PINOLE -- Max Glanz has petitioned the City Council for redress of grievances longer than many a veteran council gadfly -- and he's not even old enough to vote.

The ardent skateboarder was a preteen when he first appeared before the Pinole City Council in 2006 to advocate for a skate park so that he and his friends, tired of being chased away by school custodians, property managers and police, could have a legal venue to ply their sport in their home city.

Seven years later, Pinole still does not have a skate park, and earlier this month, Glanz, now a 17-year-old Pinole Valley High School senior, addressed the City Council again, this time to complain that it does not keep its word.

Glanz, his mom and nine of his friends, some toting skateboards, sat quietly in the council chamber for a good three hours Feb. 5 waiting for the matter to come up. When Glanz got his turn to speak, he questioned the legality of shifting Measure WW funds previously allocated for a skatepark to other projects.

"There will be many children of Pinole that will be affected if we do not do the project," Glanz said. "They will continue to have no place for their sport, and citizens will continue to be frustrated with them using public staircases, benches and ledges which cost the city money to maintain."

Then he made a pitch for a sport that he believes many people misperceive negatively.


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"Skateboarding is about freedom, personal expression and inner creativity," Glanz said. "The challenge, perseverance and concentration that it takes to skateboard have been my sole inspiration in striving to do better in school, in personal relationships and in all of life's choices.

"I am proud of my sport. It has shaped who I am in many positive ways."

The council took no action on the skate park Feb. 5, and it is expected to come up again at Tuesday's meeting.

In 2009, the council had agreed to build a skate park at Pinole Valley Park, between a soccer field and a baseball diamond. The skate park and four other projects were supposed to be financed through Measure WW regional park bonds approved by voters in 2008; two of the projects, a senior fitness trail and a soccer field, have been completed.

Two other projects have since been added to the list, and a five-year Capital Improvement Plan submitted to the City Council earlier this month calls for slashing the skate park budget by more than two-thirds, from $344,000 to $112,000, while establishing an $89,000 set-aside fund for future needs and adding restrooms at Fernandez Park for $112,000.

Max Glanz, 17, of Pinole skateboards past a gas station along Tara Hills Drive near Appian Way in Pinole on Friday, Feb. 15.
Max Glanz, 17, of Pinole skateboards past a gas station along Tara Hills Drive near Appian Way in Pinole on Friday, Feb. 15. (Jane Tyska / Bay Area News Group)

City Manager Belinda Espinosa, in an email following the Feb. 5 meeting, said Measure WW proceeds are allocated to cities in the East Bay Regional Park District on a per-capita basis, adding: "The City Council has the sole ability to prioritize and budget for the projects."

The list has changed, with City Council approval, because of some unanticipated costs, Espinosa added, citing overruns on the soccer field and new projects at the Pinole Swim Center.

Earlier in the Feb. 5 meeting, Sandee Glanz, Max's mom, who has been a member of skateboard committee of Pinole residents and officials for seven years, chastised the council for failing to follow through.

"We have places for tennis, we have places for basketball, we have places for swimming ... but we don't have any place for a skate park," she said.

Several officials proposed locating a skate park about 1,000 feet further east on a site that currently serves as a parking lot. Councilman Tim Banuelos said that spot could save money because grading issues are already resolved.

But Max and Sandee Glanz urged the council to finally put the project out to bid, noting that it took years to settle on a site.

Councilman Roy Swearingen noted that every time the council changes the project, it throws completion back another year or so.

In the end, the council continued the discussion of the Capital Improvement Plan to the next meeting, which will be Tuesday.

"We hope that the youth of Pinole are able to learn that when you go through all the red tape in the proper manner as Max has done for the last seven years, that perseverance and hard work pay off," Sandee Glanz wrote in an email last week.

Max Glanz said he has appeared more than a dozen times before the council since 2006.

In 2008, a proposal for a skate park between the left field fence at Fernandez Park and the berm carrying the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks was shot down by neighbors who warned it might attract crime, drugs, noise and traffic. But in Berkeley, home to a popular skate park, police said their actions there consisted mostly of evicting bicyclists and reminding skateboarders to wear helmets.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760 or tlochner@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.

If YoU GO
What: Pinole City Council
Where: Pinole City Hall, 2131 Pear St.
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday