Get Off My Lawn! Old People-Skateboarder Relations Go Downhill in Laguna Beach
Thursday night was a different story, however. At the monthly public meeting of the beachside city's Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee, debates raged between some of Laguna Beach's oldest residents and supporters of one of its oldest cultural institutions.
The talking point? Skateboarding, or a ban of it, to be exact.
Knowing the turnout would be larger than usual, the committee moved the meeting to the gym of Thurston Middle School. In all, about 80 people attended the meeting. Quotes from meeting after the jump.
Longtime Laguna Beach resident Alex Bernstein, despite not being a really old person, has led the charge for regulation of downhill skateboarding on hills with a three percent grade. The proposal would also limit skateboarding to 10 mph or less.
While Bernstein said he's also for allowing kids to continue skateboarding in Laguna Beach, he stated that the problems resulting from exceedingly dangerous situations.
Bernstein's proposal is not unlike past attempts in the city to curb the inherent danger of the sport and limit accidents. However, with a skating culture that is so ingrained in the fabric of Laguna Beach, and with a hilly terrain that beckons the city's young skaters to rocket down them as fast as possible, many skaters said at the meeting that an outright ban of the sport would do more harm than good.
The residents who were for the skateboarding ban were made up mostly of older folk, though there were a few concerned younger parents as well.
|From the Friends of Safe Skateboarding in Laguna Facebook page|
|Plenty of skateboarders and their parents attended the meeting.|
As you can imagine, once the committee opened the floor to public discussion, the arguments back and forth kind of resembled the first minute and a half of this scene from Good Will Hunting.
Or maybe this one from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
In any case, the crowd was definitely civil, with each person who stood up to speak giving his or her own thoughtful argument. Both sides produced solutions like regulating safety equipment for all skateboarders, limiting the times that skaters could be allowed on steep hills and installing facilities at which skaters could safely practice their sport.
The most serious spat came when Bernstein went over his allotted time of three minutes. Hisses and boos could be heard from the audience when he requested more time, which he was given.
Even with the vitriol, Bernstein continued on . . .