Jump to content
ParkForKids

Casino Buses using public parks as Park and Ride, where Scouts meet. What should we do?

Recommended Posts

Everyone,

 Can you chime in  your opinion on this to give advise on what Scout Troop and parents should do in the face of community right being stampeded.
 
Over the pass several months, Casino buses from far away use the City Park as Park and Ride places for their Casino Goers. This is where our Scouts (cub, brownies, and others) carry out their activities. Daily, Casino bus come every hours.  Several Casino patrons gather there and parked their cars their awaiting pickup. A number of strangers, as Casino Goers, come and mixed with the kids on the playground and take  over-crowded parking lots. This presents personal safety risks and traffic risk. See petition here.
 
Our scout troop is concerned going over the BSA rule so they so far stay quiet, leaving their scouts and families in a precarious  situation. Some parents took on and tried to get the city to do something but their effort could go to waste without a large voice.
 
What is your advice to our Scout Troop leaders and parents and under what BSA guideline should we act to?
 
Thanks
Lu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for the mangled title (cut/ paste and accidental click). Should be 

Casino Buses using public parks as Park and Ride, where Scouts meet. What should we do?

 

 

Moderator Note: Title edited to what you intended. - NJCubScouter

Edited by NJCubScouter
Add moderator note

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all welcome to the forum.

 

Unless there is zoning concerning the parking issue, it's a public park and thus open to anyone.  It's going to be an uphill battle not allowing the public to use public property.

 

Possibly approaching the city parks and rec department to see if parking could be limited to say maybe 2-3 hours.  If nothing else it would be a great revenue generator for the park.  Maybe signs could be posted and the area zoned to indicate the parking is for park use only.

 

I think the solution to this lies with the city council as indicated by the petition.  I would push the issue at every planning meeting of the group in charge of the park until a definite conclusion is drawn.   I don't know what a lawyer could do to help in this issue because of the public land issue being open to all people, including casino patrons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Stosh,

That is what we are trying to do through parents and neighborhood push to the City Council.

 

My additional question is what role and responsibility of the Scout Leaders on this. Is it restricted by BSA rules to not interfere or speak up to the City as Boy Scout Leaders and thus leave the safety issues to parents? Is there anywhere in BSA handbook that states it? I am just trying to figure out

 

Thanks

Lu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's nothing in the regulations that say the scouts can't have a say in the workings of civil government, but they can't do so in uniform(?)  I would encourage the boys through the Citizenship in the Community MB to work within the system to assist with the campaign.  I wouldn't do it, however, in uniform.  

 

There are others here on the forum that may have better insight than I in that I haven't participated in such an endeavor in my scouting career.  I have done so as an individual, but not with BSA recognition involved.

 

http://www.siouxbsa.org/News/PoliticalEvents0308

 

This policy relates to endorsing political candidates and being involved in political campaign rallies, but nothing about the situation you are describing.  That's what makes me nervous about giving you the proper advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as they're speaking as individuals, there's no issue. But I wouldn't try to present myself as representing "the Scouts." The general public doesn't understand the difference between your unit, the council or BSA. But I don't see any problem with folks going to the town and discussing how the parking issue impacts the use of the park by your Cub Scouts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Busses...    The City should definitely be willing to look into a Public Safety Issue of private busses filling up otherwise public car parking.   Here in the Nations Capitol, the National Capitol Park Police are VERY strict about where busses may stop and park.  Even curbing to drop off and pick up at the wrong place (in front of the Smithsonian No NO NO!)  can get the driver a big fine. NOT the company, THE DRIVER!  Are all the "official" close in spaces full? Well, here is the long term lot at RFK Stadium (5 miles away from the Mall!), go there, NOW!

Sometimes the public needs to help solve the problem for the city.   Is there a better place for the Casino Busses to stop to let off and pick up?  A hotel curb or lot?  A shopping center?  Maybe the Police and the Traffic Engineering Departments can be interested in this, as a problem in traffic movement.  Paid parking for tour busses?  Ummmm, revenue source!   And see if it can be couched in terms , not just of Scout Meetings, but of Public Inconvenience.  Is there an issue of  extra traffic coming and going that threatens kids crossing the street, say?

And get the local TV "On Your Side" reporter interested.  The Casino revenue may be a consideration.  Go to the Casinos, and the Bus companies.  No one wants a bunch of smiling mothers and grandmothers with kids in tow causing unnecessary commotion.  

 

Roll them bones! er I mean, Good Luck and Good Scouting!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the text of the petition and also the pictures. It is actually an uphill fight from what I was told as it will cost money to carry out ordinances. All we have is about 60 signatures from parents and the power may not be on our side. I like the idea of media but not sure how to approach it yet.

 

https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/prohibit-casino-bus-and-casino-goers-using-westminster-ca-public-parks-as-park-and-ride.html

 

 

Ellen F Gillespie Park and other public parks in the City of Westminster have been turned in to "Park and Ride" locations for Casino Bus Operators and the Casino goers. This severely impact the Scout activities consisting of young children in several Scout Troops, community sport teams, and other families picnics and park goers. If you support banning Casino related activities from public parks, please sign the Petition. Please pass it on to 5 emails for their support. You can read more to get the back ground. Thank you for your support.

Last Summer 2014, several casino buses used the Ellen F Gillespie Park as the "Park and Ride " place. We contacted Westminster Park and Recreation Department. The Park Enforcer came and the buses disappeared.

Summer of 2015. Every weekend, we found casino buses came frequently to pick up passengers. Last Sunday Sept 13, 2015 , from 8AM that we were there, we recorded 1 bus every hour arriving at the park picking up passengers as captured in these photos Click Here

We have contacted Westminster Park and Recreation Department again along with other authorities. It doesn't appear that the City has a permanent mechanism to deal with the Casino buses and Casino goers' cars. As the result, the casino buses use Westminster public parks as their Park and Ride locations.

The Casino buses/Casino Goers on Public Park causes safety issues for the park-goers, children or adults, in terms of personal safety and traffic safety. This especially affects community groups who use the park every week including Scout groups, soccer teams, tennis teams, soft-ball teams, and the surrounding communities. Not only that, both the park-goers and the surrounding residential areas struggle to look for alternative parking spaces. Their parking spaces are occupied by the casino-goers, causing traffic liability. Kids and families now have to walk, sometimes jay-walk across major streets to get to the park. 

The majority of Casino bus goers typically keep to themselves, but a small number of Casino-goers, while waiting for the bus, caused uncertainty and unsafe situation for young children, and young Girls and Boy Scouts with their intruding presence. Parents do not know if this is new parent or someone else.

Other cities have done extensive studies on Casino Buses . Those cities found that Casino buses caused safety issues for the community in those cities. At least 2 of these cities passed their own ordinances to ban Casino bus pickups in their cities. Those cities are City of San Gabriel, City of Monterey Park, and Korea Town in the City of Los Angeles. The casino buses and casino-goers have been chased away from many other communities who stand up for their rights.

There is no Casino in the City of Westminster or the surrounding cities. The operation of those Casino buses in the City of Westminster, at the community safety's expense, does not benefit anyone except the Casino, and few other individuals who receive benefits from them, directly or indirectly. On the other hand, they cause safety and affect healthy enjoyment of those who use the public parks, and the surrounded residential areas.

It should be made clear that we do not have anything against the Casino business, buses, or Casino goers. We do not want them to use Westminster Public Parks as gathering place for Park and Ride. The Public Parks are designed for community enjoyment and activities, where kids and parents deserve maximum safety.
Petition:
We, the undersigned, call on Westminster City Council to seriously take into consideration the issues raised regarding casino bus picking up casino-goers in or near public parks, and casino goers parking their cars at the public park and along the streets in the walking distance of the public park. 

We ask that Westminster City Council, including Mayor Tri Ta, Mayor Pro Tem Sergio Contreras, Council Members Diana Carey, Tyler Diep, and Margie Rice, makes the necessary regulations to ensure that public parks and surrounding areas not being used as Casino "Park and Ride" locations. Recommendation as below:

* Casino buses are prohibit from picking up passengers at the public parks including Gillespie Park, and other Westminster parks.

* Cars cannot be parked for more than 4 hours unattended along the street directly accessible to the public park or the public parking lots near or in the park, or another permanent mechanism to ban the Casino "Park and Ride" situation at public parks for commercial purpose.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although not in uniform, I don't see anything wrong with a scout leader testifying that the parents in his/her troop are feeling encroached upon by industry in what used to be a community setting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bottom line is, the unit leaders are responsible for the safety of your scouts.  I would discuss this with your District Executive as a "youth protection" matter.  They may have some ideas.  But be prepared to find another location to conduct activities if city council is not receptive to your concerns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you approached the Casino?  They may not be aware of the problem.

 

If there's not another location that you can use, you may need to get aggressive.

 

1- Have the boys play hide and seek (with a buddy!) among their cars.  Be sure that the parking patrons know it.

2- A water balloon fight might dampen their enthusiasm for parking where the scouts play.  You do have some scouts with really bad aim, right?  Most effective during winter months, when the water freezes afterwards and makes the lot slippery.

3- Are they going to an Indian casino?  Loud cowboys and Indian games would carry on their theme.

 

If your can't convince them to move elsewhere, set up a table and really harass them: sell popcorn.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an annoying issue, to be sure.  I've never heard it specific to casinos, but in Minneapolis we have to deal with Megabus.  Dirt cheap bus fare to regional destinations ($1 Minneapolis to Chicago advertised), but they make up for it by not having terminals, shelters, or any permission to use a local area as a stop.  Businesses around the "stops" are annoyed by crowds sitting waiting for buses, using their stores/public areas.

 

http://www.kare11.com/news/article/1019213/14/Megabus-stop-stirring-up-controversy-in-Mpls

 

Of course, local ordinance governs bus services, and parking fees/permits/tickets can cut down on abuse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh gosh, definitely sell popcorn. Right there at the spot where the busses pull up to let people off and pick them up.  Set up a huge table and a bullhorn style obnoxious selling style is optional.  Have each scout and parent go to each individual waiting for the bus and ask them to buy popcorn. 

 

When the park gets angry at you selling in a public park, then ask them isn't that exactly what the casinos are doing?  Using a public park for Private business gain.

 

I would focus on the traffic flow issue, and the safety issue of big buses pulling up to a city park full of kids running around.

All it takes is one squished kid, but let's pray it doesn't get to that point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...