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Because the state of California legislature has solved all of the problems with the budget, it's seemingly inevitable bankruptcy, illegal immigration and unemployment, a bill has been introduced to ban smoking at all state parks. Seriously? Maybe when they're done with that, they can get to work on their long awaited book "How to Piss Away Time and Money While Feigning to Serve the Public."
The author of this ridiculousness and waste of everyone's time is a one Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D-umbass), Long Beach. According to what appears to be called The San Diego Daily Transcript Ms. Oropeza explains that "It is very clear that the garbage that is created as a result of smoking on beaches -- butts and wrappers -- are polluting our water. In terms of the state park system, we have a major fire hazard when cigarettes are smoked in parks." Uh-huh.
While I'm not going to disagree that part of garbage on the beaches is composed of cigarette butts and wrappers, I am going to point out that it's hardly the main component of the garbage itself. I'm not justifying anything here or anything like that, but all of that sand in one place (ie, the beach) is just like one of those public ashtrays that you see outside of downtown buildings. Perhaps those dumb enough to be smoking in the first place are merely confused. (And who in their right mind would WANT to be smoking on the beach anyway? It's so freaking beautiful there. And you want to whip out a cigarette and start puffing away? Are you kidding me? Why?)
But back to the state parks. It's not a "major fire hazard when cigarettes are smoked in parks." That makes it sound like people are walking around the state parks with the equivalent of a blazing tiki torch hanging out of their mouth. Sure, if the thing is still lit and it goes flying into some pile of dried debris, there's going be a problem. But how many forest fires in California are actually started by a cigarette? I have no idea because I can't find any data on it. (I did find a reference to a 2002 fire in Lake Tahoe started by a cigarette tossed from a gondola, but that's about it. I'm not saying there aren't more, I'm just saying they're not spreading like wildfire or anything. Pun totally intended.)
According to the article (and obvious to folks who have ever heard anything about the ridiculous legislation that California passes) "The move would not be surprising in a state with a long history of cracking down on smoking as a way to eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke." In a state park?! How much second-hand smoke is there actually exposure to in a state park? Have you visited a state park? Anywhere? They're quite roomy. I think that exposure to second-hand smoke is the least of your concerns. Unless you're a bear, perhaps. Is this for bears?
That same article reminded me that "A California law that took effect in 2008 slaps motorists with a $100 fine if they are smoking in a car that contains a minor under the age of 18." Are you kidding? Don't get me wrong. I'm not in favor of smoking in a car with children. But I'm also not in favor of smoking in a home with children. I'm kind of guessing that the same folks that smoke in the car with their kids are smoking in their home with their kids. Why aren't we regulating that as well? Because that would be silly, that is correct. Why it's OK to regulate it in the car is beyond me.
Look, I don't smoke. I am thrilled that there is no longer smoking in restaurants and in a lot of public indoor areas. I could not be happier. But we're talking people who are outside here. And they're not going to be around many other people. Yes, there is the danger of wildfires when there is smoking, but that's going to be your argument, you're really going to have to explain to me why campfires would be fine, but cigarette smoking would be a ticket to hell.
But, wait! There's more! "Oropeza said the legislation could save the financially strapped state millions in fighting wildfires started by someone tossing a lit cigarette in a state park." Aww. Look. There's my favorite word when any politician is explaining why their hare-brained idea is legitimate. "Could". It could happen. It could do this. It could do that. (It won't, but it could.) And what else could happen? Monkeys could fly out of my butt, that is correct. (They won't, but they could. Could they?)
However, "Oropeza excluded campsites from the ban to accommodate state park officials, who said prohibiting smoking at campsites would be difficult to enforce." Soooo...let me get this straight. You're not prohibiting smoking in state parks at campsites. That's OK. So the places where people are most likely to be congregated and exposed to second-hand smoke will not be effected by this. Got it. Soooo...it will be enforced where? Right, on the hiking trails, that is correct. Because if there's one thing that is a frequent occurrence everywhere, it's hikers who smoke a lot.
Why isn't this idea covered under the "no littering" provision of whatever law that is under? I can't imagine that it isn't. Then again, for some reason, driving while talking on your cell phone isn't covered under the "distracted driving" provisions and needs its very own, special law. Go figure. We are so over-regulated in this state. And what is this thing going to cost? Well, don't you worry! "Any state park that does not have the money to buy no-smoking signs alerting visitors to the rules also would be exempt." This state has no money! Didn't they just make huge cuts to the parks budget this last time around? I'm pretty sure that they did, but that's only because they made huge cuts everywhere! So if you don't have a sign, you don't have to follow the rule. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.
This is nothing more than a feel good law for softheads. It's a waste of time to even be considering something that, in it's own language, does virtually nothing. Yet state senators continue to waste their time and taxpayer dollars composing bills such as this one that are useless. This state is so screwed. And we're so doomed. That's right. We're scroomed.