Squid Fry for Jan 10, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Nowhere To Hide… There’s a new sibling in town. Squid’s calling him, affectionately, Big Brother.
It’s no secret that Salinas has had problems drawing shoppers into town. Nor is it a secret Oldtown’s got parking problems. But the generous Salinas City Council fixed it by granting shoppers 30 whole extra minutes to park in Oldtown. Well, OK, there are a few caveats.
To be sure, we felonious parkers don’t disregard the new 30 whole minutes, the city now will be using cameras to photograph license plates, and a GPS-like system to track rebellious patrons. Under the new system, if a car isn’t moved 150 feet in 90 minutes, tickets show up in the mail.
So let’s say Squid pops into Rollick’s for a fix, the antique store for a browse, and Big Brother snaps the Squidmobile. Then Squid flees to pick up a kid from school. If Squid comes back to Oldtown to, say, spend more money, but parks anywhere on the same block, Big Brother’s GPS unit will tag the ride and send Squid a ticket. For. Patronizing. Oldtown. Businesses.
The system has been successful in places where shoppers abound. But in a struggling Oldtown? Rip out the limits and invite folks to come spend time and money. Or make it safer (and free) for them to walk to that pretty new parking garage.
They Call Him Sealfinger...Squid’s gotten numb to discrimination against Squid’s sea-faring kind—the way humans simultaneously treat Squid’s marine digs as a bottomless toilet and an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. But on Dec. 19, Pacific Grove City Council members reached a new level of species-ism with their unanimous vote to keep very pregnant seals off Lovers Point Beach. Sure, the recommendation came from Squid’s former friends at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Marine Mammal Rescue Center, who know that humans and pinnipeds make bad beachfellows. (Exhibit 1: “Seal finger,” a painful and hard-to-treat infection caused by a seal bite.) And with all the kvetching that Pagrovians do already, Squid can imagine their collective howl if the beach were roped off to protect mama seals and their fuzzy little pups, as required by federal law. Still, the new policy—which would aim to keep moms and pups east of Lovers Point in Hopkins Marine Station territory—strikes Squid as harsh. The city has ruled out poking seals with sticks or throwing stones, but it might use bodybuilders or scarecrows to intimidate blubbery sea dogs trying to haul out. The favored option: banging on pots and pans. Squid can’t help wondering who would get that job. After the city’s recent department beheadings and layoffs, using a city employee would be pretty ironic.