County infighting, river bar ban – give us a break!

May 22, 2010 05:00 am

Is it a full moon? Is it something in the water? What is causing local government officials to go mad lately?

First, the Curry County commissioners nearly came to blows several times during last week’s meetings. Innuendos and veiled threats were strategically tossed about. 

The infighting only adds to the stress the county is facing during these difficult financial times. Morale among county employees, we hear, is at an all-time low.

We urge commissioners to stable their bitter feuds and pay attention to serious county business.

Next, the city of Brookings and law enforcement agencies want to ban all motor vehicles from the popular Social Security Bar on the Chetco River from March 1 through Sept. 30 – prime summer months. People can still access the river on foot.

Proponents cite ongoing problems with trespassing, open fires, camping, trash, vehicles in the water and loud parties. Law enforcement officials say they don’t have the money or manpower to adequately patrol the area.

It’s all understandable, but implementing a ban is taking the easy way out. There are many good people who use Social Security Bar. Preventing them from driving down to and parking there only punishes the many for the bad deeds of the few. It also won’t solve the issue. The ban will simple force offenders to nearby locations, creating problems for other residents and police.

One proposed solution is a gate that is locked at night. That would at least thwart would-be partiers. Some residents have offered to open such a gate in the morning and close it at dusk, but authorities are hesitant to take them up on that offer. Why? 

This is a perfect opportunity for community-based policing. Remember that concept? If neighbors are willing to be part of the solution, then work out the details. Residents could also write down license plate numbers and take photos and submit them to authorities.

These are only a few suggested solutions. There are more that should be consider before simply implementing a ban. The city council will consider this issue at it’s June 14 regular meeting. It may be addressed as early as the city council’s June 7 workshop.

We urge citizens to attend these meetings and share their thoughts, possible solutions and even offer to volunteer.