Thursday, January 19, 2006
Just because it’s sand doesn’t make it an ashtray. In an ongoing effort to make local beaches tobacco-free, Michelle House, tobacco control coordination for the County’s Health Department, will give an informal presentation to the Monterey Parks and Recreation Commission at 7pm, Jan. 19 in the Monterey City Council Chambers.
“Basically tobacco is a hazard because birds think they’re little snacks and ingest them,” House says. “They’re just yucky. Kids find them while playing in sand. They’re unsightly. We have the most beautiful coastline in the world, when people come here to experience it we can’t give them cigarette butts in the sand.”
Monterey is considering an ordinance similar to one adopted by the city of Carmel last November. It would ban the use of tobacco products within the boundaries of Monterey beaches. Pacific Grove lawmakers are also considering a ban.
According to House, the presentation will highlight the number of cigarette butts collected on Monterey beaches over the last two years, particularly after events like the Fourth of July celebration.
As for enforcement, the ordinance would rely on clear signage, paid for by the Health Department, and self-enforcement.
“If we have signage and people take it on that this is our environment and this is our heritage, I don’t expect to see police down on the beach writing tickets,” House says. “We would rely on responsible self-enforcement. If you see someone smoking on the beach you simply ask them to politely respect local laws.” [RM]
Peace activist MacGregor Eddy will be tried Jan. 19 in federal court for trespassing on Vandenberg Air Force Base. She was arrested Oct. 8, 2005, while attending a Keep Space for Peace rally, protesting the Star Wars program, at Vandenberg Space Command. It was Eddy’s third arrest at the base, a major US missile site.
The trial will be held at 1:30pm, in Santa Barbara federal court. If found guilty, Eddy will be sentenced at a later date. Eddy says she could face six months in jail, “but it’s highly unlikely that they would do anything that extreme.”
Besides, Eddy says, she’s confident that the judge will find her innocent.
“We’re going to ask the federal judge to find me innocent, and the executive branch, and by extension the military, and by extension Vandenberg, guilty,” she says. “That’s our job, to defend our constitution. My job, as a peace activist, is to ask the government to stop committing war crimes.”
At noon, just before Eddy’s trial, antiwar activists will stage a mock trial of the US government for violations of international law. Bill Mitchell, who co-founded Gold Star Families for Peace with Cindy Sheehan after his son was killed in Iraq, will be the star witness. [JL]