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Pucker up 

If there’s one sure way of winning over at least some of San Luis Obispo’s anti-development activists, it’s hopping in bed with Mother Earth.

I’m not a kiss-and-tell type of person. Of course, with the current state of my love life, I’m not even really a kiss-of-any-sort type of person any more. If I were to be anything at all in this stage of my romantic exploits, it would be a firm-handshake-and-tell sort of person, and that’s not really something to talk about, so I’m just going to shut up. About the kissing and handshakes, anyway. I have plenty of other stuff on my mind.

 Like the extreme makeover Ernie Dalidio used to gussy up his controversial plans for his land he wants to develop. His Marketplace Study Group must have come to the conclusion that the word “Marketplace� wasn’t winning him any new supporters, because he changed the project title to “Dalidio Ranch,� which sounds more like a SLO-friendly petting zoo and less like a shopping center that may or may not pull consumers away from the downtown commercial district like moths to a big-box flame.

 Ernie’s new silk purse of a plan boasts room for butterflies, bikers, organic vegetables, and plenty of other green-friendly features to distract the local granola munchers from directing their ire at the bright-red bull’s eye Target offers. If there’s one sure way of winning over at least some of San Luis Obispo’s anti-development activists, it’s hopping in bed with Mother Earth. The others will just stay mad, no matter who you hop in bed with.

 Word on the street is that Dalidio Ranch might even make room for an In-N-Out Burger, which would put an end to San Luis Obispo’s pristine anti-drive-thru record. Since the decision’s in the hands of county voters — who are looking to vote on November 7 — pretty much all the city can do is complain, though that’s a pretty standard plan of attack for San Luis Obispo. We’re not called Whine Country for nothing.

 I can’t believe I just wrote that. That’s got to be one of the worst jokes I’ve ever put down on paper. No wonder I never get past a handshake.

 Anyway, I’m waiting until I find out more about Ernie’s Dalidio Ranch plan before I weigh in with my own opinion. This is more than a develop-or-not issue. There are plenty of subtle social and economic factors at play here, and they all deserve serious attention. Still, I can practically already taste that double-double cheeseburger, animal-style.

Who controls our horizontal?
 In the latest issue of The Rogue Voice, San Luis Obispo County’s fresh-faced alternative alternative newspaper, editor and designer Stacey Warde ranted — his word, not mine — that New Times advertisers “can now dictate content at will� in the wake of the recent meth debacle.

 Well pardon me while I pop open a fresh can of Pepsi, but that’s news to me.

 Stacey cited thinner papers in recent weeks as signs of fewer ads in New Times, but he didn’t give any examples to prove his theory that money is now pulling the puppet strings around here. He does, however, theorize that New Times staff will have to do a lot of butt-kissing to get advertisers to like us again. I hate to love to burst Stacey’s bubble, but advertisers have never liked me, and I’m a staple of this newspaper. I’m not exactly planning on going anywhere, either.

In fact, getting advertisers to like me at all in the first place would take a whole lot more than a quick peck on the cheeks, so I don’t know what his problem is. Maybe he’s not drinking enough soda.

 Stacey also wryly commented that since, in his mind, our advertisers have us by the short hairs, readers who’ve come to count on edgy, hard-hitting journalism will have to look elsewhere to get their fix. Maybe, ahem, he hopes they’ll give his modest offering a try?

Meanwhile, we’re laying into SLO Police Chief Deb Linden and her gang in blue for apparently botching the investigation of a possible murder. We’re breaking the story about Marty Tracey’s questionable return to work (you’re welcome, Atascadero News), and The Rogue Voice is clucking its tongue at how tapioca we are. All the while, the Rogue gang is writing a cover story about a 60-year-old drifter that leads with the question: “How many books do you read a week?�

 I’m not saying that a newspaper has to hit its readers with an investigative piece every issue, but if the editor is going to whine — I know what he called it, but it didn’t really sound like a rant to me — about the lack of hard-hitting quality news in the area, he shouldn’t do so in the issue of his paper that asks the follow-up question: “What kind of books do you read?�

 Stacey, I’ll bet you a cool, refreshing, 32-oz. bottle of delicious Pepsi — it’s the cola ã — that not one sugary drop of editorial New Times content is directed by advertisers. We will continue to make all our editorial decisions the way we’ve always made them: in a drunken haze, with a dartboard. ∆

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