Skater's Point

Paul Wellman

Skater's Point

City Beats Strategic Retreat in Struggle over Skater’s Point

Skate Park to Reopen Early After Cut Chains Tuesday Night

Originally published 11:00 a.m., July 3, 2013
Updated 9:00 p.m., July 3, 2013
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Editor’s Note: This story was modified at 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening to include new information.

Santa Barbara Parks officials have opted to beat a strategic retreat in their no-win battle with defiant skateboarders, announcing that the waterfront skate park — which was shut down for alleged hooliganism Monday afternoon — would be reopened on July 4. When the park closure was first announced, the plan was to keep the waterfront skate park closed until Friday, July 5.

A skater grinds along a rail even with the chains in place
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

A skater grinds along a rail even with the chains in place

“In all honesty, I don’t think we had the resources to keep the park closed,” conceded city parks czar Nancy Rapp. “Every time we put up barriers, the minute staff left the site, they [the skateboarders] would take them down.” On Tuesday night, for example, young skaters used bolt cutters to snip the thick chains installed by Parks and Recreation employees and laid over the park surface in a crisscross pattern to make skating all but impossible. Rapp said as many as 50 skaters then occupied the skate facility — shut down the day before for rowdy, threatening behavior — and began skating. The police, she said, were called. Before that, efforts to block off the park by installing wooden barricades to the entrance were challenged when young skaters smashed the barricades and yanked down the “No Skating” signs.

Rapp added that with tens of thousands of people thronging to the beach for the Fourth of July, the last thing City Hall needed was an unresolved on-again-off-again skirmish taking place at the skate park. Police resources are typically tied up on other matters, and in the event of a gang altercation — a sometime occurrence during Fourth of July festivities — the distraction could prove problematic. In the meantime, she said, more rangers and police officers would be dispatched to the area in hopes of keeping the peace. She also said that prominent personalities involved in the local and national skateboard scene — some of whom helped get the park started 12 years ago — have pledged to reach out to skaters to help calm the otherwise turbulent waters.

Wooden barricades meant to close the park were moved or destroyed
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Wooden barricades meant to close the park were moved or destroyed

According to Rapp, problems started Sunday when skaters began throwing water balloons at patrons and artists at the regular Sunday art show adjacent to the park. In addition, water balloons were reportedly lobbed at traffic going by on Cabrillo Boulevard. A city park worker who sought to restore order was pelted with water balloons multiple times and was later encircled by a handful of skaters when he sought to empty the park. One of them rushed him only to jump off his board at the last moment when the parks worker put his hands up in a defensive manner. Police were called Sunday night — and multiple times since — and by Monday noon, the decision was made to shut down the heavily used park at least through the Fourth of July, when large crowds congregate nearby. “It’s one thing to throw water balloons,” said Rapp. “This is not the first time water balloons have been thrown. But this definitely crossed a line, and we needed to send a message.” She added, “What I found galling was the total lack of respect shown city staff, rangers, and police.” The park was open Wednesday for a regularly scheduled skate camp but closed down immediately after.

City officials no longer monitor the park to ensure that helmet and pads rules are enforced, and Skater’s Point operates as a drop-in facility. In the past, park monitors were routinely ignored, derided, and were all but impossible to keep on payroll. For the most part, Rapp said, the park operates well, providing a much-needed spot for skaters. “It’s a very, very popular park,” Rapp said. “It gets lots of use.”

With the chains clipped, skaters ride into the park
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

With the chains clipped, skaters ride into the park

Some skaters — and their supporters — are concerned City Hall might be responding excessively to the provocation. Throwing water balloons on a hot summer day is hardly the end of the world — nor all that new — they say, and skaters should not necessarily be blamed for the behavior of people who happen to be hanging around the park. As for allegations of drug sales, they say, the same could be said for almost any park in the city. With large crowds and intense demand, they say, some form of City Hall presence — however feckless and futile it might seem — serves a useful function.

