Thursday, July 26, 2001
NO WONDER THEY CALL IT SNAIL MAILThe good news: At press time, American bike racer Lance Armstrong was leading the Tour de France, the most famous bike race in the world. The US team is sponsored by the US Postal Service, so that all the American racers are wearing cool-looking bike shirts beaming with a post office logo.
The bad news: The USPS is spending money on bike shirts, instead of hiring new clerks for the Monterey post office.
On Monday, Squid had to mail a certified letter to Lawrence, Kansas. After squirming in line for 25 minutes, we still hadn't made it to the counter. At last count--before breaking ranks to return to the office--there were 27 customers in line, and only two clerks assisting.
That's a bad ratio (maybe the rest of the clerks were watching the Tour on TV).
Squid decided to be a good Samaritan and call the Monterey Postmaster to let him or her know that while the US bike team was fastest in the world, the Hartnell Street post office was not.
Unfortunately the phone number connected this increasingly impatient mollusk to a post office employee named Monica working from an office in Kansas, of all places. Monica said she'd be happy to take my complaint, but that I couldn't talk to the Monterey postmaster no matter what. She offered to let me call Consumer Affairs, but they don't happen to be in Monterey either.
Where's FedEx when you need it?
ROBOCOPDOGSkimming through public meeting agendas might be a cure for insomnia--unless you're Squid.
Squid often finds intriguing infotainment in meeting agendas. In a recent dispatch from the Monterey City Council, Squid found this item: Bulletproof Vests for Police Dogs.
Whoa. Put down the kitchen knife or heavy, blunt object: your tax dollars were not involved. This snappy new gear was donated to the hometown po-leece by the "business community."
The Monterey Police Department has two "K-9 units," which are dogs to you and me. It took a mix of public and private money to put up the $8,000 apiece it took to buy, train and equip the Monterey police dogs, Charp and Canto. German shepherds both, these pups search buildings for bad guys and chase 'em down if they run. Now they can do their jobs more safely.
NOT SO HAPPY TRAILSSometimes it's best to cut yer losses and ride off quietly into the sunset. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals did just that this week (although Squid doubts they wore spurs).
Yes cowboys and cowgirls, the SPCA's plans for a horse rescue facility on Highway 68 have been put out to pasture. After two years and $100,000 spent pursuing the facility, SPCA Executive Director Gary Tiscornia, in a July 16 letter to the Monterey Planning and Building Department and Monterey County Planning Commission, withdrew the application to build a new barn, hayshed, riding corral and training pen for abused and unwanted horses. Planning staff recommended the Planning Commission deny the project at the commission's meeting yesterday--an about-face from previous meetings. Hmmm.
Maybe it was the hoots and hollers of neighbors, local vets and planning commissioners who didn't want to see a barn and pasture built on a wetland. Maybe it was nostalgia for the historic value of the Old Munras Gate. Or maybe it was the unofficial vote taken at the July 11 Planning Commission meeting that failed to find a single supporter for the facility at the SPCA location.
Squid has squid's own theories. But the little dawgies in the County Planning Department wouldn't return calls to confirm nor deny those theories. Someone's hide's gonna be raw.
Send Squid the postmaster's phone number: email@example.com