Extra Helping of Squid 12.17.12
The twelve months of Squid-mas.
Monday, December 17, 2012
On the first day of Squidmas, Squid sent to thee…some snarking in a pear tree. One the second day of Squidmas, Squid sent to thee…ah hell. It’s hard, what with all the last minute shopping, gift-wrapping, egg-nogging, mistle-toe snoggling, cookie-baking and caroling for Squid to find an eloquent way to riff on the 12 Days of Christmas, Squid-style. So instead, Squid’s decided to offer to you, dear reader, the 12 months of Squidmas, one great Squid nugget from each of the last 12 months.
DARWIN AWARD… Squid’s done some stupid things. Like stick both slimy tentacles on a frosty telephone pole. And go on that two-day nitrous binge (Phish Tour ‘98!).
But Fort Ord Reuse Authority attorney Jerry Bowden makes Squid feel less foolish about all that. FORA, remember, works with the Army and EPA to make sure Fort Ord’s 25,000 acres are clear of military munitions before opening them up to civilians.
No one’s been injured by a Fort Ord weapon since the base closed in the early ‘90s. But Supervisor Dave Potter casually tells Squid that just a few months ago, the FORA attorney “drilled into a munition with a power drill and hurt himself.”
Oh no he didn’t. Oh yes he did.
It wasn’t a Fort Ord munition; Bowden bought the foot-long projectile at a flea market in Santa Cruz. “I was raised around guns and my father was a highway patrolman,” he says. “I thought I knew a great deal about ordnance.”
A primer that had apparently been depressed told Bowden this baby was a dud. So naturally, he took it home and drilled into it.
A piece of brass shot into his breastbone and stopped a quarter-inch from his heart. Bowden figured he had five minutes to live, but two surgeries later, he’s almost recovered. Physically, at least.
“I don’t advertise this, because it’s by far the stupidest thing I’ve ever done,” he says. “In addition to everything else, I’m going to ask for a brain transplant.” The lesson, he adds: People who think they know what they’re doing around weapons are in even more danger than peaceniks like Squid. Hear that, NRA?
DOWNS UNDER… Squid is still waiting for Google to develop an “unsend” button for email, because Squid seriously did not intend for that photo of Squid’s ink sac to go out to the masses. While Squid considers whether or not to pull an Anthony Weiner and claim Squid was hacked, it seems Monterey Downs developer Brian Boudreau might be able to empathize.
Boudreau’s team made a similar gaffe in an Oct. 2010 letter to County Economic Development Director Jim Cook. “NOTE TO BETH & DUSTIN,” reads a line in the section on water infrastructure, “I would let them tell us what needs to be done later rather than have it on public record now that we may need to provide extension/replacement of existing facilities.”
That letter was posted on Seaside City Council’s website for precisely six days – until the clerk realized it wasn’t supposed to be there.
Now Squid’s wondering, why is Seaside helping Boudreau cover up what looks to be a red flag in the Downs development? Maybe because the broke-ass city so desperately needs revenue.
HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED… Even antisocial Squid gets goosebumps at star-studded parties. So Squid was surprised to see the Monterey County Water Resources Agency board recoil when Supervisor Dave Potter extended an invitation to join him (and every other local water-related agency) in co-hosting a public forum.
Call it the Salinas River Dance, in which MCWRA board members discuss their scarred pasts without naming former board chair Steve Collins, who went down in a cloud of felony charges partly related to the Regional Desalination Plan debacle. “I don’t want to defame anybody or be mean to people,” board member Ken Ekelund explained.
Apparently the thought of pulling a Collins by associating with Potter – who’s a subject in an ongoing Fair Political Practices Commission investigation – spooked the board. “I think we should just send them our moral support,” said board member and Soledad Mayor Fred Ledesma.
Squid agrees: Letting MCWRA officials toss salt over their shoulders is the only association they should ever have with brine.
POPULAR GUY… Lonely Squid was prowling Facebook the other day – then recoiled all eight tentacles at once. That’s because Squid came across the virtual forum for that thing everyone in Salinas is whispering about: allegations that a former Salinas High School drug counselor, Gilbert Olivares, hid a video camera in his office and shot sex tapes starring unsuspecting high school students. Leave it to high schoolers to come to his rescue.
Supporters on March 14 launched a Facebook page, “Free gilbert olivares,” calling on Salinas High students to “speak up about how gilberts allegations are false.” But most of the posts are critical.
“… I never got weird vibes from him, but facts are facts,” wrote one student. From another: “You need to realize that when he touched you it wasn’t out of love it was because he’s a sick fucker.” Meanwhile another page, this one with the user name “Gilbert Olivares” and his mugshot, appears to have been taken offline. In the “about” section: “I used to work at Salinas High. I even had an office there.” Oh, the wacky humor of it all.
As Olivares preps for a preliminary hearing, here’s hoping the students will head back to government class (where maybe the teacher will also correct their grammar). That whole innocent-until-proven-guilty part is pretty important.
VIVA LA SQUID… Important Squid facts: Squid has a lot of heart – three chambers worth, in fact – and Squid does eat other squid.
Squid is not proud of the latter fact, but hey: Sometimes you gotta take a bite out of your fellow being. But Squid is proud to call Monterey Bay home, and that means Squid’s rather large, cannibalistic heart beats for its definitive foods: calamari and clam chowder.
So locals who found the first-ever Great Calamari and Clam Chowder Festival tasteless are not alone. Squid too thought “Great” might be revised to “Almost Un-Passable Calamari and Clam Chowder Festival,” that things were overpriced (even for a free-music festival) and that chowder shouldn’t evoke so many comments involving the word “milk.” Maybe the Central Valley tourists were fooled, but for any Sea God-fearing local, this was not fishy fare to be proud of.
Squid’s take: Last week Squid’s colleague celebrated co-organizer Chris Shake’s sustainable chops after he earned an Aquarium Seafood Heroes award. Shake would do well to import some of that progressive thinking to create a less dumbed down, mass-cooked event. And that’s from the heart.
CONFESSION TIME… Squid admits to a few guilty pleasures, like eating Barbara’s white-cheddar cheese puffs and setting papier-mache llamas on fire in the fever of Summer Solstice festivities. Oh, and watching Mrs. Eastwood & Company in lonely Midwestern hotel rooms.
In the latest reality fluffery, Dina and the brood have traveled to Hawaii, and Eduard Leonard – from the South African boy band Overtone, which she manages – makes a half-assed, drunken suicide attempt (a few cuts on his arms) because he’s coming out of the closet (on national TV) and feels the other band members aren’t accepting him.
To whom does Dina take him for therapy once they come back from Hawaii? Not a shrink. She takes him to Dr. Robert Keller, Monterey-area plastic surgeon and “a very dear friend” of Dina’s. For what better way to boost a depressed young gay musician’s sense of self-worth than a couple sessions of Smart Lipo?
SPOILER ALERT… Squid was in the mood for a flick last week, perhaps a rom-com to confirm that somewhere – other than in the Weekly’s online comments, where a pair of Steve Collins fans calling themselves “greatgranny” and “oldguy49” are forming a mutual affection over a Marina Coast Water District story – love still exists. Squid favors the Osio, where the counter help indulges Squid’s shellfish love by microwaving shrimp-flavored butter for Squid’s popcorn. But last week found Squid in the wilds of Salinas. Who knew in this “dangerous” town, the 7:30pm showing of Magic Mike at the Maya might be the most dangerous place of all?
The scene: about 300 women (and a handful of gay men), no small amount of illicit alcohol secreted in enormous Vuitton bags, and the debaucherous sense that, hey, if Channing Tatum is willing to bare it all, so should the poor Maya worker who was tasked with cleaning up after the out-of-control, Real-Housewives-of-Salinas crowd. As he wheeled a garbage can into the darkened theater, women began yelling at him, “Take it off! Take it off!” And so it was that the young man raised his shirt, flashed a decently toned chest and became the stuff of legend as the horde went wild. No word on whether the unnamed worker made it to his car alive; he was last seen posing with women for post-movie pics.
TIDY UP… Squid was of a mind to straighten out the lair last weekend and maybe even do a little cooking. But when Squid oozed over to the local home improvement store for supplies, the joint was fresh out of Lemon Pledge and garbage bags. Same thing happened at the grocery, where Squid’s dream of tuna noodle casserole went out the window with nary a can of tuna nor a bag of noodles to be found. Mystified, Squid asked the grocer, “What gives?” The answer: “Gannett. Gannett is what gives.”
Seems the folks at the Gannett-owned Salinas Californian have been given a set of marching orders – clean up your cubes and make a covered dish, says the newish General Manager Paula Goudreau – because on Aug. 23, a shadow will cross the sun, the birds will stop chirping and Gannett executives will arrive for a “Town Hall” meeting to be followed by an old-fashioned potluck luncheon. Gannett CEO Gracia Martore and Community Publishing Division President Bob Dickey will arrive to explain why two Gannett executives, who between them took home total compensation packages of $7.3 million last year, couldn’t spring for a couple of dozen sandwiches and a few bags of chips. Or maybe the discussion will focus on why nobody in the still-for-sale Californian building will be getting even cost-of-living increases this year.
Chins up, little Californian staffers, and enjoy that tuna noodle surprise; at this rate, it will all be over soon.
ON THE EDGE… Every time Squid nestles in for a good heist flick, Squid can’t help but think extra appendages would make Squid a good addition to any criminal posse. Too bad Gregory and Jennifer Rutlidge didn’t have an omniscient mastermind on their team, because the husband-wife duo is now facing a $100,000-plus lawsuit brought by Dole Fresh Vegetables for theft and fraud.
