Last week in this paper's article about water deaths, I read a quote by Supervisor Mary Piepho, who said, We can do more as a community and do more to gain awareness.
This statement was part of her commentary on what else the county can do in the wake of the two recent PWC-related deaths. Her remarks also referenced the no-tow zone and what additional jurisdiction the county might have.
The words additional jurisdiction should be a cause for concern by the citizens. We have more than enough laws today. Licensing is not the answer, either. That will just lend to more taxes and bureaucracy. We are already an over-taxed and over-litigated society.
I take this opportunity to remind the supervisor and the community that well over a year ago, as soon as concerned local citizens found out about the proposed no-tow zone, they went to the California Department of Boating and Waterways and commissioned a comprehensive database study of the target waters to analyze the actual safety issues (no government agency had done this).
We were not surprised to learn that the majority of all boating deaths and serious accidents proximate to Discovery Bay were PWC related. It was also confirmed to us that in these waters there had never been a boat-related accident involving tow-behind water sports.
Armed with this information, we approached Piepho, the Board of Supervisors (BoS) and the Discovery Bay Community Services District (CSD) to propose a comprehensive boating safety measure (as exists in a nearby county) that would increase the safety and safety awareness of all boaters and specifically address, at certain times, the dangerous behavior that often contributes to PWC fatalities.
This comprehensive approach to Discovery Bay boating safety was summarily dismissed by Piepho, the BoS and the CSD as being too difficult to enforce.
Now, since three residents have tragically died as a result of PWC accidents, Piepho suddenly seems concerned and the BoS has not yet made good of its pledge of implementing a committee to study and providing a report on how the no-tow zone has affected safety one way or the other.
All too often, politicians dead set on their personal agenda refuse to listen to the public. Had Piepho had an open mind last year and paid attention to the real issue, we would already be well into a safety and awareness program that included the statistically relevant group of Delta boaters at the greatest risk.
In fact, earlier this year, it was twice proposed to the CSD and printed in this paper that PWC safety awareness was still an issue and an ongoing-focused approach was necessary. Again, a deaf ear.
Let this be a wake-up call to all local politicians: listen to the public; sometimes they have something worthwhile to say. We elected you to represent us and listen to us, not to just tell us what to do when events occur that raise media exposure and public interest.