Column 1: Say what?!

Martinez News-Gazette Columnist

SAY WHAT?! Now we are somewhere back to square one with the Traditions at the Meadow development (old Pine Meadow Golf Course) on Vine Hill Way with a suit against the City of Martinez over a delay in grading for the sewer and drainage system for the 65-homes proposed subdivision. How has this happened you ask? Timing is everything.

After years of serious discussions, legal actions, a community vote, and contentious arguments, a coalition of community groups, and the City reached agreement on how the new development would proceed. It looked like a very fine plan to benefit the residents of the area, and the Martinez area in general. Yea, team!!

Now, the City is facing a suit by the developers, some $2.8 million, because of alleged damage to them caused by 210 days of delays. While some work has been done on the site, the work on drainage cannot continue until plans are given permits. So, here we go again?

Let’s hope that DeNova Homes and Martinez staff can reach agreement soon without more delays. Why can some things be so difficult?

MEANWHILE, a happier situation is taking place at the John Muir School where a new school is ‘growing’ right before our very eyes, and students, teachers and staff ‘carry on’ during the process. Sounds like everyone is pleased with the innovative plan worked out by the MUSD Board of Trustees, architect and contractor. No need to relocate students to other schools during construction at the Vista Way site. And, students, faculty and staff are eagerly watching the progress looking forward to ‘move in’ day.

Hurray for creative thinking and innovation. And for cooperation! It all makes progress easier and quicker.

MORE HOUSING for Martinez is down the road a bit. Well, up the road a bit on Muir Station Road, next to the Episcopal Church. A large condo project is moving forward with site preparation, to the consternation of residents in the area, and others who use Muir Station Road on a regular basis. The feeling now is that the added traffic from the new project will overwhelm the steep narrow roadway alongside the railroad tracks and the public storage facility.

The popular shopping center at the top of the roadway (Nob Hill, CVS and many smaller businesses) create a steady traffic flow now. The added 100-plus vehicles each day will be interesting.

SEEING the cyclone fence around the former Wendy’s location does cause a double glance of surprise with each passing on Alhambra Avenue. What happened?Like any business these days, competition is really tough. Noticed the fast food TV commercials lately? Many very attractive combo deals to attract those craving a burger, fries and a drink. Always sad to see a business close, especially in our town.

AS THE WORLD TURNS, or as your stomach turns, our government is chugging along up to its whatever in impeachment proceedings. The Democrats attempting to punish the current Oval Office Occupant for alleged misdeeds (any question?), and his GOP supporters fighting back. The testimony of witnesses, and the sometimes weird comments of the lawmakers on the dais, make for interesting watching for those who care, and can stomach what is taking place. (Pass the TUMS, please?)

This aging news guy grew up in a political world, and the news it provided, and can’t stay away from this event for long. The revelations of the witnesses, under oath, still won’t convince the ‘true believers’ of the obvious misdeeds of the OOO. The bluster on TV and with tweets has them in some sort of trance? The members of Congress are scared to death of him and his terrible retribution if they don’t toe the line.

The members of his ‘team’ of lawyers, aides and counselors are castigated beyond belief, when he feels in the mood. Is Rudy Guiliani the next to be thrown under the bus with some parting derogatory comment? The former “Nation’s Mayor’ after 9/11 got sucked into a bad situation for what reason?

CANDIDATES for the Democratic nomination are beginning to pull the plug on their campaigns. It has to be a painful and agonizing process after weeks or months of campaigning 24/7, raising tons of campaign funds, smiling and shaking hands, having to stand for selfies, traveling, always in the public’s eye, and seeing and hearing sometimes vicious comments of criticism of your ideas. Sometimes of you as a person! Or, your family.

PEARL HARBOR, and the attack on it on December 7, 1941, was remembered this week with a banquet co-sponsored by military veterans organizations, retired military personnel, Blue Star Moms, retired Navy Nurses, the Contra Costa Council and other Bay Area Councils of the Navy League of the United States, and individuals. The annual event’s theme is “Lest We Forget”.

DID YOU KNOW that 202,465 gun permit background checks were made on Black Friday? No kidding, CNN reports that the day after Thanksgiving is typically a heavy day for such permit activity. Why??

BLACKOUT time is here, again. No, not the PG&E kind of blackout, but one of Federal Ethics Laws. Therefore, from December 4 to March 1, 2020, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier can’t send out regular newsletters, or hold local events. He will be able to use social media.

CHEERS for our local merchants who have been gearing up for the Christmas Season, and hoping for a good business period. Our small businessmen and women deserve all the help we can provide for them as we make purchases. The larger mall-type stores and the massive on-line business makes survival locally very difficult. Let us help them be successful.

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