On Thursday, May 10 a ‘neighborhood’ meeting was held at Moulton Meadows Park. The meeting was called because Mayor Kelly Boyd, and Councilmen Steve Dicterow have been working tirelessly for months to finally get a skate park built here in Laguna Beach for our youth.
They were able to get the renowned Tony Hawk Foundation to consult for free and even be willing to attend the meeting in order to present information, answer questions, and give suggestions for problem solving the certain cons of the Moulton Meadows site.
As a proponent of a skate park being built here in Laguna Beach, and someone who lives a block from Moulton Meadows, I, my husband and our three sons attended the meeting. I was looking forward to the discourse, the sharing of ideas. I was ready to listen and actually hear what the opposition’s position was. As much as I personally would love a skate park at Moulton Meadows, I understood that it might not be an ideal spot. I expected that a healthful debate and discussion would ensue.
Unfortunately what occurred was despicable and shameful. I still can’t believe what my children were witness to. From the first rage-filled speaker that approached the microphone and the subsequent 20 plus more…the tirade was truly out of control. The issues raised were not just the possible parking issue, possible impact on the environment, or litter (which I expected, and was concerned for myself), a lot of focus was around the stereotype of the skateboarder themselves. The “profiling” of the skateboard youth was steeped with comments about the “certain” drug usage, the cigarette smoking, the unlawful activity, the fights that could break out. “We don’t want that kind here in our neighborhood!”
That ‘kind’ was standing right there. About 30 kids showed up, all skaters. All were members of our community. All good kids! I know every one of them personally. They stood by as they were discussed like they were invisible. When the Tony Hawk Foundation tried to intercede they were heckled and told “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You’re no expert!” The entire meeting was a travesty, and not because ultimately it was decided that the location of Moulton Meadows was no longer an option. But because the youth present had to bear witness to arguably some of the worse behavior I have ever seen by adults.
Kimberly OBrien-Young, Laguna Beach