August 18, 2010; Source: San Diego Union-Times | The San Diego Derby Dolls have joined other concerned community members in an effort to block the plans of a local community group planning to tear down the one remaining roller rink in the city. The Bayside Community Center plans to build its new headquarters on the site of Skateworld Roller Rink, a beloved local landmark.
Apparently, Bayside has spent the last two months addressing various expressions of the community’s displeasure including a large demonstration last month. Teresa “Velvet Klaw” Salazar grew up skating at Skateworld and is now on the roller derby team that practices there. Klaw said she thought that city officials underestimated Skateworld’s and the Derby Dolls’ economic importance to Linda Vista. “If they only saw the number of people who come out for roller derby bouts – and they’re from out of town,” she said. “Hundreds of people are staying in hotels, eating at local restaurants. They are bringing in money from other communities.”
For its part, Bayside is a local historic institution established eighty years ago in Little Italy to help new immigrants adjust to their new community. They moved to Linda Vista thirty years ago to work with Southeast Asian immigrants. They feel misunderstood also, saying that they intend to establish a center for recreational activities in their complex.
We wish for a “both-and” outcome for the community here but doubt that the fuss will quiet down if the website for Friends of Skateworld is any indication. By the way, I’d like to use this moment to point out that many if not all roller derby teams involve themselves actively in volunteer work and charitable campaigns. Please check out the Derby Dolls website for a window into this much ignored aspect of the character of that phenomenon.—Ruth McCambridge