LOCAL SPIN: Just Say Gobble
One turkey gets cooked; Marina Coast turkeys go out kicking.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Two columns for the price of one, both on the subject of turkeys – the bird, and the human variety.
One: It’s the week, of course, when we speak of gratitude. I had planned on doing the same in this column, because when it comes down to it, I have a pretty nifty little life and nothing much to complain about (although I hope my publisher forgets to read the column this week, because as far as he knows, my life is one giant complaint, mostly involving him).
But then I sat down to proofread Mark C. Anderson’s Edible column, in which he talks about how receiving the best news ever at one of the most inopportune times made him step back and realize there’s never a bad time to celebrate great news from a friend.
I can’t top that, and I’m not even going to try. Instead, I’m going to take the topic of gratitude, splash it in some slightly dark gravy and turn it on its ear.
IN ONE FELL SWOOP, WE PAID MORE FOR A SINGLE BIRD (AND FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF KNOWING HOW, WHERE AND BY WHOM THAT MEAT WAS RAISED) THAN MY MOTHER EVER SPENT ON AN ENTIRE MONTH’S WORTH OF GROCERIES.
I confess I am the slightest bit grateful that my dead mother can’t read this week’s issue, because if she could, there would be no safe place for me to hide (see p. 24). Not only did my husband and I go someplace to kill our own Thanksgiving main course (or, rather, I watched as my husband wrapped his arms around our Thanksgiving main course, and Weekly reporter Sara Rubin slit its throat), but we paid a truly breathtaking amount of money to do it. In one fell swoop, we paid more for a single bird (and for the privilege of knowing how, where and by whom that meat was raised) than my mother ever spent on an entire month’s worth of groceries.
And I know almost exactly what she would say about it: “Your grandmother didn’t haul her ass from the mountains above Krakow, land at Ellis Island and go to work in a Chicago slaughterhouse so her college-educated granddaughter could kill her own food. Get your head out of your [expletive] and go to the grocery store like a normal human being.” And then she would utter a few curses in Polish while shaking her head in disgust.
So why did we spend $7 a pound to kill a turkey so large we can’t fit it in our refrigerator, and instead are dumping bags of ice on it in a cooler twice a day until Thursday? Partly because I wanted to see if I could look my food in the eye while it died. I could, as it turns out, but I couldn’t bring myself to kill it. Maybe I should stop questioning my place in the food chain and get my [expletive] back to the grocery store.
Two: Speaking of giant foul birds, there was a certain expectation that, post-election, at least part of the lunatic fringe of the Marina Coast Water District would fade gently into the sunset as two new board members gave the common-sense side a new majority. But the MCWD, or as I like to refer to them, the Insane Clown Posse, is the gift that keeps giving. And Nov. 20 (post-deadline, sadly), they’re giving us a special meeting, noticed last Friday, that by all appearances is violating a handful of items in their own Board Procedures Manual, and maybe even poking at the Brown Act.
Among the items they were set to consider at the Tuesday night meeting (which presumably some staff members would miss because of the holiday) is a water-needs assessment for the Monterey Downs development and the extension of General Manager/Ringmaster Jim Heitzman’s $240,000-a-year contract. (I swear we wrote about him looking for a new job eight months ago. Guess the hunt isn’t going so well.)
Here’s how the Posse thinks it’s being clever: Board member Jan Shriner at last week’s regularly scheduled meeting voted with the majority to approve both of the aforementioned motions, on the premise that if you vote in the affirmative, you can bring it back at the next regularly scheduled meeting for reconsideration. But the boys did an end run by calling the special meeting. It’s not clear if Shriner will attend because of previous travel plans.
Here are some numbers The Posse might want to consider: 13, 14, 17 and 21. From their own procedures manual, the special meeting violates 13 by flaunting cost-efficiency in calling a special and unnecessary meeting two days before a national holiday. They’re violating 14 (a laughable code of ethics that talks about respecting dignity) by calling the meeting just to screw with Shriner. They’re possibly violating 17, which deals with the Brown Act, by failing to agendize these non-emergency motions 17 days before Tuesday’s meeting. They’re violating 21 by calling a special meeting to handle items that could and should be handled at a regularly scheduled meeting.
There’s never enough time to wrestle with these turkeys, sad to say. Not when there are 41 pounds of actual turkey to wrestle into the oven at home.
MARY DUAN is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her at twitter.com/maryrduan