Poor Lake Ozark. One step forward, two steps backward — at least from a public relations perspective.

Poor Lake Ozark. One step forward, two steps backward — at least from a public relations perspective.

Now it’s the open carry of firearms issue that’s dogging the city fathers. The naysayers have misconstrued the board’s decision to prohibit the open carrying of a firearm as a Second Amendment issue. It’s not. The city isn’t saying you can’t carry or own a gun. It’s saying you can’t strap a pistol to your hip in plain sight of the public; you can’t sling a rifle or shotgun over your shoulder and walk the streets.

As long as you have a permit to carry and conceal a gun, as long as you’ve completed the required certification, you’re good to go. Carry it in your purse, or your knapsack or in your boot, if you must.

As several on the board of aldermen said recently, what’s the psychological need to openly carry a firearm? Are you so insecure that you have to show off your gun? Are you so afraid of someone perpetrating violence upon you that you feel the need to openly arm yourself?

Get a carry and conceal permit and protect yourself that way, if you feel the need.

Save your hate mail. I’m not opposed to the Second Amendment. I believe everyone should have the right to legally own a gun.

The city is trying so very hard to re-establish the Strip — and the community — as a family friendly venue. Creating a set of rules that apply equally to everyone is the right way to do that, especially if people can’t self-regulate themselves. Asking folks to have manners and be respectful and to be polite is not an abuse of power.

Slowly, Lake Ozark is pulling itself out of the last century, but it’s a painful process. It’s no longer valid to say or think, “well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” The city has to be competitive with other lake-area communities, and with other resort communities in the state. Do you want to take a vacation where people walk the streets sporting firearms, or where people stumble down the street drunk, or where they openly swear like a hip-hop artist?

I didn’t think so.

Sure, we have a right to free speech; we have a right to bear arms.

But as others on the board said last week, there must be a modicum of common sense thrown into the decisions.

I attend all of the board meetings for Lake Ozark and Osage Beach. I listen to the aldermen as they struggle to make good decisions. I hear the different points of view, most of which make good sense. But in the end, they must decide what type of community they want to represent.

It’s no easier in Osage Beach.

The aldermen and city staff don’t face the headline-grabbing, constitutional issues like Lake Ozark. But Osage Beach has some major issues to address.

Economic issues on Osage Beach Parkway, potential traffic congestion and safety concerns on Nichols Road, and a weak stream of sales tax revenue are — among other issues — competing for the board’s attention.

The city understands there’s a problem with the west end of Osage Beach Parkway created by MoDOT engineers. Extending the Parkway to Route Y was a viable solution that was going to cost taxpayers more than a $1 million in city revenues, and a couple of million in state funds. MoDOT’s budget is depleted, so that project is off the table for now. Cost to construct a full-blown interchange is estimated at more than $7 million.

The city is in partnership with Lake Regional Hospital to revamp Nichols Road from the expressway to the Parkway because of the sudden increase in traffic after the new highway opened. The hospital would benefit and so would the city.

But now comes safety and longevity concerns about Nichols Road from the expressway to past Dude Ranch Road because a new elementary school is underway. The traffic count will skyrocket in a year, and some aldermen feel the road is too curvy, too narrow and inadequate to handle the anticipated load of vehicles.

How does the city pay for that?

I generally have empathy for aldermen as they tackle these issues. What they do is fundamentally volunteer work on behalf of the residents of their communities. It’s thankless.

Not enough time or energy to throw the Camden County Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission into the mix.

We as humans are quick to judge, quick to criticize, quick to throw stones. Keep an open line of communication with your aldermen, your trustees and your commissioners. They represent you. They really do want to know what you have to say.