I enjoyed Bill Cornelius’ recent reviews on the State Theater. Well done to current and former STFTA groups and everyone who has done the physical labor, donated and attended shows.

Before the world’s richest dentist Ron Clark and Ben Sale bought the building, it was owned by a man named Max, who also owned the Riverside – now Prime – Cinema. He bought the state – then a multiplex of three cinemas – to keep it closed and eliminate competition. When our friend and comedy accomplice Brandon Davison got a job at Riverside, he became our link to rent Max’s space for a pittance to do comedy.

In February 1996, we gave our first State Theater show in the Great Hall – now the “Box”. We swept a bit, but it was a mess. We did a few more shows there over the next couple of years while Max owned it and then he wanted to sell.

There was talk of turning the building into a parking lot or a senior citizen’s residence, so Dr Clark and Mr Sale stepped in and saved him. A steering committee was formed and we scraped the gum off the bottom of the seats, cleaned up the pigeon poo from the screening room, and figured out what each electrical switch in the breaker room was doing. This was accomplished by Mr. Standish and Tim Green on walkie-talkies – one in the breaker room and the other walking around the theater to see what went on and off, then tagging that switch. Good time.

In October 1999, Merry Standish Comedy did three benefit shows and raised $ 10,000 in matching funds for the Town of Red Bluff to pay for a feasibility study, and we were on the move.

In March 2001, the dividing walls were finally going to be removed, so we had a sketch where Brandon – playing Dr. Clark – walked through the wall of one of the lower rooms. We had to fix the wall for the next performance – hah. And when I say “we” I mean Mr. Standish and other qualified producers of destruction and chaos.

I’m leaving out a lot of the story here, but suffice it to say we’re thrilled the state has been saved and turned into a world-class performance venue. We’re also a little sad that we can’t afford to rent it now that it’s a world class performance venue.

And speaking of performances, the fustercluck that is Red Bluff’s cannabis ordinance has turned into a spectacle worthy of cringe. Here’s a quick summary.

The Cannabis Committee, in which the public participated, was tasked with investigating whether Red Bluff should create an ordinance to regulate various business activities and personal cultivation. They must have agreed that it was a good idea, as they worked out the details and presented an ordinance to the city council, which approved a revised draft.

City manager and lawyer Rick Crabtree – yes, he’s still both – was tasked with hiring an outside lawyer, Tarquin Preziosi, to analyze and make sure it was legal. Instead of following the instructions, he gave Preziosi a different order that he himself had pieced together from other orders, like a sort of stoner collage of legal jargon. Preziosi rewrote this one even though he wasn’t supposed to and billed the city three times the maximum amount approved by council. It has been suggested that Crabtree pay the difference.

Somehow this gerrymandered ordinance became the center of the discussion and local cannabis advocate and expert Jason Browne merged the Crabtree / Preziosi ordinance with the one approved by the council. Free. Are you still confused? Me too.

Lots of finger points followed, and then City Councilor Johnna Jones made a wonderful suggestion – to defer to state law, except when everyone agrees on the differences, like five storefront dispensaries. It could have been done a year ago.

Everyone is frustrated with the process and they get to the point of “Let’s just get something done”. Please adopt something that best serves citizens – not outside interests or those with other motives.

On the west side of the tracks, the supervisory board meeting was suspended during the public comment portion when the power was cut. The meeting resumed and the first item was the forked tongue resolution opposing the COVID vaccine mandates, which was approved. The rest of the resolution strongly encouraged everyone to get vaccinated and expressed support for the public health guidelines, but this part was largely ignored.

The development impact fee has been dragged around the room again, and there will be no increase coming. At this point, the county will be lucky if it doesn’t have to reimburse the fees it has already collected as it was collected for projects that were never identified. Wouldn’t that be something? It won’t happen, but it’s fun to think about it.

Next Tuesday’s agenda contains some interesting points. On the consent agenda – the one whose non-controversial items are usually passed in one vote – there are a few painful thumbs sticking out.

One is a request to dissolve the Ad Hoc Budget. Excuse me? The board just passed a budget that we barely worked on and the only reason it balanced is because it used $ 4 million of the law money. CARES to fill the gap. You remember the $ 6.6 million they received for COVID-related expenses, right? Hello.

However, point 18 can solve all financial worries for a year or three. This is a request for the creation of an American Relief Act Ad Hoc. Have you heard of ARA? Tehama County is set to receive an additional $ 12 million in COVID relief, thank you very much. And supervisors Bob Williams and John Leach will decide how it will be spent if the new ad hoc project is approved.

Why wouldn’t ARA distribution be part of the budgeting process? Why is the public not invited to participate? Are you not tired of decisions taken behind closed doors? Maybe we can use this time to get our finances in order. Buckle up, buttercup. Rough trail ahead.

Liz Merry has been half of Merry Standish Comedy for 30 years and is a former owner of a downtown Red Bluff business. She now has a home business and is locked up and loaded in Manton. She can be reached at [email protected].