Relations between experienced and less experienced skaters can get bumpy from time to time, and skaters are known to get rowdy. Over the years, Rapp said, she’s had to close the park before to restore order. This time, she said, there were several separate groups of individuals involved in problematic behavior — balloon throwing, intimidating skating, and reportedly drug slinging — and they all were egging each other on.

The events of the last few days, said Rapp, would trigger a new round of discussions about the skate park. “The problems aren’t new at all. We have kids who act out from time to time,” she said. “It’s a dilemma. I’m not saying there are solutions that are anything other than costly.” She said the park could be reconfigured so that the entrances and exits are more controllable; city staff could be stationed there full time. “But is that what we want? And do we have the resources?” she asked.

Despite the immediate difficulties, Rapp expressed pride in the success of the park, noting that most cities have located their skate parks in their industrial hinterlands. By contrast, Rapp said, Santa Barbara chose to locate its park “right in our front yard.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

They've been trying to shut down Skater's Point since it opened. All the problems listed happen on State St. everyday, shut down State St. to EVERYONE, Re-open Skater's Point.

Kudos to the enterprising skaters who cut the chains.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 11:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Everything for tourists, nothing for locals.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 11:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It looks like Rapp's agenda or mismanagement is what led to conditions to boil over. There was never a reason to shut down the park to begin with.. And what exactly is "intimidating skating"?? Maybe she's the problem.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 12:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

City Hall continues its assault against health and recreation.

We need a new P&R chief who will stand up to the out of shape city council.

Water ballons. Hilarious.

Water ballons are considered rowdy behavior? Really? Cops?

Ridiculous. Skaters Rock!!!

Georgy (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 12:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not willing to lay this whole problem on the City's doorstep. In fact there a couple of problems here. The first is the same problem you have at popular and highly accessible surfing spots when you get a crowd of surfers of widely varying skill levels and the waves are not intense enough to sort everyone out. It is a dangerous recipe for injury, equipment damage, short tempers, and testosterone fueled violence. The surfing community has not fixed that problem and I don't expect the skating community will be any more successful. However, since the City owns this skate park, we expect the City to come up with a magic solution. Good luck with that. Secondly, I imagine that parents who take their kids to skate in the park are not thrilled to see young ne'r-do-wells openly smoking pot and exchanging it for cash, kind of ruins the wholesome sporty ambience a little. So parents complain and expect the City to be the culture police at the skate park, which the City owns. These two problems will not be easily solved, but I would suggest that the skaters make an attempt to solve them before the jackhammers come out.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 12:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The real solution is MORE skate parks, especially out of the tourist zones so we don't have to deal with them.
Eckermann is quite correct about various skill levels etc. as well as various ages, there are people in their 50s and 60s and older who do more than just cruise . Another reason for more parks to serve the neighborhoods instead of pouring everyone into one. (Which I strongly suggest remain open if SB wants to retain any credibility at all)
Some people like to dismiss skateboarding/culture as some sort of child's past time, which it stopped being circa 1960. To be fair, it's perhaps because all some people see is advertising which always feature youth.
In addition is less oppressive communities you see whole families skating to the store together, etc.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well Ken, I not saying that more skate parks is not a good idea. It is a good idea and I would support it. But I would not count on additional parks solving the problems that exist at this one. There are no fewer than 20 surf spots between County Line and Rincon in Ventura County, yet go to the Ventura Point on any given weekend when there are waves and it will be a mad house of several hundred surfers in the water (don't even talk to me about Rincon). The other spots will be crowded as well. I would guess that if we built three or four additional skate parks, we would continue to see the crowd driven problems. Also, the cultural conflicts between the parents of younger skaters and the pot smoking crowd would then be multiplied by three or four. I guess the City could designate parks as beginners, intermediates, and advanced (maybe even have a stoner park -haha), but then enforcement of the categories would be impossible (the stoner park would be very popular). Yes to more skate parks, but let's not fool ourselves that adding parks would solve the current problems.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 2:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

