LOOK ALIKE… Squid still can’t vote and isn’t gaining ground on a cephalopod suffrage movement. Instead, Squid is tuning into the county’s youngest candidate this election cycle.Anthony Rocha is 19, and he’s seeking a seat on the board of the school district he graduated from: Salinas Union High School District, taking on incumbent Evamarie Martinez to represent Area 5.
Rocha is barely out of high school, but he’s been racking up big endorsements from across the region, including from the Monterey/Santa Cruz Building and Construction Trades Council, County Supervisor Jane Parker, city councilmembers Jimmy Dutra (Watsonville), Anna Velazquez (Soledad) and Kayla Jones (Seaside).
Squid thought it was inspiring for a school board position – next generation! – but SUHSD board member Phillip Tabera disagrees. On Sept. 9, Tabera posted on Facebook: “How can you run for school board with endorsements who don’t live in the area and don’t look like the people you serve?”
Funny thing is, there are all kinds of people who look all different ways in SUHSD Trustee Area 5 – and, um, aren’t school boards supposed to believe in diversity?
“This negativity is just like high school, and I graduated high school two years ago,” Rocha says. Squid doesn’t know where he learned that lesson, but probably not at SUHSD.
AWKWARD SILENCE… Take one hot-button issue, add in equal parts junk science and overwrought parents, slide it into a preheated election season and you’ve got one of Squid’s favorite dishes: Prickly Political Pickle. It was on the menu Sept. 5 when Pacific Grove City Council considered an appeal of the P.G. Planning Commission’s approval of a Verizon cell antenna.
Cities’ hands are tied when it comes to cell towers. Based on research by independent scientific organizations, the Federal Communications Commission ruled they do not pose a health risk and local jurisdictions cannot deny permits based on perceived risks. Further holding cities’ feet to the fire, the FCC created a “shot clock,” like timers used in basketball limiting how long a player can take before making a shot. If a city does not take action on a cell tower permit within a set period of time, the application is automatically approved. In P.G.’s case, the clock was ticking down to the buzzer – and no one seemed ready to cast a vote. Mayor Bill Kampe asked the council for a motion, and was met with silence.
Finally, Rudy Fischer – one of two councilmembers who is running for mayor – moved to deny the appeal and approve Verizon’s request. The council finally voted 5-2, with one of Fischer’s opponents, Bill Peake, dissenting.
Squid enjoys watching the pickle get made, but Squid admits the sour taste it left is an unpleasant one.