COP SHOP OPEN HOUSE… First thing Saturday morning, Squid’s heading on down to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department for its annual Dog and Pony Show. Sept. 22 is the day the cash-strapped department will pay top dollar in overtime for a few cops to dress up in their Sunday best and pretend to be inspected.
A few more cops will be on hand to give demonstrations to the public about how the bomb squad works, the K-9 unit, the SWAT team, the mounted cops and the search and rescue team. For added fun, there’ll even be a police helicopter. No, no, not the department’s own helicopter. There’s no money for that. Instead, the department rented Kern County’s.
The official word from the department is that the event won’t cost the department but a dime or two, and salaried employees get no overtime for being there. Not so, say insiders, who tell Squid employees will be compensated, either with days off or with cold hard cash.
Squid wouldn’t mind so much if the sheriff held a real inspection that included every cop, and made that public. Parading a handful of primped lawpersons and other counties’ equipment around falls short of full disclosure.
CUTE, NOT CUDDLY… Ever since Squid saw the YouTube video of a pair of otters holding hands, Squid has been aware of their cuteness – the way they incessantly groom their thick fur, use their paws to crack open shellfish, balance their pups on upturned bellies as they float in the kelp.
But just in case Squid forgets, Squid will be reminded during Sea Otter Awareness Week, Sept. 23-29. Otter populations have tanked in the Aleutian Islands, and here along the Central Coast they’ve plateaued around 3,000.
Whatever the cause, the stress of living on the edge seems to be taking a toll on the marine mustelids. Like the tattooed kids shooting each other up in Salinas, some juvenile otter males are bloodying up Monterey Bay. Local researchers have noticed with alarm that these rogue otter boys – likely prowling in other males’ territories – are getting really aggressive with prospective mates. Chasing them, mauling them, ripping off their muzzles, leaving them disfigured and traumatized. Some of their victims are females with nursing pups; others are young males. And, (oops!), this sexually dysfunctional behavior might be a consequence of inbreeding, since California’s sea otters are all descended from a raft of survivors left after the gory Russian fur trade.
Can a week of awareness
(activities at defenders.org/seaotter/awareness) reform these adorable but sadistic sea weasels?