Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An ollie of reasoning

I have already blogged about the skate park, but Explore Howard posted another article about it. This article includes, along with a picture of Ken Ulman in an exaggerated pose, an indirect quote from Mary Kay Sigaty. While Sigaty’s point is completely ludicrous, it is probably a commonly held view:

While the Columbia Association operates a skate park facility, it charges fees to use it and its hours are not always convenient for young people, Sigaty said.

Sigaty implies that the CA skate park is less than desirable because it charges users a fee. The implication is that the Howard County skate spot, on the other hand, is “free”. As Robert Heinlein said, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Or as I like to say, “gas, grass or ass, nobody rides for free.” The Howard County skate spot appears to be free because the money used to pay for it was stolen from the public in the form of taxes. This is wildly different from direct user fees (and even different than CA dues which were voluntarily agreed to by each Columbia property owner as a condition for owning property in a planned community). The Howard skate park simply charges the user fees to people that are unlikely to actually use the park.

Her second point about the hours of the CA skate park being less than convenient is just as invalid. Of course the hours at the County skate park are better, because the thing is a giant free-for-all. A park ranger drives by every now and then to check on it. So basically, the skate park is open during day and the equipment is at the mercy of the unsupervised public. If the assets are vandalized in any way, tax dollars will simply be used to fix it. That money practically grows on trees anyway.

Gary Arthur, the Director of Recreation and Parks, is so casual as to the oversight of the park that he simply told neighbors to call the police if they see anyone there after dark. Hey, I guess that’s outsourcing the security, right?