Anyone unlucky enough to have participated in Long Beach's ill-fated medical marijuana lottery process is familiar with the name Erik Sund. As assistant director of business services for Long Beach, it was Sund's responsibility to oversee the city's registration and licensing of dispensaries that, under a city ordinance that has since been ruled unconstitutional, required cannabis collectives to apply for expensive permits to cultivate and distribute marijuana within city limits.
Problem is, none of the applicants who won the lottery ever won a permit. Lives were ruined, fortunes flushed down the toilet, rumors of bribes and payoffs began to circle as the police ignored some dispensaries (including one that was part of a ring of illegal storefronts that federal authorities eventually shut down) while raiding their competitors.
A familiar figure on these raids was the same man who was supposed to be promoting the city's legalization effort: Mr. Sund.
So at first, when activists learned that Sund was no longer working for Long Beach, they rejoiced, assuming that he'd finally been fired or otherwise pushed out of city government.
Not so fast: turns out Sund actually got himself a promotion. Somehow he managed to beat out 144 other applications, eight of whom (including Sund) were actually interviewed, to become San Clemente's brand spanking new assistant city manager. He replaces Pall Gudeirsson, who is now city manager.
“I could see us working very well together, in terms of finding better ways of doing things,” Gudgeirsson told the San Clemente Times. “He comes very highly recommended by the city manager and the head of the department of finance.”
The Times article already has a few interesting comments, including this one from Larry King, one of the lottery winners who was never able to open his doors and eventually lost everything:
I wonder who does the vetting of city employees in San Clemente. How did Erik Sund get picked out of 145 applicants (some with higher degrees I am sure)for the high-paying position of Asst. City Manager? If you look up city corruption in the dictionary, you won't see his picture. But you will see it (along with disturbing videos) if you look him up on the internet. He is the co-defendant, along with the city of Long Beach, in dozens of damages and civil rights lawsuits totaling millions of dollars. He has lied and cheated honest business people in this town for many years, under the noses of his bosses. He has led local police on violent, heavily-armed raids on retail locations over trumped up zoning and licensing violations. I have personally lost my family savings directly due to his actions. Our loss is your gain – good luck San Clemente.
Sund starts his new job start November 4.
Contact Nick Schou at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou is Editor of OC Weekly. He is the author of Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books 2006), which provided the basis for the 2014 Focus Features release starring Jeremy Renner and the L.A. Times-bestseller Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love’s Quest to bring Peace, Love and Acid to the World, (Thomas Dunne 2009). He is also the author of The Weed Runners (2013) and Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood (2016).