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Contra Costa Times Not Fooled


Councilman casts planners as the butt of intricate joke

Contra Costa Times

Article Launched: 04/06/2008 03:03:24 AM PDT


Faithful followers of always-colorful Richmond politics awoke Tuesday to the mind-boggling news that the four members of the city's Planning Commission had mutinied and resigned overnight.

"Apparently driven over the edge by the highly contentious and protracted debate over the Chevron Energy and Hydrogen Renewal Project, the four commissioners concluded that the demands being put on their personal lives were simply more than any of them signed up for," Richmond City Councilman Tom Butt wrote in an e-mail.

One commissioner was quoted lamenting the flood of e-mails that damaged his hard disk. Another worried that state Attorney General Jerry Brown would file a lawsuit against the Chevron project and mar her hope for a quiet and blissful retirement, possibly vacationing in Tahiti.

"Happy April Fool's Day!" Butt declared at the end of the 16-paragraph e-mail.

Longtime readers of Butt's popular e-forum know the venue is a reliable source of news and commentary -- and the annual April Fool's prank.

Last year, Butt told the world that Richmond might forge a sister city relationship with Baghdad. The year before that, Chevron was shutting down its Richmond refinery.

None of it is true, of course. The refinery still chugs along today, and the Planning Commission will resume its hearing on Chevron's proposal to upgrade equipment April 10.

No joke.