for this woman who obviously doesn’t care about the community by accepting drug money. How low can you be woman?
Considering our legislators and counsel members of the cauce Are still able to accept money from lobbyists money from a local cannabis dispensary seems quite fair. Cuz buying a vote is buying a vote doesn’t matter who you are.
Modesto Karen says
Calm down Becky. Cannabis is medicine
To Modesto Becky:
Temper your judgement of the patrons of a legal business until you’ve walked with those using cannabis: the grandparents with glaucoma; the epilepsy or MS sufferer whose symptoms are relieved by various varieties (yes, Becky, there are varieties specific to maladies).
Should you become an insomnia sufferer, try Indica first; it has fewer (if any) side effects than what BigPharma has to offer. Got arthritis or chronic pain? Get straight CBD (no THC high) for natural pain management.
I could go on, but believe you’ll learn and retain more if you Google the medical benefits of cleanly grown cannabis, hemp and their by-products. Wishing you good health!