Local News
Tentative Decison To Ban Smoking In City Parks
By Kerri Krueger
Jul 25, 2007 - 9:06:13 AM

LA City Council Reaches Tentative Decision To Ban Smoking In City Parks

By Kerri Krueger



LOS ANGELESOn July 20, the Los Angeles City Council came to a tentative decision to ban smoking in public parks in order to keep the risk of wildfires at a lower rate during this very dry summer season.


“This motion pre-dated the destructive wildfires in Griffith Park in May and was at the behest of many anti-smoking groups, including County Tobacco Enforcement,” said Frank Mateljan, Press Deputy for City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. “After the fires in Griffith Park, the issue became particularly pertinent. The City Council has been quick to point out that the ordinance came first.”


The wildfire that almost completely destroyed Griffith Park was one of the largest to destroy a city park. An investigation into the start of the fire is still taking place, but authorities believe the blaze may have been started by a homeless man who had fallen asleep while smoking in the park.


Current city laws forbid smoking within 25 feet of city beaches and playgrounds, but the new ordinance would completely ban smoking in all city parks. “Those caught smoking in any park will receive a citation. A violation of the ordinance is an infraction, which carries a fine up to $250.” said Mateljan.


If and when the decision is made permanent, “no smoking” sign would be posted in numerous areas around the city parks. As with ant ordinance of this nature, there are exceptions to the rule. Smoking would be allowed on city golf courses, at the Los Angeles Zoo, and at the Greek Theater. There are even designated areas at the Autry National Center where smoking would be allowed. Movie studios must apply for a smoking permit if actors/actresses will be smoking in and during filming activities.


“We need an ordinance like this. We need to be able to prevent another devastating fire like the one in Griffith Park. I think a ban on smoking in public parks is a great way start. With this season being so dry, we can never be too careful.” said Robert Berger, a representative from the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Los Angeles.


A final decision will be made within the next two weeks. If the ordinance is made permanent, it will be into effect 31 days after its publication.

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