Give me an ‘A’

As we head into the first week of June, I think it’s fair to say that as far as Measure A goes, it’s all over but the shouting. And the voting. And, of course, then we’ll have to write about the election results. Maybe I just wish it were over. It’s a big deal, and a lot of people wanted to weigh in on it, so I expanded the letters section by adding a full page just for Measure A letters. Couldn’t get them all in and had to cut from some that did make it. A couple of observations concerning those letters: I was surprised and appreciative to get one on May 25 from Doug Guillon, owner of the Hegan Lane Industrial Park, the primary benefactor should Measure A pass on June 5. It’s obvious that Guillon has just had it with the NEFR people. In fact, his faxed letter carried its own headline, which read: “Stop the NEFR Idiots.” Obviously a cooler head prevailed, because that headline was scribbled out and replaced with the more diplomatic sounding, “Just Say No to NEFR.” I think the cooler head was that of Guillon partner Bill Brouhard, who faxed his own letter, which arrived with Guillon’s from a fax machine at Ingram Commercial, where Brouhard works. Brouhard’s letter was headlined: “Measure A Puts Planning Over Politics.” The day before these letters arrived Brouhard chided me for saying fiscal conservatives are against Measure A. I told him that I didn’t say “all” fiscal conservatives are against Measure A, just that some are. Then, lo and behold, here comes this third letter, arriving with the first two from the Ingram Commercial fax machine. This one was signed by Becki Eggleston, and it begins: “As a fiscal conservative … “ It then goes on to say that she supports Measure A. Brouhard was right: Some fiscal conservatives support Measure A, and he found one who’d written a letter saying so. And then he faxed it to me.

The latest campaign disclosures for Measure A show the folks in favor have raised $47,648 and spent $59,572. Included in that first sum is a late-posted contribution of $5,000 from Kinder Morgan G.P., Inc, the tank farm that sits just east of the Hegan Lane Industrial Park. Included in the spending was $4,000 to Campaign Strategies, Inc., of San Diego and $9,566 for campaign literature and postage to Aaron, Thomas & Associates out of Chatsworth, Calif. Also coming in with a late-posted donation was Baldwin Contracting, which gave $1,000. The opposition to A, NEFR, raised a more modest $23,300 and spent $11,658. Big contributors included Kelly Meagher, who kicked down $2,500 in cash along with in-kind contributions of $1,183 for staff salaries and $1,433 for office space for the NEFR headquarters.

In the past I’ve used this column to praise the Silver Dollar Fair, going on at great lengths about the organ grinder’s amazing monkey, the carnies who hawk you down the midway and the fine food. I’ve changed my mind. The fair is a money pit and not that much fun. I went on Saturday with one other adult and three guys under 12, and it cost about $140. Disneyland is cheaper. Even with some new rides and attractions—a little roller coaster and an inflated back end of the Titanic that captures the thrill of falling to your death as the ship goes down, ass end up. I didn’t actually do it, but I saw some serious elbow burns from rubbing against canvas at about 30 miles per hour. My son threw a dart, popped a balloon and got a framed photo of some kid singer named Aaron Carter. It cost $8. We saw a show featuring Russian brown bears riding a motorcycle, balancing on a large ball, dancing and performing other humiliating stunts. The act’s human half billed itself as a Montana-based “conservation” group with an interest in preserving these magnificent and noble creatures. Yeah? If that’s true, then stop making them perform those degrading tricks. And you know the worst thing about the fair? I didn’t get to see the monkey.

As we head to possibly $3-a-gallon gas prices this summer, it’s comforting to know that the batch of 2001 cars sold in America get the poorest gas mileage on average than any new cars sold since 1980. Maybe this signals the death of the SUV, those four-wheel-drive urban assault vehicles that mostly go off-road only when they blow a tire and roll.