Legislate based on merit
A Cape Coral resident, who uses a specially equipped golf cart for transportation due to disability, has asked the Cape Coral City Council for permission to use the device to cross city streets near his home.
Anthony Ordino, of Southeast 2nd Avenue, petitioned council Monday for the special privilege because he would like to be able to cross Santa Barbara Boulevard to visit the Lake Kennedy Senior Center, and to cross Hancock Bridge Parkway to get coffee at McDonald’s and pick up medicine from Walgreens.
He assured the board his “mobility cart” is equipped with head and tail lights, turn signals and rear view mirror, items required by city ordinance for street use along roadways where carts are approved.
As the roads involved are not state highways, city council has the ability to allow golf cart use along and across the streets in question by approving a resolution.
The elected board is not sure it wants to open up the privilege for other golf cart users and so is looking for a way to grant Mr. Ordino’s request without running afoul of state law – which states golf carts are not classified as transportation for impaired individuals – and also without opening up the roadways in questions to golf cart use in general.
Council directed the city’s legal staff to address the conundrum, perhaps by narrowly defining the devices to be allowed to fit the parameters of Mr. Ordino’s cart.
While we understand Mr. Ordino’s reasons and we indeed sympathize with his request, golf cart use in the area in question is either safe or it is not. If it is safe and appropriate, council should pass a resolution allowing for their use. If is not safe or appropriate for the area, then council should not.
While legislating to individual needs may seem right on its face, it is not, at least not in this or any instance which does not include “special exception” parameters. But council knows this, which is why it’s looking at doing the legal linguistic limbo to make it so.
Pull emotion out of the request and make a decision on its merits.
That is the right thing to do.
– Breeze editorial