Thursday, January 22, 2009
Minor Affair… Squid is getting dizzy from headlines of “U.S. father sells daughter for beer” spinning around the globe. While Squid is no way sanctioning the arranged marriage of teenage girls, this cephalopod thinks Greenfield Police Chief Joe Grebmeier gave media sharks way too much bait.
Grebmeier’s press release leads with “Human Trafficking. Father agrees to sell daughter for marriage.” The chief can’t blame the BBC and media across the country for salivating over Marcelino de Jesus Martinez’s juicy trade of 100 cases of beer, $16,000 and steaks for his 14-year-old daughter. Even Squid couldn’t resist helping after helping of the spicy, teenage bride tale.
Then Grebmeier told a local daily rag he regretted the press release’s wording and the media coverage it unleashed. But it was too late: Cue racist bloggers looking for excuses to bash undocumented immigrants. The media-loving police chief enjoys showing off his department’s armored vehicle and chemical agent-detecting robot, but he should have been more restrained– and accurate– in his description of the Triqui father accused of committing serious felonies. Instead, the story spun into an overheated news cycle that shed more heat than light.
The Flanders Fortune… Squid loves laying tentacles-up in Mission Trails Regional Park at sunset, watching baby bats cast fleeting shadows on the ivy-covered walls of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s historic Flanders Mansion.
But Squid’s joy is Carmel’s financial pain: The octogenarian building is costing taxpayers more than senior health care without MediCal. The city paid attorney Joel Franklin almost $90,000 in Flanders-related legal services between October 2007 and December 2008, along with fees to the city attorney, and to the Flanders Foundation attorney after losing the lawsuit to them in 2007. Add to that the fees for consultants who prepared the original and revised draft environmental impact reports, and the countless hours of staff time in a decade’s worth of paperwork-heavy nothing-doing (Flanders is still rotting), and Squid guesstimates that the city’s total costs in trying to sell the old haunt are creeping toward the $1 million in repairs it’s tried to avoid spending.
Comments on the revised DEIR are due in mid-February, and the Planning Commission will hear the issue Feb. 11. If city officials decide to sell Flanders despite the opposition, it’ll go to a public vote. And Squid wouldn’t be surprised to see the prim village go a little batty.