Open those minds

Lisa Provence authored a great article [News, "Detour, Bikers to skip Scottsville," August 22, 2002] ( that has indeed been a topic of great discussion in Scottsville.

The talk of the town has been supportive of the Mayor and the three councilors who supported the "Ride for Life." Of course there are those who would disagree, but they belong to a clique in which I do not have membership.

One of the most remarkable facets of the story is that there was no reason for the town to take a vote in the first place. Anybody with common sense, a trait that a few councilors and their supporters seem to lack, should have realized that motorcyclists have driver's licenses as well as vehicle registration on their bikes and need no permission from anybody to ride our public streets and highways and to visit our town.

The site that they had expressed an interest in using is owned and managed by Albemarle County Parks and Recreation. At no point in any of the open public discussions were the organizers of the "Ride for Life" told that they needed only to work with the County to use County property.

Nor were they or the public told that other groups– such as a Stanley Steamers club and a BMW group who have recently come to towndid not go before Council for permission. They were warmly welcomed into shops and restaurants throughout the town. Oddly, there are many motorcyclists who also visit our town in smaller groups throughout the year, although I would wager that few Council members have ever seen them.

Scottsville has had a lot of press recently about some of its enhancement projects, projects that are designed to bring more people as tourists and consumers to see and understand our history, shop in our stores, dine in our restaurants, enjoy recreational activities, and spend a relaxing evening in several inns. One the opposing councilors says time and again that Scottsville's reputation is known far and wide for its recent actions. I would whole-heartedly agree.

Discrimination should be a part of our past, not only in our nation but in our own small community. Open-mindedness and inclusion should direct our activities, as our Mayor attempted to do in casting the tie-breaking vote. I sincerely hope the group sponsoring the "Ride for Life" has not been scared away. Their cause is worthwhile.

Steven G. Meeks