SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego mother is circulating a petition to ban adults who are not accompanied by a child from city playgrounds.
Sandy Algra said Fanuel Park in Pacific Beach is a favorite among kids, but it is one of many city parks that are becoming littered with "unsavory items," including used needles. Algra said she wants to do something about it.
“I was helping another mom, and then I heard my son say, 'Hey mama, what’s this?' And I turned around and in his hand was a bent, bloody hypodermic needle,” Algra said.
Algra said the parks are filled with landmines like syringes, crack pipes, trash and even people living on playground equipment. That's why she is proposing an ordinance and talking to other parents bout the petition asking the city to ban adults unaccompanied by kids from city playgrounds.
“My proposal is to for the city to enact an ordinance that designates this playground equipment as a park specifically designed for children -- as children’s designated play areas -- the same way you have a passive use park, where you’re not allowed to have cleats or organized sports. The same way you have mixed use parks where there’s baseball and soccer and every other sport in between. This is just another designation for the use of this space it’s for the children,” said Algra.
Tomas Arment lives next to Fanuel Park. He agrees that that the playgrounds are becoming unsafe for children. "I saw a man taping off his arm to get a vein you know,” said Armenta. "They found syringes in this area and that’s scary."
He sad he would support Algra's proposal to keep drug users and pedophiles out of playgrounds. “I have a grandchild who comes out here, and I just want to turn her loose and let her enjoy, and you really have to be on your toes,” he said.
A similar ordinance was proposed last January at the Pacific Beach planning group meeting and received almost unanimous support. Several other major U.S. cities New York City, and Miami, Fl have enacted similar laws.
Algra says her proposal is not about discriminating against a certain group of people.
“This is not build-a-wall legislation. I’m not trying to keep people out. I’m trying to keep the people who are supposed to be there safe,” she said. "I’m not looking to lay blame, and I don’t think this is going to solve all the problems, but I’m trying to take one step in creating safer places for children.”
At this point more than 1,000 people have signed the petition. Algra said her next step is to present the petition to the San Diego City Council.
Algra's petition is available online at change.org.