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One question that’s surfaced at our office since San Diego eliminated supervision at its five skate parks last week is: Could the change make the city more vulnerable to lawsuits?

After all, skate park supervision cost the city $282,571 annually and cutting it was meant to help address a $43 million midyear budget gap. Would new lawsuits from injured skateboarders cut into those savings?

When I posed the liability question to the City Attorney’s Office, spokeswoman Gina Coburn gave me the following answer: “We’re not able to comment on that.”

Why not? “We’re just not able to comment on that,” Coburn said.

So I asked the same question of Rachel Laing, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jerry Sanders. She said city officials had talked to representatives at nearby cities that have unsupervised skate parks and found that the liability is actually lower.

Laing said with supervision, the expectations are higher than what can actually be provided.

With unsupervised parks, Laing said, “there’s no expectation that people are basically going to be babysitting their kids, so the onus is more on the family … to provide supervision.”

RANI GUPTA

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