Monday, May 22, 2006

Gangs Raid Expensive Coastal Homes!

Unruly gangs have been raiding expensive homes in a coastal area in South Africa’s Cape Peninsula, taking food, sometimes ransacking the place and defecating on designer furniture.
It’s not the normal type of gangs doing this, it is baboon troops who make their home on this scenic, formerly undeveloped natural wonderland.
Now wealthy humans have begun building oceanfront communities here, about 30 minutes from Cape Town, a popular tourist destination.
The baboons have always gotten along peacefully with humans and previously mostly ignored them. Now a conflict is arising because of the new development and the intelligent baboons always on the lookout for new food sources.
The recent rash of alligator attacks in Florida and here locally a few reports of coyotes eating a few house pets on Padre Island are all part of the same problem, over development and the increasing amount of new building in formerly wild and pristine areas.
A letter to the editor in a small local bi-weekly newspaper complained about Padre Island coyotes eating “Fluffy.”
“No one told me there were coyotes here!” wrote the women, understandably upset about the loss of her pet but amazingly unaware of her surroundings!
There have been similar letters from folks who were stung by stingrays or jellyfish and Portuguese Men of War. They wondered why there were no signs warning of these creatures.
In these types of incidents it is almost always the animals that lose in the end. The invading humans usually destroy or force the animals out as they radically change the natural habitat.
A larger number of non-dangerous species are affected as well. Again another local example, the piping-plover is a small local coastal bird on the endangered species list and it is coming under increasing pressure as beach development continues unabated. The local politicians and developers behind this are scornful of protecting such creatures. A common sentiment is often expressed in a comment such as this; “How can we let a tiny bird that only weighs a few ounces stop our mega death development in its tracks?”

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Storm Surf From Typhoon Chanchu

In this picture a surfer in Hong Kong decides whether or not to go out in big storm surf generated by typhoon Chanchu. He didn't venture into the water. Judging from the picture it was a wise decision indeed!
Chanchu, meaning "pearl" in Cantonese, struck Southern China Thursday, May 18, killing at least eight people and leaving 27 Vietnamese fishermen missing after their boats sank in Chinese waters.
Typhoon Chanchu is the most powerful storm to strike the South China Sea region during the month of May, has killed at least 48 people in Asia, including 37 in the Philippines last weekend.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Justin Jalufka, Rita Storm Surf!

This is a great photo of local surfer Justin Jalufka riding a wave at South Padre Island. The wave was courtesy of Hurricane Rita last year. The photo is courtesy of G Scott Imaging.
Check out his fabulous web site.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dirty Tricks By Those Opposed To Keeping Beaches Open

Open Beach Opponents Resort To Dirty Tricks

Some of those who oppose keeping our beaches open to all as they have been here for decades have been carrying out a campaign of intimidation and of defacing and stealing copies of the petition being circulated by the grass roots organization Beach Access Coalition. The following is from a recent article in the Corpus Christi/Caller Times.

Beach petition forms are vandalized
But city attorney says island defacing incident doesn't violate any law
By Brandi Dean Caller-Times
April 25, 2006
Vandalism of petitions at one signing location has members of a group fighting a plan to restrict beach access worried about intimidation.
Three copies of the Beach Access Coalition's petition to have traffic restrictions on 7,200 feet of Padre Island beach put before voters were defaced at Dana's On the Island, a
restaurant on Padre Island. Across the top of two unattended petitions, someone wrote "DO NOT SIGN THIS!!" On a third, the person wrote "please do not disrespect others choice - do not scrible (sic)," and scribbled over the lines for signatures.
"Obviously (someone wanting to sign the petition) would be a little bit intimidated by that," Johnny French, a member of the coalition said. "They're going to think, 'OK, what if the guy who just defaced this is still here?'"
French said he sees the incident as interfering with the group's First Amendment right to petition. However, City Attorney Mary Kay Fischer said she does not believe the action
violates any law.
Representatives of both the Beach Access Coalition and "It’s About Time, Corpus Christi" are at the Nueces County Courthouse on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
For other petition locations, visit
None of the other petition locations have reported problems. Dana Artzer, the restaurant's owner, said she believes it's an isolated incident.
"Everybody's been signing (the petitions)," she said. "It was just one yahoo who decided to write 'do not sign' on it. We have it on our front table, and everyone who comes in looks at it, and a lot of them sign."
Colleen McIntyre, spokeswoman for "It's About Time, Corpus Christi," said the group is not responsible for the vandalism. The group believes Corpus Christi needs a pedestrian beach and are working to convince citizens not to sign the petitions, but McIntyre said the members would never encourage people to deface them.
"We would discourage people from touching the petitions in any way, shape or form," she said.
Contact Brandi Dean at 886-3778

A couple of comments about this, first, the group "It's About Time, Corpus Christi," keeps trotting out the tired and phony old canard about “We just want a pedestrian beach.” That’s a bunch of baloney! If you believe that, let me talk to you about this bridge I have for sale in Brooklyn!
There are already a number of beaches where motor vehicles are either prohibited or restricted in where they can go. From Port Aransas to the National Seas Shore these beaches exist right now!
Another comment you hear a lot is “We are not trying to close the beach!” That’s also a bunch of baloney. The developer and the beach goers know that most of that beach will be basically inaccessible to most, especially the disabled and those with families, dogs, BBQ pits, fishing, surfing gear and all the other stuff people take to the beach.
Parking lots are not the answer for environmental, convenience and public safety reasons. Trams won’t do it either. That is an inefficient and a very expensive way to accomplish something that is being achieved now at no cost to the public.
But the main problem is this, give this developer what he wants and you will start an avalanche of others lining up to get their very own private beaches.
This comes down to a fight between those who want to preserve long practiced tradition of going to the beach in their vehicles and having lots of room to go where you want and those who look at a beach and see nothing but dollar signs.
The fact is beach area development, for better or worse, will continue no matter how this battle plays out. For goodness sake, why not keep the beaches as pristine and as accessible as possible?