Piggybacking on recent federal demonstrations, protesters from El Dorado flooded Main Street Wednesday afternoon with an amorphous list of demands; toting golden nightsticks, hoisting silver water hoses, and raising heavily-decorated signs to show their displeasure with recent local goings on.
Demands stem from a citywide upset over a spike water rates, the decline in staff at the police department and the wine tent at the upcoming food and wine festival which their ministers have told them in frighteningly evangelical voices “is the blood of the Devil!”
“Why would they want to bring the Devil on us, man?” said one man, sporting a tie-dyed shirt with a green leaf on the front and a braided leather band holding his locks back from his pony-tailed beard.
Another, attired similarly and carrying a bronze water trough, expressed his concern with burgeoning water rates, explaining that at the increased price of bringing water to his residence he can no longer afford to maintain his “uh… garden.”
Others chanted their anger over the lack of police officers following a recent slew of vacancies at the El Dorado Police Department that haven’t been filled due to a continuing budget problem.
El Dorado Mayor Frank Hash, standing in front of the masses, a pained look on his face and a loosened tie around his neck, said he understood their concerns completely but couldn’t do anything about the lack of money for lowered water rates and more police and fire fighters.
“What can I say? The beer tent just didn’t bring in enough this weekend,” he said, adding that he hopes the wine sold at the upcoming food and wine festival will be enough to either keep water rates from raising another notch next year or to hire a part-time police officer to patrol Wal-mart where the EPD reports recent fights between stay-at-home moms over the last cantaloupe.
Ironically, the protests are expected to cost the city of El Dorado just over $1 million in overtime to pay the excess officers required downtown should the protest last even a week.
“At this rate, we may need to double water rates and host a vodka festival this winter just to stay within budget,” Hash said.