Tubers, behave yourselves

We recognize the annual Labor Day tubing frenzy on the Sacramento River has gotten out of control, leading to environmental damage, the very real potential for death and injury, not to mention the further sullying of the Chico-area’s reputation for mindless mayhem among young people.

We devoted a cover story to the problem just two years ago. “Enough!” screamed the headline, which showed waves of trash, garbage and other debris that line the river’s banks when the holiday float is complete. And last year things may have been worse than any before.

But with that in mind, we still urge local officials to play by the rules and be fair to the tubers, who are mostly young people out for some summer-end fun. Don’t resort to selective prosecution. These kids are OK for the most part and deserve be treated that way.

On the other hand, the participants can buy themselves a lot of tolerance from authorities by acting within the confines of responsible social behavior and looking out for themselves and their fellow tubers. Don’t abuse alcohol, drugs, the authorities, the environment or each other.

In the wake of recent Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day debacles, the Labor Day float provides an opportunity to show the authorities that a big crowd does not automatically translate into trouble.

If there is disproportionate number of problems this year, look for new laws and a more severe crackdown on the tradition next year, possibly signaling the end to another longtime Chico trademark, which are quickly disappearing.