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Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2004 12:00 am | Updated: 2:47 pm, Thu Jul 18, 2013.

GENERAL PLAN WARS…Squid should have known it would come to this. First there was just the General Plan Update. Then there was GPU 2, and GPU 3—ditched by the Supes in May, when Edith Johnsen, Fernando Armenta and Butch Lindley voted to throw out GPU 3 and start on a new version, largely based on the old, outdated 1982 version. GPU 4, we’ll call it.

Meanwhile, the former Refinement Group’s got its own 20-year growth document in the works, and no doubt, hoping the planners adopt as their own version of GPU 4. And then last week, the Planning and Conservation League’s Fred Keeley, along with LandWatch’s Gary Patton, announced that they’re continueing with the plan update process, using the 12 Guiding Principles and the draft GPU 3 document approved by the Planning Commission.

Now Squid’s head is spinning. Three plans, no end in sight, what’s a mollusk to do?

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see three competing documents on the ballot,” Supervisor Dave Potter tells Squid.

Three dueling General Plans? Say it ain’t so!

“You can get a ballot measure against sliced bread,” Potter says. “I think we’ll see the Common Ground document, and LandWatch document, and then the county’s document.”

[Squid’s Note: Common Ground is basically an earlier version of the current incarnation of the Refinement Group. Different name, same go-go growth peeps.]

“The development community should be careful what they wish for,” Potter says. “They said they didn’t want that document [GPU 3]. They would end up with a LandWatch initiative that is environmentally more regulatory, but that will be supported by the public.”

Yup, Squid thinks, the circus is officially in town. Bring on the clown cars and bearded ladies.

THE CHICKENS ARE COMING… Squid filed this one under the “breaking news.” According to a press release: “Voluntary health assurance program developed for game chickens.” Oh good. Squid’s known one too many chickens who can’t pay their medical bills, or have been forced to choose between feeding their families and buying their high blood pressure medication. Wait, Squid’s bad. That’s “insurance,” not “assurance.” Squid read further: “Concern over exotic Newcastle disease and avian influenza…is looming over chicken producers throughout the world…In light of these worries, University of California Cooperative Extension is extending its poultry health assurance program…”

“Chickens run freely in Mexico, where Newcastle is endemic. The statistical odds suggest that regular tourists probably walked through Mexican streets and picked up the disease, then walked into their own backyards where they raise a few chickens.”

What Squid’s curious about is: What are the statistical odds that tourists raise chickens in their back yards? Are chickens the latest in the line of designer pets, following baby alligators and Vietnamese potbelly pigs? Squid misses the good old days when the only things running around in suburban backyards were dogs and cats. Sigh.


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