Beach director says Frisbees are fine
February 9, 2012
Santos Kreimann says he has nothing against Frisbees at the beach—honest. And it’s OK with him if you want to toss a football along the shore, too, as long as you do it responsibly.
That’s why the county’s Beaches & Harbors director was baffled Thursday to find that what his department views as a liberalization of the rules for beach recreation is being widely misinterpreted to mean that Frisbee- and football-throwing is now subject to a $1,000 fine.
Not so, Kreimann says. After years of outright prohibition, a new ordinance which received final approval this week spells out for the first time the conditions under which Frisbees and footballs are allowed on county beaches—basically, in the off-season, or with a permit or permission from the lifeguard.
For years, he said, that kind of recreation had been outlawed altogether “to prohibit some knucklehead from acting like an idiot on the beach.”
The Frisbee flap has received big play on the airwaves and the Internet. The Drudge Report headlined an incorrect report by a local TV station: “LA County Approves $1,000 Fine For Throwing Football, Frisbees On Beaches.” Inquiries have poured into county offices from reporters as far away as London. The Los Angeles Times provided a factually accurate counterpoint to the coverage with an article headlined: “Ball playing, Frisbee tossing now allowed on L.A. County beaches.”
The new ordinance does give the county the right to ticket Frisbee scofflaws, like people who persist in throwing into large summer crowds, or when asked not to by a lifeguard. The first offense is $100—an amount set by the California Government Code. (Read the department’s statement on the ordinance here.)
Still, Kreimann doesn’t expect many citations will be issued.
“We don’t ticket anybody for throwing a ball on the beach, as long as they’re doing it responsibly,” he said.
As for those new $1,000 fines you may have heard about: yes, they’re in the ordinance but they apply to only a few kinds of misbehavior.
Those include nudity, shooting weapons and swimming or surfing during hazardous conditions or in prohibited areas.
The revisions to the ball-playing section of the ordinance were prompted in part by the growing popularity of sports like beach tennis and beach soccer, which are now permissible under certain conditions.