Simi Valley skateboarders facing fines
Janssen said skaters have recently damaged equipment at Mae Boyer Park in the Oak Park area. “They are rolling on railings and low seating areas. It’s called grinding,” she said. “They are trying to do tricks and extreme skateboarding. They are damaging the park, and taxpayers are having to pay for it.” The park district issued a written warning in July saying that while most skaters are just looking for a little fun, some cause damage and injuries. Some will be fined, some will have their boards confiscated and some might be expelled from parks and ordered to appear before a judge, officials warned. “Park rangers are always reminded to educate and warn as a first response,” District General Manager Larry Peterson said. “However, the disrespectful and belligerent behavior that we have witnessed is unacceptably degrading the experience of other park patrons.” SIMI VALLEY – Skaters beware – keep grinding and shredding at local parks and you could find yourself broke and boardless. The Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District is warning skateboarders they could be fined or arrested and have their boards confiscated if they continue to skate inside district parks. “There is a real problem out there and it is increasing,” said Colleen Janssen, a spokeswoman for the park district. “We want to bring more attention to it.” Park district officials say skaters and others have been injured in skateboarding accidents and if a skater loses control of a fast-moving board it can hit small children and other park patrons. Todd Huber, co-owner and manager of Skatelab, a commercial indoor skate park in Simi Valley, said “grinding” by skateboarders does damage park facilities, but he said all skateboarders should not be penalized because of the behavior of a few. “You are going to find jerks in all sports, but it doesn’t make sense to single out one genre of activity,” he said. “If my mom was at the park Rollerblading, would they confiscate her Rollerblades? What about scooters?” “I was bummed,” he said when he heard about the park district’s crackdown. “I felt like it was singling out one particular type of athlete. … It seems you should be fair to everyone. I think skateboarders get a bad rap.” Huber said his main concern is seeing that skaters are treated fairly, and he stressed he has nothing against the park district. In fact, he works with district officials who offer classes at his indoor skateboarding business. “I like the park district,” he said. “They are good people.” But he said if there is a problem with vandalism and damage in certain areas, there should be a simpler response than cracking down on all skateboarders. Huber said his Skatelab charges $10 for three hours or lower prices with membership and offers clients an alternative to skating on the streets or in parks. But he said not all boarders want to skate in designated arenas, and one of the attractions of having a skateboard is the freedom to take it wherever. “That is what is so great about skateboarding, because all you need is a sidewalk to do it,” he said. Donovan Strain, a 21-year-old skateboarder who works with Huber, said the park district has been issuing citations to skateboarders and confiscating their skateboards for some time already. “Everyone I know, we’ve all had tickets,” he said. Strain said that based on what he has seen, the tickets can run from $40 to $200, depending on the age of the skater and how many times they have been cited. He said district rangers sometimes confiscate boards for 30 days. Janssen said in April, May and June of 2006, her district issued 225 warnings to skateboarders and five citations. In April, May and June of this year, the district issued no citations, but 385 warnings, which indicates how illegal skateboarding in parks is increasing, she said. “Where it pushes over to a citation, it is a repeat offender or someone who is uncooperative and belligerent,” she said. “Skateboarding is prohibited in every single park.” “… The ones with the bad behavior ruin it for everybody, like everything else in the world.” [email protected] (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!