The People's Republic of Kirkland

I am compelled to respond to a proposal before the Kirkland City Council to amend regulations restricting the use of watercraft in the City of Kirkland (See Kirkland City Council to consider restricting watercraft regulations).

My concern is the ease with which we relinquish our individual freedoms and how ingrained the "nanny state" mentality has become in our society. Whatever happened to individual liberty? Individual responsibility? Individual rights?

Too often in our society, we seek government help to enforce our will on others. More often than not, government laws restricting individual rights have unintended consequences.
In this case, noisy boaters enjoying the summer prompt action from our City Council to pass laws, and further restrict individual rights. Some have rightly asked if the proposed restrictions will signal the death of the Argosy Christmas Ships Parade of boats singing carols, a Northwest tradition since 1949. There are some vocal individuals in Kirkland who do not want the Christmas Ships in town. Are the Christmas Ship's days numbered as well?

Our new city motto: Welcome to Kirkland! Please don't have fun. Please don't sing. Please don't celebrate your tradition. Please spend your dollars elsewhere. I for one, do not think this motto is all that far from reality.

Kirkland boarders an active lake in an urban area. As one reader aptly stated on these pages, Lake Washington is not Walden Pond.

There are reasonable expectations of boaters on the water, just as there are for those of us on land. The difference is that Kirkland Police can only enforce our laws as far as the end of the dock. There are no KPD marine vehicles that officers can use. There is no way the police can fine offending boaters unless they can lure the boaters close to the dock.
Do we want a KPD marine force for the three months of the year when "rafting" takes place? Do we want to pay for it? Do we really want new laws restricting our use of private boats on public waterways? Do we want ever more regulations when we struggle to enforce the ones we already have on the books?

These are the questions that need to be answered.

I say we do not need further restrictions on watercraft regulations. We can find a better solution which doesn't involve restricting individual freedoms with laws that will surely have unintended consequences.

I am not a boater. I live ten blocks from the water. Any potential action by our City Council will not personally affect my family. But I am strongly opposed to the notion that the City of Kirkland needs to pass ever more regulations. Our city needs to welcome visitors. We need to encourage others to spend their dollars in Kirkland. We do not need ever more regulations.

Do you question the notion that Kirkland has a "nanny state" mentality? Do you scoff at the tongue in cheek motto stated above: Welcome to Kirkland! Please don't have fun? If so, read the proposed restrictions to watercraft regulations.

The following is quoted from the City's memo on watercraft restrictions: "any three (or more) motorized watercraft drifting or anchored within 25 feet of each other for the purpose of having a party or rafting-like social exchange shall be [prohibited]."

Okay, after reading this again, I have second thoughts. If the City Council passes these restrictions,  I propose a new motto for the city be this:

Welcome to the People's Republic of Kirkland.