Sarasota News Leader

12/06/2013

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OPINION THE CANCEROUS DECLINE OF SIESTA KEY PUBLIC BEACH EDITORIAL It has been almost exactly a year since a decision by the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, in a completely unrelated case, ended Sarasota County's ability to ban smoking on its beaches. lands in the last legislative session. However, House leaders objected to the bills as "government overreach" and the bills went nowhere. Now it has been reported that the sponsors of those bills have capitulated in that fight, That smoke-free environment, in addition to planning to introduce bills in the next session being a delight for those who enjoy breathing, that only allow for the banning of smoking on playgrounds on public property. kept the pristine white sands … well, pristine. It is a bitter defeat for common sense and the And the absence of butts littering the beach rights of all to breathe unpolluted air. But, was a key consideration of the famous Dr. short of putting a swing set behind every lifeBeach — also known as Florida International guard tower and renaming all of the beaches University's Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman — in "children's playgrounds," there is something granting Siesta Key Public Beach his coveted the county can do to protect our beaches: "No. 1 Beach in America" ranking. Bust some butts. Legislators tried to restore the rights of local We were appalled during a recent excursion governments to regulate smoking on public to Siesta Beach to discover just how many

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