Squid Fry 8.30.12
Squid Speak, Spoken Here
Thursday, August 30, 2012
DINING IN… Squid admits to peeking at the tabloids in the grocery check-out line. Squid might even buy one, if only the skinny celebrities didn’t make Squid feel like such a glutton. So, in the spirit of learning what the rich actually eat, Squid was eager to get Squid’s tentacles on the expense reports filed by Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital’s hired hatchet man, Interim President/CEO Lowell Johnson.
Johnson came on board after former CEO Sam Downing retired with a controversially massive pension plan. The fuel that keeps the turnaround expert running: Triscuits ($3.50) and Twizzlers ($1.88) from Walmart. Breakfast sausage (only $0.50 in the SVMH cafeteria), and licorice too.
Johnson, who makes $10,000 a week, has a contract that allows him to bill the hospital for expenses, including airport snacks and $3,500 monthly rent in Salinas (plus transportation to and from his Seattle home – namely, paying his daughter $50 to shuttle him). The reams of receipts came to light after the National Union of Healthcare Workers started poking around in the midst of a contract dispute. “It’s the same good-ol’-boys network that he was supposed to reform, and it looks like he fell right into it,” John Borsos of NUHW says. The hospital’s stated position: Nothing to see here. They’ve hired an accountant to audit the expenses.
Maybe Johnson should invite the union to a party. He bought beer (Beck’s, $12.99) and sweet vermouth ($8.99) at Nob Hill – exactly what Squid would order for everyone.
SHHHHH… Keeping secrets is one of Squid’s prized talents. But Squid fears the Fort Ord Reuse Authority’s got one up on Squid: Just witness the authority’s latest tricks to shut the public out of its taxpayer-funded ops. Like trying to hide the paper trail detailing, oh, $100 million in cleanup expenses from Keep Fort Ord Wild’s lawyers. And hiring flak Candy Ingram, an outside consultant tasked with keeping reporters far away from FORA officials. And holding a hushy-hush meeting with county officials Aug. 20, at which they presented plans for clear-cutting 12 acres of Parker Flats on the former Fort Ord.
Officials say it’s for safety’s sake, but Squid shares conservationists’ suspicion the razing is really to make way for the Monterey Downs mini-city for rich equestrians. (It’s at least a handy side effect.) And the FORA flak reportedly doesn’t like the phrase “clear-cutting,” but Squid’s not sure how else to describe plans for leveling an oak savannah.
But FORA’s latest trick against transparency may be Squid’s favorite: putting the wrong informational website address on the “For Your Safety” signs all over the Parker Flats area. It’s fora-esca-rp.com, not fora-rp-esca.com. Incompetence or obfuscation? Squid can’t decide.