New York Times and Toronto Star REMEMBRANCE: Skateboarding pioneer, Andy Kessler (48) dies of wasp sting

August 23rd, 2009  

I had meant to post this a week ago. Andy Kessler…

The thing  is that for readers to understand the importance of skateboarding pioneer Andy Kessler, you have to know something about the skateboarding culture. Far too many of us see skateboarders as thugs-on-wheels.

And when we see graffiti and tags, we make an immediate connection to skateboarders.

I can tell you this from my summer research here on Maiui. Real skateboarders have the same contempt for the “thugs-on-wheels” as real graffiti artists have for taggers.

Real skateboarders are athletes and like top tier surfers, they’re Alpha-Male-fearless-crazy. (Expect skateboarding to become an Olympic sport.)

While I began my study of skateboarders and skateboard parks in Mississauga —and then Hamilton, it took quality time at Maui, Hawaii’s three skateboard parks for me to GET it. Get real skateboarding.

I didn’t know who Andy Kessler was until I read his Obituary in the Toronto Star. He was a skateboarding pioneer, died at age 48 from a wasp sting.  I can’t emphasize enough that to understand real skateboarding, you have to know that the first skateboarders were surfers.

Thought I’d share a portion of this Blog commemorating Kessler —“The End of Falling”, from the New York Times first.

What’s interesting is Bret Anthony Johnston’s comparison between the East Coast skateboarders and the West Coast ones (“gritty, dirty, and beautiful, the shadow-version of the breezy West Coast surf-style”).

That’s the same difference that I’ve observed this summer between the Mississauga/Hamilton skaters vs those at the three skateboard parks in Maui, Hawaii.

Excerpt from the New York Times Blog, “Happy Days, The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times”

Image Courtesy of the New York Times

Andy Kessler, West 30th Street, Manhattan, 2005. Image courtesty of the New York Times

Andy Kessler, West 30th Street, Manhattan, 2005.  Ivory Serra

The End of Falling

August 13, 2009, 11:15 pm

By Bret Anthony Johnston

I’ve been skateboarding seriously for more than 20 years, and while I never met Andy Kessler, I know his life story. Most skaters over the age of 25 do. Born in Greece and raised on West 71st Street in Manhattan, Kessler started skateboarding when he was 11. This was in the 1970s, a time when skateboarding was so alien to New York City that he had to mail-order his gear from California. Significance-wise, think: Prometheus and fire. When other kids saw Kessler carving around the Upper West Side on his board — which would’ve been three inches wide with metal wheels — they followed, and just like that, the East Coast skate scene was born. It was gritty, dirty, and beautiful, the shadow-version of the breezy West Coast surf-style.

And now, with special thanks to the Toronto Star.


REMEMBRANCE | Obituary |

Andy Kessler, 48: Skateboarding pioneer

Aug 15, 2009 04:30 AM


The next time some punk skateboarder cuts you off on a downtown sidewalk, curse Andy Kessler.

California’s skateboarding pioneers were surfers, kids who rode in empty backyard swimming pools when they couldn’t ride the waves.


Because there were fewer pools in New York, young rebels there were forced to pioneer city skating. In the late 1970s, a group of a few dozen teenagers turned the features of the urban landscape – stairs, poles, flower planters – into obstacles to be challenged and conquered.

“It was about making that action happen with your imagination,” J.J. Veronis, one of those rebels, told The East Hampton Star. “And Andy was king.”

Kessler, born in Greece in 1961 and raised in New York, was the unofficial leader of the Soul Artists of Zoo York, the city’s first skateboard crew. The Upper West Side was their laboratory – and their fishbowl. When they began skating, they had to order their gear by mail from California; in large part because of their rolling advertisements for the sport, New York developed its own burgeoning scene.

