Thursday, February 7, 2013
TIDE TURN… Squid, being an accomplished seafarer, knows a thing or two about ripple effects. You know, plop a big rock into the water and watch the waves.
Turns out it doesn’t require water. Last week, Salinas Public Works conducted a sweep of Chinatown, cleaning the streets but displacing dozens of homeless folks in the process. Plop.
On the morning of the sweep, security guards were seen looming henchman-like over a homeless man in front of Cherry Bean in Oldtown, according to one of Squid’s spies. It was weird, so the owner left his post at the shop and approached them – what are these goons up to? – who left without a fuss.
Amit Pandya, president of Oldtown Salinas Association, says the association hired Executive Security Agency about a year ago to monitor the streets. The association gets a complaint or so a day about the homeless, he says. On this particular day and the next, the association had gotten upwards of 14 – perhaps a reason for the guards looming.
Here’s Squid’s point: Actions in one of Salinas’ poorest areas have a direct impact on one of the city’s more prosperous. No more ignoring Chinatown… unless you’re ready for more ripples in Oldtown.
BAD MATH… Squid gave up on Squid’s math lessons back in fourth grade, when memorizing multiplication tables turned out to be hard. (Tentacles just can’t count like fingers.) So Squid is sympathetic to those who struggle with arithmetic – unless they’re long-time pros, like Natividad Medical Center CEO Harry Weis, who’s had two years to work out the math on Obamacare’s first phase.
Monterey County remains in a tiny minority of California counties that haven’t launched bridge health plans to cover the poor until Jan. 1, 2014, when expanded Medi-Cal hits. The delay means the county gives up a federal match on the cost of low-income insurance (called ViaCare) that theoretically saves money by keeping people healthier.
Early projections showed the county would put in $6.5 million, and the feds would match it. But after the County Board of Supervisors finally approved a smaller, $3.4-million plan in January, Weis discovered the numbers weren’t quite right. In a Jan. 28 email to the supes, he wrote that the state rejected the county’s plan, and, oops, it would cost $5.8 million. That means more number-crunching and review by the supes before any enrollment.
Squid’s gotten used to hearing excuses – first there was the proposed merger with Salinas Valley Memorial to wait out, then the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Obamacare – but now Weis won’t return Squid’s calls. At this point, Squid’s not convinced the county cares about getting anyone enrolled before the feds take over.