So here's the thing about beach Frisbees *

In regards to yesterday's web sensation and dueling local media headlines on whether or not Frisbee throwing was banned on Los Angeles County beaches, county officials have tried to clarify things. Yes, there is a rule against throwing Frisbees and footballs in summer. Yes, the rule did get changed this week. No, they don't expect to write many citations, if any. And no, the fine is not $1,000.

After years of outright prohibition, a new ordinance which received final approval this week spells out for the first time the conditions under which Frisbees and footballs are allowed on county beaches—basically, in the off-season, or with a permit or permission from the lifeguard....

The new ordinance does give the county the right to ticket Frisbee scofflaws, like people who persist in throwing into large summer crowds, or when asked not to by a lifeguard. The first offense is $100—an amount set by the California Government Code.


As for those new $1,000 fines you may have heard about: yes, they’re in the ordinance but they apply to only a few kinds of misbehavior. Those include nudity, shooting weapons and swimming or surfing during hazardous conditions or in prohibited areas.

* Added: This blogger, Hillel Smith, also apparently gets it right: Frisbee throwing had been restricted since 1970, the infraction fine is "not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) for a first violation," and the $1,000 fine for certain offenses added in this week's county ordinance is also a "not exceeding" situation. "The upshot is that the law hasn't changed, just the language, and if anything the law has been made less restrictive. We won't comment on whether we think the law is silly."

It's the silliness of a ticket for Frisbee throwing — or worse yet, the requirement of a permit — that is making the news go viral. The county has now put out a statement pointing out that "the new ordinance lifts a decades-old, all-out ban on playing football, Frisbee and other ball on the beach. Its intention was not to preclude football or Frisbee tossing." But yet! Los Angeles County does preclude football or Frisbee throwing. In summer, without a permit or the permission of a lifeguard — and it doesn't seem to matter if the beach is crowded or deserted. Yes, the law just got less restrictive. Yes, lifeguards can choose not to enforce the rule. But, Wham-O!, you can still be fined if a lifeguard chooses to call in somebody with a badge to write you up.

Previously on LA Observed:
LA bans beach Frisbees? Tale of two headlines

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