Kessler received his first skateboard from his mother at age 10. Like most Zoo Yorkers, he dabbled in graffiti and drugs as a teenager. After the crew disbanded in the 1980s, he became an addict. But he recovered. He then helped take skateboarding off city streets.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0043

Despite his dedication to street skateboarding, Kessler long advocated the creation of a haven where New York’s skaters could ride unbothered. In the mid-1990s, his lobbying persuaded the municipal government to build its first public skate park. The city hired him as lead designer, and he eked out a living creating several more.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0027

Kessler continued skating into his 40s. While young skaters tended to be unaware of his contribution, an ignorance that sometimes bothered him, the older ones never forgot. In 2005, dozens helped raise thousands of dollars for his medical care when he broke his femur in a wipeout.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0044

Though he could be unpleasant – “Some days you caught him and he was a jerk, some days you’d sit and talk for hours,” skate-park builder Tim Vander told ESPN – he was widely beloved.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0037

Kessler died Tuesday of a heart attack following an allergic reaction to a wasp sting at a cottage on Long Island.

He was 48.

This pic is dedicated to Andy Kessler. I’m sure he’d know what the kid on his back and under his skateboard is doing. But up until my husband and I witnessed it, we wouldn’t have been able to guess.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0043


The (Special mahalo nui loa to the skaters at Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii) Mississauga Muse

“Often, especially when Kessler was nurturing what would become the East Coast scene, the kids who gravitated toward skateboarding were misfits and malcontents, the shy outcasts who’d been intimidated and sullied by the complex pressures of social interaction. Skateboarding gave them an identity and voice, and Kessler, by example, gave them the confidence to declare themselves to society.”

“This is who he was and how he’ll be remembered, as a man who understood the abiding and cathartic power of resilience. You don’t give in. You take every run —on the ramp, with recovery, at City Hall.”

Bret Anthony Johnston from “The End of Falling” New York Times Blog, “Happy Days, The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times”



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August 20th, 2009  

For reasons that one day I’ll be able to relate, I need to share this YouTube video and accompanying transcript for the record today.

The video shows me at Mississauga Council’s June 24, 2009 Public Question Period. If you know just how much Councillor Nando Iannicca helped me during the previous Council meeting and General Committee meeting and then helped me again on the 24th, you’ll understand why I say that Mississauga youth and minors are indebted to him. As am I.


(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

Important: The video is an excerpt of my June 24, 2009 Mississauga Council Public Question Period appearance, and begins after I’d been up there for 4:46 minutes, as does the transcript.



[time 4:46 min]

A draft of the Policy stated this about Trespass:

“Where a ban has been issued against an individual and the individual fails to comply with the ban, the individual may be charged under the Trespass to Property Act.”

That’s what the draft looks like.

Among other things, Freedom of Information secured two emails –the first is Mr. Owen’s January 17, 2005 email where he takes exception to the draft’s qualifier “may be charged under the Trespass to Property Act.”

And you have one of those documents in your possession right now. But I’ll read what he specifically refers to.

[Time: 5:28]

Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Ursula, I think that we have to come to some conclusion on this issue because I’m at a loss for what you’re referring to or trying to get to. I don’t want to minimize what you’re trying to get to.

I’m going to suggest with the Staff and the Mayor and the City Manager and outline to us exactly what your concerns are. Because I think it’s unfair to Council to have this thing brought to our attention and we’re at a loss to respond. I am, as Mayor.

So I don’t think —I think this issue is getting a little bit out of hand and we’ve got to come to some conclusion on it.

So I’m going to suggest, with Council’s approval, that the Mayor meet with, and the Staff and the City Manager, meet with you, and sit down and go over your concerns and try to find out what you’re after and what we can do about it.

Because I think that’s the only way we can get to the bottom of —and try to help you with getting the answers that you want, you’ve indicated. And we’re not getting it here in your presentation to General Committee or Council.

So I would suggest that Council agrees with that —that that happen.

Councillor Iannicca?…

Councillor Nando Iannicca:

I’d be happy to so move. You may recall that we last dealt with it, I asked that it go back to Committee —we spent some time on it. Even with all of that I think we were still trying to fight with understanding the data, the implications, what this in terms—

Madam Mayor, I agree with you entirely. because through to Ursula, I’m still trying to understand at the end of the day what the Ask Is.

So —I think that you’re genuine in your pursuit. I think it relates to violence under reporting of statistics and it means that we may not be getting the outputs from the system that we should.

I think we all respect all of that. But we’re not clear on The Ask.

