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Mailbag: Council did the right thing on skateboarding

March 24, 2011

What an amazing night! Tuesday night in Laguna Beach, a town came together. Democracy was out in full force, and a community banded together around their children. It was truly a thing of beauty!

I felt it only fair to write to the paper with something positive to report. As I have written in the past with words of anger and outrage, I needed to vent now with feelings of pride.

Kudos to the City Council for bringing about a compromise for both sides of the issue. Neither side got entirely what they wanted, but that is what compromise is all about. I for one have a renewed faith in our council members.

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Oh, and the kids — if you did not see it in person, words cannot describe how amazing they were. From 5 p.m. until 11 p.m., they maintained their decorum in a mature and intelligent fashion. They stepped up to the microphone one after another, telling their name, age, school and for many that they were on the honor roll.

They were all downhill skateboarders who came to speak from their hearts. I get emotional as I write this, as I remember them that night.

They are our future leaders in this community, and if last night was any indicator, the writing on the wall for our future is stellar!

Kimberly O'Brien-Young

Laguna Beach

Skateboarding capital

First, let me say that I have no horse in this race. I do not skateboard. I do not have children. I do not live on any of the hill streets.

Tuesday night, I watched the City Council meeting on television. There were a couple of dozen people who spoke against the proposed ban on skateboarding, and six or seven who spoke in favor.

The council listened patiently, and when the public discussion was over, it appeared to have the attitude — "Where were we before we were interrupted?" — and went right into doing whatever they had decided at their last meeting, except for adding more streets on which to ban skateboarding.

I am astonished to see how much time is being spent on trying to restrict this activity, instead of seizing an unbelievable and unique opportunity.

Laguna Beach is arguably the birthplace of skateboarding and should be bragging about being "America's Skateboarding Capital."

I am struck by the long list of current and former world champions who reside in Laguna. If we had just one world tennis champ, the whole city would be abuzz with it, and kids would be playing tennis everywhere.

Think what could be done if skateboarding is approached as a positive, and not a nuisance to a minority of residents.

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