7/30/00Dear Real Skate Members: While in the
process of writing an article on the bias surrounding the construction
of a skatepark here in Santa Cruz, (which has been approved but
is held up due to a woman suing the city for approving a skatepark
where she feels will disturb bird habitat at a nearby lagoon), I
was interrupted with an e-mail from some skaters in Helena, Montana.
Their case of bias and bigotry takes the cake over the Santa Cruz
situation, and infuriated me enough to stop production and send
you this special interim Real Skate newsletter. More absurd than
filing a law suit protecting birds from skateboarders, there is
a group of WWII vets protecting the honor of the dead from skaters.
(I'm curious if they are honoring Viet Nam or Desert Storm vets,
that would be interesting to know.)
Anyway: A 4 acre established park
of 10 years was agreed upon by the city of Helena to expand, resulting
in the construction of a basketball court, playing field, swimming
pool, picnic area, bandstand, skatepark, and a memorial plaque to
WWII veterans. (Mind you, the skaters fought hard and heavy to get
the skatepark built, but eventually won.) Seems now, the veterans
have petitioned to remove the skatepark claiming it's disrespectful
to have skaters in the vicinity of a war vet memorial, that it's
a "family" park where skaters don't belong, etc. They feel the plaque
structure will eventually be vandalized, although the skaters say
it's not even skateable, and is far away from the skate track anyway.
Here's the part where all of you
come in. The Helena Independent Record newspaper has put up an opinion
poll this week asking the public if the city should reconsider and
demolish the skatepark. We all have the right to vote. You can also
leave a comment, but if you do, I suggest you make your point without
using any bad language or threats, because as you can see from the
vets' posts, they are using anything and everything they can against
skateboarders. All the comments are posted publically. The race
is close, but the yes votes are winning due to a small skateboard
community in Helena. The site is: http://www.helenair.com Scroll
down about midway, and on the right is a box titled "Question of
the Week." It's worded poorly (must have been written by a politician)
but a NO vote will mean NO, don't demolish the skatepark. As you
can tell, I am outraged at this bias and discrimination and if you
are too, please help out these skaters in Helena, and vote NO to
keep skateboarding real. Thanks, they will appreciate it. Clarkie
Wow, thanks for all your "thank you's" and interest
in this matter so far. I noticed that the opinion poll has been
removed from the newspaper site this morning (Sunday). HOWEVER!
The Independent Register welcomes letters, feedback, and comments.
Below is quoted from their site: "Please send concerns, feedback,
and comments to the Online
Manager [firstname.lastname@example.org] Due to the high volume of e-mail
we receive, we cannot respond to them all. However, your feedback
is important to us and we do read all e-mail."
Also, the skaters have corrected
me on something that makes the matter even more discriminating!
They said the skatepark isn't quite complete yet. It is a five phase
process, and they are in phase two. So this means the skaters have
done nothing for the vets to base their complaint on. Wow! The Helena
skaters thank you again! Clarkie
10/15/00 - Letter
- Hey, my name is Kim Spurzem, one of the few female skaters here,
and I have lived in Helena, Mt. all my life It is a small very discriminatory
town.. and as you know we are battling over our skate park currently.
Well, as an update they did not build it at Municipal now known
as Memorial Park to many. They are building it on a gas main across
the street.. they say it is safe.. haha. The area is terrible. no
restrooms, no water (vital on hot days), no stereo system or other
important things to many kids that were included in the plan at
the first location that was approved..
The mayor sold out to the veterans
but promised phase one to be done by the 16th to the 19 of Oct.
Well it is the 6th and they have not even started, and the ground
will freeze soon and they can not start. They are completely avoiding
us and our complaints. For a city who supports its youth they sure
have odd ways of showing it. The new area for the park also will
cost more $ and the skaters have already raised all they can for
now; plus it will be super close to the new road expansion.
The fence will be at the road,
(unsafe as all hell) oh ya and the once peaceful road they are expanding
will become "user unfriendly" stated the mayor, (that violates Montana
constitution on road something or other I can not remember at current
time). So kids are expected to cross under this bridge which is
down about a block from the park and hobos and all sorts of things
kids shouldn't really have exposure to live under it. I personally
believe it is unsafe to have a 9 or so year old skater cross under
a bridge where they could be injured just so they can cross a street
to meet their parents at the park or go and play at the park; (the
same park the skatepark was to be built at in the first place!)
I would really appreciate your
input on what we should all do next. Thank you and keep up the good
work; I love your online mag. It is the bomb diggity.. Kim