We referred it back to Committee hoping that we’d get there. I think it’s raised more questions for you. I respect that. But Madam Mayor, I think that your suggestion is a very, very good one (and it’s good of you to make the time) to sit down, to maybe clarify some of the data.

But then when it comes back, I just want to be clear what The Ask is. What it is you’d like us to do to make the system better, because we share in that with you because I think you’re well-intentioned as the Mayor said, in that regard.

So Madam Mayor, I’d be happy to move that suggestion and thank you for it at the appropriate —and you’ll nail down the data and then bring back to us what it is that you’d like us to do to improve on this. I think that’s very helpful.

Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Councillor Prentice?…

Councillor Maja Prentice:

[inaudible and passes…]

Mayor Hazel McCallion:



Um, one thing. When you receive something for information, do you have to receive it? Or can you defer [sic] back?

Mayor Hazel McCallion:

We can refer it back.


Can I request then that Report 9 ”Requests for Additional Information Security Incidents” not be received for report then?

Mayor Hazel McCallion:

But can be referred back.


Refer it back? Because I would really like the youth/minor statistics in there? Please?

Mayor Hazel McCallion:

The whole matter will be referred –we’ll sit down with you and go over what your concerns are, information you’re seeking, what you want us to do, what you feel Council should be doing in this regard –directions to Staff etc. It will all be looked at. And that’s the only way will get to some consensus,–conclusion of the matter. ok?


Yes. And I have just one unusual request. I’m not sure if you can accommodate, but I’d really like an electronic copy of the Mississauga Corporate Security database be handed over to Mississauga’s community partner, Peel Regional Police? Until such time as I can convince—

Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Well that will be referred back.


Referred? Okay.

Mayor Hazel McCallion:

All, everything will be ref—


I tried. Thank you. (walks away)

[Total time: 9:25 minutes]

Mayor Hazel McCallion:

Thank you

(pause. Sound of papers shuffling)

Corporate Reports?…


A meeting with Mayor McCallion was set up for August 31st. I replied that I would not be in Canada that day. I also informed the Mississauga Mayor that before meeting with her I still had to do my “homework” —and that I was still waiting on questions that I was invited to send to City Staff back in June about City of Mississauga Corporate Security (MissCorpSec) and its dATaBAsE.

It’s now August 20th (two months later) and I’ve still to get the necessary answers from “appropriate” Staff that I need for a meeting with the Mayor.


The Mississauga Muse


“Corporate Security will continue the common practise to issue a banning notice at their own discretion, and/or effect a trespass arrest if required. This is done at the time of an incident and is thus necessarily independent of any control or oversight from the Violence and Vandalism Committee. Corporate Security will proceed under all existing guidelines and laws.”

—Email: Jamie Hillis  2005/01/28 3:50:48 pm (secured through Freedom of Information)


IMAGE DETAIL:  City of Mississauga Corporate Security “Special Occurrence Report” secured through Freedom of Information, showing ban of a 9/10 year old girl for 30 days from Mississauga Civic Centre, Central Library and Living Arts Centre. (MISSISSAUGAWATCH has confirmed that two 15/16 year old females were banned 30 days from just the Civic Centre for “Drugs”. Bottomline, less punishment than the 9/10 year old got handed “at the time of an incident and is thus necessarily independent of any control or oversight from the Violence and Vandalism Committee”.

FACT: There are plenty of Mississauga parents/guardians who haven’t a clue that their kid has received a ban from Mississauga’s City parks, facilities and properties —until their kid returns during their ban and “will be” arrested.

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August 7th, 2009  

This Blog is dedicated to the 9/10 year old girl who was banned for 30 days from three major City of Mississauga facilities at once (Mississauga Civic Centre, Mississauga Central Library and Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre). The ban, by City of Mississauga Corporate Security guards, was for “Disturbance”. It was issued on November 14, 2008, the same day that Roy McMurtry and Dr. Alvin Curling released their  Review of the Roots of Youth Violence report. Meanwhile, documents reveal that not much earlier that year (May 9, 2008) two 15/16 year old girls were banned for 30 days from just one facility, the Mississauga Civic Centre, for “Drugs”.  Parents/Guardians were not advised in either case —the only consistency found in these bans.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH is currently researching Brampton, Mississauga and Peel municipal governance through Freedom of Information (FOI) on many fronts.  Every query, every FOI filed —indeed every tangent we take, relates to Youth and ultimately what we believe to be a Major Root of Youth Violence, municipalities themselves.

