Pot, new candidate spice up Orange Commission race

- The race for Orange County Commission in District 5 has a new candidate. Tim McKinney entered the race after months of speculation and battles with current Commissioner Ted Edwards. McKinney directs a non-profit aimed at increasing affordable housing choices and tells us he joined the race to make a difference in Bithlo and throughout the east side district.

"I've been discouraged to see residents throughout east Orange County, Corrine Drive, University and even downtown with the chronic homeless issue just being completely ignored by our current county commissioner."

The other person besides the incumbent Edwards and McKinney in the race is property manager Greg Eisenberg. he came out this week with a new proposal for Orange County, ending arrests for people found with less than 20 grams of marijuana, and issuing civil citations instead.

"Your first time that's going to be $250. Your second time that's going to be a little bit higher. It's going to be $500, and if you get to that third time, then you are facing arrest because obviously you are a multiple offender and something more drastic would need to get done."

Eisenberg says he supports the ballot issue of medical marijuana for the sick, and says his proposal for civil citations comes in part from the sad stories he has seen managing public housing.

"They're being turned away for a petty marijuana charge that happened 10 years ago, 15 years ago, and that's not OK in my book."

New opponent Tim McKinney says he would agree to civil citations, but only if the Sheriff of Orange County was on board with the idea.

"In several areas, juvenile justice, this issue that Greg brought up and others, we should look at civil citations as an alternative."

Eisenberg says civil citations would save the Sheriff, the courts, and the taxpayers time and money.

"When they're taking their time to arrest somebody and make an arrest that takes more of their time, more of their focus when I think there are bigger issues facing our brave men in blue, brave men and women in blue can be spending their time attending to."

Incumbent Ted Edwards declined comment for this story.

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