A top county official held a news conference Thursday night to set the record straight on an issue of paramount importance to Los Angeles: beach football.
Pigskin chucking, Frisbee hurling and all manner of ball play are OK on Los Angeles beaches, as long as people play safely, said county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
An exasperated Yaroslavsky said he was forced to call the news conference after a media misfire earlier this week prompted a flood of calls and emails to his office, with one complaint from as far away as London.
"Nobody is going to get fined a thousand dollars for throwing a football. Nobody's going to get arrested," Yaroslavsky said sternly—while holding a Trojan red USC football.
In Los Angeles, beaches are serious business. They attract 50 to 70 million visitors every year and provide a major source of tourist revenue. And a city that's in the midst of trying to attract an NFL team would hardly want to appear unfriendly to the game.
County supervisors had revised an ordinance Tuesday that quietly banned ball play on the beach for the past 40 years. The ban had threatened a $1,000 fine on violators—but beach officials say a citation for a rule violation has never been written.
It was revised to allow year-round ball play on beaches with one caveat: during the busy summer months, beachgoers must ask a lifeguard for permission before starting a beach ball game.
Santos Kreimann, director
of the Department of Beaches and Harbors, said disobedient players face a $100 fine if they start tossing beach balls against a lifeguard's wishes.
"It's not appropriate sometimes for someone to be playing in the middle of people enjoying the ocean," said Kreimann.
Cigarettes have been banned on the sand to keep beaches free of butts. Butts of another kind also are not allowed as nude sunbathing is not permitted.