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Mardi Gras crackdown was overkill 

This year’s lack of a Mardi Gras festival was obviously disappointing to those of us that have treasured the event for years at a time to enjoy some fun time with friends in a peaceful party atmosphere. And the fact that a relatively small number of idiotic partiers can spoil the best annual parade in our community is very disappointing. However, this year’s over-influx of law enforcement and money spent totaled approx. $400,000 in total! We seem to have forgotten that the vast majority of the people that attended Mardi Gras in the past are the peaceful citizens that don’t want or need a police state in our city.

There were better, lower-key alternatives. Why not set up a roadblock in the California/Foothill area, and only let residents in? How about proactively walking through the trouble spots, handing out fliers, and trying to get buy-in from the students about not having parties in that area? But to put up a checkpoint in the middle of downtown? Put up a secret camera on a public intersection? Overkill. To spend $20,000 in an advertising campaign, geared at telling people not to come downtown? Misguided.

Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame the officers — it’s their job — it’s what they were told to do. But who is keeping the decision makers in check? It seems the proverbial tail has wagged the dog. We can’t go back, but we certainly can make better decisions in the future.

 

Steve Burt

Arroyo Grande

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