Thursday, February 28, 2013
POWER OF THE PEN… Squid gets it: Newspapers can seem kinda retro, but lots of people still care about the press. Including most elected officials, who are generally interested in getting their messages out to the public. So Squid’s never understood why Assemblyman Luis Alejo has gone more than 10 months without a PR flack. Squid can barely get a call back from Alejo’s team, and when a staffer does bother, he or she usually ducks Squid’s questions.
Maybe things at the Salinas district office will be different now. The revolving door has fingerprints of Salinas power brokers all over it, with Nathalia Carrillo planning to leave attorney Jeff Gilles’ firm to take over the post former Salinas City Councilman Sergio Sanchez used to run.
Sanchez, meanwhile, has a new farmworker-relations gig at the California Strawberry Commission – exactly the kind of institution pro-farmworker pols like him are expected to stand up to.
Alejo does know how to reach out, though. “Can we do a photoshoot to get some decent pictures… to use in future stories?” he asks the Weekly. “The photos on file are just not the best.” If it takes some vanity photos to get Alejo to pay attention to the press, well, Squid’ll just start snapping away.
SLOSHY SECONDS… As the youngest Squidlet in the family, Squid understands that need to show up the big kids. So Squid sympathizes with Brent Constantz of DeepWater Desal and Nader Agha of the People’s Project, who are jostling for the honor of being Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s second pick to build the regional desalination plant. Just in case the district’s first pick, Cal Am’s Water Supply Project, falls on its face. (Like Cal Am’s last proposal did.)
Each man is pulling out new tricks in his effort to impress. Constantz slipped the State Lands Commission into position as DeepWater’s lead agency, bypassing more obvious choices like, say, a local county or city, in leading the environmental and public-participation process. What a clever way to get around those pesky local water gadflies! Because whoever thinks of the State Lands Commission as being responsive to its public? (Whoever’s heard of the State Lands Commission?)
Agha, not to be outdone, pulled a bluff with his December announcement that a private-equity investment firm, JDL Development, would pump more than $50 million into the People’s Project. The cards came down this week, when Agha’s team conceded JDL never did have the funds. At least Agha’s not losing any of his characteristic bluster over it; his latest press release promises his desal water at less than half the cost of Cal Am’s. Squid would be thrilled, if only Agha would stop crying wolf.