Orange County's Sidewalk Surfers Are Mostly Good Skates

Erik Hamilton's article "Wheel Estate" (Home Design, March 16) focused on the fact that Kelly Bellmar's pool was constructed specifically for skateboarding.

As Mr. Hamilton began to illustrate the concerns of the neighbors who lived around Kelly Bellmar's property, he inserted a very alarming comment: "Under the circumstances, most of us can appreciate his neighbors' apprehension. Who among us has not been terrorized by a rampageous skater in a public park or shopping center? Now picture that in your own neighborhood."

In the space of three sentences, Mr. Hamilton has taken a neutral subject and (made) the negative comments of the neighbors seem plausible. Furthermore, his statement, as well as his reference later to "troops of skateboarding renegades," conjures up images of swastika-bearing, knife-wielding 13-year-olds attempting to run down the public.

That is hardly the case.

It is this sort of ignorance that has caused skateboarding to become prohibited on public streets in some Orange County cities.

We need to realize that a person riding a skateboard is not out to get us. These kids have simply found an activity that they enjoy, but due to the lack of our support, the shopping malls and parks of our communities are the only places that exist for kids to ride skateboards.

Just as we have provided for other sports, such as football, basketball, baseball and soccer, specific facilities designated for their pursuit, the community should furnish an area where people of all ages can practice skateboarding.

In recent years skateboarding has become a popular sport and is no more dangerous than football or baseball when practiced in a place built for the sport, such as a skateboard park. Many cities in Europe have opted for public skateboard parks. Is it not our turn?


El Toro

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