Thursday, May 20, 1999
Last week, Seaside City Council candidate and former six-term Mayor Lance McClair was invited by an unnamed individual who McClair characterizes as a "distinguished community leader" to what was supposed to be an informal powwow between all four council candidates and a group of civic-minded honchos.
It turns out the invite was a ruse. When McClair arrived at the appointed hour, he encountered a tribunal of council candidate Luther Hert supporters, including none other than those paragons of civic virtue, former City Councilmember Helen Rucker and former City Manager Tim Brown. Surprisingly, former Mayor Don Jordan was not present.
The purpose of the meeting? None other than to convince McClair to drop out of the council race and throw his support to Hert. Needless to say, McClair didn''t take too kindly to the subterfuge, and told Squid he has no intention of dropping out of the race.
Squid confesses to being bemused by all this backstage maneuvering by Brown and Co. (or maybe, Jordan and Co.?) over a lowly city council seat. If getting a Hilton hotel or Hayes Park built for Danny Bakewell is so important, wouldn''t it have been easier if Brown and Rucker had not resigned?
Speaking of weird local elections and hidden agendas, Squid would like to know what''s going on with the June 8 special election for the Chualar Union School Board.
In a bizarre case of dej vu, candidate Juana Hernandez is running a second time for school board against a candidate named Flores. The last time Hernandez ran, she lost to Pedro Flores, who was subsequently busted by the county DA for voter fraud and forced to resign from office. This time out, Hernandez is also running against another Flores, as in Pedro''s daughter Elizabeth Flores.
Why all the fuss over a school board seat? Well, as the only elected body in the town of Chualar, the school board wields significant influence, particularly when it comes to giving the nod to building proposals like developer Priske-Jones'' Chualar II, which was pulled a little over a year ago in anticipation of a countywide voter referendum on the project.
Rumors suggest the Flores father/daughter act may be payback for Pedro having received low-income housing from Chualar I. According to Squid''s sources, forces hope to stack the board in favor of Chualar II and to muscle the resignation of school district superintendent Marco Sigala, who forced major concessions from Priske-Jones over Chualar II.