TIME TABLE… Squid thinks of activities in terms of how much shrimp-flavored popcorn to make: Is this going to be a half-bowl-length water board meeting, or a two-bowl meeting? One thing Squid can reliably count on is Marina City Council meetings are at least three bowls – plus a drink. They routinely run five hours, and require the council to vote to extend the meeting so they can pontificate longer. On Aug. 16, council was set to discuss reshaping meeting rules and procedures, specifically setting a time limit of three minutes per public comment (standard) instead of four and discouraging councilmembers from engaging in a dialogue with said public (also standard).

Squid suddenly imagined more efficient meetings, a little less popcorn and a lot less rambling as the city gets to important discussions.

But before council could get to a proposed amendment to its 1980 resolution on “best practices for public engagement and meeting efficiency” – yes, it took them 42 years to get this far – the clock ticked to 10:32pm. Classic – they ran out of time. (Mayor Bruce Delgado had to make a motion to extend the meeting by five minutes, in order to get an update about the long-delayed Cypress Knolls development.)

“We’re past time,” Delgado said. Too bad he wasn’t talking about the updates to the meeting rules.

IN NAME ONLY… Squid understands qualifiers matter. For instance: eight-armed, two-tentacled cephalopod would be an important descriptor on Squid’s resume if Squid were seeking a juggling job. Qualifiers can be especially critical in elections, where more clarity is better. For instance, former president Donald Trump is a title and description Trump has earned. However, by leaving out the “twice impeached” qualifier, uninformed voters might get an incorrect impression of his true qualifications.

Regina Gage, who is headed to a runoff election against Glenn Church for the District 2 County Supervisor seat, is battling for her own qualifier on the Nov. 8 ballot, but standing in her way is Monterey County Registrar of Voters Gina Martinez. Gage, who is an elected member of the board of directors of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, wants to be designated as “Elected Healthcare Director” on the ballot. Martinez said “Healthcare Director” was good enough – no need to add “elected.”

On Aug. 16, Gage turned to the courts and sued Martinez, in an attempt to force her into caving on the “elected” question, and forcing the county to pay the legal fees Gage racks up on this not-so-trivial pursuit. Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, there’s no way to know whether it will have tipped the scales. What Squid does know is that if Gage goes on to win in November, this is one hell of a way to kick off a working relationship.

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