Little by little, various government entities within L.A. County are forcing cigarette smokers off public property and quarantining them into their own nasty tobacco dens.
The Department of Beaches and Harbors banned smoking on any beach within the county years ago. But the piers, because they're owned by individual cities, have remained skinny little safe spots…
… for beachgoers craving a cig.
Not for long. Redondo Beach City Hall is just the latest to put into motion an ordinance that would ban all smoking on the city's pier, including at the many restaurants that reside there.
Beginning in about 2010, the white liberal coastal cities of Santa Monica, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach have all banned smoking at their piers. (And that's a common domino effect for any environment- or health-related initiative: California Democrats always scramble over each other to be the first to ban sodas or plastic bags or fur, despite protests from local businesses.)
“Stop legislating away pleasure,” writes commenter Kent McCaman on the Redondo Beach Patch story. “Don't get on the government bandwagon to control and diminish people.”
Which led us to wonder: Is there anywhere left to watch the sun set over the ocean with a cancer stick in hand?
As far as we can tell, the only piers remaining that don't fall under a smoking ban are the Belmont Pier in Long Beach, the Venice Pier in Los Angeles and the Malibu Pier in Malibu. Although each of those cities have various types of public nonsmoking ordinances in place, we haven't been able to find specific mention of the piers.
Smokers may also find solace in the fact that, according to Beaches and Harbors spokeswoman Carol Baker, the county's no-smoking ordinance on the sand itself is often under-enforced.
“Lifeguards generally don't issue citations, because their primary role is safety,” says Baker. She says that if a lifeguard does feel a lit cigarette is threatening the public, he or she would probably choose to summon a city police officer.
But in general, “you don't see a lot of local police enforcing these rules.”