Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

April 14, 2013

Keep out!

Enforce the law; don’t fence in the planters

It has been said that some fences are built to keep people in, and some fences are built to keep people out.

It also has been said — by a prosecuting attorney, no less, who was speaking entirely tongue-in-cheek to an overzealous subordinate — that the Bill of Rights is a pesky thing that sometimes gets in the way of what you want to do. (Which, we would add, is the reason the Founding Fathers created it in the first place.)

Action is being taken to install temporary wooden railings around the downtown mall’s planters as a means of discouraging loiterers.

The idea of using decorative Victorian-style metal railings that would fit in with the downtown’s architecture was dismissed on grounds it would create a “jailed-in appearance.”

As we said, fences around jails and prisons are built to keep people in; the intent of these wooden fences is to keep people out.

Loitering, bad language, offensive behavior and the like have been an issue ever since part of Baltimore Street was closed off and turned into the downtown mall.

No one disputes that, or the detrimental impact these things have on the downtown’s businesses or citizens who find reason to visit the mall.

One thing to consider is that the mall has become a gathering place for such things as entertainment, art-related activities, car displays, the Heritage Festival and the farmer’s market.

People who attend these events, and tourists, frequently sit on these planters to relax or enjoy the proceedings because there aren’t enough conventional seating arrangements.

Railings around the planters will keep them from doing so, and they may decide to go someplace else — particularly those who are elderly or infirm and need to sit down.

Laws that do not violate provisions of the Bill of Rights exist when it comes to deterring offensive behavior. The city has code-enforcement officers who work closely with Cumberland Police to prevent violations of the law and city codes.

Strict and consistent enforcement of these laws is the answer, not fence-building.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo