By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia city council has put off a vote on a bill to boost penalties against skateboarders and others who do damage to public art and memorials. The delay came after a series of speeches by skateboarders opposed to the bill.
Council had been poised to vote on a bill that would raise penalties for damage to public art from $300 in the current law to $2,000 and up to 90 days of jail time. But before the vote, skateboarders who had packed council chambers, spoke out. Among them, Steve Miller, owner of a skateboard shop in Northern Liberties.
“This bill’s penalties, simply put, are insane,” Miller says. “A $2,000 fine and 90 days imprisonment is incredibly harsh and unfair punishment. It turns our kids into criminals, not for doing drugs or engaging in violent crime, but rather for participating in an athletic and productive activity.”
The speeches prompted some council members to voice misgivings about the measure, and that led the sponsor, Councilman-at-large David Oh, to delay the vote.
“We should hold this matter to get the opinions of some of our citizens who are here today, to see if we can’t tweak the legislation to make it more clear,” Oh said. “And I would hope that at end of this process, we would have the support of everyone, that at least they felt they had a say in the process.”
There was no word on when Oh would try again to call the measure up for a vote.