Meant to post this yesterday, before the city council’s action. But I’m going to post it anyway, because I agree so strongly with what Warren Bolton had to say in his column Tuesday morning:
Let them sueBy Warren Bolton – Associate Editor
WHILE SOME Columbia officials understandably are concerned about a possible legal challenge, that’s not reason enough for City Council to shun a permanent teen curfew in Five Points.
There’s too much at stake in terms of controlling violence and ensuring overall community safety, particularly the safety and welfare of our children. It would be disappointing for City Council to allow the temporary curfew that’s been in place for about two months to sunset as if all is well. It is not.
This community needs to make a clear, strong statement that it is not acceptable for youngsters to hang out late at night and into the wee hours in bar districts that cater to adults. Nothing good happens there — or anywhere else — for children out during those hours. Children out late at night are just as likely to be victims as perpetrators…
The NAACP and ACLU have threatened to sue if a curfew is enacted.
Let them sue.
… (A) lawsuit might be the best thing that could happen, because this community needs a curfew, and once and for all, we would get a definitive answer…
Amen to that, Warren. Yes, there are those who may sue. Let them bring it on.
If an elected official or administrator is to refrain from responsible action whenever the ACLU threatens to sue, then he or she should resign and let someone with some sand take over. That’s what the ACLU does (I’m not sure what the NAACP does these does other than pursue a boycott that seems designed to have the opposite of the stated effect). That’s what the ACLU will always do. You have to go ahead and govern responsibly anyway.
To extend this point a bit: I also get frustrated when legislative bodies shrink back from doing the right thing because someone may filibuster. Whenever that happens, I say, “Let them.” Allow the filibustering party to make a spectacle of itself. Allow the issues to be aired completely, openly. Let it become obvious who is obstructing effective action. And then, man up and invoke cloture (something senators tend to have a horror of). But if you can’t get the votes to do that, just let the spectacle continue, until either you eventually prevail or the opposing party has burned up every grain of public goodwill it may once have enjoyed. And then try again.
The obstructionists will always do what they do. When you’re trying to do the right and responsible thing, it is your job, your obligation, to overcome their opposition — not be intimidated by it.