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This land is my land 

If you always hurt the one you love, Grover Beach must love itself something fierce. Be careful, Grover. My mom always warned me I’d get hairy palms.
 
If you haven’t heard, or if you always confuse Grover Beach with other parts of Five Cities (of which I’ve only ever been able to identify four), let me fill you in. Grover Beach is hurting. Bad. It’s hurting so bad, its mayor, Larry Versaw, stood up at a recent City Council meeting and said that he wished he’d never run for office. With a term that lasts to 2008, I wouldn’t be surprised if he strapped on some sneakers ran from office sometime soon.
 
He wouldn’t be the first rat to abandon the stinking ship. Politicos come and go so often down there, no one knows who’s who. If the last City Council meeting is any indication, no one knows what’s what either.
 
The confusion can be traced back to Martin and Susan Polin, who own a bunch of property on Grand Avenue. Word on the admittedly biased street is that they own almost 90 properties in SLO County but have lived in Tasmania for the past 20 years or so because they think Diablo’s going to go Chernobyl on us sometime. I don’t necessarily disagree with them, but I wouldn’t move to another hemisphere to get away from it. I’ll just mutate like everybody else. And maybe the radiation will make all this hair on my palms go away.
 
So the Polins have a bunch of land that they apparently never really do anything with, and some people got to thinking that maybe a new hotel on one of the basically blighted parcels would create a gateway to the city. Getting people to actually use the gateway would be a different matter entirely, but I’m sure the city had some sort of plan—one that didn’t include mentioning that Grover Beach was home to no less that three meth busts in five days. There might have been even more, but Sunday is a day of rest.
 
After Ron Perkins of Cobalt Construction suggested four stories of glorious hotel and condominiums for what’s currently a used-car lot, things got a bit sticky and words like “eminent domain� started getting thrown around the city like a civil rights hot potato. So many residents got steamed about the possibility of getting burned, they showed up at the April 3 City Council meeting to vent.
 
They also showed up looking and acting like a bunch of people who didn’t know what they were talking about, and—lo and behold—that’s exactly what they were. The motley crew screamed and ranted that they didn’t want their houses to be stolen. I guess they thought that if the city took the property, the action would trigger an eminent domain domino effect. The used-car lot was their Vietnam and the City Council meeting was their Cuban missile crisis. I’ve never been good with history.
 
So the rabble panicked and painted pictures of Grover Beach picking up their houses—whoosh—like the twister in “The Wizard of Oz� and depositing them somewhere else, somewhere far away, maybe on top of Lois Capps, leaving them homeless.
 
Their opposition sat quietly in suits, abiding by the rules of order for the meeting and maybe smirking a little at the maniacs who couldn’t even see that the hotel project was—no, wait—those maniacs were starting to sway the council.
 
Ultimately, the city leadership voted 3-2 to oppose the project, ensuring that the lot will stay a lot until the end of time or Diablo bursts into a ball of hellish fire, whichever comes first.
 I can’t wait.

That land is their land
 
I heard that a bunch of kids went hooting and hollering out into the streets in Santa Maria last week to stand up for Mexicans who want to be treated like Americans or Americans who want to be treated like Mexicans. I’m not sure which side they were rooting for, and I’m not sure they were sure either.
 
Paso Robles spawned its own student movement for much the same reason, whatever that is. I think it has something to do with immigration, but most of the kids weren’t much help in defining the cause they were skipping class to champion. At least they get an “A� for effort, even if they get an “F� for everything they missed that day at school.
 
Kids in San Luis Obispo did the same thing on the same day, except there were less of them, and I think they rallied at Starbucks before doing anything else. Then, with grande Shade Grown Mexican Decaf caramel frappuccinos in hand, they waved at some cars, signed up for Saturday detention, and went to Banana Republic. That’s what I would’ve done, anyway, if I was still young and beautiful. Ah, youth.
 
The biggest problem with all of the student walkouts, no matter where they hit on the Central Coast, was that the bulk of the kids had no idea what was going on. They just joined the crowd in a mindless acceptance of whatever the majority was doing, which, come to think of it, is pretty much what high school is. Heck, that’s pretty much what life is. Half the time it’s all we can do just to keep up with the pack, much less have some idea of where we’re going to end up.
 
Next time there’s a walkout like this, somebody let me know. I’ll grab a sign and walk to wherever everybody else is walking. It sure would beat writing this crappy column. ∆

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