Mayor Bob Filner’s appearance at a City Heights skate park rally this month might have seemed like a random stop on his dizzying #FilnerEverywhere victory lap. Lisa Halverstadt had that encounter right — he sauntered into the auditorium late and unannounced, then electrified the crowd with a quick promise to get the neighborhood a skate park.
But Filner’s appearance was anything but random. It was the apex of a calculated, youth-led campaign that moved the issue from a City Heights utility road where skaters grind on curbs to the headlines of nearly every San Diego media outlet, and finally to the new mayor’s to-do list.
The youth, who are involved with the City Heights community health nonprofit Mid-City Community Advocacy Network, have been putting out videos, reaching out to residents with skate demos and touring potential park sites with local decision-makers.
Forget the stereotype that pegs kids with shaggy haircuts and skate decks as wayward youth. These kids have a clear mission, a slick brand identity and — better yet — the attention of your elected officials.
And they want more than a skate park.