Civil Rights

New Bollards, More Yellow Than the Old Bollards

By Greta Cobar

It is unclear why Mike Bonin, our Councilperson, held a Town Hall meeting on October 29, 2013 to hear the public’s input concerning bollards, cameras and blocking off the streets leading to Ocean Front Walk (OFW). During the meeting the public was vehemently against all such so-called “safety measures.”

Speaking as any other politician, Bonin assured us at the Town Hall meeting that he was there to listen to us. Whether he listened or not is irrelevant, for he went ahead with the plan that he had before the meeting, to install bollards and cameras and to block off the streets.

“I appreciate that many people were outspoken against bollards or cameras, and I very much took those opinions into consideration.  Ultimately, I weighed those opinions against public safety and came to a different decision,” Bonin stated in an email message to the Beachhead.

The safety concern was raised following the August 3 death of Alice Gruppioni, an Italian tourist on her honey moon who was struck by the car that Nathan Louis Campbell drove onto OFW from Dudley. Ironically, Dudley is the one of the few streets that has permanent, metal bollards at its intersection with OFW. Campbell intentionally drove onto the sidewalk to get onto OFW. As many have stated at the Town Hall meeting, nobody can stop a madman.

The plastic bollards that flatten to the ground when any vehicle touches them and that were installed immediately after the August murder became nothing but an eye-sore and a tripping hazard in a matter of weeks. Bonin recently replaced them with identical ones, except that the new ones are yellow and the old ones were white. In the numerous places where one of the bollards has broken off, a new one was not installed. That gives plenty of space for a vehicle to pass – if space was actually needed, but it is not, because they flatten. How is this supposed to prevent a murder similar to the one that occurred in August?

The hidden goal of this so-called “public safety” measure is to install cameras all over OFW. It is nothing but an excuse for increased government surveillance right in our back yard.

“The new bollards are temporary, and I hope to replace many of them (depending on location) with bike racks, art, large flower pots, or permanent bollards. We have not determined the total number of cameras or locations, and nothing will happen all at once.  Things will likely be phased in,” Bonin wrote in an email message to the Beachhead.

“Bonin is our elected rep. I respect that he listens to the community and makes his own decisions.  That is his right,” Linda Lucks, VNC President, told the Beachhead.

Whatever happened to our right to privacy?


Above: New bollards installed by Mike Bonin against public input