WELL, POOP… Squid is used to paddling around in less than clear water, but when it comes to drinking it, even this cephalopod likes the pristine stuff. Thus Squid feels a little solidarity with customers of the Normco Water Company, part of the Pajaro/Sunny Mesa Community Services District in Prunedale, who received a weird little visit last Thursday. A Normco employee was going door-to-door to tell the tiny district’s customers they had an unwelcome visitor in their water: coliform bacteria, a less nasty cousin of fecal coliform bacteria. And it looked like the coliform had unpacked its skeezy travel bag and settled in for a long stay.

According to a document the unidentified Normco guy handed out, four of the five samples Normco tested in May showed the presence of coliform bacteria. (The standard is that no more than one sample a month may do so.)

But in addition to handing out the icky info, the employee also handed out mixed advice. One Squid tipster reported he told her she needed to boil her water. The info sheet said only that “people with severely compromised immune systems, infants and some elderly” should seek a doctor’s advice.

“I know what the sheet says,” he told the tipster. “But you need to boil it.”

Other neighbors didn’t receive the boil advice. “This is not an emergency,” the sheet reads. “If it had been, you would have been notified immediately.”

Boil, no boil, not an emergency but a knock on the door? Whew, glad that’s cleared up – unlike the Normco system, which is currently being chlorinated and flushed.

TOTAL DOWNER… Squid couldn’t keep up with the disappearing kudos on this week’s Monterey County Board of Supervisor’s agenda. When the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting came out, it came with a tidbit sure to raise eyebrows: Item 12.1, courtesy of Supervisor Lou Calcagno, read, “Adopt Resolution commending Sam Downing upon his retirement for his 40 years of leadership in the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System.” 

But 24 hours later, an addendum was sent out; the Downing commendation was removed from the agenda.

Was Downing reconsidering retirement? Would he stay on to lead the hospital through a $42 million seismic retrofit and the layoffs of hundreds of employees?

Or did the Supes suddenly realize congratulating Downing, whose $5 million pension package (give or take a few bucks) from the hospital board has resulted in a pending state audit at the request of Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) might not make for the best press for the county?

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