Saturday, February 23, 2008

Channel 4 Finally Gets an Answer from Senator Thelma Harper on Park Security

If you watched Channel 4 news at 10:00 on Friday night you were able to catch their lead story on Bicentennial Mall safety and the lack of state action in securing it overnight. I was one of the folks they interviewed and I was able to point out how adding one little bullet to an old sign saying the park is closed after 10 pm (or is it 11 pm?) did not seem much of a deterent to criminals to me.

Overall it was a good report, with interviews and shots of people using the park for a stroll, punctuated with lots of questions about their safety and the state's responsibility to secure public property at night. Reporter Catharyn Campbell live-broadcasted from the Mall and demonstrated how poorly lit and obscured by trees and shrubs certain parts of the Mall are at night. There was only one error: Channel 4 reported that I knew last September's rape victim, which I do not. I told them that she lived in our community, so I guess they heard me saying I knew her.

But the best part of the story was a comment from State Senator Thelma Harper, who finally gave someone an answer on the progress (and lack thereof) in park security. I understand that Ms. Campbell was having her own challenges getting a comment from Sen. Harper, but she finally tracked her down at some theatrical event. Sen. Harper said that changes were planned for the Spring. Why she hasn't bother to pass that on to some of her concerned constituents, I guess I'll never know. Why she told me that they were coming soon last November, is beyond me.

Thanks to Channel 4 for keeping this problem in the glare of public attention, even when state officials act like they just as soon it disappear into one of those dimly lit corners of Bicentennial Mall.