Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh, come on, LA...

Yesterday's Quote of the Week highlighted what I considered to be a particularly egregious example of the federal government overstepping its bounds and needlessly meddling in the flow of private commerce. Today, I read an article that got me even more upset, and proved that local governments are similarly afflicted with what appears to be legislative Tourette's.
When you head down to the beach for a little fun this summer, county officials want you to leave the pigskin at home. 
The Board of Supervisors this week agreed to raise fines to up to $1,000 for anyone who throws a football or a Frisbee on any beach in Los Angeles County. 
In passing the 37-page ordinance on Tuesday, officials sought to outline responsibilities for law enforcement and other public agencies while also providing clarification on beach-goer activities that could potentially disrupt or even injure the public.
The updated rules now prohibit “any person to cast, toss, throw, kick or roll” any object other than a beach ball or volleyball “upon or over any beach” between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 
Exceptions allow for ball-throwing in predesignated areas, when a person obtains a permit, or playing water polo “in or over the Pacific Ocean”.
What the hell? Look, throwing footballs and frisbees is simply not the sort of thing that any government should need to concern itself with, least of all with a 37-page (side note: WTF?!? I've read dissertations that were shorter than that...) ordinance.

If somebody's throwing a football too close to me on the beach, I politely ask them to take it down closer to the water. If they refuse, the next time the ball comes near me, it's mine. Or I throw it in the ocean. I don't go crying to the county office building begging for them to pass a freaking law banning all football-throwing, and if I did, I'd expect them to laugh me out of the place.

BUT WAIT, there's more!!
Your kids could also end up costing you big bucks: the ordinance also prohibits digging any hole deeper than 18 inches into the sand except where permission is granted for film and TV production services only.
Oh, do come on... when I was a kid, practically the only reason I ever had any fun at the beach (besides body surfing, which always rules) was that I could dig a four foot deep hole (or as deep as I could go before I hit the water level) and then climb in it and screw around. Now, that's illegal. Of course it is.

I'm sick and tired of the environment in this country (some have called it the "nanny state") that seeks to ban any behavior that could potentially be performed in an irresponsible manner. It's a quick and dirty way for government officials to look like they're "doing something" (a dynamic I railed against in this post and this post regarding Yale athletics), but generally speaking we as citizens are simply sacrificing personal freedoms for a minimal social benefit (or, worse, a counter-productive policy).

Of course, in the case of L.A. County, this is probably just an example of a clearly-strapped local government trying to come up with ever more "creative" ways to raise revenue in a recession (hey, somebody's gotta pay for those wastefully extravagant schools). The fines that are being imposed here are basically just another form of taxation, albeit a much more "popular" form of taxation. Tax only the rule-breakers, not the responsible people, right? The same basic concept is used to justify high taxes on cigarettes, and now it's being extended to digging holes on beaches (an irresponsible behavior if ever there was one).

Whatever. Nice stealth tax hike, L.A. Well played.

[CBS L.A.]

No comments:

Post a Comment