Squid Fry 03-03-11
Thursday, March 3, 2011
FOURTH ESTATE BLUES… If a tree falls on 8 Upper Ragsdale Drive, are there any journalists left to make a sound? It’s a question that keeps Squid up nights following word from a tipster that they’re dropping like flies over at the home of the Monterey County Herald. Layoffs took out 10 staffers in the past two weeks, including three in the newsroom. Editorial page editor Royal Calkins is only allowed to have an opinion three days a week because his job has been slashed by 40 percent, and business writer Lane Wallace is mostly riding the copy desk until the pogrom, oops, restructuring, is complete. And the mournful jazz the Herald uses for its on-hold music seems exceedingly appropriate when calling ex-staff writer Daniel Lopez: He’s one of the three cut from the newsroom, but his office voicemail says he’s just away from his desk. Far, far away, it seems.
WET WORKS… Squid enjoys settling down in front of the television with public access news, a nice bowl of shrimp chips at the ready, especially when the Marina Coast Water District is involved. For the past two years, the Green Party had been filming and broadcasting the district’s meetings. Then on Feb. 8, the district’s board decided it wouldn’t send out a Request for Proposal to hire a contractor to do the work. (“What would we get for our money for this?” the board’s Bill Lee and Dan Burns reportedly asked.) And the steam that rose from the board’s collective ears when LandWatch Monterey County executive director Amy White announced that LandWatch was paying for that meeting to be filmed? The shrimp chips went flying, friends. It would cost about $16,000 a year to film and broadcast the meetings. Given the district has already spent about $5.8 million on costs related to the desalination project, 16k seems a mere drop in the pricey water bucket.
SEXISM, SCHMEXISM… A woman’s place is not in a countywide leadership role. Squid is happy that the Monterey County Supervisors agree. At the board’s March 1 meeting, it approved nine appointments who will join Supes Dave Potter and Lou Calcagno on the 11-member Economic Development Committee. Of the nine, CSUMB Pres Dianne Harrison is the only female. “I don’t think ethnicity or gender was ever considered,” Potter says. “I personally am both color – and gender-blind.” The “appointments reflect considerable thought and outreach to key sectors of our local economy,” according to the board report. And, obviously, women are not qualified to make recommendations to the Supes about diversifying the economy and creating higher-paying jobs. What they are qualified to do: make Squid a PB&J sandwich.