Today we post a transcript of the October 25, 2007 endorsement of the Peel Youth Charter by Peel Regional Council.

The Peel Youth Charter was presented with much ceremony and even former Ontario Premier William G. Davis was there to smile for the Photo Op.

Below is video of Larry Zacher’s presentation of the Peel Youth Charter followed by the transcript: vital, historical, Youth Violence related-material that must be posted now.

Please know that when I was videotaping this, I was not aware that Charter-presenter, Larry Zacher, Executive Director of Safe City Brampton is spouse of City of Brampton Councillor, Gael Miles, who is also Chair of the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Network. Apparently neither of them thought this was worth mentioning.

To  begin, Google Video uploaded January 5, 2008.

PEEL YOUTH CHARTER endorsed by PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL (Oct 25 2007) – 08:09 min

Please click here to go directly to the clip on Google Video

TRANSCRIPT of Google Video, “PEEL YOUTH CHARTER endorsed by PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL (Oct 25 2007)” (Please advise of any errors in the transcript, thanks)

Larry Zacher, Executive Director, Safe City Brampton:

“Good morning, Chairman Kolb and Members of Council.

I have mixed emotions here this morning. I’m very proud to be presenting the Peel Youth Charter but also very intimidated to be following the Honourable William Davis. (laughter)

It’s a hard act to follow before but now that’s he’s bringing children up to his presentations (more laughter) what do you think, Valerie? (more laughter)

I would like to introduce Judge Valerie-Arnold, the Trustee from Brampton in Dufferin-Peel –oh! In the Peel District! -and also a member of the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Committee.

Thank you for having us here today.

First, I would like to congratulate the Honourable William Davis and the Success by Six Committee for the work that they’ve done when creating the Children’s Charter.

The absolute best thing we can do to Youth is provide seamless care for our children, from the day they’re born right though til they become responsible adults.

So it’s very timely that they are here with the Children’s Charter and we’re here with the Peel Youth Charter.

Council supported the development of this document by establishing the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Committee. I guess it was about January 06 and in the following spring we held a Youth Forum because we wanted to get input from the Community.

We had over a hundred and forty agencies represented as well as quite a few young people themselves, came, and we had a full day –it was one of those days where [sic] you’re pretty drained at the end of it, and looking at what are the issues facing Youth, where do we need to go and how can we tackle this as a Community (inaudible).

The outcome of that was the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Strategy, which was published in September of last year –very comprehensive document, a very innovative document, that is probably one of the first that comprehensive an approach anywhere in North America.

I know that for a fact we recently had the World Health Organization in Brampton designating us as an international safe community and one of the programs and one of the issues that they were very very impressed with was the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Strategy and seeing that it was very cutting edge and a very important program for our region.

Out of this Strategy, we’re currently, since it was published in September, we’ve established four working groups that are working comprised of people from all walks of life and all communities and all neighbourhoods in the Region of Peel.

Those working groups are focusing on Youth activities and Youth support and just as importantly, Family support, Community development –these all good ideas take money and resources to put into place, and Educational policies. And they have been working for the last year and a half and will continue to work and develop approaches and programs and strategies as we go forward.

The second very important outcome to come out of the Youth forum and out of the Strategy is the Peel Youth Charter. With that mounted, it’s a big document, I think that some of you have seen it, many of you have seen it and it sets out really how to accomplish two things.

The first is that it’s a statement from all of us that we value Youth and the skills and the energy and everything they bring to our community

And the second part is a –it’s a commitment from all of us to provide a safe and supportive environment for our young people and to do our utmost best to provide Safety initiatives for them and to ensure that they have the opportunities for education, future employment opportunities, that they have a good quality of life in our region and that they have access to the resources and activities they need to develop into happy, healthy, responsible adults.

The Charter has been signed by community leaders throughout the Region and includes the Mayors –Chairman Kolb has already signed it, the Police Chiefs, the Heads of the School Boards, the Community agencies.

