Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I often take my son to the skate park at the new Potrero Del Sol, formerly known as La Raza Park. But I guess some folks are not happy about the name change and just as well not to thrilled with the skate boarding facilities. Written rather largely, someone threw up graffiti on the skate ramp with "RESPECT OURS...LA RAZA PARK". A short while back, I read that some Mission residents don't dig on the skate park as they don't think it serves the needs of the Mission.

For my part, I have to disagree. Sure there are a lot of foul-mouthed, weed-smoking white boys from the Peninsula and across the Bay that hang out, and the ground is littered with ciggarette butts and beer cans. But also, I see a lot of local Latin and black kids from the Mission and Potrero Hill schredding it on their skate boards too; some never picking up a skateboard unitl the park opened last summer and now some of them are quite good.

As for the rest of park, I see kids and families of all races enjoying themselves in the play ground and there are always soccer balls being kicked around on the grass. On Sundays, you can hear the percussion of the bongo drums. It's not perfect park in any sense and my son has seen more "City Life" there than I would want him to at his age, but I remember it all to well when it was La Raza Park. I think it served the Mission for all of about five minutes before it quickly devolved into homeless vacation land. It was a toxic dump of piss, shit and dirty needles that was to be avoided at all costs unless being stabbed by cholos or a crackhead was your idea of an enjoyable cultural experience.

Army Street is now Cesar Chavez Street and La Raza Park is now Potrero Del Sol. Call them whatever you want to. We should all get over it already. Respect EVERYONE and let the kids have fun for chissakes.

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