WATER BILLS… If only Squid could get a nickel every time Squid gave Squid’s opinion… oh, Squid gets paid to issue unsolicited opinions every week. Squid enjoys intervening in everyone’s business, though Squid is not technically an “intervenor” – a term used by the California Public Utilities Commission to describe entities who represent ordinary interests – and so can’t file aformal request for compensation of $120 to $615 per hour, depending on years of experience. (What was that Squid said about a nickel?)

Even if California American Water’s proposal to build a desalination plant is dead, it’s still alive on paper, including at the CPUC. Most recently, that came in the form of intervenor compensation requests, and lots of compensation awards approved by Administrative Law Judge Robert Haga, recognizing “substantial contributions” to the CPUC’s decision-making process. In December, there was $491,077 to Salinas Valley Water Coalition and $423,623 toSurfrider Foundation. In January, Haga proposed compensating LandWatch Monterey County($104,797) and the Planning and Conservation League Foundation ($200,443). Then on Feb. 19, there was a proposed denial for ratepayer group Water Plus and its president Ron Weitzman, who’d requested $284,745 for hundreds of hours of work (including 56 hours spent preparing the intervenor claim itself). But Haga wasn’t having it: “Water Plus has not made substantial contribution[s],” he wrote.

Weitzman is fighting back. In a Feb. 27 comment letter, he wrote, “They were in fact as substantial as the effect they have had on the project, and that effect has clearly been substantial.”

Huh. Not much substance there – but if everyone else is cashing in on the desal plant that wasn’t, Squid thinks Water Plus should, too.

FEE FOR SERVICE… Speaking of who has to pay how much: It’s no secret that it costs $10.50 per vehicle to enter the gates of Pebble Beach, or $5.25 per bus passenger. Once in a while, Squid takes visitors on a scenic drive, and pays the entry fee. But more often than not, Squid is on official business, oozing through the gates at no cost in order to do some sleuthing for this column.

So Squid was surprised to see a form requiring Squid to apply for a 2020 business pass, at a cost of $35, in order to access Pebble Beach. It’s for “realtors, pet sitters, appraisers, caregivers, handymen, gardeners, pest control, etc.” – opinion columnist not specifically listed, but implied in the “etc.” – basically everyone who’s trying to just get by. If you deliver a $25 pizza, Squid wonders, can you charge the customer a $35 delivery fee?

Regular guests can get the $10.50 entry fee reimbursed if they show receipts for more than $35 spent at Pebble Beach Resorts shops and restaurants. Not specified is whether the $35 business pass counts as a resort expense.

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