County Ordinance Makes Beach Nudity Eligible for $1000 Fines

LOS ANGELES COUNTY—In an ordinance approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in late December, the throwing of Frisbees and footballs on county beaches will be allowed as long as the activity takes place either in the off-season, or with a permit or the permission of the particular beach's lifeguard.

Oh, and all nudity on the beach is now a violation punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, as are swimming or surfing during hazardous conditions or in prohibited areas, and shooting a gun.

The ordinance amends Titles 2, 3 and 17 of the LA County Code; notably Sec. 2.116.170, which gives the Director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors or his/her designees to "cite as an infraction and punish by fine... any violation of any ordinance, regulation or policy occurring on any beach"—a term which includes "beach facilities, bicycle paths, promenades, service and emergency roads, parking lots, pedestrian stairways and accessways, landscaping, slopes, jetties, creek beds, revetments, drains and all navigable waters within one thousand feet from the public beach or shoreline area bordering the Pacific Ocean owned, controlled or managed by the county." (Good thing nobody ever changes into their bathing suit in the parking lot!)

Also, according to Sec. 17.12.150, some violations are considered "infractions," which under California Government Code Sec. 25132 are punishable by  fines ranging from $100 for the first offense up to $500 for a third or higher offense, and "misdemeanors," which bring newly-enacted fines of up to $1,000 "and/or imprisonment in the County Jail for a period not exceeding six months, or both."

And what are some of these infractions and misdemeanors? Well, in addition to what's noted above, there's digging a hole deeper than 18 inches in the sand (unless you're, say, a movie or television producer, in which case you can get a permit for it); playing loud music or causing or producing any repetitive tooting, blowing or sounding of any automobile siren, horn, signal or noise-making device, or "the use of any vulgar, profane or indecent language therein"; shooting photos or movies without a permit; possessing or discharging fireworks on a beach; and "nudity or disrobing" on a beach (see above definition)—and they've done away with an exception which allowed live theatrical performances to include nudity. The new ordinance doesn't make it clear which of these are the misdemeanors, but apparently most of them are.

So all you directors who are planning to shoot "beach bunny" movies on LA County beaches had better think about moving the production somewhere up or down the coast to a jurisdiction that isn't so prudish—or even if they are, that at least won't fine you as much or threaten to throw your ass in jail for six months.