Southern California environment news and trends

Deciphering the new L.A. beach ordinance (and yes, you can get fined for throwing a football)

Mercer 12226

Ron Almog/Flickr

It just looks so innocent...

What we’ve got here, to paraphrase the Captain from movie Cool Hand Luke, is a failure to communicate.

Like many of you, I was taken aback and more than a little perplexed by yesterday’s news claiming that Frisbee-tossing and football throwing had been deemed a fineable misdemeanor on L.A. County beaches over the summer months.

Doing my due diligence, my research included reading the entire 37-page ordinance explaining the various nuances of this new ban. Turning to Section 28, 17.12.150 on pg. 15, I read the following passage:

“A violation of this chapter is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, and/or imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 6 months.”

This is the magic passage that caught my eye. While it seemed excessive, it wasn’t outside of the realm of possibility. Footballs and Frisbees are projectiles, and on a crowded beach could become quite dangerous.

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No fun: L.A. County beaches may levy fine for throwing footballs and Frisbees

Brian Watt/KPCC

At least you can still play volleyball.

It’s the prototypical summer scene: shiny, happy people frolicking on the beaches of Los Angeles, playing catch and tossing Frisbees. Now the L.A. Board of Supervisors has passed a sprawling, 37-page ordinance that outlines restrictions on the throwing of the apparently offending objects on L.A. County beaches. 

It’s not a sweeping ban: Specifically, the ordinance frowns upon “any person to cast, toss, throw, kick or roll” anything outside of a beach ball or volleyball on any L.A. beach between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The basic idea is to protect the general public from flying objects during the peak summer months, when beaches are at their most crowded. So those aspiring to be the next Gabrielle Reece are good, but Eli Manning wannabes, not so much. And the Frisbee Olympics are definitely out. The rules are not so stringent over the winter and spring months, so plan accordingly.

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