I have to admit I was rather surprised when I picked up a copy of your fine paper and learned that I was suing the city of Laguna Beach. (“Skateboarding Ban OK’d on 8 Steep Streets,” April 8). I wish staff writer Rita Robinson had taken the time to get her facts straight before making such an accusation because, well, accusing anyone of threatening a lawsuit on the front page of a newspaper is a pretty serious thing to do. I now have to question the accuracy of future articles I read that are written by Ms. Robinson, but we’ll save that for another discussion.
At least she quoted me correctly. I did say, “If you ban hills in the city where this sport was born, I personally will challenge it.” But, if she had taken the time to ask me, she would have learned what the Saddleback News reporter learned, what the Channel 2 News reporter learned and what all of my friends and family and fellow supporters of freedom I’ve been working with all this time already knew.
What I’ve been saying all along is that if this council bans streets in Laguna Beach to skateboarding, I will personally skateboard down one or more of those same streets and call the police on myself while I’m doing it. I’ll take my ticket to court like a man, plead not guilty and take it from there. I’ll probably lose. I’m not a stupid man, but who knows. Maybe sound arguments will make sense to the judge. If not, perhaps some large company like Nike, Hobie, Sector 9 or any other of those involved in this wonderful sport and pastime will take notice, step up to the plate and lend a patriotic hand. You never know. Stranger things have happened.
In the meantime, this council is turning all of us who love skateboarding into “geographical” criminals. If the 3-2 majority of this council wants to “justify” their unconstitutional hijacking of our personal liberties under the false premise of “safety” on one street as opposed to any other street, than they better go ahead and ban skateboarding on all streets in Laguna Beach. You can’t have it both ways. Safety on a skateboard is directly tied to an individual’s equipment and their skill level. (Just like every other current mode of transportation). I can fall off a skateboard and break a bone, crack my head open, or get hit by a car on a 2 percent grade just as easily as I can on any other steeper grade. Period.
Furthermore, I don’t believe that my right to transport myself on a public roadway can be taken away based upon the size or number of wheels I’m traveling on. And there’s more! But I’ll save that for court.
I was not the only person trying to make these points. So many wonderful citizens including moms and dads and kids stood and plead for common sense and freedom to prevail over nanny-state government politics and police-state socialism. We clearly outnumbered those on the other side of the aisle and not a single lie, misleading statement or over exaggeration was uttered by any one of us. The same can not be said about those aligning themselves with the so called Speedboarding Neighborhood Action Group (SNAG) who’s very first letter in the acronym of their name is in and of itself an ignorant, outright lie.
Toni Iseman, Jane Egly and especially Elizabeth Pearson (who should’ve known better) really ought to be ashamed of themselves. They had the majority opposed, but no… Iseman and Egly’s idea of democracy prevailed here; back room deals and favors to friends, not the duty to represent the majority of the people they serve.
Most telling to me was when I watched Iseman act like a little queen, sitting in the center of the dais and with full, unadulterated arrogance ordered the citizens she works for and is supposed to represent, (and I quote), “Sit down and shut your mouths!”
So, here we are. Faced with yet another liberty gone. No Frisbee, no smash ball, no sandcastles on the beach if they have a moat. No tiki torches, no backyard fire pits, no fishing, no squirting off your driveway, no skateboarding in my back yard and it just goes on and on.
I “will” challenge this insane ordinance and I hope some of you reading this today will join me. You know who you are.
Peter J. French, Laguna Beach