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When one door opens, another closes 

Is it just me, or is it cold in here?

My dad never wanted to turn the heat on when I was a kid. He always used to yell at me to put a sweater on if I wasn't warm enough, but now that I'm all grown up - see, I've got the emotional scars to prove it - I crank the thermostat to 11 and leave the front door open. My dad would be rolling over in his grave, if he was dead and if he could still roll over under his own power, which reminds me ... sorry, just had to go take care of something so it wouldn't get bedsores.

I was always leaving the door open at my house. Granted, I was born in a barn, but that never seemed like a good enough excuse for my parents. They always wanted to know if I was planning on heating up all of the outside, too, and when I told them I was, they told me not to sass back and sent me to bed without any supper.

They'd be proud of County SupervisorJerry Lenthall, though. Oh, they'd be so proud. Although he said that he'd leave the door open for future development in the county, he closed the door on his Marketplace Study Sessions to conserve heat and so no one would know what his ad-hoc committee was saying about the Dalidio Ranch Marketplace project.

Remember that project? The one that SLO voters shot down in April despite Ernie Dalidio's threats that if the city didn't take him up on his offer, he'd take a new plan to the county and the city wouldn't fare so well? Well, he made good on his promise, and now a panel of people who responded to Jerry's call for help is discussing the finer points of a 650,000-square-foot shopping center that may or may not plunk down smack in the middle of SLO.

The folks in the sessions will ultimately take their findings to the supervisors, who have said in the past that a final vote could be years away, when all the cranky old people who hate progress finally die off and let the young, hip crowd jump into Target with both feet unfettered.

In the meantime, Jerry has asked that the sessions stay out of the spotlight and behind closed doors, a sentiment that gained approval from my thermostat-mongering family but basically backfired on him by prompting other locals to declare open season on closed doors. Jerrythinks his collection of pulse-takers deserves a little privacy, and that their privacy outweighs the rest of the public's right to know what they're being so private about.

He's got a point. Even I don't want the public to know everything about me. What I look like in the shower, for instance. Of course, my naked body won't have a huge economic impact on San Luis Obispo - at least until the 2006 calendars come out. Be on the lookout. They'll make great stocking stuffers. I'm June, and my barn door's wide open, if you catch my drift.

There's privacy, and there's privacy. People have a right to do things in private - especially regarding their privates - without public scrutiny, but Jerry took the wish a smidge further and said that he didn't want the Marketplace Study Sessions to be "a media event."

I hate to tell him that he's not the media fairy, choosing what is and what isn't a media event by tapping it with his frilly magic wand. Journalists don't need to wait for an accident to be declared a media event before they start reporting on it. The Dalidio Marketplace Project, while not an accident (depending on who you talk to), is certainly newsworthy. It's been in the papers and on TV and on the radio more than some other events or even people I could name, but I won't, because they're not nearly as newsworthy as the Marketplace.

Jerry seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth here, or at least wants to have his cake with his right hand and eat it without his left hand knowing what's going on. On one hand - I'm not sure which one - he's said that he wants the sessions to shine light on what the community feels would be the best use of the Dalidio property, but on the other hand, he doesn't want the community to know about the sessions until there's a final word.

How do I know that the holy and chosen community members who make up the sessions really represent the community? I know who they are, but I don't remember voting for any of them to represent me and my concerns. Do you? Granted, the call to join the group was apparently open to anybody - provided you read the Tribune - but who determined the final list for who was in and who was out? Jerry? I know he's trying to be impartial, but, well, no I don't.

Ultimately, the decision will rest in the right and left hands of the very educated and capable county supervisors, which, don't forget, includes Jerry. They can choose for themselves to listen to this not-so-secretive posse or not, I suppose, just like us newspaper-makers can choose whether something is a media event or not by writing about it. Or not.

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