MONUMENTAL MOLEHILL… Squid doesn’t understand why countries go to war – under the sea, battles are fought over eat-or-be-eaten, but everyone understands it’s circle-of-life stuff, nothing personal or political. Squid is especially perplexed over a war sparked in Carmel, ironically over a war monument.
Exactly 100 years ago on Veterans Day 1921, Carmelites dedicated the WWI Memorial Arch, designed by renowned California architect Charles Sumner Green, at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and San Carlos Street. Recently some residents sought to create a plaque using an original list of names of both military men and civilians who supported the war effort. The goal was to install the plaque in time for the 100-year anniversary.
What should have been a simple act has turned into a battle so divisive that residents aren’t talking to one another. Former mayors Sue McCloud, Ken White and other past leaders appealed to Carmel City Council, seeking to overturn a Historic Resources Commission vote to install the plaque. McCloud told the council on Nov. 2 the arch was meant to honor the 56 men who fought in the war, no one else. Councilmember Bobby Richards – a U.S. Coast Guard veteran – suggested keeping the arch clean and putting the plaque somewhere else. A 4-1 vote upheld the appeal, meaning no plaque.
So the supposed “war to end all wars” not only did not end any actual wars, it didn’t end the petty wars Carmelites get into with each other, either.
MOVING MONEY… Squid believes in the importance of investing Squid’s pennies locally, so Squid’s always curious about how decision-makers are investing, and recently looked through Form 700s, required to be filed in California by government officials to disclose gifts, investments and income sources. Some, like State Sen. Anna Caballero, also invest locally – she reports holding between $10,000 to $100,000 in Pacific Valley Bank. Some, like Assemblymember Mark Stone, have investments that recently raised eyebrows.
His Form 700 lists some of standards: He has stock in Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac. Then there’s $10,000 to $100,000 in Blackstone Group, a corporate big-box landlord. In 2019, UN officials accused Blackstone of escalating the housing crisis worldwide. In June, Blackstone spent $6 billion buying Home Partners of America Inc. and its 17,000 houses. Blackstone reports its portfolio includes $230 billion in real estate, $81 billion in hedge fund “solutions,” and so on.
When members of Santa Cruz for Bernie asked Stone to explain it during a virtual meeting in October, they say he spent a long time talking about how evil Blackstone is. Oh really? Squid will be watching if Stone puts his money where his mouth is.