Interesting dialogue taking place:
yeah, I live in MKE, but I'm interested in the issue, exchanged a few emails already with Rex and james Pribram. Rex has his own personal lawyer. I think there may be a decent argument that the City / park district doesn't have the authority to ban surfing, only to regulate it in the name of safety (i.e., close beaches due to water quality, mark off areas for 'swimming only' during the beach season, maybe prohibit night surfing, stuff like that). Otherwise, its the state that holds the Lake and Lake bed in the public trust, and the public is to be able to use it for recreation, navigation, etc. I think the DNR is actually supposed to make sure these public rights are upheld. But either way, show me where the park district is authorized to prohibit surfing at almost all City beaches, I don't see the legal authority yet -- especially where, as I understand it, its still legal to swim right now (the park district website only discourages swimming in the off-season, it doesn't say you can't), and paddle, SUP, kite surf, etc. I think the argument to be made to the Park District is that its regulation is illegal, and that they can impose reasonable regulations upon surfing like they do all other water activities, but they cannot ban it across the board, not at any beach.
Right I agree. I guess, though, it comes down to whether the current policy is legal--if the City is not authorized to ban surfing, then its not authorized to ban surfing, and suddenly the playing field is different. Im not suggesting you file a lawsuit. But if I were representing Rex, or even surfers generally, I might go talk to the Park District's lawyers and ask what legal authority they think they have to impose an outright ban on surfing (and why surfing and not all of these other activities) as opposed to reasonable regulations upon surfing. Bottom line is, the city, park district, etc, they are entities created by statute, and they cannot act in a way that is not authorized by their enabling statutes. You can't just tell the public that they cannot engage in recreation on the Great Lakes, but if you do that, show me where it says you can---the fact that you've been doing it for X years isn't enough. Municipalities, gov't agencies, they overreach beyond their authority al the time, just because they pass a rule doesn't mean its legal, it sometimes takes someone to pushback and say not, "can we please have some leniency" but "wait a minute, who says you can even do that." I understand, however, that Chicago is a whole different can of worms, but they are still subject to the law.
Yeah we live in MKE but my son Blake and I surf everywhere, never in downtown Chicago though, but we know a good chunk of the Chicago/Indiana locals. If you've been to the new Patagonia store there is a picture of my son in three, taken by Mike Killion, from up in lake Superior.
Mike Urban (skysurfer) pointed out that we should use this situation as an opportunity to re-look at the city agreement and have a new approach to the current plan. We don't want to come off as demanding, but instead work jointly with the CPD to provide a safe atmosphere for us to do our water sports. I think pulling out the tools of legality and trials should be used as a last resort. It would be a waste if they are already on the same page as us and it would just get bad blood.
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