By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City Council wrapped up its 2012 session today with a spirited law-and-order debate: by a 12-4 vote, they increased penalties on skateboarders who damage art and memorials.
The measure would raise penalties for damaging a war memorial or public artwork from $300 in the current law to $1,000 and up to 30 days of jail time.
Before the vote, Philadelphia veterans including Chris Hill spoke in favor of the proposed legislation.
“Shouldn’t the penalties for vandalizing the memorials to our brave fellow Philadelphians be commensurate with our sacrifice?” he asked councilmembers.
But several skateboarders spoke in opposition, saying the penalties — particularly the possibility of jailtime — were excessive. Councilman Wilson Goode agreed.
“The decision today is about whether we’re going to create a fine, or create a crime,” Goode said. “And we should not be creating a crime.”
Goode was among four councilmembers voting no. But twelve others approved the plan and sent it on to the mayor, whose signature is expected.