Ray K. Erku Times editor

Ray K. Erku

Times editor

Rawlins City Council loves to inspire its people. This is why they devise subcommittees.

Every issue that requires a decision is destined for inspiration, and subcommittees are a great way to compel the public into participating in the decision-making process.

This made Tuesday’s council meeting an awesome success. Inspiration was all over the place. In fact, I think a custodian had to wipe the ceiling tiles after.

After all, many of these constituents have been provided ample time to get inspired.

Earlier in the summer, an undying proposal to actually to start enforcing language currently found in Municipal Code Title 10.33, which highlights “Stopping, standing and parking,” was once again recycled and introduced into forum by Ward I Rep. DeBari Martinez.

His arguments revolved around safety and senior citizens, which are always viable instruments in both politics and minivan sales.

Despite the noteworthy causes, however, fellow councilmen for Rawlins, a city notorious for turning a blind eye to people parking however many Winnebagos, trailers and Oscar-Meyer Wienermobiles on public roadways for however long they want, swiftly shot down the proposal.

Again, they felt this issue, which has dragged on since 2016 (arguably longer), is a prime opportunity to inspire. So, At-Large Rep. Jacqueline Wells countered Martinez’s offer by proposing? You guessed it:

another subcommittee.

And on Tuesday, most of whom electrified by the Lightning Bolt of the Almighty Zeus himself were above the age of 65. Early baby boomers, to be specific.

One by one, they put whatever debilitating physical attribute they had on hold as they painstakingly hauled themselves to the podium, pitching to the council why they should be appointed to this new advisory board.

Not to denigrate city council by any means. Although they all sat in their cozy chairs, they did offer to provide a microphone to anyone who may have wanted to remain seated.

I, meanwhile, sat quietly and tried not to psychologically feed my vexations regarding frail grandmothers and blind spots, drunk pick-up truck drivers and kids riding big wheels, and scorched bedroom sets and inaccessible fire hydrants.

I also thought of my own mother, for some reason.

But, then again, perhaps I’m a bit melodramatic, over exaggerative and flat out delusional. I used to eat paint chips as a young boy, you know.

But, when it became his turn to speak, former longtime city council member Ralph Glenn reinforced my rather horrifying thoughts.

“If they’re not parked in a certain area, you can’t see,” he said of the recreational vehicles. “They’re a traffic hazard, some of them.”

As if to fully illustrate his point, three or four more citizens vying to be appointed to the advisory board agreed that certain vehicles parked over prolonged periods of time pose potential safety hazards.

Another citizen by the name of Kyle Rosenstrater, however, did say that having one of these bigger vehicles comes in handy. Despite being a former sheriff’s deputy, Rosentrater still at his age goes around the country officially certifying various K-9 units.

“I take my temp trailer to stay in,” he said, “because it’s easy for me to get into a wheelchair.”

Not to mention, in situations like these it’s always fair to remember that enforcing the law is a highly expensive endeavor. There’s a good reason why many departments around the country will ironically reallocate confiscated drug money to purchase a patrol vehicle.

Do you realize how much time, energy and paperwork it takes just to simply write ticket after ticket? If anyone’s smart, this ca cause countless appeals in municipal court, wasting everybody’s time in the first place.

And what about policing priorities?

If I’m Police Officer Ray Erku charged with patrolling the streets for parking violations, what happens to all the alleged troublemakers around town?

Yeah, there’s probably a perp on the other side of town selling bunk methamphetamine to a single mother, but hey, this here trailer’s been parked in the same place for the past five years without incident.

Then you factor in all the contractors, ranchers and outdoor enthusiasts around town who’ll be forced to park their vehicles elsewhere. And even though the State of Wyoming is the least populated state at 1.2 people per square mile, apparently, there isn’t enough storage space to fit the high accumulation of vehicles subsequently produced if enforcement actually goes into effect.

Quite the conundrum, isn’t it?

But look at other cities. They’ve learned how to enforce parking laws, because they realize that American excess sometimes creates problems.

I do cringe when I hear stories of people as old as my own mother (sorry, mom) having to park blocks away from their granddaughter’s birthday party because the family next door parks an apartment on wheels near their house, just in case they need to skip town to Miami any time soon.

Whatever happened to hotel rooms? And don’t people ever use tents anymore?

Nevertheless, Sherril Bailey, a retired Rawlins teacher and stroke survivor, struck a fine cord. She said she’s OK with everyone parking their toys on the street.

There is, however, one stipulation.

“I’m going to charge them though, because I do not believe they belong on our city streets.”

Yes, Rawlins City Council truly is inspirational. But if they continue on creating subcommittees, the is going to run out of elderly people. By then, the council will unfortunately be forced to make decisions themselves.

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