Squid Fry 9.06.12
Squid Speak Spoken Here
Thursday, September 6, 2012
OFF THE RAILS… With all the blubbering Mitt Romney admirers were doing at the RNC, oohing and aahing over slideshows of Mittens’ baby photos, Squid was inspired to pull out Squidlet scrapbooks from long ago. There were shrimp-flavored birthday cakes, 10-armed water-gun battles and the requisite childhood clamber onto the train car at Dennis the Menace Park in Monterey.
Turns out there’s nothing like a playground memory to spark civic engagement. The city’s considering cordoning off the antique locomotive for good – something about liability – and it’s got the public in a tizzy. The Save the Train Facebook page had 6,679 likes at last count, and hundreds of loco-lovers committed to storming City Hall on Oct. 2 to urge City Council to keep the thing accessible.
“This is not planet Clorox, meaning that it will never be sterile and perfectly safe,” one commenter wrote.
The city’s response to the FB haters: “The train at Dennis the Menace Park was never designed to be a piece of playground equipment, and it does not meet state standards for playground equipment.”
So maybe one commenter got it right in blaming the crazies who use heavy machinery as a toy: “Seems to me the city should sue the parents for not watching their kids.” It might help with the budget cuts.
YOU AREN’T HERE… One agency that doesn’t seem to be trimming the fat is the Fort Ord Reuse Authority, which – ever since a posse of disgruntled vets cleaned up a track and field without asking – has thrown up even more scary signs around 8th and Gigling in Marina. Uncounted numbers of hikers, bikers and equestrians have been using the unofficial trails spidering across that area since the former Army base closed two decades ago. But a new map at the public access point shows that whole network (virtually everywhere except the BLM and National Monument lands) off-limits. “Trails and Area Closed – Munitions Remediation,” reads the color-coded key for the some of the most popular rec trails on Fort Ord.
But strangely, FORA Assistant Executive Officer Steve Endsley says there are no official changes to the public access corridors. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Toxic Substances Control oversee the weapons cleanup sites, he says, and they threatened to crack down if FORA didn’t step up the public education. “They are in essence dictating whether there will be closures or not,” he says. “Our increased signage is in response to that.”
Squid gets it. FORA’s actually trying to preserve trail access by putting up signs suggesting hikers might be arrested or blown up. That way, only the most jaded long-time users will be brave enough to trek on. Sounds like an invitation to Squid.