• Trees vs. City Council: The Never Ending Story

    At the recent City Council meeting, Roger stopped by the Press Paddock to berate Kevin because the Herald had updated the count on its website to 250 people in favor of liquor at the golf course. Kevin allowed as how he had nothing to do with it, either the online survey or the golf course. Obiwank wished me a happy new year. The police were there congratulating themselves and pledging the flag, so I took their picture and put it in the paper.

    Everyone got all confused between Mo Roddick and Moe Ammar, but here’s how you can tell the difference: Mo Roddick wears a police uniform. Moe Ammar wears advertising T-shirts.

    The Usual Suspects (plus some hysterical blonde woman with a bad haircut whose name luckily escapes me) got up and ranted about the prospect of serving alcohol at the golf course, forgetting that the golf course was given to all the citizens of Pacific Grove and not just those who live there or nearby.  Roger said that the Herald had actually had the temerity to update the count on its website to 300 people in favor of liquor at the golf course, but I didn’t catch the part where he checked it again in between berating Kevin and getting up to talk. That extra 50 people were pretty speedy with the mouse.

    One very calm lady representing the women’s club got up and said she thought it was a grand idea.

    Snick sang some song about TOT (or was the meeting before when he sang us all a Christmas carol?) and we all settled down to business. Obiwank wished me a happy new year.

    The council thrashed around the consent agenda, with its life-changing items about laundry service and crack sealing. That one worried me, but no one else seemed concerned. Dilbert put in his two cents’ worth, but there was no slide show.

    Lynn from CDD sat in the hot seat and answered questions about the sign code, and  a new planner named Ashley sat in the hot seat and answered questions about windows. Dilbert put in his two cents’ worth, but there was no slide show. Kevin did the crossword from the Sunday Chronicle pink section, in ink.

    And then, sounding suspiciously like a broken record, the Tree Ordinance came up. The Ladies in Green were there, and allowed as how it was OK. Dilberry got up and put his two cents’ worth in, but there was no slide show. And then, after all these years and meetings and drafts and tears and hollering, the mayor actually moved to go back to the original one and just make a couple of changes. There were some resounding clunks as everyone’s chins hit their respective chests; but we survived, everyone ignored her, and we went back to the business at hand. They did not, however, pass the tree ordinance.

    Earlier I had raised questions (in writing, to save time) about the Visitors’ Center that Moe has plotted. If you read Cedar Street Times, you know the story: A mother/daughter-run restaurant got kicked out after 27 years in the same location because Moe wants the location, which is about three times as big as the one in Monterey for a city that’s not half as big. I had questions about the budget: $179,000 for four months, nothing matching, lots of stuff missing. Tom forwarded it to Moe and he answered in writing but unfortunately that also gave him time to strengthen his case and write a speech for Henry who dutifully got up and said it was a good idea, even though Henry is the Chamber president or manager or whatever he is, and the Visitors’ Center is supposed to be about HID. Here’s how the deliberation went:

    Moe: It will be a wonderful thing! The money is all there.

    Councilmember: So who paid the deposit?

    Moe:The Chamber.

    Councilmember: So whose Visitors Center is it, the Chamber’s or the HID?

    Moe: The HID. The chamber has nothing to do with it.

    Councilmember: So who took care of the insurance?

    Moe: The Chamber.

    Councilmember: So whose Visitors Center is it, the Chamber’s or the HID?

    Moe: The HID. The chamber has nothing to do with it.

    Councilmember: So who’s going to staff it? You have this $8000 item for payroll.

    Moe: Chamber volunteers. They’ll work for free,

    And so it went until the real question got asked:
    Councilmember: If the whole thing fails, who’s on the stick?

    Moe: The HID. The chamber has nothing to do with it.

    Councilmember: Not the city?

    Moe: No.

    So everyone patted each other on the back and OK’d giving Moe $179,000 and withdrawing the HID’s advertising budget. Kevin finished his crossword and ran out to file his story on trees, Dilbert commented three more times over the rest of the evening, and Obiwank wished me happy new year.

    Wait. Isn’t the HID a City entity? How is the city not going to be on the hook? Don’t ask me, I’m still looking for the condor.

    Saturday is the planning session. Don’t know if Dilbert will be there, but Moe probably won’t be. He’ll be in his advertising Tshirt supervising his new $179,000 Visitor’s Center.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on February 9, 2011

    Topics: Snarkin' With Marge

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