I've been at the skatepark when the police make the helmet announcement. I've watched as a lot of kids bitch and whine about helmets to the police officer, trying to make their case, while the helmeted kids use the time to get in twice the play. I got the feeling the cops don't want to bother with the skatepark one way or the other, but they've been told this is what they're expected to do.
I also know that if a twelve year old breaks his head open at the park, helmet or no, laws or no, there'll be a apocalypse of lawyers on his parents' doorstep within minutes telling the parents how much money the city can be made to pay them.
There's not a fix. There's not some magic arrangement that'll suit everyone. There's not even an arrangement that would upset everyone equally. There are a lot of disparate needs and wants that have to be mashed into a decision that the Ungoverned will think serves enough of what they imagine 'the public' to be. Then there'll be some ordinance that will be used or ignored as serves a case-by-case situation.
It'd be worth something to have every council person publicly spell out exactly what he or she sees their 'end product' Memphis as. None of them would openly say, "How the &^%$ should I know? I'm just here for the power trip and the pension" or even, "We get rid of the (fill in some race or lifestyle) and raze the crappy houses. Then plant flowers near the airport. Then life will be good for everyone!" But that's what some of 'em are thinking.
By Toby Sells
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