We’ve also very strategically left a blank line in there because as we go forward, we want every business, every community agency, every organization that can contribute to Youth to sign on there and become a partner in this.

And by signing it, it’s not just saying, “Hey this is a great thing to hang on the wall”, it is a commitment to do what we can in those key areas –whether it’s Education, Jobs, Safety, any of those areas to support our young people.

So this week our committee has been visiting community leaders, media, going everywhere, presenting the Charter. I’m proud to say also this week the Charters are about to be going up in every school in the Region of Peel.

They’re going up in libraries, recreation centers and wherever other public [sic] –public buildings.

One of the things we’re asking today, Chairman Kolb, is that the Region endorse these Charters going out in Regional buildings, police stations and again where people will see them and wherever we have an organization that can contribute to this Charter.

At this time I would like to ask Chairman Kolb, and he mentioned that there are a number of Regional Councillors who sit on the Peel Violence [sic] Prevention Committee… Councillor Gael Miles, Councillor Katie Mahoney and Councillor Pat Saito and –sorry?

Councillor Gael Miles or Sue McFadden (unsure which) : That’s ok.

Larry Zacher, Executive Director, Safe City Brampton:

So if you can join us at the front, we’ll present —as well, Trustee Tony da Silva, from the Duffeirn-Peel Catholic District Board is here.

(Everyone goes to the front. Mississauga News, Ron Lenyk takes photo. Video ends.)

FACT:  Freedom of Information has confirmed that (at least at the City of Mississauga), the Peel Youth Charter is merely, “Hey this is a great thing to hang on the wall”.

OPINION: As a result, all Peel Youth Charters should be removed from City of Mississauga facilities and properties, ASAP.

To review the Peel Youth Charter, [underlined emphasis mine]

PEEL YOUTH CHARTER (signed March 29, 2007)

We believe that young people are valuable members of the Region of Peel. Young people bring a unique, diverse set of ideas, perspectives and skills, and make a valuable and significant contribution to our community. They deserve the same respect, dignity and human rights as all members of the community.

We believe all Peel youth have the right to:

These rights will apply without discrimination or prejudice to all youth in Peel.

By signing this charter we are committed to use our best efforts to ensure the safety, health, education and future employment of Peel’s youth.

Signed by: (left to right on the original Charter)

Susan Fennell (Mayor-Brampton), Marolyn Morrison (Mayor-Caledon), Hazel McCallion (Mayor-Mississauga) Emil Kolb (Chair Region of Peel), Janet McDougald (Chair Peel District School Board), Bruno Iannicca (Chair, Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board), Andy Karski (Inspector Caledon OPP), Mike Metcalf, (Chief, Peel Regional Police), Jim Bird (Vice-President Brampton Safe City Association), Katie Mahoney (Mississauga Crime Prevention Association), Shelley White, (CEO, United Way)


The Mississauga Muse


William G. Davis at the endorsement of the Peel Youth Charter (Peel Regional Council) October 25, 2007

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August 5th, 2009  

Forget what the newspapers say. Forget what anyone says. Here’s the only thing that matters.

What Hazel McCallion says!  …And I’m willing to believe her!


Regarding changes to Public Question Period…

TRANSCRIPT from Rogers Cable 10 TV, Mississauga Council Meeting August 5, 2009:

“We’ve dealt with this as a Mayor all these years–I look at it as an improvement in the administration of the business of the City. It really is.

I think today we need to look at efficiency and improvement of the administration of the business. This is one item that I think is going to do that. You know what? In my opinion citizens that are really sincere and dedicated, are going to benefit from this system in a major way. They’re going to see it’s dealing with their questions more professionally in more depth and with more facts and data to answer the question. And I believe we have to do that, and this is the way, in my opinion, it can be done much better than it has in the past.”

UPDATE AUGUST 5, 2009, 22:59  Hawaiian Standard Time. Special thanks to Rogers Cable 10 for providing the webcast of today’s City of Mississauga Council meeting. What follows is the video match for the transcipt above. For the public record.


(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)


The “sincere and dedicated” Mississauga Muse

MISSISSAUGA MUSE, MISSISSAUGAWATCH "Conducting Administrative, Oversight & Ombudsman Investigations" GARETH JONES

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