While security concerns may have been valid, Benton County's decision to cancel a low-rider car show at the fairgrounds was too abrupt.
The situation could have been handled better if county officials had tried to work something out with the organizers. Instead, they canceled the event without giving event planners any other options.
That's not a good way to do business.
The county's reasoning is that it found out after the contract was signed the car show also would include rap groups, and Kennewick police feared security would be inadequate.
Since the contract didn't include insurance coverage for concerts, county officials apparently felt justified in simply voiding it and canceling the event.
But that knee-jerk reaction was unnecessary. Why not amend the insurance policy, if that really had been necessary?
This is the first time the Tri-City chapter of the Rollerz low-rider car club had tried to hold a car show in the community, which meant the members also were novices at the process.
The event was scheduled for a Sunday, and the contract was canceled Tuesday. Surely that should have been enough time for event organizers to make adjustments in their plans so the show could go on. Get rid of the music, perhaps?
But they were never given that chance.
Instead, the contract was canceled -- end of discussion.
These kinds of car shows are common throughout the Northwest and around the country. People from Idaho, Spokane, Seattle and Portland had planned to attend, and then were disappointed at the sudden cancellation.
Natalie Waters had heard about the event from a flyer when she was at a low-rider car show in Moses Lake. She drove all the way from her home in Orofino, Idaho, to show her car, only to find the event was canceled.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I was so mad I decided I wasn't going to even buy gas in the Tri-Cities."
She didn't blame the Rollerz club, though. She called the name on the flyer and found out that club officials felt so badly about all the people who had shown up from out of town for the canceled car show, that they arranged a last-minute barbecue in Richland.
She said she went and it was like a mini car show. She said club members were trying really hard to make up for the fact the big show was canceled.
Jaime Contreras, treasurer of the Tri-City Rollerz club, said the county feared there was some kind of possible gang connection because of the rap music and the flashy cars.
But that's not the case at all, he said.
The Rollerz club had planned to make the event family friendly. There were going to be a bounce house for children, a food drive for Second Harvest and a booth where people could sign up as potential bone marrow donors for a club member's daughter who is battling a bone disease.
He said it seemed like county officials had their minds made up when they pulled the contract and didn't give them any other options to keep the car show going.
That's a shame.
The police did their job by trying to prepare for concert-type crowds and checking on security. And the county needs to be responsible and ensure events at the fairgrounds are safe.
But to jerk away an event without giving organizers a chance to work things out is wrong.
If county commissioners weren't involved in the decision, they should have been. The outcome certainly reflects on them.
In the future, the county at least needs to be willing to work with people without jumping to conclusions.