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Laguna, the next nanny state?

Editor,

With the latest proposed ordinance to empower the police to confiscate the skateboards of helmet-less riders of any age and require offending juveniles to undergo a “counseling session”, perhaps we’ve finally reached a Gladwell-like tipping point on the intrusion of civic officials into how parents raise their kids in this town.

I have great memories of skating down Agate Street with my son and three daughters on cruiser boards we made together, and my son probably grinded every ledge and rail from E-Bay to Three Arch. Seeing out for my kids’ safety was always my, and their own, responsibility. Are there risks? Absolutely. Do I worry that something might happen? You bet. Will my kids always follow the rules? No way. (I sure hope not!) Do I think enforcement of superfluous, ineffective laws like this one is a good use of a police officer’s time? No, I don’t. Do I want the city council to get involved? Is that a serious question?

I have watched and supported good citizens, young and old, campaigning respectfully and energetically to the Council for at least 15 years to please build a skate park in this town, where multiple viable sites exist, only to be consistently turned town. And then the council members seem to wonder why they want to skate in the streets? If you’ve ever been to a skatepark you would know that 100% of the riders always have helmets on. Seems like the answer to this “problem” is pretty clear.

I’m thankful my kids are all grown and off to college or graduated and living elsewhere, so that they don’t have to deal with a second set of parents in the Council Chambers. I’m also thankful that this issue has come front and center shortly before the elections, so that the residents of this town have a chance to think about whether they want council members who focus on genuine and appropriate civic governance matters or on expansion of the nanny-state culture.

Thomas Berryman, Laguna Beach

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