War on Skateboards
Unfortunately, I was in Japan when the City Council held the meeting on skateboarding last week. From all accounts that I’ve read and from first hand accounts, political freedom in Laguna Beach is in jeopardy.
Arbitrary leadership causes great turmoil in communities. When Toni Iseman, Elizabeth Pearson and their neighborhood cronies decide to hijack the political policy process of careful review and expert consideration, we teach our kids a horrible lesson in local civics.
SNAG (Speedboard Neighborhood Action Group) supporters aren’t hard to spot. Some of them have intentionally run our kids off the road with their cars and battle cries, “You’re a menace to society!” They’re terrorists.
Skateboarders showed up early to get front row seats and gave up those chairs for older folks opposed to skating. They weren’t thanked, and they weren’t given civil treatment. They were glared at, insulted and ramrodded.
Last year the city arranged a process for a panel of police and citizens that form the Parking and Transportation Committee (PTC) to review the skateboarding issue and provide the city council with a recommendation. That process enabled citizens on both sides of the issue to provide data, suggestions and other input. The skateboarders showed up and impressed the committee with their data and progress. SNAG was represented by one person who simply called the kids’ names.
The PTC recommended helmets for kids under 18, following the traffic laws, skating with traffic on hills and no banned hills. Smart, simple and it included a six-month review.
The Laguna Beach Police Department made follow-up recommendations to ban four large hills in town.
Toni Iseman and Elizabeth Pearson decided to ignore all of the advice of city experts and review committees in favor of their neighbors and contributors. That’s the town we live in. Will to power.
Now SNAG is pushing the envelope. In a follow up meeting organized by Kelly Boyd, where pro-skateboard supporters proposed testing the PTC and police recommendations for six months, SNAG representatives said they will not be happy unless skateboarding is banned on all hills over a five percent grade (most of Laguna Beach). They’re happy to go after bikes too if necessary.
The mayor demonstrated that following our local process is a waste of time. The elderly are setting a terrible example of self-interest and uncivil behavior. Bernstein, Iseman and Pearson have declared war on personal freedom in favor of personal interests. Is this Laguna Beach or Laguna Woods?
David Vanderveen is a Laguna Beach resident, husband, father and energy drink entrepreneur. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.