we need more skate parks and we need a few bike parks. There should be beginner and expert sections at each one ideally. In my opinion the Art Walks section on the pier side of the skate park is a bad idea. it creates too much walking/tourist traffic in a generally high traffic area. Try to ride your bike on the "bike" path through there and you will be blocked by many people looking at art and standing in the bike path. yes I know it is multi use, but it is a through traffic path not a stand around in big group path. So -- get the Art Walk traffic away from the pier and the skate park to start. get a bike park to separate the bmx from the skaters or have bike hours like there are kids hours. maybe create a volunteer skaters point advocacy group that is willing to manage the park or fund raise to pay a manager/security. maybe even charge for use like they do at the Muni Tennis courts. All said and done though the behavior was not acceptable and is unfortunate that people think it is Ok to act that way.

toadalee (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 3:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What everybody is failing to understand except Eckermann is that the "Skate park" is not the problem, it's the disrespectful youth of today. Building more, separating experience levels, segregating stoners from lovers will not stop the issues plaguing the park. Until the values of respect are raised nothing will change no matter how many parks you build. THAT, is the sad truth of today. Everybody expects something for nothing then complains when they get shut down. Sad......

Priceless (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 3:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Close it down. We have no time, money or patience for this. Either the skaters themselves find a way to operate this under strict guidelines for safety and conduct or else plant it full of petunias.

It was intended to be a gift to the young people in this town when so many well-meaning volunteers installed this facility. It is now a public nuisance. What is that old rule about few appreciating anything given to them for free?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

People of all ages skateboard. The public nuisances are the tourists in many cases who wander around drunk and cause problems.
Here's a great, brief history of skateboarding locally.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 5:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's be frank, Marty Blum and her fellow Yankee invaders have been trying to shut down Skater's Point since before it was even built; and will use any excuse to inflict their East Coast idea of California culture upon us and shut it down.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 5:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

can't agree with clueless foo who writes "Close it down." I support re-opening Skater's Point, and often bike by. However, KV, there certainly have been several occasions when it WAS out of control, the booze & weed & aggressive behavior of SOME harshing the mellow of many others, skaters and non-skaters. But you're correct about Blum & the Yankees with their E. Coast crap. Eckermann has good ideas.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 6:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah I vote Eckermann. Watch s/he's from the East Coast!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 6:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have a suggestion that may solve the problem:

I nominate the learned and astute MR. Ken Volok to be the new park caretaker - think about KV, all those young minds to enlighten and you'll still have plenty of time to hang out here and illuminate the rest of us.

What do you say? (Sounds like paradise to me!)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 6:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well Ken, while I have lived in a lot of places, most of my life I have spent in good old Southern California. In fact the only time I have ever been to the East Coast is for a few short visits. The reason that I am sympathetic to the skaters is that my generation invented the art on clay wheels. We made boards in wood shop in high school and when neoprene wheels came out we discovered the hillside roads, culverts, and empty swimming pools of Southern California. I've got the scars and don't regret a single one of them. But we always tried to be discrete and not bother people. In fact, we did not even want to be noticed, always looking for the untraveled and newly paved hillside street, the empty pool in the vacant house, the remote but steep culvert. We were like surfers in search for that elusive secret spot. Those days are gone, the new generation could take a hint in discretion.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 7:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The lesson learned from this fiasco is if you don't like the regulation(s), then trash them and smash the wood gate, cut the city's chains and drag them to the Mission Creek overflow. The city's rules don't apply to me and the city administrators can just f. off. See the pictures from this afternoon in edhat:

This park should be shut down and moved from the waterfront area. It has nothing to do with the waterfront environment; quite the contrary, in fact. If it is to stay there, admission fee should be charged to fund a monitor, one strong enough to not get beat up as happened to a prior monitor. Jim Armstrong, ultimately responsible for this decision to shut down the park and then open it this evening in response to the skaters trashing, should move on to retirement; wouldn't hurt at all to take the senior Parks&Rec staff with him.

at_large (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 8:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ok, so the City lost the game of chicken with a bunch of adolescents and the PD was unwilling to back up the City. It is always tough to lose a bluff, but in poker you just move on to the next hand. If the skaters take this as a signal that bad behavior is acceptable, they are risking the destruction of the park. Be careful skaters. Remember, that park was built with public funds and exists only as long as the City wants it there. Maybe you should go back to the hillside streets, pools, and culverts. They were more fun anyway.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 8:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, the big lockdown is always the way to go! (If you're a typical mouth breather, that is.)

