As a policy advisor for an Orange County Supervisor I’m always interested in seeing what other counties are doing to deal with issues they face. However, a recent policy that was agreed upon fell below the radar until it was too late. While listening to KFI after leaving work yesterday I heard a headline informing listeners that the county had approved restrictions on throwing footballs or frisbees on county beaches. Thinking it may be a knee-jerk soundbite with no detail I mostly ignored the story. However, when I got home I saw a headline on the Drudge Report about the ordinance and linked details to the Local CBS News station confirming the KFI headline. Having grown up in LA County and played football and frisbee on LA County beaches countless times, I was outraged.
As I often do, I looked to Supervisor Michael Antonovich for perspective on what happens in LA County. (As reference to background, I have admired Supervisor Antonovich for many years. He has been a friend to my family for decades, my grandfather who was a newspaper editor was an early supporter of his early in his political career and the Supervisor remains personal friends with my parents.) So today I read the press release his office issued in response to the ordinance. I did not know how Antonovich voted on the issue because LA County hasn’t released the minutes of the meeting yet. However, Antonovich’s press release indicates that the county simply “updated” an existing ordinance, and actually “eased” regulations, actually allowing for ways to play with a frisbee or football on the beach. Upon further investigation, this technically appears to be true.
But this doesn’t measure up, if the ordinance is 42 years old it clearly wasn’t enforced, because it’s of course antiquated and ridiculous. But now the new “updated” ordinance provides enforcement officials guidelines to execute the regulations with specific fine amounts listed. Effectively these new “lighter” regulations impose much harsher draconian rules for beach activity. So now when you accidentally overthrow a receiver in a friendly game of football on the beach when your ball rolls next to the Lifeguard station instead of getting the ball tossed back to you, you may be paying a fine instead.
I’m reminded of a book I read in fourth grade called “Stupid Laws,” which documented senseless laws that have somehow remained on the books instead of being repealed. These laws would include such examples of a prohibition on women wearing pants in the city of Tuscon, AZ. They are senseless and should have been repealed long ago. Yet the LA County Board of Supervisors came across one of these laws and instead of repealing it, they decided to find a way to enforce it under the guise of “easing it.”
This recent ordinance “update” is a clear illustration of Ronald Reagan’s observation of government’s philosophy that says: “If it moves tax it, if it keeps moving regulate it, if it stops moving, regulate it.” The Board of Supervisor’s attempt to depict this ordinance as an “update” is an insult to their constituent’s intelligence.
I posted the CBS story on my facebook page earlier today expressing my outrage, soon I noticed more than 20 of my friends had done the same. CBS probably got a fair amount of feedback, and they took it upon themselves to completely rewrite the story, and now portray the board’s action as an “update” instead of what it really is, a enhanced way to enforce this insanity.
So remember, if you go to an LA County beach this summer, don’t bring a football or frisbee…unless you have you checkbook handy. Welcome to the Nanny State.