Haven’t we seen this movie before? Today finds Mayor Michael A. Nutter and City Councilman David Oh puffing their chests and advancing legislation that seems like it’s about vandalism until you realize, oh, duh, it’s about skateboarding. Introducing strong penalties, the pair just announced their intentions for “those who vandalize or damage public art and memorials, including those that honor military, police, firefighters and other national defense or public safety subjects.” How stiff are those penalties? Pretty damned stiff:
The bill prohibits skateboarding, rollerblading and bicycling on monuments and public art and would make this new offense punishable with a maximum fine of $2,000, up to 90 days in jail for adults and confiscation of the skateboard, rollerblades or bike. The ordinance also eliminates the lower penalty level for ethnic intimidation and institutional vandalism, making all violations subject to a maximum $2,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
In fairness, yes, it’s true that no one should be scraping the shit out of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial with their skateboard, but this all feels so very “get off my lawn” that we’re surprised Nutter is even putting on his hard-guy face about this. Plus, we can see this law resulting in a lot of people getting fines and worse when in reality, they were just passing by. Nutter and Oh, given what skateboarding has given this city and how dumb City Hall has acted about it in the past, this is not a good look. There’s gotta be a better way.