Q: I completely agree with Nick Harrah. Punishment is not the best way to end sideshows.
There’s no difference between the sideshows of today and the street racing of the 50s, 60s and 70s. It’s just 20-somethings showing off their cars and their machismo, immortalized in “American Graffiti.”
Unfortunately, like the car that crashed and burned in the movie, many street racing kids crashed and burned, and some died. The solution was to build running parks to get them off the streets and into a safe environment.
What is needed is plain, paved ground with concrete barriers all around. Charge admission for participants and spectators. Provide an incentive for attendees to take the shows off the street, just as they did in drag racing parks and Destruction Derbies, and as they do on the race car tracks today.
A: I understand the comparison between street racing and sideshows. The dynamic is different now, however. With cell phones and text messages, participants can quickly attract the large crowds they want to locations where they don’t think the police will be patrolling.
Q: While I think the police should take their cars for a month, they should also provide a list of legal places to go. Have you mentioned Drags and Drift on Wednesday night in Sonoma yet? Or SCCA Autocross?
Joanne Clare, Danville
Q: Nick Harrah’s idea was tested and successful at Pomona Raceway in Southern California. It was closed because neighbors complained about noise from events not on the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) drag racing schedule (two events a year) and those additional events were closed.
In Santa Clara County, we could try something similar with the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. It formerly had a racetrack and hosted all sorts of auto and truck related events, but it was closed down by neighbors who lived near the amusement park who didn’t like the noise.
As Mr. Harrah, I am a longtime racing enthusiast as both a spectator and a participant. We will not get a non-law enforcement resolution for sideshows because of Bay Area NIMBYs.
Q: I like 1) legal sideshow venues, low income with equitable access and 2) longer vehicle confiscation with a chance to see the vehicle sold for enforcement costs after multiple offences.
The punitive approach will attract more support because outsiders do not “get” the tie or understand the family impact of confiscation.
A: I don’t disagree, but the reality of having cool venues for these events is more challenging than people might imagine.
Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at email@example.com.
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