October 5, 2012 Page 31
Mermaids The Clashing Conundrum That Is Created by These Beasts By Dan Rattiner
o mermaids have rights? Frankly, I never thought about this before. The top half certainly has rights. These rights were spelled out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the United Nations in 1948. Like every human being, without regard to race, color, sex, language, religion, politics, national or social origin, birth or status, she has the right to freedom of life, liberty and security of person, freedom from torture or other inhuman treatment, from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, asylum, the right to marry who she chooses, the right to own property, freedom of thought and the freedom of worship, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom from slavery,
freedom from tyranny and the right to a swift trial. And if she is an American mermaid she has still further rights. She has the right to vote, the right to not be discriminated against, the right not to go hungry, to sue, to a parking space, to eat what she wants, to be in charge of her own body, and, if disabled, to have free medical care and a ramp to get into places, a wider bathroom with handles and a seat on the bus. Also, she has the right to bring her dog into a restaurant in a canvas bag. The bottom half of a mermaid also has rights. But it depends on which group she falls into. If she is an endangered mermaid, she has the right to be protected. She can swim where she wants and when she wants, if she is caught on a hook she has to be thrown back, and if the top half of the mermaid tells her to go on land,
bathers have to clear the way, not go near her and not allow any other animals near her either or be subject to fines or jail. If necessary, she has to be taken to a wildlife rescue center, fed, nurtured, restored to health and released back into the wild. She can also be encouraged to mate in order to get her species to rise up from the endangered list to the “threatened” list or, even further, to be delisted.
n the other hand, if the bottom half is not endangered, she has to be certified safe to eat by the Pure Food and Drug Act, not raised in an enclosure, be pasture fed, 100% organic, free range and kept refrigerated until used, but, in a restaurant setting, thrown out at the end of every other day. That’s all you need to know about mermaids.
1,200 Telephone Poles Are Useless Duplicates By oliver peterson
uffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman recently succeeded in passing a bill, on September 13, to rid county roads of some 12,000 double utility poles marring the landscape along the highways and byways on this side of the Island. Despite the absurd number of these unsightly and redundant poles, it seems some local residents never noticed the poles or even knew they aren’t supposed to be this way. “It’s basically like littering,” Schneiderman said of the offending poles, which suspend wires around the county for LIPA, Verizon and Cablevision. “It’s serving no purpose.” The legislator explained that all three companies are supposed to move their wires to the new
poles, but that directive has often been ignored by one, two or all three of them. Wires from the three companies are suspended at different heights, usually with LIPA on top. As each company moves its wires, it chops the pole down to the height of the next set of wires. The next company in line is expected to follow suit until all the wires are moved and the old pole is eliminated. For years, the utilities have had little incentive to take care of this in a timely manner. Until now. “Utilities have abandoned these poles because there has been no financial consequence for leaving them in place,” Schneiderman said, pointing out that new poles are added because their older counterparts are becoming weak and damaged. “Now it will be in their business
interests to quickly remove these poles and relieve our communities of this visual blight.” Under the bill, Suffolk County will assess a penalty of $1,000 per pole per month upon the uppermost utility on the double pole following a 60-day notice period. After all the utilities have been removed, the pole will be subject to a similar penalty. Schneiderman said the County could contract a private vendor to handle the notice and revenue collection for 10% of the fines, which could be as much as $12 million per month. “I’m not getting used to ugly,” Schneiderman said. The Legislator noted that two double poles outside his office in Sag Harbor and next door to his cottage colony in Montauk had irritated him for far too (Cont’d on next page)