I mentioned last week that Manhattan Beach had closed all their parks outright, rather than just closing equipment and facilities. Over the weekend heat wave, they reopened at least Polliwog Park, taking down the caution tape from the perimeter and instead wrapping individual playgrounds, gazebos, sculptures and even picnic tables with metal fencing.
And signs. Signs and fences everywhere.
I’d been able to see at least some of the signs from the side of the road last week, reminding you of the Covid-19 mantras: Cover your face. Keep six feet apart. Stay home if you’re sick.
And then there were signs like the one above explaining that yes, the park open again — but only on a trial basis, and you have to follow the rules! There was even a police car parked on the lawn to show they meant business, though I’m not sure where the officer was. It’s a big park.
And then there were these, posted on all those portable fences.
Some cities around here have just wrapped their playgrounds in caution tape. Manhattan Beach wants to make sure you know why it’s closed.
Even the interactive art installations.
While some cities around here have only closed playgrounds and sports facilities at their parks, Manhattan Beach has closed their parks outright. Polliwog Park has a large pond year-round that attracts ducks, geese, coots, herons and more, plus the local gulls and pigeons that wander by. But the park has been literally wrapped in caution tape for a month, and the ducks that normally stay in and around the pond have come out to the edges by the sidewalks — where people can still walk by and feed them.
On a related note: iNaturalist’s City Nature Challenge for 2020 is underway. You can join the project to photograph the wild animals, plants, fungi and other lifeforms you see around your home or neighborhood (depending on how far you can roam in your area) this weekend. I’ve already posted the ducks, as well as a finch, some phoebes, a blackbird, a wasp, and a bunch of random plants found in the yard. Well, weeds, anyway, but the whole point is to post (and later identify) the wildlife in the area.
(And yes, you can obscure the location info. When I’m at or near home, I mark a wide circle around a major intersection and choose the “obscured” option, which further hides it from anyone but project admins and curators.)
When did they install the Guardian of Forever at this park?
Cnet has a report on how police departments are being inundated with false alarms from Amazon Ring alerts because people have freaked out over the camera footage of innocent activities. In one case someone called to report footage of themselves walking into the door!
I’m reminded of a case that happened nearby just a month ago. In Manhattan Beach (near Los Angeles), police from five cities — and an LA Sheriff’s helicopter — descended on a neighborhood because someone panicked over Ring footage of a food delivery sent to the wrong address. It took them an hour and a half to confirm that there was no crime in progress.
The story basically filled a bingo card:
- IoT doorbell camera (and of course it was Ring)
- Gig/app delivery service
- Upscale neighborhood
- Paranoid reaction to, you know, people
- NextDoor posts quoted in article (because of course they are)
- Massive police over-response
- SMS alerts sent to neighboring cities
It was absurd. Fortunately no one was hurt or arrested, so it remains an absurdity, but between the waste of resources, the increase in fear, and the risk that something could have gone wrong, it fits right in with these other cautionary tales. As Fight for the Future puts it:
Ubiquitous, privately owned surveillance camera networks are NOT going to make our neighborhoods safer. They just make us all paranoid. Soon we’ll be snitching on our neighbors Red Scare style. Enough
To save water in this multi-year drought, California cities, homes, and businesses have stopped watering medians, replaced landscaping with more drought-tolerant plants, cut back on watering lawns just enough that the grass won’t completely die, and switched to reclaimed water for irrigation (often with signs letting you know it’s recycled — partly so that you don’t try to drink it, and partly so that you don’t call the water police on them).
But some places just can’t accept “Brown is the new Green.”
Manhattan Village Mall, it seems, doesn’t want to appear downscale with brittle yellow-brown grass, so they’ve set up their landscape for renovation, giving that lawn a fresh paint job.
I looked up close: it’s powdered green paint.
It’s way too green compared to anything else I’ve seen this summer short of Astroturf, and that includes the office building near work that still over-waters their lawn to the point that it’s sometimes muddy when I walk out there at lunchtime.
It’s also just blue enough to look wrong, though it didn’t quite come through in the photos. There are plenty of plants with slightly blue leaves and stems. But not grass – at least not that’s popular around here.
Oh, wait! I should’ve looked to see if they had some roses!