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Hillside hijinks and more 

Are you in SLO? If so, go run somewhere where you’ll be able to see Poly hill. It’s that big hill with a “P” on it. You know, on the opposite end of town from that hill with an “M” on it. Is it just me or does this town have an alphabet fetish?

Last I checked, and unless my eyes deceived me, a few scallywags had scaled the hill and added two “O”s at the end of the Cal Poly “P.”

This being a respectable publication, I’m not going to spell out the whole word, but I’m guessing you’re already scrambling for the nearest vista to see for yourself.

Now I’m not saying I condone this act--or even fully understand how I’d get to the top of that hill without a sherpa and pack mule to haul the truckload of Cheetos and cheap whisky it would take to get my wheezing carcass up ther--but while it’s there, you might as well enjoy it.

Having said that, if you drag yourself up the hill and there’s nothing actually amiss, I hereby absolve myself of responsibility. My vision’s not what it used to be. Sometimes I just read things wrong.

For instance, there’s this proposed mine out in Santa Margarita, a big granite quarry project proposed by Ken Johnston and the Las Pilitas Resources company on Danny Oster’s property.

From my perspective, the county is so giddy to get this project through they’re willing to change county codes just so some group can melt down asphalt in a rural area—read, not industrial. A lot of people out there see things the same way. It bugs them. I imagine they’re perturbed when county planners—who are supposed to be on their side—try to open the doors for misplaced projects like this by not-so-subtly seeking to change the word “the” to “all.” (Go read the story a few pages back and you’ll understand.)

So it’s not much surprise that Santa Margaritans are pissed again, now that the county chose an “EIR consultant” that specializes in skirting mining projects past an angry public. EIR consultants are supposed to be dull, dry, and unbiased--automaton suits who feel compelled to write “this page intentionally left blank.”

An EIR consultant that specializes in navigating “entrenched opposition” seems counter intuitive. It would be like if PG&E hired a mayor from South County to handle government relations.

Whoops.

Or if the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District let the district engineer also act as a district administrator.

Er … forget it.

Pave paradise; charge for the parking lot

It’s official! SLO Sunday travelers just lost their free parking spaces on the day of rest. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. In fact, let the city collect from you.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. First I was mad. Then I was complacent. Then I got a little hungry. Then I was mad again, but this time because I was out of tacquitos. I had a serious hankering for tacquitos.

Finally I determined that this is just a bummer. The parking, not the tacquitos. Well, the tacquitos, too, but I’m talking about the parking again. I get that cities hike parking fees every once in a while. It sucks, but oh well. Government’s expensive, and it’s not going to be getting any cheaper until it gets more efficient, so I’m not holding my breath. If I were, I’d be dead by now.

And I get that the city’s broke. I don’t believe that such a financial state was inevitable and a sign of the current economy, but I acknowledge that they have no money.

So occasionally we all have to whine a bit and end up taking one on the chin. Why? Because the city wants to build a new $20-million parking structure at Palm and Nipomo in downtown SLO. Why do they need that? Because it’s part of the city’s parking plan. Really, though, it’s because they need to replace the parking that’s going to be swallowed up by the incoming Chinatown and Garden Street Terraces developments.

Our dingbat representatives gave the aforementioned developers sweet deals rather than force them to replace the public parking they’ll be paving over.

So, let’s break this down again.

A few developers get some sweet deals after they take away a bunch of city parking with their proposed projects. Now the city’s hurting, bleeding money like a stuck pig at a Vegas casino.

So here we are--you, me, us--the little guys getting screwed and having to pay more for parking and pay for parking on Sundays in order to build a new lot. Of course, we’re buying this new parking lot, which must be built to replace parking that’s being taken away because those same developers took away public parking with their projects after getting a sweet deal from the city. And don’t think I’m not empathetic to the plight of the rich developers, because God knows if there’s anyone we should be protecting here, it’s the handful of people who still have money. Who the hell else am I going to borrow pocket change from when the time comes to pony up quarters for the meter on Sunday?

But most importantly, where’s my sweet deal? And, barring that, where are my tacquitos?

Send sweets and deals to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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