By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a heated debate in City Council Thursday morning over slapping skateboarders who damage public art with hefty fines.
Councilman David Oh expects to call for a final vote next week on his measure, which creates a new penalty called ‘institutional vandalism.’ He says groups with public art or memorials are fed up with skateboarders.
“They’re very frustrated with those persons who riding skateboards and other things damage and continue to damage public artwork and memorials,” Oh says.
The proposal, authored by the Nutter Administration, originally set a fine of $2,000 and up to 90 days of jail time for vandalizing public art. In the face of opposition from skateboarders, Oh on Thursday lowered that to $1,000 and up to 30 days in jail, but that didn’t satisfy the most vocal opponent, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell.
“We should not fine people $1,000 and put them in jail,” Blackwell says. “It’s unconscionable, its just unbelievable. It is not the business of this council to try to lock up its citizens for skateboarding.”
Oh’s amendments were approved and a final vote is expected when Council concludes its 2012 session next Thursday.