Why not just allow someone to park their trailer or RV there in return for keeping an eye on things? Why does everything always revolve around fees, salaries and pensions when the control freaks look for a solution to social problems?

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 8:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The newest gang in town put it to City Hall - Skate Park Punks 1, SBPD teamed with Parks & Rec 0. Agree with at_large and Eckermann. A terrible precedent was set today when contemptuous vandals broke in and took control, then saw there would be no consequences. In fact, they got rewarded. If Armstrong and Co. buckle on such a little deal, a gang injunction is truly a joke. Turn the skate park over to a concessionaire who will monitor it properly since its clear this city can't, and the users won't (unless Ken decides to volunteer to babysit).

anemonefish (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 9:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why don't one of you entrepreneurial skaters or skating fans open your own park with your own money. The you can establish whatever rules you want. OR, you can have a park with absolutely no rules.

That way, you won't be using my tax money to build, maintain, and monitor it. Everybody wins.

BellaG (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 9:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Duh, because "your" tax money's already been spent.

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 9:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The solution is to take a bulldozer to the thing. Rewarding lawbreakers is absolutely the worst thing to do.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 10:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah, right... knuckling under to "lawbreakers" is ALWAYS the wrong thing to do. Unless of course, the the lawbreakers happen to be in some foreign country that the US or NATO wants to invade - in that case, the government targeted for regime change must immediately allow total anarchy or risk being bombed back to the stone age.

Straight out of the mouth breather/hypocrite playbook. YAY!

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 10:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm thinking that area would make a nice reflecting pool with a fountain for the skaters to vandalize next...

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 10:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany, should all buildings and other structures associated with lawbreakers be bulldozed? Wouldn't that put say.. The Mission de Santa Barbara on the chopping block?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 10:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gosh, the last park monitor got beat up trying to enforce the rules. Surely you do not wish this upon the poor, defenseless Mr KV.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 10:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The park was a gift to the city from volunteers. Read their names on the plaque.

Yes, it is right to take the gift back since the recipients kicked the gift-givers in the teeth. City only regrouped due to the heavy police demand for the July 4th holiday; they did not retreat.

Lots of anger out there that will translate into major changes on city council this November. You can bank on this.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 11:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I dunno, KV's got a pretty hard head - maybe it could use some "tenderising".

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 11:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Guess what, the volunteers who gifted the park are all skateboarders, some pretty important ones at that. And yes foo, we do look forward to no longer having Hotchkiss on the City Council- good riddance.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 3, 2013 at 11:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eckerman: I don't think blaming the police is right in this situation. ("Ok, so the City lost the game of chicken with a bunch of adolescents and the PD was unwilling to back up the City.") My impression from last evening was that the police were told what to do....

The responsibility is on the Parks Dept. to have and to have had yesterday an employee there. Just one keeping an eye on what's going on would have made a big difference, both in what happened and in educating the youth. (However, not all there were youth....) The Parks Dept. budget has just increased this past year!

Instead, they chose to lock and leave ... and then give in to the vandals, a relatively small number of those hanging about yesterday afternoon. ...It will be interesting to see if Parks Commissioner Chair Lesley Wiscomb, who's so visibly running for council, has anything to say on this fiasco.

at_large (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 8:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Water ballons are soooo dangerous!!!!! Call the cops.

