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In the News Index

Source: The Logan TIMES~Independent
Date: August 23, 2003
Byline: D. Michael Blackie, Editor


To Be Young And In LOVE... LOVE Park, That is!

It's ten o' clock on a Saturday night. A stiff, cool breeze sweeps mists of water from the famed fountain over LOVE Park. Nearby, several young lovers caress on a bench. New benches installed as part of mayor Street's remake of LOVE Park last May. Benches many say were installed as a part of a plan to make LOVE Park "unfriendly to skaters"...a claim his administration still denies.

Meanwhile, back to those "Young Lovers"...young, gay, male lovers...a group now reported to be in Street's camp. According to recent reports in Philadelphia's two dailies and Philadelphia Weekly. The latest report appearing in this week's edition of The Philadelphia Public Record. Well, at least they don't get chased from the park! Skate Boarders and bicyclists still do. As we witnessed again moments before encountering our young, enamored hormone charged homo...sapiens!

Of course, to be fair, we would be remiss if we failed to mention that several other couples were in love, in LOVE as well. And there were a few of the regular "residents" of the park sprawled out on the ground under copies of those same dailies we read every day. Because mayor Street in his infinite wisdom had those same benches designed to be "Homeless Unfriendly" as well. What a visionary. His latest "Vision" includes embracing a plan for a proposed alternative "Skate Park" along the banks of the Schuylkill River. He's said to be softening on the LOVE Park issue as well though. Of course he is. It's going to be a tough fight this November, and he needs every vote.

Pressure from literally thousands of worldwide respondents to a petition to Free LOVE Park has captured his attention. Several City Council Members have recently come on board to dump the ban on skating in the park (City ordinance 10-610) including Frank Rizzo [R-At-Large], who was only recently a staunch critic of skate boarders in LOVE Park. City Planning Commission chair Maxine Griffith has endorsed a "compromise plan" for the park proposed by a coalition of groups, including the Skateboard Advocacy Network, and at a recent City Hall press conference Street told reporter's that he's asked managing director Phil Goldsmith to "take a look at the issue and see what can be done".

Republican Mayoral candidate Sam Katz stoked the fires a bit by making the LOVE Park issue a campaign issue and actually skateboarding in the park to show his disdain for the ban. LOVE didn't show Sam much love though, he rolled about 5 feet and landed on his...well let's just say skating isn't among his "assets"!

The Logan TIMES~Independent predicts that mayor Street will repay the debt and make a similar political ploy using LOVE Park as his pawn in the chess game known as Philadelphia politics. A rally is planned at LOVE Park in early October. We believe that Street will make an announcement about his decision regarding LOVE Park at that rally or shortly before. It's also shortly before the last day to register and vote. So, in the end, LOVE may get some love. But, even if skate boarders feel like they win...it will be cheapened by a visionless bureaucrat who will soak up the energy of young, enthusiastic skaters like a dry sponge soaks up water. It will be his victory, rather than solely theirs.

Ah, to be young and in LOVE...whether you're gay, or a skate boarder-Street may embrace you...at least long enough to convince you to vote for him. And, that is the way the game is played in Philadelphia, the place that loves you back.

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