The lawsuit, filed last month in Monterey County Superior Court, alleges the Rutlidges schemed to rip off the produce giant by inventing a knife-sharpening business, Pacific Industrial Blade. Gregory, then maintenance manager at Dole’s Soledad lettuce plant, signed a sharpening contract with his wife. Pacific Industrial allegedly started shipping back half the knives with dull edges and lettuce bits attached, and Rutlidge’s superiors complained about shoddy workmanship.
Gregory eventually resigned, and it was only an accidental phone call months later that revealed he and Jennifer were making bank off the deal, according to the lawsuit. Turns out such personal gain is a violation of Dole’s code of conduct, which got Squid thinking the privatized world Paul Ryan imagines already exists. Squid couldn’t even find a criminal case against the Rutlidges; Deputy DA Terry Spitz says it’s typical for big companies to deal with theft without getting the cops involved.
Dole’s rules are even stricter than the California Political Reform Act, which the Fair Political Practices Commission uses to go after the likes of Steve Collins, Dave Potter and Sam Downing. When a family member of a public official reaps the rewards – say, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Interim CEO Lowell Johnson paying his daughter to drop him off at the airport – the FPPC don’t care. Squid bets Dole would’ve roasted these guys in a heartbeat.
TEN-HUT… Squid has lots of surprising habits – like skeet shooting and chess-boxing. Another one that catches other creatures off guard: Squid’s penchant for reminding people how central the military is to Monterey County’s economy.
And then there are times when Squid doesn’t have to. The weekend closure of the Presidio of Monterey’s Franklin and Taylor gates near Duffy’s Tavern and Compagno’s Deli, respectively, are doing that in an ugly way. They’re closing this weekend and each weekend thereafter until there’s a better budget picture. That means the only access on weekends is Bolio Gate down by the Coast Guard Pier, where exiting vehicles can only turn north toward downtown Monterey. That means a whole fleet of businesses stretching from Forest Hill to Cannery Row are likely going to see their revenue dip, and adjacent spots like Duffy’s and Compagno’s will be brutalized. Squid doesn’t have to be a five-star general to think somebody didn’t think this all the way through – in terms of lost business, soldier convenience, community relations or traffic.
Presidio spokesman Dan Carpenter says low budgets mean fewer guards at the gates. “We can’t spend more money than the Army’s giving us,” he says, and adds they’re “working on creative solutions to hard choices.”
Squid is glad there are pedestrian openings at those gates. Now that Squid doesn’t have to remind people how important the military is, there’s more time for insane hobbies like chess-boxing.
PRIVATE EYE… When Squid’s got a hunch, Squid goes tentacles in and digs for the truth, which comes naturally considering Squid is trained to rummage for facts. So even though Squid does have a soft spot for glossy magazines with mostly photo spreads, Squid did a double take upon learning that 831 Magazine editor Ryan Zen Lama is in hot pursuit of the perps who broke into his Monterey HQ last week.
Along with computers, the burglars got food writer Anita Joshi’s credit cards. Impatient for the Monterey PD, Lama and Joshi retraced the fraudulent credit card users’ steps (Target: windshield wiper fluid, yogurt; 76 gas station: $200 worth of cigarettes; Nu Art: use your imagination) to watch surveillance footage. Why wait for KION’s Manhunt Monday?
Squid is all too familiar with deadlines and understands the urgency, but Monterey Police Lt. Leslie Sonne cautions the not-so-Zen Lama posse. “I would not suggest they act on anything they find,” Sonne says. “It could put them at risk.”
Squid couldn’t help but feel sorry for 831, especially given their earnest attempts to fight crime. But later, Squid saw The Californian’s unfortunate new tagline, which attaches to staffers’ email signatures: “Give it to me local.” With media robbers on the prowl, Squid cautions: Be careful what you wish for, or you will surely get it. December
EXTRA SPECIAL… Squid’s got it bad enough in Cal Am territory, where multi-million-dollar charges pile onto water bills like pizza toppings. But Cal Am doesn’t hold a candle to the Marina Coast Water District, which lately has been bizarre enough to merit an act in Pac Rep Theater’s Spamalot.
The most recent farce goes like this: The four-man board majority sees its days of power ticking down to the swearing-in of newly elected directors Peter Le and Tom Moore. One-woman minority Jan Shriner votes for things she’s against so she can move for reconsideration once her allies join her on the board. The lame-ducks revolt by calling three special meetings where they deploy procedural judo to strong-arm inane policies through. Like requiring a 4-1 vote to approve annexations. And jacking up staff salaries. And appointing outgoing director Ken Nishi to sort out a water-rights battle over sewage – as if he has the ability to build consensus.
Herald Editor Royal Calkins basically summarizes Weekly Editor Mary Duan’s serial Spin comments on the subject in his Dec. 4 editorial, in which he even borrows her term “clown” to describe the preposterous board majority. But Marina Coast might want to take a hint when the town’s two biggest newspapers consider it the court jester of local water agencies. Voters sure did.