Georgy (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 9:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You are probably right At Large and perhaps my insinuation that the PD just did not want to assign the necessary presence to enforce the closure was misplaced. I find it ironic that there are apparently enough police officers to shut down the beach in Isla Vista for an entire weekend, but not enough to shut down a skate park. That said, as I previously observed, temporary closures will not solve the problems at the skate park and I doubt the City will be able solve them either. Having a Parks employee present has been tried and didn't work because of the constant abuse the poor person received. I believe the volunteers in the skating community who put the energy into creating this park, need to step up and reach out to the skaters to develop some etiquette and decorum. It wouldn't take a bunch of rules, just some basic good behavior guidelines sort of like the custom of not dropping in on a surfer who has position on a wave. Oh yeah, that little vestige of old fashion etiquette doesn't get observed on crowded days either. Oh well, at least you can try.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 9:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

it does have to be controlled, and Eck's idea of having veteran and savvy skaters do this sort of ethical counseling. When I've been biking on the bikepath right there I've met plenty of cool skaters, but also A-hles who block the bikepath, taunt the geezer, and harass passers-by. Keep the park, stop this sht.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 10:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I suppose I'm terribly old-fashioned, but phrases like "...didn't work because of the constant abuse the poor person received..." says plenty to me. If there are so many louts and bullies in the crowd that a city staffer can't take it, then there's something fundamentally wrong. If the grown-up skateboard community (and that's not necessarily age-based) wants to take that in hand and show how it should be, great. If those whose businesses profit greatly of the skateboard business want to assume some responsibility for what they put on the streets, wonderful. The fact is that Rapp closed that park briefly because of dangerous aggressive behavior that endangered the public; water balloons startle and hurt people. It was a consequence. If the skaters are such spoiled children that they can't see the problem and back off for a couple of days, close it permanently. She was wrong to buckle in the face of bullying vandals and should be replaced for that reason, not for the closure. That park is a privilege, not a right. It was a gift, but not an entitlement. The sponsors need to step up again since our city administration apparently cannot. No wonder bums and ex-cons love this town. Intimidation works.

anemonefish (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 10:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How much of the initiating incident was caused by the tourists? Why is it assumed they are innocent?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 11:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Water Ballons have been thrown every 4th of July from a rooftop on Helena . I suspect this year will be no different!!! Surfs up!!! Get the hint!!!

oldtimer (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ps,, don't assume these all balloons are thrown by kids,, the guy I'm talking about is 65 . Surfs up,,, O,,,

oldtimer (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 1:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why was the person who got water ballooned a target? What happened prior?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 1:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Rapp was faced with the need for a strategic retreat for this weekend. Happens even to good generals who go on to win the war. Skaters are the ones who turned this into a war; not Rapp.

Yes, good kids would have accepted the cooling down period that was critical before the start of this holiday weekend. Narcism is not self-esteem. The line between the two is thin. I think a generation got confused. Helicopter parents need to land for a time out and re-group too.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 4:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

City will be left with no choice other than shut Skaters Paradise down if hooliganism doesn't immediately stop because that's what tax paying public require.

SBLifer (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 11:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It appears to me that these skaters must be being doing okay in school and absorbing their history lessons. Especially the parts about American's responsibilities associated with civil disobedience.

P.S. Way, way back back in 1975, SMHS shut down a day early because, after yearbooks didn't arrive, the campus broke out into a HUGE water balloon fight on a very hot June day. As everyone rushed to the parking lots, there were smiling sheriffs leaning against their cars with their red lights on just waiting for someone to race out into the street.

passagerider (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 11:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I definitely see this as a civil disobedience protest, skateboarding as speech.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2013 at 11:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's just another alcohol fueled vandalism.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 5:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Watching them cut the chains, I didn't think it was alcohol-fueled, simply an attitude of f... the city, this place is mine! At the same time, it was not all of the skaters there doing that.

Something wrong with Rapp's thought processes here, "... Rapp expressed pride in the success of the park, noting that most cities have located their skate parks in their industrial hinterlands. By contrast, Rapp said, Santa Barbara chose to locate its park “right in our front yard.”

