Squid Speaks

FORBES FORWARD… It’s barely mid-December and Squid is tired of holiday cheer. Now this.

Last week in New York, there was a Christmas tree lighting at Central Park, and a performance of The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. Why would Squid care? Because a delegation of Salinas folks were in the city Dec. 4-5, promoting Salinas ag-tech. The cost of the little junket, with or without Nutcracker ticket expenses – and who ponied up the cash – wasn’t available at press time.

Among the voyagers: Mayor Joe Gunter, City Manager Ray Corpuz, Steinbeck Innovation Cluster Co-Founder John Hartnett and Taylor Farms CEO Bruce Taylor.

They were there to meet with Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine. (Maybe they’ve given up on spinning their story positively to local media outlets.)

They planned for next summer’s ag tech summit (sponsored by Forbes), and met with site selectors for “major corporations.” Squid remains cautiously optimistic – emphasis on cautiously – that meeting on the East Coast instead of the West boosts their odds of luring big biz to Salinas. That’d be a gift. Meanwhile, Squid’s not sure whether Salinas officials fall into the naughty or nice category. Finding out who paid for the trip will help clarify that.

SEWER SOUP… So Squid’s short on Christmas cheer, but Squid has something else to be stoked about. Squid’s starting a Lou Calcagno fan club before the four-term county supervisor retires in a few weeks. Squid will miss the old-timey way Calcagno makes “government” a two-syllable word (guv-mint). Squid will miss him interrupting himself to say “off the record” when he’s speaking from the dais at a public meeting with TV cameras pointed. But Squid won’t miss the shenanigans the lame duck pulled Dec. 9 to maneuver a 3-2 approval of the massive Ferrini Ranch subdivision.

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“Time to start raising money for a lawsuit,” LandWatch director Amy White said on her way out of the hearing. Calcagno decided to impose his own conditions on the project to make it more eco-friendly. Among them: The developer will pay $425,000 into a fund to launch a Toro Area Community Services District to provide local utilities, including sewer service. The CSD-to-be will eventually build a pipeline to connect outflow (yes, even the lovely people at Ferrini Ranch will have to flush toilets) all the way to Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency’s wastewater recycling plant in Marina. As Supervisor Dave Potter (who contributed one of the no votes) pointed out: “Creation of a CSD doesn’t necessarily guarantee delivery of water. There’s heavy lifting to go.”

It felt to Squid like a last-ditch effort to force through a pipeline project and a new public entity on the back of something much bigger – a clever tactic that Squid will always associate with Calcagno.

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