Wednesday, July 15, 2015

No Skateboarding

There are certain parts of Howard County parks where you may not skateboard.  It is not because Howard County doesn't think parents know what's best for their child or otherwise wishes to run the lives of Howard County skateboarders.  It is simply because 1) Howard County owns the land, and 2) It would not be safe to skateboard at that location.

In fact, it would be irresponsible for Howard County to allow you to skateboard in those areas.  The County could certainly leave well enough alone and tell residents "If you think this is a safe place to skateboard, you do that, but you're responsible for the consequences."  But as the entity offering the park, the County has seen fit to make rules for how that park will be enjoyed.  These considerations remain for all of the various prohibitions of what is allowed and disallowed on park property.

And it has nothing to do with our "freedom".

This post obviously relates to Nutritional Standards.  The thrust of the County Executive's public opposition to the bill seems to be premised on freedom, self-determination, and a misrepresentation of what the bill actually does.  If you want to avoid some of the semantic de-pantsing that I've seen on social networks recently, I can't recommend reading the bill highly enough.

A quick FAQ:
Can you still buy sugary drinks?  You betcha.
Does this bill ban anything? Nope.
Is this bill primarily focused on youth-oriented facilities? Yes.

Ultimately, This bill is premised on the very basic idea that Howard County should take responsibility for what it sells to the public, particularly minors.  It has absolutely nothing to do with telling you how to live your life.  If that is how you see the world, Whole Foods must really piss you off.

But the bill was vetoed.  Essentially with the words, "who is Howard County to tell Howard County what to do?"

My question in response is two-fold "Does Howard County, as a legal entity, have the freedom to determine what it will sell to the public?  Or is it circumscribed by the commercial interests involved?"

We should be thankful that skateboarding companies haven't mustered a lobbying fund because you can be absolutely sure that skateboarding is, in fact, banned in public places throughout Howard County (not just parks).  And it's not because people think they know better than you.  It's because that is the responsible thing to do.

Have a great Wednesday doing what you love!