The location is a major part of the problem. That noisy and often disruptive thing should not be in the city's front yard, as she put it, but, indeed, in an industrial, already noisy area. AND if the city has a park, it has the obligation of monitoring it in the same way as the city harbor has an active harbor patrol.

at_large (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 8:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Everyone seems to forget rule of law. No consequences for those that damaged city property. Nice examples for our young generation. Cut stuff, break stuff, no consequences. Just the opposite, get rewarded.

The park is a gift to the community. It also carries responsibilities for those who want to use it. It sucks 10% who are the disrespecful idiots can lead to serious consequences, like possibly have it closed, but be responsible and respectful, or lose it.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 9:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

With regards to Rapp's leadership. She is defnitely no Richard Johns or Bill Bertka. Both outstanding Directors of the Parks and Recreation Department. Well, back then Parks was it's own beast under Mr. Ambrose (I think that was his name). The department has been in decline ever since she took this position. Unfortunately, the way the City works, it seems a version of nepotism exists. If we were ever lucky enough to have her retire, odds are one of her hand picked underlings would get promoted. Keeping this sad status quo.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 9:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"That noisy and often disruptive thing" all the tourists and their attendant toys aren't noisy and disruptive? Who's city is this anyways!?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 9:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I grew up skating in the 80s and 90s and the world was a totally different place then. Skateboarding was outlawed everywhere and myself and my friends - despite the fact that we were drug and alcohol free and just looking to have a good time riding our boards - were routinely hassled by cops, security guards and other representatives of authority. One Friday evening, I was sat on a curb and lectured by a cop for being out skateboarding, instead of at a party like a "normal" kid... seriously.

Anyways, the world today is totally different and now, as the father of two young boys who have avidly taken up skateboarding down at Skater's Point, I'm blown away by how much the skateboarding scene has changed. Sure, there are still young kids acting out - like the water balloon thing here - but in general, the overall scene at Skater's Point is incredible. EVERYONE there looks out for one another, the little kids cheer each other up when one of them falls, and the older guys set a very positive tone. It's nothing like skating was growing up, and far far better.

I agree with the sentiment that the solution here is more skateparks, not less. Skateboarding is huge and isn't going through boom/bust phases any more... it's here to stay. The facilities require little maintenance and obviously the skateboarders themselves care very much about them. Let's stop demonizing these people, there are many generations in the park these days and you're a fool if you think it's just a bunch of punk kids.

surfimp (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Trouble at Skaters' Point:

Is this another “tragedy of the commons” example? Or simply a point where the park’s population has shifted to a majority of people who see rules as optional? Should the City be enforcing the rules more effectively, discouraging rule breakers from using the park? Should the skaters get together and enforce the rules that would prevent the situation from getting out of control? Can a civil society of skaters accomplish that?

When Skaters’ Point was built, it was seen as a way to prevent skateboarding through the downtown (which was already illegal). Skaters who were breaking the law could find a better place to skate where it was legal and fun. And so the founding moment for the park was to give people who were already OK with breaking the law (it’s a minor offense) a space of their own. Expecting them to follow City rules in this space on their own is perhaps not a great idea.

Still, it would be nice if all skaters could respect a time in the park for little kids to use it safely, and perhaps this is something that the skaters themselves could agree upon.

I had one of the first Hobie fiberglass skateboards back in the 60s...with clay wheels. Ouch. rode a lot of places I was not supposed to. Never hit anyone.

bcaron (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 12:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The problem with criminalizing skateboarding downtown is that it ignores the fact that many many people use skateboards for transportation. (Demonstrated in my film "Land of Milk and Honey" for disbelievers.) Cars injure more people than skateboards and I've been hit by bicyclists twice!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 12:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

welll, my observations biking in town reveal far more cyclists than skateboarders, and I've been biffed by boarders while walking.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 1:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We only want to criminalize trespassing and vandalism of city property.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 1:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I hope the skateboarders SUE everyone involved. The Parks, Dept, The City, the Police, the Tourists...SUE EM ALL!

