A HEAVY RESPONSIBILITY...
Thursday, August 30, 2001
Or being overcharged by an imbalanced scale for seafood salad. A noble calling, that consumer protection business--but from the looks of a public email exchange, the county officials responsible for weights and measures don''t see it that way.
An "outraged" citizen tipped Squid off to a public email exchange between Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner Eric Lauritzen and Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner David Moeller making light of Lauritzen''s recent appointment to the position of Sealer of Weights and Measures--for which he also received a 5 percent pay raise. "May you enjoy a long and successful career leading the County''s Dept. of Weights and Scales (hmmm...that''s not right) er uh...weights and Seals (drat, that''s not right either...what''s it called again?)" writes Moeller. Lauritzen banters back: "...I couldn''t tell what the program is called. I just hope that I can make some sound enforcement decisions. Things are sooo difficult sometimes.)"
Squid''s friendly watchdog is incensed. "Sealer of Weights and Measures is the protective arm for the consumers and yet it is a joke? This is the type of conduct that we are paying our Ag Commissioner for." Her main gripe though, is that the email was posted in the statewide Ag Commissioner''s public email forum, accessible to hundreds of state employees, and anyone else with a little computer savvy. "If they had done this in their private email system, so what if they want to look like idiots?"
THE DUSTBINS OF HISTORY...Squid was deeply insulted when news broke about Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton''s latest National Historic Landmark designation. The woman who works for the man who''s just itching to drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge has now decided she wants to protect the Fresno Memorial Sanitary Landfill in perpetuity.
The idea, babbled Norton''s panicked spokespersons on Monday to a disbelieving press corps, is that in 1935 the Fresno dump became the first to use the "trench method" of garbage disposal, which is a fancy way of saying they buried the trash instead of heaping it up.
Adding to the landfill''s cachet--though Norton and Co. swear they didn''t know it--is the fact that during the last Bush regime, the landfill was designated a Superfund site due to solvents, paint and countless hot dogs that had leached into Fresno''s groundwater. Yeech.
People, Squid is very, very disturbed by this, and you should be, too. Obviously there''s some kind of favoritism going on here. What''s so special about the Fresno dump?
Why, here in Monterey County we have a beautiful Superfund site exemplifying the wonders of the set-it-and-forget-it "trench method" of garbage disposal.
Yes, that''s right--we have the former Fort Ord, where engine parts and dirty solvents were merrily shoveled over by clean-cut privates who whistled while they worked.
And what about the Monterey Airport (a Superfund site hopeful--let''s keep our fingers crossed!) where the legacy of Yankee ingenuity persists in toxic plumes that spread beneath a neighborhood? We have contaminated water. We have buried junk. And ours are a lot more scenic than Fresno''s, Squid can guarantee that.
Word up, Gale: next time you put your thinking cap on, don''t borrow your boss''s. People are laughing at you.
--Get Squid''s "nose" out of the trash: firstname.lastname@example.org