OVER THE MOON… Squid has taken great joy in watching the moon of late, as Dec. 14 marked the planet’s third “supermoon” in three months. And all that got Squid thinking about moonbeams, or more specifically, California Governor Jerry Brown, aka “Governor Moonbeam.”

Brown got a raise Dec. 5 – his salary increased from $182,789 to $190,100 – making him the highest-paid governor in the country. Squid has no quibbles with that raise, as Brown is one of the most effective politicians alive. But around that same time, Squid read an online report from Forbes, which included an interactive tool to see all the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) pensions that pay out above $100,000 annually.

Sifting through those pensions made Squid’s maw drop: Steve Matarazzo, a long-time municipal planner and city manager who spent the bulk of his career in Sand City, was paid $187,443 through his CalPERS pension in 2015 – more than Brown’s salary that same year. Former Monterey County sheriffs Mike Kanalakis and Scott Miller, meanwhile, raked in $202,530 and $197,096, respectively.

In his most recent tenure as governor, Brown has tried – and failed – to rein in the most egregious costs of pensions, as his efforts were shot down by lawmakers some five years ago. The time is still ripe for Squid to get a new gig. Sheriff has always had a nice ring to it.

HOLIDAYS GUESTS… Squid’s cousin Cuttlefish paid Squid a visit for Christmas through the New Year. It’s been a rough week hosting: Cuttlefish inked in Squid’s English bulldog Rosco B. Coltrane’s face, ate all Squid’s shrimp-flavored popcorn and said the lair was too cold.

Squid went to book Cuttlefish accommodations at a hotel, but Cuttlefish asked how there could be holiday cheer in a stale room, and requested an Airbnb instead. With Pacific Grove’s legal short-term rentals booked up and Carmel-by-the-Sea on a crackdown, Squid decided to check out options in unincorporated territory.

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Squid has been following a civil case, Lewis v. Monterey County, in Monterey County Superior Court since before last year’s New Year. A wealthy retired couple had been bringing in likely six figures by renting out a second home in Pebble Beach, until the county shut them down.

The Lewises’ lawyer, Carmel-based Mark O’Connor, has made every argument in the book and scoured the arcana of county code to prove to Judge Thomas Wills that short-term rentals are legal in the coastal zone. Wills ruled Sept. 28 in the county’s favor, ambiguously; the Lewises appealed Dec. 7. The case could decide the future of short-term rentals on the county’s portion of the Peninsula. At this point Squid would rather have Cuttlefish stay with the Lewises than in Squid’s lair – and hopes the issue is resolved before more relatives pay Squid a visit.

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