Kern County Supervisor Recuses Herself From Cannabis Votes

A Kern County supervisor has agreed to recuse herself from future votes on cannabis policy after questions over her husband’s business dealings emerged. Meanwhile, another supervisor, who is also facing conflict-of-interest allegations related to marijuana, says he will do no such thing.

The one recusing herself is Leticia Perez.

Perez’s husband, Fernando Jara, owns Savage Communications, a consulting firm that has done some work regarding marijuana policy for several clients.

“I am excited about what the next stage of this [issue] may bring for us, but in my own conscience, my own duty to the public trust, I do not think it is appropriate for me to engage and vote on this matter moving forward,” she said.

Perez then challenged Supervisor Mike Maggard to follow her lead. He is facing his own set of accusations form a local cannabis advocate.

The allegations suggest that political consultants Jimmy Yee and Kim Schaefer were working with Maggard to create a ban on cannabis and then open a limited number of dispensaries for the clients of the two consultants.

Both Maggard and the consultants have flatly denied the allegations, and Maggard said Tuesday that he would not be recusing himself à la Perez.

“If there are members of this board who have a conflict of interest and they feel they need to recuse themselves, then they should recuse themselves,” he said. “That’s the appropriate thing to do, but I won’t be bullied. I won’t be put in a box. I won’t be cornered. I won’t be put in any position to not represent the interests of my constituents. I won’t bow down to that.”