The temptation is ever-present for those with the reins of government, no matter how small, to use that power for whatever problem (real or imaginary) that appears on the horizon. As my colleague Dr. Roy Cordato observed recently, "When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."
Without a principled approach to the proper uses of government (for that is the hammer analog), those who would use that power to better their communities often end up making things worse, hammering away at everything they deem a problem, regardless of whether it has any business being addressed by government. This is Raleigh's problem right now.
The most recent non-nail to come to the Raleigh City Council's attention? Try this:
City Council members are considering asking state lawmakers for permission to ban smoking in public parks.
The city's Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board last week passed a resolution calling for a smoking ban in city-owned parks, and the City Council might review that request next week. ...
A parent complained to Mayor Charles Meeker last year about the large number of cigarette butts near the playground at Pullen Park, prompting a study of the problem that culminated in the advisory board's resolution.