How Many Trees Did We Cut Down for All of This?
Thursday, March 2, 2000
The political farmers are having a bad season. Beginning about a month ago, they began planting crop after crop of signs, hoping for rich harvests of Fosmarks, Kremers, Johnsens and Bs (among others). It was about the same time that our belated wet season set in, and the carnage in the fields has been stupefying.
California Avenue in Sand City, right at the gateway to Costco and Target, has become an inordinately popular place for posters to plant their propaganda. As Squid passed that corner on the way to buy a year''s worth of herring last weekend, it was scene of desolation. A battalion of once-proud signs lay waterlogged, torn and crumpled on the ground.
Now you''d think that the farmers--being relatively sane, reasonable and intelligent individuals--would shake their fists at the sky, mutter about the unfairness of it all, and sow more seeds. But this is a new breed of farmer. Instead of blaming the rain and the wind, they have set on each other like a squad of rabid white sharks at an underwater butcher''s convention.
Although it''s become common for opponents to blame each other for their disappearing signs, this campaign seems to have taken the finger-pointing to new heights. The paranoia in one of the most high-profile of our local campaigns has, in fact, reached comedic proportions. One side has earmarked hundreds of dollars for a private investigator to carry out unspecified "legal research." The other side engaged in a high-speed chase through the streets of Monterey trying to hunt down a suspected sign stealer.
Come on, people. Spend more time cultivating the merits of your measures and candidates, and less time trying to find someone to blame for the weather.
Or, They Could Fix the Sewers--Finally
In his latest newsletter, Pacific Grove City Manager Mike Huse announced that the city''s Transient Occupancy Tax (a.k.a. the bed tax)--that coveted gold mine of tourist towns--was up $200,000 in 1999 over the previous year. That''s good new for the little city.
Squid was just daydreaming about what Mayor Sandy Koffman and the P.G. City Council might do with such a windfall.
Based on P.G.''s budget--legendarily generous to city staffers as it is--$200,000 would buy you at least a part-time secretary or two for a whole year. Wait a minute, I bet you could get two--count ''em--TWO whole starters for the golf course for that kind of money! Or, how about a street sweeper...yeah...a street sweeper, or another forester, or a second electrician!
Whoa, hold your horses. Squid just thought of it. Why...isn''t the city right now in the process of hiring a new city manager? Why not just tack on that extra $200,000 onto his or her salary? Then P.G. could have the highest paid city manager in all of Monterey County. That''s the ticket.
Just seems an awful shame that Huse, who''s retiring this year, won''t be around to share in the spoils. But I''m sure that Mike, as a courteous gesture, might want to leave a few ideas on his desk for his replacement to mull over.
How ''bout this, Mike: After pinching out a few dollars for staff birthday cakes, put that $200,000 toward fixing the city''s sewer system, so it will stop turning the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary into a toilet.
Good idea, if I don''t say so myself. Wonder whether Pacific Grove would con- sider hiring a crustacean to run the city.
Put Squid on the payroll: firstname.lastname@example.org.