Squid - Black and White

Sometimes when Squid thinks of the Navy, Squid has quaint thoughts of tall ships with wooden masts circa the War of 1812. Then Squid glances over at the Naval Postgraduate School for more high-tech navel activities. But they’re not always faster. It took almost eight months for U.S. Navy Cmdr. M.D. Sutton to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents concerning the removal of former NPS President Dan Oliver and Provost Leonard Ferrari.

One of the things Oliver took heat for in a damning federal report: hiring former VP for Finance and Administration Colleen Nickles. When Nickles declined an offer of $162,000, Oliver reportedly arranged for a contractor to hire her at $275,000. 

Nickles filed monthly progress reports, and her first, for July 2009, is the most telling: “Departmental chairs are so closely tied to their sponsors that there is no perceived need for regular accountability through financial reporting,” she wrote. Nickles picked up on some of the same key concerns – accounting practices, allocation of resources, research focus among them – in her first few weeks on the job that Navy inspectors later dug into. Ironic, Squid thinks: If leadership had listened to Nickles, who later became the scapegoat of the whole saga, they might’ve righted the ship.

INVISIBLE BOGEYMEN… Squid cops to some paranoia about the health impacts of Squid’s iPhone. Who knows what damage it does to Squid’s tender membranes? Wi-Fi, SmartMeters, compact fluorescent lightbulbs – a cloud of radiation penetrates just about everywhere on the planet but Squid’s vacation lair at the bottom of the Monterey Submarine Canyon.

So Squid sympathizes with Monterey activist Nina Beety, who has invoked the radiation spectre in her battles against PG&E’s digital meters, the AT&T cell tower in Pacific Grove, Caltrans radar devices and, most recently, planned wind turbines in Gonzales. (By 4-1, the supes rejected Beety’s appeal of the turbines July 30.) Even the solar power proposed to Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, Beety warned, can create the high-frequency electrical pollution that causes a sickness from which Beety claims to suffer.

Squid is sorry to hear that – and acknowledges the dangers are possible. But Squid finds much more comfort in evidence provided by the Federal Communications Commission that the radio frequencies bombarding us everywhere, all the time, are (mostly) safe. The RF train has left the station, and it’s carrying a lot of goods that make modern life pretty darn cool. Squid suspects the stress of fearing them is probably the most damaging health impact of all.

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