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Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2009 12:00 am

POSSIBLE END IN SIGHT… Nine years after it began, the Monterey County General Plan Update inches toward completion. A new public review period on the Draft Environmental Impact Report ends 5pm, Feb. 2; public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will be scheduled later in 2009. This means the county should finalize its 20-year blueprint for growth in time to start the 2020 update process. Comments should be submitted to Carl Holm, RMA-Planning Salinas Permit Center, 168 W. Alisal St. 2nd Floor, Salinas, CA 93901 in person or by mail. They may also be submitted via e-mail, The GPU is available online, [JL]

RACIAL JOKE DRAWS CENSURE… The Marina Coast Water District board recently censured Director Tom Moore for not adequately apologizing for a racial joke he made. Director Ken Nishi says he complained after Moore impersonated someone of Indian descent in between closed and open sessions at the Aug. 27, 2008 Water District meeting. Finance Director Suresh Prasad, who is of Indian descent, was in the room. Nishi demanded an apology. After an investigation, Moore on Nov. 18, 2008 said his remark was misunderstood, adding that he didn’t intend to offend anyone. Nishi said the apology wasn’t good enough and mockingly invited Moore to give a Filipino interpretation. At Nishi’s request, the board Dec. 23 voted 4-1 to censure Moore. Moore says, “Nishi has sent a clear message to the other directors: ‘Mess with me and I’ll have you censured.’” [ZS]

ORGANIC FARM AID… Organic farmers can receive financial assistance, thanks to two new California Certified Organic Farmers initiatives: a disaster-relief program, and help accessing the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cost Share Funding Program, which is part of the 2008 Farm Bill. “Our Disaster Relief Program has made a positive impact on our members over the past three years,” says Peggy Miars, CCOF executive director, “The awards compensate members for some or all of the annual cost of being certified. The money is our way of helping them get their business back on track.” Farmers who lost crops in last summer’s wildland fires, for example, would qualify for the relief funding. For more information, visit [JL]

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