MILKING IT… Squid oozed down to Seaside’s Oldemeyer Center Oct. 27, curious to check in on the city’s weeklong charrette about the future development of Seaside East, a 625-acre parcel east of Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard the city inherited from the former Fort Ord. And who should Squid see in the crowd but one Michael Houlemard, the former executive officer of the now-defunct Fort Ord Reuse Authority. Why would he be there? Because in August, the city inked a $50,000 contract with Houlemard for his “strategic planning services.”
The presentation was led by Marina Khoury, a planner with a firm the city hired to run the charrette and synthesize a vision for the property. Khoury outlined four different development visions for the site, and in each of them, she emphasized that no one would want to live next Eucalyptus Road – a multimillion dollar road to nowhere FORA built bisecting the property – because of the ugly high voltage power lines along it. One plan even called for removing it altogether. As for Gen. Jim Moore Boulevard – an even more expensive road FORA built – Khoury said it was “under-utilized,” and she proposed reconfiguring it significantly. Great job, FORA!
Squid thought it might be hurting Houlemard’s feelings to hear those roads criticized, but then Squid remembered: Per the terms of Houlemard’s contract, he bills the city $200 an hour. City Attorney Sheri Damon couldn’t say whether Houlemard was getting paid to be there – “I haven’t taken a look at his bill yet” – but Squid looks forward to peeking at it too.
PALE AND STALE… Squid’s annual Halloween party was a banger this year. After taking a year off, the adults in the lair got to let their freak flags fly. The best part was being able to recycle last year’s costumes that no one got to see. Unfortunately, last year’s white cheddar popcorn was a bit stale so Squid felt new snacks were in order.
Stale white popcorn was perhaps on the minds of Supervisors Mary Adams and John Phillips last week when they presented their picks for the new Economic Opportunity Committee, a rejuvenated county advisory committee that will offer perspective on how best to spend $2 million of American Rescue Plan funds to bolster the local economy. Due to a clerical error, not all appointees made it on the Oct. 26 agenda. However, all eight who did were older white folks; seven were older white men. Perfectly thoughtful people, but far from representative of Monterey County. Without even trying, Supervisor Wendy Root Askew rattled off a proposed list of names that would begin to approach representation.
The appointees were scrapped, partially due to the clerical error. When the issue comes back to the dais, Squid hopes Adams and Phillips will show a little more imagination in their choices.