Date: May 31, 2003
Byline: Brian Nugent
Cool Katz?On May 30th at 10 am Mayoral Candidate Sam Katz appeared at LOVE Park to speak about bringing skateboarding back to LOVE. I ran a little late but made it in time for his speech and a few photos. He spoke about how Philadelphia wants to make our city appealing to the youth. He said it was a huge mistake to chase skateboarders out of LOVE when it already does a great job drawing attention from the whole world. Katz announced that he wants to invest time and money into changing LOVE back to skate friendly as well as improvements for shared use with non skateboarding park visitors. What does this exactly mean? I'm not sure yet. He also spoke of his support for the Schuylkill River site as an additional skate facility.
Katz did a lot of talking about corporate sponsors wanting the attention of the youth demographic and how huge the sponsor potential could be. I asked him a few questions about his speech. I asked him what he feels about smaller neighborhood revitalization projects bringing skateboarding into the neighborhoods outside center city. He responded with overwhelming support for more facilities as well as discussion of the interest of corporate sponsors. He believes that corporate sponsorship can be tasteful and "not a bunch of neon lights".
He used the words Extreme Sports a few more times then I was comfortable with but over all he seems willing to listen. I was approached by one of his assistants to discuss more on the matter at a later date. If any of you readers have a question for Katz, please send it my way and I will try to share it with him. After his speech and some questions Katz followed in the footsteps of Ed Bacon and challenged the city laws for all to see. He got on a board, with no help from his friends. He took a push and fully busted his ass.
These issues are huge and the fact is that skateboarding has made it into the mix as a debatable issue. If you are old enough to vote you should be paying attention and educate yourself before you make your decision. We at SkateNerd will try our best to provide you with the news as it happens and with out our personal opinion. It's up to you to do the research and make a decision for yourself.