L.A. Revises Rules For Playing On Beaches

Correction Feb. 11, 2012

The audio of this story, as did a previous Web version, incorrectly states that Los Angeles recently banned throwing Frisbees and footballs along beaches and that the maximum fine was $1,000. Actually, the ordinance has been in effect since 1970 but was recently revised. The ordinance now bans those activities only between Memorial Day and Labor Day in certain areas. The maximum fine is $500.

Los Angeles County recently updated a year-round ban on the throwing of Frisbees and footballs on its beaches. Now those activities are only restricted between Memorial Day and Labor Day. People who violate the rule face a maximum fine of $500.

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And this next story seems designed to invite satire. In Los Angeles County, officials have changed the law, and they now ban Frisbees, footballs and, quote, "excessive digging" in the sand along its 70 miles of beaches. As NPR's Amy Walters reports, if you break the law, you face fines from 100 to $1,000. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The ordinance has been in effect since 1970, but was recently revised to ban those activities only between Memorial Day and Labor Day in certain areas. The maximum fine is $500.]

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a game-winning touchdown. Ready, set, hut.

AMY WALTERS, BYLINE: Ah, the sounds of summer - well mid-February, but it looks and feels like summer: blue skies, a blue ocean and a dozen or so shirtless men tossing around the pigskin.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Whoa, you got.

SAM DEKIN: We come here specifically to play football.

WALTERS: Sam Dekin lives nearby and loves playing on the beach.

DEKIN: It's a wide-open space. It's good exercise on the sand, sometimes some pretty girls.

WALTERS: One of the guys Dekin plays with is Gabor Fabian. He just heard about the ordinance.

BRIGADIER GUS MCLACHLAN: Where is the public going, like, oh my gosh, the beaches are being overrun by football-throwing vigilantes and Frisbee gangs? And there's none of that. So it makes no sense at all.

WALTERS: Sense or no sense, the rule is in effect from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Carol Baker is with the Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors.

CAROL BAKER: Lifeguards need to have a way to stop a game in a crowded beach area before someone gets hurt.

WALTERS: Baker says this is actually not a new ordinance, but a change to the rules, which now reads: It is unlawful for any person to cast, toss, throw, kick, or roll any ball, tube or any light object other than a beach ball or beach volleyball upon or over any beach.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Two yards to go. Touchdown. Woo.

WALTERS: That means no football.

Amy Walters, NPR News.

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