Byrd (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 2:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I only want to criminalize making the few freedoms we have left, a crime.

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 2:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Byrd: What would they sue them for - closure of a public facility for a few days due to health and safety concerns?

P&R has suffered noticeably from the decline in city revenues due to excessive city spending on bloated staffing in other departments, loss of tax generating downtown economic vitality due to vagrant takeovers, extra policing required by vagrant campouts in the parks and un-family friendly activity, and highly expensive but unproven eco-demands like IPM on park maintenance.

None of which have been Rapp's doings - she was required to carry out the directions of past city councils that let all this befall our beloved city park system, which she inherited.

One more example of city council priorities gone entirely wrong. Change the city council majority; and we change our parks for the better. Please put in council members who will put our city parks back as a primary city priority. We love them and they need our full, concentrated attentions.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 2:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sue the Taxpayers Association too, buncha terrorists.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 2:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Some nerve of the taxpayers, to want value for their tax dollars.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 3:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Some nerve of the skateboarders to expect something for their local tax dollars.
As if the SBTA actually represented the citizenry!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 3:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And exactly what "value" would taxpayers expect? Without total control, it has no value to Mr and Mrs taxpayer? Is that really what you're saying?

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Skateboarders have a right to expect areas that are designated for skateboarding to be kept safe and in compliance with the law. If they can't feasibly do both, then shutting it down is the prudent thing to do.

If someone gets injured or killed as a result of this hooliganism at the skateboard park, who are they going to go after, the hooligan? HAH!!! They'll go after the taxpayers.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 4:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

With that rationale, if it's the tourists who are making things unsafe, maybe we should shut down the tourist industry. How many people are injured by tourists vs skateboarders every weekend?
Or by your same rationale bars would also be shut down. And the fact that many people use skateboards for transportation isn't addressed. Nor has what instigated water ballooning to begin with and what is being blown out of proportion by people who's agenda is to shut down the park.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 5:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Your "logic" is pointless to argue with. The topic is the skateboard park, not the kitchen sink which you seem to want to throw in.

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 5:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's as fair Botany.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 5:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When there is a known and specific hazard and the city doesn't comply with their own regulations: i.e. conduct at the skate park, then the city does become liable (aka - taxpayers pay and city insurance rates go up).

There is little defense the city can offer when someone is harmed as a direct result of their negligence, such as not enforcing posted skate park guidelines.

This has nothing to do with the random accidents to tourists KV; except if they get run down by skateboarders on the sidewalls when the city choses again not to enforce their own regulations.

The city is the deep pocket no matter how culpable the perpetrator is in the commission of the harm. (aka - taxpayers pay)

KV does love to argue the false dichotomy, but is far too transparent so it is just annoying. He is the nipping terrier hungry for attention; bestowed instead upon the more sanguine resident poodle on these pages. We feed KV; he barks. His online life is in our hands.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 7:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can't we just exile children to Australia from ages 12 to 25?

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 7:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Without proper policing, the skate park will close permanently because teenage high school boys are the dumbest f*cks on the planet. All attitude, no brains.

Kids/teenagers should be paying to enter the skate park. $5/hr per person. Hire security with the payments, or the lawyers will do their job and represent injured skaters against the city.

khiggler (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo you big flirt.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 7:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

for foo-lish it's always about $ and his tax burden and "The city is the deep pocket no matter how" stupid whoever is and boo hoo..oh no, I'll have to pay more. Deal with it, foo.
Botany, you write "Some nerve of the taxpayers, to want value" for their money, but much of this discussion is about "value" ... there is high value in having Skater's Point open, despite my occasional irritation with some of their shenanigans in the nearby bikepath. Skaters need this place.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 8:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hoo boy, the control freak mentality always wins! Lets just go back to the days when girls wore chastity belts. And for the boys, I say fit 'em with those cool new stun belts like the gov used in the Moussaoui trial!

