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Laguna Niguel, CA

Amtrak mooning event eclipsed by city officials

eTN Staff Writer  Jul 02, 2009

The City of Laguna Niguel and the Orange County Sheriff's Department have been taking steps to discourage attendance at the anticipated Amtrak Mooning event on Saturday, July 11. This weird "tradition" began thirty years ago in 1979, at The Mugs Away Saloon when K.T. Smith told his buddies he'd buy a drink for all who would run outside to the railroad tracks and "moon" the next train, which many did. The mooning tradition has prevailed since then, although there is no longer a volunteer that buys free drinks for the thousands of "mooners."

"The Sheriff's Department will be enforcing applicable laws and ordinances to ensure our residents and the general public remain safe," said Lieutenant Andy Ferguson, chief of police services for the City of Laguna Niguel. "Due to the new ordinances enacted, the event will not resemble previous years."

In April, the City Council unanimously approved stricter ordinances to curb some of the more egregious behaviors associated with the event, such as public drinking and urination. Street vendors, tents, and loitering are also prohibited. Parking restrictions will be in place on Camino Capistrano from Thursday July 9 through Sunday July 12. Violators will be towed. Unlicensed sale of alcohol is prohibited. Agents from California's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will also be on hand to enforce violations of state ABC codes. In addition, construction is continuing on the Avery Parkway interchange, making it difficult to enter the area from the freeway.

In recent years, the Orange County Sheriff's Department was needed to disperse the crowd of 10,000 people after complaints were received regarding public nudity, intoxication, and general unruliness. The event has no sponsor, no organization, no permits, no insurance, and no public facilities to accommodate such large crowds. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic have been so dense in some areas that emergency vehicles could not safely enter or exit the area. Surrounding businesses were negatively affected by the large crowd, and many said their customers could not reach their place of business the day prior to and the day of the event.

For the most current information regarding law enforcement activities and parking restrictions on Camino Capistrano, follow them on Twitter: @LagunaNiguelCA or become a fan of the City of Laguna Niguel on Facebook.

Amtrak mooning event eclipsed by city officials
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