In the Bay Area, Big Santa is watching you:
Another holiday, another sweep of smoke scofflaws.
Bay Area air pollution inspectors found 47 violators burning wood fires illegally during Christmas Day’s Spare the Air alert — which was declared because cold, unhealthful air had been forecast.
The tally was more than double the 22 violators detected on Thanksgiving, when the Bay Area Air Quality Management District also called a Spare the Air alert.
Violators get written warnings for a first offense and $400 fines for a second offense.
While critics have bashed the air district for intruding on a holiday burning tradition, a spokesman for the agency defended the Christmas crackdown Monday, saying it was done to protect public health from soot that can trigger asthma attacks, and aggravate other respiratory and heart problems.
“We know a lot of people like to burn on this holiday, but it’s our duty to protect public health,” said Ralph Borrmann, the spokesman.
Or to put that last quote another way, “gemeinnutz geht vor eigennutz.”
(H/T: Mark Steyn)