A Tale of Two Counties

It came, as so many press releases do, through the fax, with punctuation problems. But the missive from local coalition Citizen's (sic) Against Sprawl captured Squid's interest sufficiently to rescue it from its fate as an airborne missile, thanks to its subject, New Cities Development. It seems the hillside-happy builders who enhanced scenic Highway 68 with the 250-home gated community called Pasadera have run into legal difficulties in Douglas County, Colo. And our local non-fans of highly visible pink-stuccoed grandeur couldn't be happier.

According to Colorado resident Rob Stuehrk, spokesman for the arduously named Coalition of Northeast Douglas County Against Annexation, Peninsula-based New Cities bought 1,031 acres of rural Colorado land from a Mrs. Gartrell, morphed into Gartrell Investments, LLC ("to make themselves look like locals," grumbles Stuehrk), and made plans for 1,500 houses on a parcel that was zoned for 30. Advised by a consultant that the county would never approve such a thing--but that the city might--New Cities/Gartrell made an arrangement with Aurora that included annexing the acreage in three stages. The county fought the city and the developer in court and won a ruling on the merit of a few technicalities.

New Cities has built developments in Corral de Tierra and San Jose's Almaden Valley and is in the midst of an annexation/development deal near Pleasanton. Mike Weaver, a member of Citizens Against Sprawl says it's nice to see a like-minded group score a victory.

Scooting Danger

Squid has noted that kids do dangerous stuff all the time. Licking the bottoms of your sneakers on a dare is dangerous. Chopping worms into cutlets and frying them up with a pat of butter is dangerous. Walking home on the train tracks is dangerous.

But do we ban worms or butter or scissors or sneakers or train tracks? Heck no! Worms catch fish! Trains are romantic! Butter is delicious!

So Squid is forced to wonder: why the wise ones at Pacific Grove City Hall have their skivvies in a bunch over scooters?

On Wednesday, June 20, the Pacific Grove City Council was scheduled to consider a ban on scooters. Squid thinks this is sadly short-sighted and unfair.

Remember the scooter? As a wee pup you might have fashioned one out of a plank, some roller skates and a sawed-off broom handle. Did the city elders come after you waving an edict?

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Today, scooters are made of metal and come in a box, and grownups everywhere are afraid. We bitch about kids sitting inside, glued to the video game, munching chips, but when they venture out on a scooter, the response is to make them illegal.

Squid believes kids should be commended for riding scooters. It gets those chubby legs pumping and it keeps them from sitting in a car, which can be pretty darn dangerous too.

Thar She Blows

It's tough being a squid these days. We're trying so hard to be an upstanding citizen and not end up as a fried calamari steak. Thus it's sad to report that Squid's south-of-the-border cousins were part of the largest cocaine seizure in U.S. maritime history.

Squid could hardly bear to hear that 10 tons of rotting squid was seized along with 13 tons of cocaine in a fishing boat off the coast of Acapulco. The 10 Russian seamen maintain they were only fishing, and that the dead squid--used for bait--proves their case. Although it would be nice to believe the relatives were simply innocents caught up in a deadly game, Squid suspects the lure of cocaine proved much too powerful for the cousins to resist. Some mollusks can't say no.

Throw Squid a line: squid@coastweekly.com

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