Time to look at basketball ordinance

Published 8:13 am Friday, November 28, 2014

On Tuesday night, Mayor Randy Roach said it was time the Lake Charles City Council took a second look at the ordinance against playing basketball in the street.

This sounds like a good idea. Time is on the side of getting this right.

We encourage the city to take a good, long look at all the ramifications of such an ordinance.

We understand that it is important to keep both the youngsters playing and motorists driving through neighborhoods safe. Safety should be the first concern.

But we also must understand one size does not fit all when it comes to making a blanket law.

There are several issues to be considered, like is the street busy or is the basket at the end of a cul-de-sac, far out of the way from heavy traffic.

Also, we seem to already have an ordinance on the books that would cover any blocking of traffic.

Section 13-19 of the city’s code says that “no person shall willfully obstruct the free, convenient and normal use of any public sidewalk, street, highway, bridge, alley, road or other passageway. … The simple obstruction of a highway or street is prohibited.”

That seems to do the trick whether it is a game of basketball or anything else.

What we don’t need are any new ordinances to take the place of common sense.

Even the new one the city was considering left a good portion of the discretion to the officer on the scene.

That seems to be the case with the one already on the books.

As long as those playing basketball get out of the way of traffic, the problem should be a simple one to solve. If they don’t move in a timely fashion, then we have a problem.

This is all part of getting along with one another in any neighborhood. We should not need government to force us to be good neighbors.

This also seems to target areas where children have smaller yards to play in, which makes it at least appear to be unfair on the surface.

What we should be doing is encouraging youngsters to stay active and healthy as long as they understand they are using public property as their playground.

Teaching all how to get along is a lot better than trying to force it.

Yes, we can see where this could be a problem when it comes to some individuals who may not follow the rules. However, making more rules will likely only lead to more people crossing over that line and causing problems.

It seems another law would only divide people on the issue instead of coming together to solve it.

That’s why we believe it is more important for the city to make sure the laws that are on the books concerning such issues be enforced closely before new ones are made.

Educating the basketball-playing public first and giving it a chance to obey the current laws might be a better way of solving the problems while making new laws could add to even more issues down the road.(MGNonline)