Despite the image the City of Santa Monica has long cultivated as a fun-in-the-sun, granola-eating, svelte beach body world center, that is all about to get a very nasty makeover. Due to complaints from some people who apparently have become miffed about having to walk around people working out in the local parks, the city council is seriously considering a punitive tax on fitness trainers who operate in the public realm.
Options the council is looking at involve limiting class size to two or fewer students per class, restricting the type of training and/or equipment used, and a hefty tax on the profits of each trainer. Granted, these and other ideas may be better than an outright ban on the classes, but is any of this even necessary? Other locations such as nearby Venice Beach have numerous activities and constant traffic on the boardwalks or sidewalks, by tourists strolling along, roller and inline skaters, skateboarders, and cyclists. Nonetheless, these people are not being harassed over their supposed blocking of sidewalks, as in Santa Monica.
Already, the trainers retort, they have to fork over fees for police-issued permits and business licences to hold their training classes in Santa Monica’s parks. They also must have insurance, as they would indoors in gyms. Yet the green spaces, which are, by the way, open to all the public, are no longer going to be a friendly outdoor environment for these classes where patrons may use weights, do yoga, aerobics, or in some cases even push baby strollers in groups for mothers wanting to work off the after-effects of pregnancy. They have allegedly all been taking up too much room.
Considering the parks are for recreation which does include activities such as walking, cycling, running, and exercising in various ways, does this new rule-to-be mean that these forms of working out will have to be conducted individually only? Or will the non-exercising public get their couch-potato-noses out of joint again later on and demand that even these solo blood pumpers will have to pay fees to function? Where does it all end? Aren’t exercisers also taxpayers who support the Santa Monica parks whether or not they choose to sprawl in front of a TV all day or grovel in a cubicle, gnashing their teeth stained by Cheetos and begrudging those who make the time and effort to exercise this little bit of green space to distress? Is this some kind of societal backlash against those viewed as “health nuts” by the unfit who prefer their pasty skin colored by fluorescent lighting, stagnant air and controlled climate?
It could be just another attempt by local politicians to control what type of people are in Santa Monica to begin with. It could also be just another way of cashing in on a popular trend. The ruling class of this picturesque city by the sea is going to soon discover, though, that if you keep hounding people and gouging them for money every time they turn around, they will simply leave and take their exercise mats with them.
For more on this new threat to fitness in Santa Monica, see this story link: