Again: Skater fined for not showing ID – after doing so

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Another skateboarder, Storm Vincent, has been fined $576 by town council rangers for not showing ID and in addition, $144 for skateboarding in the CBD.

 

Both he and Marco Formoso received the fine after producing ID, as it is claimed assertively by Marco and – on behalf of Storm – by Matty Day, a seasoned youth worker and the manager of the local hub of Skateboarding Australia.

 

And Matty says Storm received the second fine although he had not been skating in the Mall.

 

He says rangers had been “baiting” him. Both Marco and Storm had tried to work things out with the rangers, stopping to discuss the issues, not running off, but to no avail, says Matty.

 

“They were getting attitude from the rangers. Fines are futile. They lead to resentment.”

 

The issue is receiving keen public attention, as shown by 18 readers’ comments (so far show) published in the Alice Springs News Online. However, the town council is dealing with the matter behind closed doors.

 

CEO Rex Mooney told us in response to a request for comment: “As due process has been followed it is not appropriate to make comment on this issue.”

 

Matty says it is time for community leaders to become involved in a meaningful way. The skaters have formed a group known as Citizens for Youth Inclusive Space in Alice Springs. It already has more than 120 Likes on Facebook.

 

“I don’t support a law that gives a ranger a reason to approach and question someone who is riding around town and hasn’t caused injury or property damage,” says Matty.

 

“I have spoken to both Storm and Marco and it is obvious that they have been punished for talking back to the rangers.

 

“It’s just a simple matter of respect both ways, both skateboarders have queried the manner of the rangers and both of them produced ID when they felt safe to do so.

 

“We hope that skateboarders and rangers can see the benefits of working together in the CBD to reduce real crime – more eyes on the street.”

 

Matty says the skatepark is too small, crowded with skaters, BMX riders and scooters; it is at the edge of the CBD, has no toilet, and the landscaping is unfinished. And the new government has obviously dropped plans for a skate ramp at the Anzac Oval youth hub.

 

Matty says early consultation about the Mall refurbishment had given young people the impression they would be welcome there, part of the boost to the economy for businesses like the cinema, Murray Neck Music, Desert Wave, and Plaza food outlets.

 

“A street needs street culture and skateboarding is a big part of that,” says Matty. “We need a space where young people can be young people. We need an adjustment to by-laws to fix this once and for all.”

 

Matty is also the manager of the Central Australian School of Skateboarding which delivers teaching workshops, private lessons and events, and he is planning to open a specialist skateboard store in Todd Mall.

 

“I’m concerned that all the negative press and confusion about skateboarders will effect my business. I have had a lot of parents express concern and surprise about the conflict with local authorities,” Matty says.

 

“Skateboarding is a mainstream sport in Australia and the USA. It is strange that  such fear exists in our small community, I don’t know where it comes from. We’re turning good kids into criminals at the moment. It needs to end.”

 

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12 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. No country for old men ...
    Posted November 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Rangers should also produce identification on request. Failure of any ‘official’ to produce viable identification means they have no rights above Joe Average whatsoever, no matter who they claim to be. Any so-called official who can’t produce identification should be reported to the police.
    If rangers are dealing with minors, an Ochre card should also be demanded of them.
    I would recommend anyone who has interaction with any ‘official’ (council rangers, police, etc) to record detail of who they spoke to and/or their identifying number / code, and what form of identification they tendered, remembering the identification MUST have a photo / image that reflects the true and current appearance of the holder. This is a fair and reasonable approach, especially in today’s world.
    As for the comment from ‘Respect’: “You see it all the time with skateboarders that are the most disrespectful group”, a breathtakingly generalist and puerile comment at best, negating any vague attempt at making a valid point …
    It’s difficult to say how many of the people with strong anti-skateboarding views have actually stepped outside their front door in the last 40 years, but anecdotally it would seem not too many.
    Our footpaths and tracks have been shared (legally or illegally) by bikes, scooters, skateboards, gophers, delivery men with sack trucks, shopping trolleys, walking frames … not to mention the plethora of people who can barely walk safely.
    Of all the ‘mechanised terrors’ we do ‘daily battle’ with, the skateboard is the smallest, lightest, least dangerous and most apparent (noisy) of all.
    There are a lot of problems in this town, a lot of issues that need to be addressed. Skating in the CBD isn’t one of them, but it would seem to be a convenient topic to distract attention from the ‘too hard’ problems that really matter.
    Damien, Eli – This is a legitimate sport, a great past-time and a wonderful way to engage kids and get / keep them fit.
    It’s great to see your support so far with the existing park revamp and coverage of Matty’s work with our youth, and this needs to continue. As a skater from 40 years ago, and a father of young skaters, I can tell you there’s votes in it 😉

