Squid Speaks

THREE WAYS… Once Squid kills and eats Squid’s breakfast, Squid has difficult decisions for the day ahead: Should Squid go on a long walk with Squid’s adorable English bulldog, Rosco P. Coltrane, or spend more time cuddling with him on the couch? For lunch, is it clam chowder or shrimp tacos? All good choices. That’s how Squid likes it.

But the Monterey City Council isn’t so lucky. At a March 25 study session, city staff presented options for the future of Portola Plaza, which is going to be severely impacted by the staging of the Monterey Conference Center renovation. One option is to use $1 million of the renovation funds to restore the plaza’s existing surface, or replace it with “a new asphalt surface.” Woohoo! Asphalt! Another option is to use an additional $1 million of city money to “provide some amenities, such as upgraded paving surface (i.e. stamped concrete).” Yeehaw!

With $3 million, requiring the city to kick in $2 mil, the the renovation could bring the plaza more in line with the city’s Downtown Specific Plan. (Can you say “decorative crosswalks”?) Councilmember Ed Smith was all for the $3 mil plan, but Councilmember Alan Haffa asked a pointed question: “Are there options beyond that, so we can have some choice and still be cognizant of budget?”

Alan, did you miss the part about “additional enhanced design features”? Heck, Squid would sign off on $5 million to pretty up the plaza if it involved decorative crosswalks and a bottomless clam chowder fountain.

ROLLING ALONG… Squid’s transportation method of choice is obviously jet propulsion. When Squid’s too tired to pulsate, Squid rents a surrey from Bay Bikes. But the city of Del Rey Oaks is inspiring Squid to go bigger: How about a tank?

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Recall that teeny DRO acquired a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, or MRAP, last year, courtesy of a free Pentagon surplus equipment program. The repairs, still in progress at a shop in Hollister, are being bankrolled by volunteer DRO police reservist and railroad heir James Hill III.

Hill is a private person, frowning on the Weekly’s audacity at naming him in print. So far the MRAP has stayed private, too, despite Squid’s hope of seeing it roll through town. Squid was hoping it would start making celebrity appearances in unlikely places, like the Wienermobile.

Squid’s dream of taking a selfie with the MRAP may depend on the findings of the Monterey County Civil Grand Jury, which is investigating the MRAP acquisition, according to DRO City Manager Daniel Dawson. The jurors recently took a field trip to Hollister where, Dawson tells Squid, “They had a good time playing around with it.”

The jury is writing up its 2015 reports, which should be released by June. Maybe they’ll finally set the MRAP free so Squid can cruise the Rec Trail military-style.

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