Last login: Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I live in Ocean Beach very near the beach. The beach smoking ban has been great but it has shifted the smoking to areas on the fringe of the beach areas. The end of my street, Cape May Avenue, sees a lot of smoking and butt litter.
Ultimately I think we need to ban smoking in all public areas including sidewalks and streets. This could be done as an emergency ordinance given the abundance of litter and secondhand smoke and the danger they pose to society - especially children. Then let the tobacco industry, cigarette retailers and responsible smokers come up with a plan to allow smoking in certain areas backed up with a plan to police the activity. Such a plan would have to address the costs of enforcement and be subject to cancellation if the litter and second hand smoke return as a nuisance. I realize that this would not be politically feasible to do overnight but it should be a long term goal. Anything short of that is just a shell game shifting the problem around and concentrating it in certain areas.
I was a little troubled by the comments of the San Diego Police officer who called in today. He stated that enforcing the parks and beaches smoking ban was given little consideration by his fellow officers due to lack of staff and funding. Why can't cigarette butt litterers become a source of revenue for the city?
A few years ago I received a ticket for turning left on University Avenue. The no left turn sign was difficult to see but I did not fight it and paid the several hundred dollar fine. While parked in the area after getting the citation I observed the officer ticket several others for the same offense. He was just sitting there waiting for violations. He was not out catching dangerous criminals he was operating a trap. Why not have officers parked in unmarked vehicles in front of bars and just wait for people to toss their butts into the gutters? At a few hundred bucks a pop that would earn money to pay the officers and cut down on the litter going into our storm drains. A first time violator could be given the option to pick up 100 butts on the spot.
Finally I need to comment on the cigarette butt problem at Robb Field. It is horrible. The no smoking signage is minimal. If the police can not patrol that area, the Park and Rec staff should. If lifeguards can write tickets why not Park and Rec staff? There is even a city employee there (he works at the gym) who smokes next to the office in front of children. Why aren't these people picking up butts and other litter on a daily basis?
April 13, 2010 at 10:57 a.m.
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