October 21, 2010 - The Long Beach City Council unanimously voted Tuesday, October 19th to ban smoking in all city parks and other outdoor areas, including picnic areas, playgrounds, sports or playing fields, walking paths, gardens, hiking trails, and bike paths. Smoking was already illegal on city beaches.
Directly related news brief: September 21, 2010 - Long Beach, California - smoking ban in all parks coming soon..
The ordinance, which had been recommended by the Parks and Recreation Commission, exempts golf courses because of potential revenue loss and because smoking on courses isn't considered likely to affect children or crowds. The law also allows exemptions for activities such as filming or special events.
Violating the ordinance would be an infraction, not a misdemeanor or felony. Violators would face a $100 fine the first time, a $200 fine for a second violation within one year, and a $500 fine for all subsequent violations within one year of a previous offense.
A crowd of more than 30 people showed up at City Hall to support the smoking ban, including activists, parents and children. "As city leaders, I'm asking you to please take the lead and help our citizens, all of our citizens, lead healthier lives," said Claudette Powers of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Long Beach.
However, there were a few voices of dissent in the audience and on the council, notably from Councilman James Johnson. While he said that he supported the smoking ban, and he eventually voted for it, he first proposed Tobacco smoking banned – just about everywhere requiring that smoking tickets could on
However, there were a few voices of dissent in the audience and on the council, notably from Councilman James Johnson. While he said that he supported the smoking ban, and he eventually voted for it, he first proposed could only be given in parks that have signs. The ordinance doesn't require signs, which Johnson said was unjust to smokers. "If they're in a park and they don't know about this law, and they get a ticket, is this fair," Johnson said. Councilwoman Rae Gabelich joined with Johnson to vote for this change to the law, but the rest of the council voted against it.
Director of Health and Human Services Ron Arias said that temporary signs will be put up - permanent signs would cost more than $30,000, officials said - and that the city will conduct "a very intense education campaign" for the smoking law.
12-year-old Elizabeth Alvarado, a Hughes Middle School student, recounted how their park experience has been negatively affected by smokers. "There isn't a single time that I go that I don't see a person smoking, and I inhale it," she said.
Not all anti-smoking attempts have been successful. In May, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, that would have banned smoking at all state beaches.
Reference: City Council bans smoking in all Long Beach parks by Paul Eakins, Staff Writer, Long Beach