BE THE JUDGE… Before Squid spent the holidays curled up at the lair, feasting on various shrimp dishes, Squid Zoomed into a Dec. 19 meeting of the Local Agency Formation Commission of Monterey County which, like other LAFCOs across the state, is tasked with ensuring orderly development, i.e., avoiding urban sprawl.

The issue du jour concerned the proposed annexation of 654 acres north of Soledad, which the commission – against LAFCO staff’s recommendation – approved. But before they finalized it, they wanted LAFCO staff to address unanswered questions about agricultural mitigations – ag land that would be deed-restricted to remain as such, in perpetuity.

The annexation is to facilitate a mostly single-family-home development, Miramonte, on land owned by local developer Nader Agha. While staff recommended against approving the annexation until land or money was set aside for the ag land, six of the commission’s seven members didn’t share those concerns and voted to proceed anyway, on a handshake deal.

Squid’s tentacles perked up when Paul Moncrief, an attorney representing Agha, dismissed LAFCO staff’s concerns about enforcing mitigations. The enforcers, Moncrief said, “wear black robes, and sit in a courthouse in Monterey.”

Squid’s always thought the goal of developers was to avoid lawsuits, not invite them, but Squid can also understand why that might not be Moncrief’s goal – that’s where his bread is buttered.

HOT SEAT… Squid will never run for office but if Squid did, Squid likes to think even Squid’s translucent skin is tough enough to deal with barbs that inevitably come. Pacific Grove Councilmember Debby Beck, newly sworn in on Dec. 7, seems to have a ways to go in toughening up based on her reaction to complaints about her to the P.G. City Council.

The complaints focus on past social media posts Beck made, specifically right-wing articles or memes that minimized Covid, lambasted NFL players as unpatriotic for taking a knee or questioned mail-in voting. On Dec. 18, the now-former P.G. councilmember Jenny McAdams complained to the council about Beck’s posts, pointing out that at the time Beck was serving as a member of the P.G. Economic Development Commission and P.G. Planning Commission. McAdams called the “consistent messaging of racism and election denying” coming from a city representative “extremely disturbing.”

Beck responded by sending an email to McAdams’ employer, Monterey County, asking for an investigation into “this hateful attack as a violation of my civil rights.”

Not only is this a bad look, it’s a bad habit. Better to develop a thick skin than a sore wrist writing letters in the wake of everyone who complains.

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