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Skateboarding Laws To Be Reconsidered

Also, the City Manager has proposed starting City Council meetings an hour earlier.

Long looked at as punks who are a hazard to society, in Watsonville on Tuesday evening if the City Council approves city ordinance changes to accommodate responsible skaters.

Skateboards, in-line skates and roller skates are banned from all city parks except the Skate Park at , according to laws that were approved in 1976 and 2001.

But Parks and Recreation Department staff reported that the skating facility is often crowded. It's also a long way from a lot of Watsonville neighborhoods, meaning it's a challenge for kids to get across town to the lone skate park in the city.

Plus skateboards aren't just toys anymore. They're a means of transportation or exercise for some.

Don't plan to shred the benches in your local park, but if the Watsonville City Council approves the changes, people will be allowed to skate through parks so long as they have on.

According to the staff report, this brings Watsonville in-line with other Central Coast cities.

New Council Start Time?

According to the staff report prepared by City Manager Carlos Palacios, the new proposed schedule would still keep City Council meetings to evening hours, when the majority of the public have finished the work day, but would start an hour earlier. In general, with this schedule the City Council should be able to end meetings by 9 or 10 in the evening.

In recent months, some city council business has stretched past 10 p.m. and, often, votes on significant issues occur long after the audience has left the council chambers. For example, several people who came to weigh in on the city's last month left before the agenda item was discussed because it got too late.

City Council Member Emilio Martinez has already come out against the change in his blog, the Watsonville Fishing Report.

"Is City Manager Palacios attempting to keep you in the dark and quiet? Hopefully all of you will attend tomorrow’s city council meeting at 6:30 and let Palacios know that your voice should not be silenced and that you want to be well informed because after all YOU are the BOSS," Martinez wrote.

Patch blogger itsmecissy is also against the change.

In Other Business

The city council is expected to give final approval to that plastic bag ban and also changes to how e-waste is disposed of in the city. Neighborhood Services, a Parks Department program, would like relocate to 231 Union St. to target on the neighborhoods from Palm Avenue to Riverside Drive.

The Watsonville City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers, fourth floor of the Civic Plaza, 275 Main St.

Cathy P. May 08, 2012 at 02:16 PM
The public has a right to weigh in on important agenda items and the council is obligated to listen. Perhaps it is by design that significant issues are pushed to the end, thereby making sure their is no audience to object or contend with. The only reason city council business has sometimes stretched past 10pm is because many CC members enjoy hearing the sound of their own voice.
Cathy P. May 08, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Re skateboarding laws: maybe it's time for another skate park in an area accessible to the neighborhoods farther away. Whether toys or transportation, I'm all for anything that keeps kids active, happy, and out of trouble.
David H. Perez May 08, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Gee, tonight do you think the City Council "five" will once again arrogantly ignore public input and vote per their own agenda? I'll bet they already know how they are going to vote.
randy May 08, 2012 at 02:55 PM
>>In recent months, some city council business has stretched past 10 p.m. and, often, votes on significant issues occur long after the audience has left the council chambers.<< After the meeting re: garden, it appears that the decissions are made PRIOR. THE AUDIENCE/PEOPLE expressed their desire and the council even the Mayor who should not have voted disregarded what the audience said. Mr. Palacios is gonna do what he wants to do. PERIOD. Also, it appears this PATCH is not for the people. It seems it is just an extension of someone else... I seriously doubt if I will continue reading and posting. Same song, same verse.. little louder, a little worse.
Jennifer Squires May 08, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Randy, any advice on how Patch could be more "for the people"?
Watzon McWats May 09, 2012 at 04:33 AM
I'm an adult skater that rides for health, transportation, and plain ol' fun. I have a couple thoughts regarding this often discussed issue. 1) I should be able to ride my skateboard wherever bikes are allowed, so long as I'm not blocking traffic, damaging property, or putting others health in danger. I can't see any valid argument against this. 2) I can't speak for our local park, because if I go to a skate park I drive up to Santa Cruz, but when I go, I see plenty of adults. I also see a lot of adults skating the streets of Santa Cruz and Capitola (not as much here, but there are some). Many of my friends skate, some of us old enough to own homes and have children. The bulk of pro's are adults, a number of who live locally. I really wish that all of these local articles that keep popping up and the people who comment on them would stop referring to all skaters as "kids". You don't have to understand it, but just accept it - skating isn't just a kids thing, it's not all about tricks, or skate parks, or grinding freshly painted rails, or wearing skinny jeans. It's 2012 folks, time to drop the stereotypes and start looking at skateboards the same way as we do bikes and running shoes. A lot of my adult friends skate. Some of us old enough to own homes and have children. The bulk of pro skaters are adults as well.
Watzon McWats May 09, 2012 at 04:35 AM
I'm an adult skater that rides for health, transportation, and plain ol' fun. I have a couple thoughts regarding this often discussed issue. 1) I should be able to ride my skateboard wherever bikes are allowed, so long as I'm not blocking traffic, damaging property, or putting others health in danger. I can't see any valid argument against this. 2) I can't speak for our local park, because if I go to a skate park I drive up to Santa Cruz, but when I go, I see plenty of adults. I also see a lot of adults skating the streets of Santa Cruz and Capitola (not as much here, but there are some). Many of my friends skate, some of us old enough to own homes and have children. The bulk of pro's are adults, a number of who live locally. I really wish that all of these local articles that keep popping up and the people who comment on them would stop referring to all skaters as "kids". You don't have to understand it, but just accept it - skating isn't just a kids thing, it's not all about tricks, or skate parks, or grinding freshly painted rails, or wearing skinny jeans. It's 2012 folks, time to drop the stereotypes and start looking at skateboards the same way as we do bikes and running shoes.

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