QUE SERRA, SERRA… Squid’s still helping Squid’s sister during the pandemic, watching nieces and nephews while sis works long hours as a sea doc at CHOMP, which stands for Community Hospital of Octopi, Mustelids and Porpoises. Squid had almost run out of outdoor adventures to do with the squidlets, when Squid had a thought: Why not take a tour of the greatest hits of Spanish colonization and explain why our history is painted with the blood of the Indigenous people who were here first?
Squid and the littles first headed for Carmel, to take a look at the statue of Junipero Serra – Saint Serra, as he’s known to some – to see if it was still standing. Elsewhere in the country, activists are yanking down statues of colonizers (Columbus, anyone?) or splashing them with red paint. Only when Squid and the kids got to Carmel, the Jo Mora-sculpted statue of the violent priest who subjugated thousands of Indigenous people, eradicated their culture and killed many, was gone.
Whew, Squid thought, they finally came to their senses. But no. Turns out the city of Carmel removed the statue for safekeeping. “Jo Mora is a part of our cultural heritage and we don’t view it as a religious icon,” Carmel City Administrator Chip Rerig says.
For now, our good saint is chillaxing in a storage closet at a city library. Where, Squid thinks, he should remain for eternity, regardless of who sculpted him.
SORE WINNERS… Squid can be a worrywart, and among the things Squid worries about in our current state of affairs is the fate of restaurants. Forbes magazine reported on June 16 the results of a study commissioned by the Independent Restaurant Association, predicting that 85 percent of independent restaurants will permanently close this year without assistance. In Pacific Grove, the exodus has begun: a favorite breakfast spot, Holly’s Lighthouse Cafe, announced it’s closing after 15 years.
Squid was heartened that P.G. City Manager Ben Harvey launched P.G. Al Fresco on June 12, a 30-day experiment shutting down two blocks of Lighthouse Avenue for outdoor dining. But the P.G. Chamber of Commerce, led by President Moe Ammar and a block of business and property owners, convinced Pacific Grove City Council on June 17 to squash Al Fresco just five days into a popular and successful run.
Before the body was even cold, the chamber was doing a victory lap. The next day, they posted on their Facebook page about a “Fourth of July Drive and Dine” event enticing locals to drive down Lighthouse Avenue festooned with patriotic decorations to pick up food from participating restaurants. The photo in the promotion: a ’60s-era red Ford Mustang on Lighthouse driving a block that had been temporarily closed during Al Fresco. Ouch.