Parade policy provokes confusion


Editorial Board

At issue:Political candidates and campus groups have received conflicting instuctions about Hobo Day parade participation.

Our view:The Hobo Day Committee needs to set forth a clear parade policy from the beginning, and make sure everyone stays on the same page.

Parades are goldmines for those running for political office. Candidates can shake hands and kiss babies. It’s fun. It’s easy.

Our Hobo Day parade is the perfect event for those hoping to win votes. Thousands of people from across the state and around the area visit Brookings for the usual Hobo Day fun. It’s the perfect hunting ground, especially for candidates who need more exposure – the ones who don’t hold office yet.

On previous Hobo Days, candidates – elected or not – have walked along parade routes, passing out stickers and giving out candy.

But it seems that is going to change this year.

The parade’s bylaws contain a policy that states candidates cannot pass out literature and must stay in their vehicle throughout the parade route. It’s a pretty clear policy. But it seems it’s never been strictly enforced until this year’s Hobo Day Committee made a decision to stick to it.

Nice thought. But only if the entire committee is on the same page with the policy. And while it seemed like this year got picked as the enforcement time, it seems like nobody on the Hobo Day Committee thought to sit down and make sure everyone knew what the policy actually was.

Several political groups and candidates gunning for floats in the parade were told several different versions of what they could and couldn’t do during the parade. It’s been such a mess. No one really knows the Hobo Day Committee’s real stance on the matter.

Why can’t the committee clearly explain such a clear policy? It’s especially bad because this is an election year and candidates want to be a part of the parade.

They should have thoroughly talked through the matter so all members understood it enough to relay the policy to others.

Miscommunications do happen, but the policy is so murky now that the committee can’t enforce one at all.

The parade is worse for it, now. Nobody knows if they’ll get in trouble. Nobody knows what they should or should not do when it comes to shaking hands or kissing babies.

Don’t ask the Hobo Day Committee, either. They don’t seem to know.

That has to change. And it needs to change now. The committee needs to figure out what went wrong, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Especially in an election year.

Instead, the committee should meet early next year to hammer out a policy, one they all understand and can easily deliberate, and let things be this year.

Theoretically, a parade policy is a good idea, as long as everyone understands what it means.