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Wal-Mart Hits Wall
On Friday, May 20, Napa County Superior Court Judge Raymond Guadagni brought construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in American Canyon to a screeching halt when he activated a work stoppage order he'd previously approved on May 3. The judge activated the order after one of the groups that is suing to stop the project, American Canyon Community United for Responsible Growth, posted a $180,000 bond required by the court. The judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the lawsuit, which alleges American Canyon officials violated the California Environmental Quality Act when planning the new Supercenter, beginning June 27.
Repeat When Necessary
When at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That's a lesson that hasn't been wasted on the West Sonoma County Union High School District, the nearby Harmony School District and the Marin County community of Fairfax, each of which is reprising previously failed ballot measures for a special election on June 7. The two school districts seek to raise the annual parcel tax to $26 and $52 respectively; identical proposals were shot down by voters in March. The increases are specifically targeted to help the districts retain vital library services, provide art and music instruction, and reduce class sizes. Meanwhile, in Fairfax, Measure F seeks to increase parcel taxes to $125 annually, necessary, city officials say, to provide crucial public services in light of Fairfax's ongoing budget deficit.
Beauty, it seems, is in the eye of the beholder. When U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, surveys the Sonoma Coast, she sees a vibrant ecosystem worthy of protection under the National Marine Sanctuary program, as proposed by her latest bill, HR 1712. When George W. Bush looks at the same thing, he sees blighted emptiness, devoid of ubiquitous offshore drilling platforms erupting likes sores from the skin of his own childhood playing ground, the environmentally devastated Gulf of Mexico. "Let's not forget the irrevocable damage to our environment that offshore drilling causes," Woolsey said on the floor of the House last week. "This devastation can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico, where outer continental shelf pipelines crossing coastal wetlands are estimated to have destroyed more coastal salt marsh than can be found in the stretch of coastal land running form New Jersey through Maine."
R. V. Scheide
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From the May 25-31, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.