POOR LITTLE PAULA by Ellen Komp © 2001
As the recall campaign against Marin District Attorney Paula Kamena has progressed, the DA has publicly called her family court opponents "thugs" and suggested her medical marijuana opponents are dealing drugs to children. Speculating about the $15,000 Lynnette Shaw of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana used to fund the recall, "Until they come out of the shadows and we know who they are, then we might be led to believe this recall effort is perhaps supported by drug dealers." Kamena said at a Feb. 7 press conference in San Rafael, as reported in the Marin Independent Journal. "If they sell marijuana, do they pay taxes? Do they sell the drug to our kids?" she wondered aloud to the San Francisco Daily Journal for a March 15 article.
Kamena is on record poor-mouthing to the press while she accuses Shaw of making money hand over fist. "That pot clinic brings in more than a million dollars a year, and I make just over $100,000," she "angrily" told the Daily Journal.
This is interesting since, according to California form 700 filed by Kamena filed on April 1 at the Fair Political Practices Commission in Sacramento and the County of Marin elections office, Kamena and her husband Mark are worth between $3 million and $5 million, or more, and made stock purchases between $158,000 and $1.5 million in the year 2000. The Mark and Paula Kamena Revocable Trust lists real estate holdings valued at over $3.2 million, including a million-dollar Union Bank in Oakland and a Baker's Square in San Leandro. Kamena takes rental from each property yearly. Last year she reported this income as $30,000 or more.
Kamena owns stock in oil companies and pipelines, automobiles and rubber, high tech and wood products. It should be noted that the similarly sooty Don Solem the PR pro Kamena hired to run her campaign, is a notorious oil industry lobbyist who was the Northern California coordinator of the "No on 15" committee formed to defeat the anti-nuclear initiative on the 1979 California ballot. The high-ticket Solem was once the executive director of the state Democratic Party and a top aide to George Moscone while the late San Francisco mayor was the state Senate majority leader. Under Moscone, Solem worked on efforts in the California legislature to decriminalize marijuana in the 1970s. Later, he teamed with business leaders to defeat growth control and rent control propositions around the state.
Solem served as spokesman for the Chronicle Publishing Company (owners of the Chron and KRON-TV) during their recent sale to the Hearst corporation. Since hiring Solem, the Kamena campaign has enjoyed a plethora of positive press and some serious slamming of Shaw. SF Weekly's Matt Smith went on a two-week tirade against medical marijuana proponents, complete with a graphic of a machine-gun-toting pot grower. The Pacific Sun, which refused a story from this reporter, has dubbed the recall campaign a "witch hunt" on the basis of the family court claim that started it. The aforementioned Daily Journal article compared Kamena to the Lone Ranger wearing a white hat against the "black hats" of "dope dealers."
According to an independent audit of MAMM’s records conducted by CPA Richard Chinlund of San Rafael for the Town of Fairfax, the club did indeed have revenues of close to a million dollars in 2000. However, 70% of the clubs' $936,000 in proceeds last year, or $649,000, went back out in purchases to growers of the high-priced weed. According to Shaw, the cooperative must pay $3600-$4800/lb. for their marijuana from growers who can always sell their product on the black market for that price. After paying salaries, office expenses, insurance, payroll taxes, etc. the club's net income was $54,000. Shaw herself took $55,000 as the sole proprietor of the business. These figures jibe with Chinlund’s 1999 audit, which reports the club netted $41,000 on $670,000 in sales where another 70% went back to growers and Shaw was paid $37,000. To answer the question Kamena certainly must know: the club did not pay sales tax, and presumably the growers didn’t pay income taxes on their take. But that is one of the strongest reasons to end prohibition and not the fault of Shaw or her patients.
For all Kamena's grousing about Shaw's lack of record keeping, hers are somewhat sloppy. She failed to report amounts on some of her holdings, and several figures, funds and dates between her 1999 and 2000 form 700s don't match up. Quite strangely, the address for her trust is listed as the address of her district attorney's office: Hall of Justice, Room 130, San Rafael.
Kamena filed her 45-day report on April 7, showing she has raised almost $90,000, mostly from $100-$500 donations from local civil servants, attorneys, PACs, fellow California DAs, and several retired people. She has spent $24,000--$10,000 on Solem. That figure seems low for Solem, who told a Contra Costa grand jury in 1992 that $2.6 million in less than 6 years wasn't too much for his firm's PR services for their water district. The Daily News reports Solem advised Kamena to raise $200,000 to fight off her opponents.