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County to Rewrite Beach Activities Law

The Los Angeles County Supervisors vote to rewrite rules governing county beaches to make it more clear that it's OK to play Frisbee on the sand.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday signaled its intention to do away with old rules that prohibited football games and Frisbee flying on county beaches and directed staff to rewrite the existing ordinance to clearly state that football, Frisbee and similar sports are OK, unless the safety of other beachgoers is in danger or a lifeguard tells those playing to stop.

Last week, the board approved updated policies regarding lifeguards, boating and beach recreation in and around Los Angeles County beaches. Old rules related to beach sports, which included a prohibition on playing football on the sand, were loosened to allow football and Frisbee and to add sailboarding, kiteboarding and paddleboarding to the list of beach activities.

According to Santos Kreimann, director of the county Department of Beaches and Harbors, erroneous reports last week that anyone tossing a football or a Frisbee could be fined $1,000 outraged some Frisbee and football fans.

"It went viral within minutes," said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. He said his office was inundated with complaints from as far away as London.

Supervisors Don Knabe—who represents the South Bay—and Michael Antonovich wanted Kreimann at today's meeting to publicly clarify the rules, and Knabe recommended going a step further.

"While I appreciate the clarification, I'm concerned that misunderstandings will continue," Knabe said. "Given the fact that no tickets have been issued in 40 years ... allowing such activity should be the rule rather than the exception."

Knabe said he discussed the changes with lifeguards and they agreed that an updated ordinance was needed. It was unclear how long it would take for county lawyers to make the changes, which would then be codified by a vote of the board.

The vote in support of the change was unanimous.

Previously:

City News Service contributed to this report.

Duke Noor February 15, 2012 at 06:49 PM
So glad that clarity and common sense has pre-empted a stupid law and some shabby reporting by CBS2 News. It would be interesting to see how many actual injuries have occurred over, say the past 5 years, during the summer months. My guess would be not too many. But, for the person injured, I guess one would be too many. Lifeguards will do a good job enforcing any future ordinances, but aren't they supposed to always look west, with minimal distractions?
Jake Rome February 16, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Common sense has prevailed. Bottom line is that ordinances should be written as they are enforced. It was a bad idea to decree spontaneous Frisbee playing illegal, then *wink* *nudge* imply its OK unless directed. Reversing the letter of the ordinance to match the spirit is the right course of action. Bravo.
Diane Naletich February 16, 2012 at 02:25 PM
So pleased to read the story this morning. Glad it was clarified!!

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