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by Mike Ceremello
Feb 9, 2005
As I said last week, “there must be something in the water.” I would say that whatever it is, it is pervasive county wide. There were no surprises during last week’s hearing for overreaching, onerous, and unconstitutional restrictive rules for the segregation of “large confined animal facilities” now known as CAF’s. Instead it was a confirmation of everything I feared from the election of an intelligent but obvious bureaucrat to replace another debatably less quick witted one.
Rather than being blatantly and vapidly candid as Supervisor Barbara Kondylis was in calling for a total ban of mega-dairies in the county, Supervisor Mike Reagan who represents Dixon, parts of Vacaville, and Rio Vista in his gerrymandered district, called for even more regulations. If you don’t want to say that you don’t want the dairies and you want to make sure they won’t come, what better way is there to accomplish this than by regulating them out of business or existence. For a supposed Republican who supposedly encourages business, Reagan has an odd way of promoting it.
Of course, maybe it is just the type of business. As with most bureaucratic zealots who have a weak understanding of economics, it is difficult for them to comprehend that the cow milking business has changed from the old days of hand milking. The majority of change has come from exuberant regulation by people just like himself. So don’t give me the song and dance about your family operating a dairy, like you have some sort of compassion for those in the industry.
The amusement over this issue doesn’t stop there, however, as there was a lot of weeping over the impact on the “clean” business of milk processing by Sunnyside who is also located in our county. Let me see if I have this straight.
You want the raw production of the basic product to occur elsewhere so you don’t smell anything and don’t have to deal with flies. You want the jobs associated with the finished product here. You want to encourage agriculture but only if it doesn’t impugn your senses. Most of all, you want to protect your already contaminated groundwater from additional contamination. Finally, you don’t care if the facility is located within a city, only if it is in the unincorporated area of the county.
Even funnier was when the facts were presented that larger dairies send a better product to the processor, smaller dairies are more noxious, and that most of the requirements the county wants to level on the large dairies have always been part of their plans.
When Reagan said he didn’t want to address his issues that night but wanted to wait for a workshop, I figured there might have been some substance to them. He obviously couldn’t wait as he outlined more regulations to add such as a fire plan, prohibiting the spreading of manure in other counties, increased buffers, a hazardous material plan, and addressing roofing and lighting issues.
Come on, Mike, just jump on the Kondylis bandwagon and say you just don’t want them. You and your cronies have already chased away the Jongsma proposed dairy. There are no current applications in the pipeline and probably never will be. So who loses from your and the Board’s increased regulations? Better yet, who wins?
Politicians, such as Vacaville’s Len Augustine and Dixon’s Mary Ann Courville, now get to continue on their journey to creating ever burgeoning city limits interspersed with so called green belts. It certainly isn’t farmers who have seen one more potential product consumer be chased out of the county. It isn’t the resident who came here looking for a more rural lifestyle. It might be those who live in the countryside until they realize that the city will eventually expand into their backyards.
Reagan, the bureaucrat, has proven why we don’t need professional politicians in office. Instead of protecting the rights of people to use their land in accordance with its zoning, he has taken their property from them by manipulating the system through imposing ridiculous amounts of red tape.
I wouldn’t worry though Mike, there won’t be many farmers left to vote you out of office or into the Assembly when Lois Wolk is termed out.
* * * * *
I have been to two racetrack information exchanges now and have noticed a couple of things. One, the consultants provide minimal information which we boobs are supposed to accept on the basis of their expertise. Two, those opposed continue to talk about everything but the issue before them that night.
As these are information exchanges, shouldn’t you be attempting to bore us with facts and figures including how you arrived at your conclusions? What were your premises? What were your assumptions?
It is hard enough to challenge well documented and designed studies. To attempt to discredit a financial study without knowing what types of business might potentially locate where the racetrack is proposed is impossible. Maybe that is why they didn’t give us any detail?
The cumulative effect of all proposed development is also something that has miraculously never been addressed. Last Monday, the engineers told us that sewer discharge would only go up by 310,000 gallons per day from Dixon Downs. Did they tell us how much it would go up from the build out of the Southwest, Pulte, Milk Farm, and the rest of North East Quadrant? What about the 400 additional homes in Brookfield? Is the capacity of the sewer plant able to handle all of these? What is the capacity of the plant?
I would have at least thought those figures might have a little importance. Smoke and mirrors for another done deal.
While those at these meetings bring up extremely valid points, including whether the city of Dixon even should consider the track as a component of the community, these points should be addressed to the council during public comment at every meeting from now until it appears on their agenda. Worrying about affiliation with Indian tribes and slot machines is not an infrastructure issue.
Why is it that Dixon loses the type of business we should be promoting and encouraging, and garners enterprises that produce nothing? We need more Lex-Rite Labs and less fast food or entertainment venues.
You won’t get that if economic development is a “wait and see who comes” attitude.
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