• The Campaign of Crankiness lives on

    There’s a little item on the Pacific Grove City Council Agenda for Oct. 7, 2010 that most people will merely glance at. It’s a mere resolution, placed on the consent agenda because it’s not controversial and, having been through committees and the proper bidding process, probably needs no more scrutiny.

    It’s the story of how it got to the City Council that is interesting. And it points to the fact that the Campaign of Crankiness, as council member Lisa Bennett termed it, is not over. Not by a long shot.

    The item is about awarding a contract to paint the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. The City has agreed it’s responsible for the building while the Foundation takes care of the day-to-day running of this venerable institution. We, the citizens of Pacific Grove, own the building and the collection, the Foundation meets the payroll and puts on the exhibits.

    Simple, right? The Museum, looking a little seedy, needs a paint job. Put it out to bid and then vote on it and paint the darned Museum. Staff estimates the cost at $25,000 and we have a contractor who meets our requirements who bid the job at $13,750. Add a little for the contingencies, and voila! The Museum gets a badly needed paint job, under budget. Simple.

    Now let’s choose a color. Museum staff suggests a nice, quiet, neutral shade similar to the color the walls wear now. Trim to match. No upsets, no one complaining, right? Enter one person with a very large oar to stick in the Museum’s bucket every time they unlock the door (or leave it unlocked, as happened once). It’s not the original color. It ought to be sort of a shrimp pink, according to this person’s research, in order to match historical records of the time the Museum was built. No one’s going to complain because it’s a historical building and situated in the Retreat area.

    But wait! The Museum is not even listed on the historical register. How could that be? Enter the mayor. Enter one city council member, both raising Cain because of the oversight. Abominable! Disgusting! This borders on treason!

    So the Museum staff goes back to the drawing board. It goes back to the Director Emeritus in Perpetuity, the Esteemed Repository of All Museum Knowledge, who says, “Hogwash! [or similar words.] Come here, there’s a spot over here in the corner where the paint is peeling and you can see the original color. It certainly wasn’t pink.”

    It was more of a butter yellow, kind of like the little house that the Chamber of Commerce rents for $1/year from the City.

    So after unknown hours of discussion by the Architectural Review Board, the Museum Board, the Museum Staff and probably the City Manager, Public Works, and who knows who else, it is decided to paint the Museum sort of an Adobe Beige with Brown Trim and that’s probably what the council will agree to do when they wholesale approve the consent agenda. And well they should. Let’s just hope the person with the oar doesn’t bring it to the city council meeting Wednesday. Let’s hope the Museum gets quietly placed on the historical register.

    How much did the City spend appeasing the person carrying on the Campaign of Crankiness? We wonder. Too bad the Architectural Review Board posts only action minutes.

    We sort of thought that a compromise between the butter yellow and the shrimp pink could have been chosen, and call it Butt Pink. But no one asked us.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on October 4, 2010

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News, Marge Ann Jameson

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