THAT’S DEBATABLE… Squid spent Halloween at the lair, passing out shrimp-flavored popcorn balls to squidlets of the neighborhood while getting caught up on public meeting videos. One caught Squid’s eye: the Oct. 22 Del Rey Oaks City Council meeting where Monterey City Councilmember Tyller Williamson went hoping for a treat but got tricked instead.
It was Williamson’s first time out pitching ideas from the Monterey Peninsula Housing Coalition, a group of electeds intent on solving the housing crisis. After outlining ideas for increasing affordable housing and asking the council for input, Councilmember John Gagliotifirst praised Williamson for “a really creative effort.” The “but” was a foregone conclusion: “We just don’t have the water for it,” he said. He lambasted Williamson for signing a letter, along with 27 other electeds, opposing Cal Am’s proposed desal plant, and accused Williamson of being a no-growther masquerading as a pro-housing advocate.
Williamson started to say he didn’t want to turn the conversation “into a debate about desal.” Gaglioti’s response was “Yeah, but,” and he hopped back on his soap box.
Squid feels sorry for the kids trick-or-treating in Gaglioti’s neighborhood; he probably passes out toothbrushes and lectures instead of candy.
FIGHTING WORDS… That the bitterness of pro-desal vs. anti-desal rhetoric has trickled into Del Rey Oaks City Hall doesn’t surprise Squid, given how nasty things have gotten at actual water agencies, like Monterey One Water. That’s the wastewater treatment plant turned water-recycling facility, thanks to ingenuity and… teamwork? It was just a few weeks ago that Squid oozed over to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Pure Water Monterey, where officials from various government agencies, alongside Cal Am reps, were drinking recycled water and taking goofy selfies in a photo booth.
Phase two of Pure Water Monterey looks so promising it might mean there’s enough water without Cal Am’s desalination plant. So some M1W board members (Exhibit A: John Gaglioti/see above) tried to delay releasing information to the public that might make desal appear moot, sacrificing data for politics. As if they hadn’t already done enough to undermine their credibility, board chair Ron Stefani called a special meeting for Nov. 7 to talk about writing a letter to the Coastal Commission, at Cal Am’s request, to urge commissioners to say yes to desal on Nov. 14. “It appears M1W staff have actively championed the proposed expansion of Pure Water Monterey as a real and viable solution,” Cal Am President Rich Svinland wrote in a letter to Stefani, triggering the meeting.
Victims of their own success? To that, Squid raises a glass – of recycled water.