Opinion

Open the pot shops and bring back the cops | Editorial

It should be a lively spring at Bellevue City Hall now that the City Council has decided to take up the issues of  recreational pot shops and red light/speed cameras. Both are likely to push residents’ buttons. That already seems to be the case with some on the council.

At first glance, the pot issue would seem to be the more surprising. After all, voters approved I-502 back in 2012, which legalized the use of recreational marijuana. We doubt Bellevue voters strayed far from that margin.

In response, the council went about pondering just where legal pot shops could locate.

Then state Attorney General Bob Ferguson opined that while the initiative gave cities the OK to allow pot shops, it didn’t’ say they had to.

Now some on the council – we’re guessing they may have voted “no” on I-502 – are expressing their second thoughts.

We agree that elected officials shouldn’t necessarily be slaves to a popular vote, but they do need to consider that their constituents made an informed decision. In the case of I-502, it was pretty clear.

The issue of red light/speed cameras is a little different. Bellevue, like some other cities, installed several of these cameras on high-traffic arterials and near some school zones. The idea, of course, is to penalize motorists who don’t obey the rules: driving too fast or running red lights.

The cameras may or may not be effective. At some sites, infractions are down, presumably meaning motorists are getting the word. However, at others, infractions are up,  perhaps because construction projects funneled more cars through these intersections.

What everyone agrees on is that the cameras make money for Bellevue – lots of it.

We’ve always believed that the best deterrent to speeding or running red lights is a police officer on site with a radar gun and a ticket book at the ready. It costs the city more to do enforcement this way, but there’s no denying the feeling a person has when those red and blue lights begin to flash.

Bottom line: let the pot shops open and bring back police officers to patrol those dangerous spots. Both would be good for the public.

 

– Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter

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