Beware: Grand Old Party Headed This Way

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SAN DIEGO: While most of the 30,000 GOP delegates, journalists and guests have not yet arrived in this Navy town, the Republican National Political Convention already has spurred San Diego natives to enact emergency legislation, plan for mass arrests, fight over billboards and invent new ice cream flavors. Local law enforcement officials are anticipating significant squabbling over the question of abortion. San Diego police have a rapid-response plan to arrest any protesters who attempt to shut down abortion clinics during the convention. Local judges have drawn up an "emergency court session plan" to handle the judicial overload should the police arrest large numbers of anti-abortion protesters. Police are also getting ready for rowdy Democratic protesters. In an oddly bureaucratic approach to protest gatherings, local authorities are requiring such protest groups as Students Against Dole Increasing School Tuition, the Queer Policy Institute, The American Lung Association and a group simply called Emperor, to sign up for 55 minute turns at the microphone in the official "Protest Site" across from the convention center. Just in case, they are also installing metal detectors. Lesser squabbles are swirling around protests by individuals. When a billboard company refused to rent space to Brian Monaghan, a local Democratic attorney, for a sign reading "Republicans: Protecting our children's right to own assault weapons", Monaghan managed to come up with an acceptable alternative: "Republicans: Protecting individual rights from the moment of conception ... until birth." Maybe they didn't get it. One way or another, as tempers heat up, Rachel Shein's ice cream shop hopes to cool them down with some new flavors: Bob Dole Pineapple, Fig Newt Gingrich, Phil Gramm Cracker, Forbes Flat-Tax Fudge, and Peppermint Pattie Buchanan. With a sprig of Bay? Terence Nelan