Thursday, October 26, 2000
Chair Wars, Part IINever before has the Squid seen such a ludicrous display of civic tyranny as has played out in the Griffin Plaza fiasco.
For those of you who missed Squid''s last ditty on the subject, Griffin Plaza is currently under construction on Washington. It''s a swell little park that converges with the sidewalk fronting Morgan''s Coffee and Tea. In a Kent State-meets-Romper Room turn of events, controversy erupted when some coffee-drinking rebels dragged their chairs onto the plaza, an apparently illicit maneuver. The city code enforcer was dispatched to pull in the chairs, and a plan was drawn up to avoid such breaches of the law in the future: As soon as the plaza''s complete, the city''s nixing non-city seating altogether, even on the adjacent sidewalk. Customers can take their sandwiches and lattes onto the plaza and lounge on city-sanctioned seats, but privately owned and operated chairs must remain off the premises or be held in contempt of the law. Meanwhile, the cafe''s eponymous owner, Morgan Christopher, is staging demonstrations protesting the assault on free seating.
Some city leaders also take issue with the esthetics of Morgan''s forest green plastic patio furniture. As Mayor Dan Albert so delicately puts it, "We would like to have something out there other than plastic chairs." So Squid slithered down to the plaza to see what kind of fine furnishings the city had selected for the al fresco salon. Stacked up on the plaza I spied--forest green metal patio furniture. Now I''m no decorator, but I must say that the city''s tables and chairs appeared no more visually appealing than Morgan''s petroleum-based decor. But to give the city the benefit of the doubt, I conducted a comfort test. How a chair pleases one''s behind is, after all, far more important than its appeal to the eye. On a trial run I found the city chairs to be rigid and uncomfortable, and there was nowhere to rest my tentacles. But to sit in one of Morgan''s chairs--now there''s an experience! The seat was wide and ample, the flexible back conformed perfectly to my spine (I do have one), and the generous arm rests cradled my tentacles just so. Sorry, guys, Morgan''s chairs win hands down.
The moral of this story: Those Monterey sticks-in-the-mud need to get over it. So what if someone drags a chair from Morgan''s into the plaza to sip their tea? Does it really add up to a hill of coffee beans? Squid sez: Set the plastic chairs free!
Sign of the TimesMarina Councilmember Ken Nishi phoned Squid to report the case of the disappearing and reappearing campaign sign. Nishi, when running in the March 1998 special election to replace the late Tak Takali, erected a hefty 4''-by-8'' campaign sign in front of a pizza parlor on Reservation. However, the sign soon disappeared, presumably nabbed by a Nishi non-supporter. Last Thursday, that very sign, although a little worse for the wear, stood resurrected in almost the exact same spot, two and a half years after its abduction. The culprit even raked his/her footprints so as not to be detected. Nishi reported the incident to the Marina police, but says they exhibited little interest in solving the mystery. So Nishi dispatched his own detective to dust for fingerprints. The kicker is that Nishi isn''t running for City Council this year. What could it mean? Is it some sort of a-- sign? Nishi''s not sure, but he''s none too happy about the shape his sign is in (those things aren''t cheap, ya know.) "If they were going to put it back," he gripes, "I wish they would have cleaned it up."
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