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  2. Posted October 26, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Perhaps rangers could display their photo ID on their shirts as part of their uniform?

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  3. Skater Mum
    Posted October 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

    My son is a skater. He is also a cricketer, soccer player, golfer, and martial artist.
    He is a bright and engaged student. He has humour, enjoys a challenge, and engages respectfully with all.
    I would hope his and his skater mates’ passion for skating at the skatepark and downtown could also be respected with negotiated times for skating in the mall.

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  4. Matty Day
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Respect is earned. It never has and never will come with a badge uniform or big stick. Kids these days know that.
    So stop waving it at them now because, Sid, one day they will wave it back at you.

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  5. Matty Day
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Faun, it’s stats and facts that interest me, not fear.
    Skateboards, bikes and cars interact with walkers everyday safely.
    Oh, haven’t you realised yet that us 30+ mob are rebuilding this town’s economy, shop by shop! No-one wants to live in a dead town.

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  6. Ruth
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I wonder what we will be fined for next. Revenue raising gone mad.

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  7. Peter
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    So when has questioning a directive been an offence?
    I have had a look at the photo above and those boys look a scary bunch don’t they?
    I think there is a couple of sub 10 year olds in there. So let me get this straight: If a ranger approaches a minor which most of these kids are and the kid says go away or asks to see the rangers ID they cop a hefty fine?
    And if they have a skate board under there arm or in their immediate vicinity they cop another fine?
    Really, this is a a bit heavy handed to me. The comment about seeing skateboarders all the time being disrespectful is far too great a generalisation.
    Is it that skateboarders are a culture which many do not wish to or fail to understand.
    I suggest skateboarders want what all of us wish for, a little breathing space to enjoy their sport. These stereotypes that appear to be held by many do not do skateboarding any favours and demonstrate the ignorance of many. The ridiculous by-laws aside, I thought society was far more inclusive.

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  8. Hal Duell
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:15 am

    At least one aspect of this saga has been cleared up. You don’t get fined for skateboarding in the Mall, you get fined for skateboarding in the CBD.

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  9. Ian Sharp
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Police have limited power to demand ID, what rights do ‘rangers’ have?

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  10. Faun
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Matty – No one said anything about fear. People said safety. Might I suggest that you don’t open a skateboarding business in the mall or Alice Plaza or anywhere where your potential clients cannot ride their boards to come see you.

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  11. Respect
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:06 am

    It appears that the kids were being disrespectful towards the rangers, so a fine should sort out that aspect.
    You see it all the time with skateboarders that are the most disrespectful group, so I believe there is more to the story than those “poor little darlings” being harassed by adults.
    Talk back to a police officer when asked for ID and see what happens.

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  12. Peter
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 7:56 am

    This by-law of fining people for not producing ID seems an easy way of raising revenue.
    The by-law can be applied so arbitrarily without evidence or even without the knowledge of the person receiving the fine.
    I hope the many great people who skate and for that matter, all people oppose such practices as unfair and exclusive.
    Maybe some conflict resolution training maybe in need for rangers!

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