BELLEAIR SHORE, Fla. (WFLA) — Two men were in a Pinellas County courtroom Thursday fighting controversial tickets they got for using a common beach item.
Pedro Redero likes to go to the beach, but his doctor has warned him to avoid the sun as much as possible because he’s had skin cancer.
“I have had cancer – in my face, in fact, one spot that was taken off of my right forehead was quite big,” said Redero.
So when he goes to the beach, he likes to put up an umbrella for shade and protection from the sun.
“It’s a regular umbrella,” he said. “A seven-foot umbrella.”
In the town of Belleair Shore, however, that’s illegal. Redero was issued a citation by a Pinellas County deputy in June.
The former Mayor of Belleair Beach is an attorney who is now representing Redero, as well as another man who was issued a citation for the same offense.
“This law is arbitrary and capricious – it’s not a rational law,” attorney Joseph Manzo said. “You are banning umbrellas on a beach which, as we all know, is a common item.”
He believes the ordinance is unconstitutional and believes the court case on the citation has far-reaching implications
“This decision affects every coastline in the state of Florida. If Belleair Shore is allowed to get away with this, then any city can do the same thing,” Manzo said. “In their reply brief, they said they were doing this for aesthetics. Where does that one end? Maybe they don’t like my blue chair or my red bathing suit or anything else.”
A Pinellas County judge has set a hearing for later in September to hear arguments in the case.