Thursday, May 19, 2011
AGUA CALIENTE… Squid almost got misty reading a May 10 letter from former Seaside Mayor Ralph Rubio, representing a group called the “waterWATCH coalition,” to the California Supreme Court.
Rubio asks the Honorables to bounce an Ag Land Trust lawsuit against Marina Coast Water District – which challenges water rights in the Regional Desal Project – back to the appeals court. In the letter, Rubio claims low-income Latinos working in the hospitality industry will be hardest hit if the desal project gets squashed.
Squid isn’t sure waterWATCH deserves poetic license on its capitalization, and even less sure its argument holds water.
Here’s one way to spin Rubio’s letter: The Regional Desal Project is the only hope for preserving the thousands of hospitality jobs held by Monterey County’s low-income Latinos, but callous Salinas Valley farmers could ruin it all with their lawsuit. (Never mind the loss of field jobs if the desal project makes the aquifer too salty for irrigation.)
But here’s another: Rubio, a union guy, wants prevailing-wage construction jobs on this boondoggle of a desal plant, a project that will triple everyone’s water rates (hitting poor families hardest)while his Latino brothers and sisters keep working for minimum wage at hotels.
DEATH CAB FOR DEANIE… Squid knows to expect strange news out of Salinas, but when word hit Chez Squid that notorious developer Gerry Kehoe had the Porsche Spyder in which James Dean died, and had housed it on the ground floor of the former Dick Bruhn building in Oldtown, it seemed too wacky even for our favorite city east of Eden.
So Squid’s colleague asked Kehoe to prove it.
The next day, in the dimly lit bowels of the long-empty Bruhn building, Kehoe and his associate, Salinas realtor Rick Phinney, produced the petite Porsche, complete with the words “little bastard” emblazoned on the back. Surprise: It’s a replica.
The Porsche is part of Kehoe’s planned restaurant celebrating Monterey County’s celebrity history (Dean starred in the film version of East of Eden and died in a head-on car crash on his way to Salinas). Also slated for the space is The Western Flyer, the 76-foot fishing boat John Steinbeck rode around the Gulf of California with Ed Ricketts, and wrote about in The Log From the Sea of Cortez.
“Why are you lookin’ at me like I’ve got shamrocks comin’ outta me ears?” the Dublin-born Kehoe asked in his Irish lilt. Perhaps because he’s proposing a bunch of blarney on the heels of getting another project, a nightclub slated for the old Wells Fargo building, red-tagged by the city?