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Martha, sound the farm alarm!

Good grief, Martha, look at this.

Here the county planners have gone and done the right thing, zoned a big chunk of land north of Zephyrhills for mobile home use _ as if more than 100 existing parks weren't enough _ and some troublemaker wants to go and clutter up this beautiful rural area with (gag, choke) a farm!

We'd better rush right down there to the county building and make sure this travesty gets halted or, before you know it, we'll have salt licks instead of shuffleboard courts out there.

I'm not kidding, Martha. All of what could have been beautiful aluminum walls and asphalt driveways with Chrysler New Yorkers parked in them will be covered with grass and fresh air.

You let them weird agricultural types in, and they'll be growing food, Martha . . . I'm not kidding . . . that's how they are. And don't let that petting zoo talk fool you. You think it'll stop with that? See this here about a petting zoo? We're talking children, Martha. We're not going to stand for this.

And so, they didn't.

As far as I know the recent upheaval over a proposed petting zoo, auction center and farm in the Richland area of Pasco County is the area's first popular revolt in favor of an area staying open to being converted to mobile home parks.

It can be a really emotional issue. Recent plans for a mobile home community in nearby Dade City drew exactly the opposite type of response with terms like "trailer trash," and, "those kind of people," being thrown around by otherwise nice folks _ some of whom had even lived in mobile homes themselves once.

And mobile home people (or manufactured housing people as they sometimes like to be called) are a notoriously sensitive lot who react angrily to jokes about things like discarded aluminum cans taking root and growing into single-wides, which then attract tornadoes.

A lot of talk about tax bases gets thrown around at times like that with people claiming that most mobile homes don't cost enough over the homestead extension amount to contribute. That is usually said by people who don't know what kind of taxes are paid by the parks that rent mobile home spaces, or who don't realize how gleefully cities and counties embrace their residents any time tax revenues are distributed on a per-capita basis.

When was the last time you heard a city manager or county administrator complain that the census count (including mobile home dwellers) for his or her area was too high?

I know that selecting an area surrounded by hundreds of acres of pastureland as a site for a farm is dumb, especially when everyone knows that Florida's balance of trade with places like Idaho and Kansas could be affected if we start taking up valuable golf-course and retirement subdivision room with things like farms.

And Zephyrhills now has expanded to surround a large dairy farm. True it can be a little smelly on hot, muggy summer days, but on those rare days when there is no breeze at all, or when it happens to be blowing straight up into the air, you can't even tell it's there.

But, you know, we've got to start paying more attention to those government hotshots down there, maybe even go to a County Commission meeting or two.

Sure, we ducked this farm bullet, but you let those weirdos with their maps and calculators and acetate overlays mess around _ and they'll try something just as sneaky as soon as you aren't looking.

Good grief, Martha . . . they could put a park in there.

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