"Iowa town to ban tattoos."|
It was on the scroll on one of the alphabet networks last week. I thought: "Just my luck that something this silly is getting in the middle of my good thing."
If you are a regular to my piece of the daily miracle, you know eight years ago I moved to a suburb of Illinois.
They call it Iowa.
I live in Bettendorf, Iowa, and ol' Bettendorf's getting its share of national attention these days. It involves what some perceive as appropriate appearance at the Bettendorf swimming pool and the city's parks. And though Bettendorf looks like it has our First-Amendment foot in its mouth, things will be fine.
This is one time you — and I'm expecting lightning will strike me for saying this — can trust your government not to make a mountain out of a mole hill.
Please forgive Bettendorf, it is part of a state that is butt-backward in many ways. It actually listens to the needs of its citizens, a novel, but rarely used strategy by many towns across the country.
Bettendorf is an outstanding community. I am a big fan of its mayor (sadly, he's too honest to have big-time political career), and Bettendorf's city manager is the best anywhere. City crews are exceptional in snow removal, street repair and garbage pickup. The city parks department — where the national hub-bub began — is aces. It is a tidy, friendly town that has no intention of keeping people with tattoos and piercings from its swimming hole and its parks. It will not. It cannot.
If you sport an offensive tattoo or piercing (I don't know what an offensive piercing would be), wouldn't common sense play a part in where you display that tattoo or piercing? And a little common sense from both sides will go a long way in working through the problem case-by-case.
All city leaders said was that staffers at Splash Landing Aquatic Center last summer had to address an issue regarding a tattoo that was not suitable for young eyes. So this year the city — mistakenly — decided to talk publicly about how a happy medium could be reached. And now a non-issue has more legs than a centipede.
Seriously, Bettendorf doesn't want to ban tattoos or piercings at its public swimming pool or any other city-owned facility. It will not. It cannot. It only wants patrons to think about the art they are sporting when kids are around.
And that is OK.
Bettendorf leaders also know folks with tattoos and piercings — good and bad — pay taxes in Bettendorf, taxes that pay to keep the city pool open and pay salaries of those who don't want to ban tattoos and piercings from their parks. All they want is people — on both sides of the issue — to be considerate of others.
Common sense, in every situation, works.
So let's try some and not ruin a good thing.
Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or email@example.com.