(Because if the city doesn't follow its own regs, blah, blah, blah - yeah right, like the city doesn't selectively enforce all sorts of rules and regs as a matter of conveniance.)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 8:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think you're right, khiggler. The City clearly doesn't want to pay for a monitor; if they paid a decent wage for this job, they wouldn't have such have such a hard time staffing it, the jerks would have to shut up and the majority of skaters could have fun. Even $1 per entry would cover it, I bet. And if people are openly smoking or dealing, the cops should come, right? Is that really a problem? I stop by there with my daughter just to watch, and we never see anything creepy going on, though we did notice the helmets disappeared, which made me glad my child is a girl. I think our skate park down by the beach is one of the good things about SB. Putting it in some out of the way spot (many were considered and rejected) would only make hooliganism worse.

Nitz (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2013 at 8:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The water balloon thing is being taken a little lightly...seriously, what if Randy Johnson threw a water balloon at you? You are assuming it wouldn't hurt in the least because it would burst upon impact? Ok will not a lethal weapon, but they can do damage depending on how much you fill them, and how hard you throw them. What if a misplaced balloon hits a little old lady with a heart condition? That being said, I love watching the skaters get totally RAD! Unfortunately with the no pad enforcement sooner or later, someone is really going to get hurt and the city sued. I remember a couple of the parks in town that used to exist, you couldn't get in unless you had proper safety equipment. The very least should be that helmets are required.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2013 at 12:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

My high school kid now simply goes to the park early in the morning in order to avoid all of the low lifes. His best friend, who attends UCSB, does the same thing. Neither of these kids are sheltered or protected or dweebs.
The simple fact is that it is a mess and it is an attractive nuisance and we have let the idiots run the asylum. Charge a buck per skater; even the meth head twenty somethings I saw there yesterday can afford it.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2013 at 8:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How about just show an ID, if you live in certain zip codes skate on in. If not pony up.
Sounds like many of the complaints are about the hangers on which happen everywhere. I've had drunks offer me shots countless times on my way into the water to surf.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2013 at 11:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh, so even KV thinks skating is a privilege? Why not require a license and minimum age while you're at it? Of course, if you're going that far, might as well make 'em get full coverage insurance too.

(And jeepers, I sure hope I didn't make any mistakes for the ninnies to obsess over!)

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2013 at 12:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can poltergeists skateboard?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2013 at 12:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, now we have an APB for the vandals that cut the chain and kicked the boards down. But they only want bolt cutter guy and cammo board kicker dude. The pictures clearly (cop language) show other perpetrators. So lame. Of all the crap to go after. I wonder if they PD will kick their asses during the apprehension because the wielding skateboards and get us another lawsuit?

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 12:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I saw that, ridiculous. Let's ruin these kids lives because they wanted to skateboard in THEIR skate park.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 12:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A Skaterspoint monitor sounds like an ideal community service/alternative sentencing opportunity - possibly for someone with a skating related infraction or arrest, or any other skater, motivated to keep the place civil to keep it open and having a personal interest in doing an acceptable court-mandated job. Shutting it down shouldn't be an option. The city seems to favor imposing authoritarian anhedonism, but banning every normal activity will only increase antisocial behavior by the few and deprive most skaters of an awesome community resource. It's also a good way to keep incredibly talented skaters from improving skills and using talents that would be supported by government if they happened to be related to the brain-damaging all-American sport of football, rather than skateboards. I think a lot of the hostility by skaters, homeless people, vandals, etc, is a reflection of the hate and intolerance and control obsession and stereotyping by city government, SBPD, and a small vocal conservative faction in the community, and we'd all be better off if we acknowledge that we're all community members and focus on ways to get along than with how to alienate.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't consider cutting chains at skaterspoint vandalism, I think it was removing hazards, and I wasn't thinking of people who were involved in the current incident in the previous comment.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 9, 2013 at 2:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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