Puff-away on Parks Appreciation Day, April 26.
What do plastic bags in Lacey; persons at 20 weeks gestation in Mississippi; work emails after-hours in France; after-shave and cell phones in Zurich; tanning beds for teens under 18 in Washington; and new casinos in Fife have in common with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th leading cause of death in America roaming Lakewood’s parks?
All evils (yes emails are evil and not only in France – just read the reaction to the emails of Washington’s Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant for example) enumerated above are banned by the government somewhere in the world, except the last in Lakewood.
No longer can you take the life of the unborn after 20 weeks in Mississippi for example but you can incrementally take your own in Lakewood’s Parks.
In the places you’d expect would be most conducive to health and recreation – parks, Lakewood’s parks – you are free to choke, cough and otherwise cigarette-by-cigarette take your life and you can thank your Lakewood City Council for the privilege.
For that matter you can now drink to it too as alcohol, not permitted before, now is.
By a vote of 4-3 this past February 18, Lakewood City Council members Marie Barth, Mike Brandstetter, Mary Moss and John Simpson rejected the advice of the city’s Park Advisory Board, which twice recommended the ban.
That same night the council voted not to allow alcohol. Two weeks later they changed their minds and you can now drink beer on the park bench with the council’s blessing – so long as you pay the associated bill.
Because there are, after all, of course, rules.
To have a beer bash you have to have permission. To smoke, you best be on your best behavior as a 50-foot buffer between you and the swing set and other places where impressionable children gather will be strictly enforced.
Brandstetter’s beef – in brief – basically bemoaned how best a ban might be brought to bear.
And exactly how this measureable outcome of a partial ban, a 50-foot buffer ban, is to be measured remains, well, as foggy as a smoke-filled room.
Eventually the City Council will clear the air but until the rules, signs, warnings, puff-patrol, leaflets, and other more certainly cost-effective measures than an outright ban would have been, feel free.
Because you are. Free.
For, as Barth said, it’s “overreaching common sense” for government to play nanny when it comes to nicotine.
So have at this Saturday when you appreciate your parks, Lakewood.
And where better than at the Fort Steilacoom Park site where you can huff and puff in the restoration of thecemetery grave markers?