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COLUMN: Wooden cross issue is city’s to bear

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By Ben Carlson

Column as I see ’em ...

When word gets around that the police are giving people a 10 mph break in a 55 zone, people will drive 65.

When they learn that they can fudge certain portions on their tax return, people will cheat.

When parents don’t enforce a curfew, children will be delinquents.

And when they learn that the rules at Lawrenceburg Cemetery aren’t enforced, people will break them.

That’s the trouble with rules. Unless they are consistently enforced, they might as well be suggestions.

On today’s front page, you can see first hand the problem with suggestions vs. enforcing the rules. That’s what the city council did with the anti-wooden cross issue, and it has come back to bite the city in the butt.

The city council does deserve credit for trying to be nice. Instead of issuing an ultimatum and telling folks to get the crosses out now, a letter was sent asking for “voluntary compliance.”

Another, more forceful letter was sent this week, offering to store the crosses and give families time to retrieve them.

That only exacerbated the problem, and now those with crosses are pointing fingers at others with non-allowed items and demanding they be removed, too.

And who can blame them?

If the city is going to have ordinances — and it has plenty — the city council has no choice but to enforce them.

Now that Pandora’s box has been kicked wide open, the city council must decide how best to again nail it shut.

The milquetoast approach of saying “please” certainly isn’t working, and getting tough after years of being soft will only make it worse.

Somewhere in the middle lies the solution, and as loathe as this group is to entering any fray, the council needs to open this topic up for public discussion and figure out just what the public wants to do.

Then — and the city council can actually do this — the ordinance can be revised to suit more than just those who think anything but bronze or granite in our highfalutin cemetery is just too gauche.

 

Speaking of revised, kudos to the Anderson County Board of Elections for not being afraid to shake things up a bit.

Its recent decision to move the Alton polling places to Eagle Lake makes plenty of sense. Nothing prohibits voters more than lines except for traffic jams, and that’s just what happened at the one-lane driveway Ruritan Club.

Next up is the Birdie Precinct, which we reported last week is an expensive boondoggle that creates an enormous amount of work for a relatively small number of votes.

Because nothing in the voting rules require a polling place to be physically in the precinct, the board of elections should move Birdie to Eagle Lake, too.

Not only would that move save local tax dollars, more importantly it would provide much easier access to physically challenged voters.

Yes, it would mean a 10 minute or so drive for folks in that precinct, but that pales when compared to offering easy access for someone in a wheelchair.

Want to argue that point? Call me at 839-6906 and let’s dance.

Speaking of easy access, Congressman Ben Chandler has no town hall meetings scheduled during the August recess, his Washington, D.C., office confirmed Monday afternoon.

Can’t say that I much blame him for that.

Given his support of the cap and trade legislation and the angst over his party’s plans for health care, Chandler’s probably better served to keep his head down and deal with whatever fallout comes his way after all is said and voted on.

Chandler’s a popular guy, and winding up on YouTube being shouted down by an angry mob is never a good thing.

Those paying attention have probably seen video clips of Chandler’s peers being pounded on mightily during town hall meetings in their districts.

Some say those doing the pounding are nothing more than Grand Old Party poopers planted in the crowds to rouse the rabble. Perhaps, but it says here that’s no different than President O stacking the media deck and planting questions during his so-called press conferences.

A little tit for a lot of tat, if you ask me.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.