Summer’s here. And how! Over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Los Angeles. Hardly bearable. It’s only good if you-–like Pierce Brosnan, Julia Roberts, or Matthew McConaughey-–own a little beach house in Malibu or Santa Monica. From there it’s just a hop into the cool Pacific.

But, beware! The police patrol the beaches of Santa Monica. That means that not only the stars but also the tourists now crowding in daily (the Euro-Dollar exchange rate has made America into a vacation paradise). They have to be really careful as well because the “cops” are handing out tickets. Even on the beach.

In Santa Monica, you’d better leave your cigarettes and alcohol at home.

A ticket? Absolutely. I found out for myself on Sunday. I smoked on the beach, forgetting that the Santa Monica City Council had outlawed that very thing some time back.

So much for the subject of “relaxed California.” There are, by the way, a whole lot of other things that are forbidden, as I found out yesterday. For example, you can’t drink alcohol on the beach (that will really cost you a bundle), and you can’t lie naked on your beach towel. You’re considered to be “causing a public nuisance.” Even little kids have to wear a bikini top when splashing in the surf.

To my way of thinking, all this is grossly overdone. But it’s also typically puritanical. They film the hardest of hard-core pornography in the world in the San Fernando Valley, but on Santa Monica Beach you can hear the handcuffs snap shut when a tourist from Bavaria pops a can of beer.

And, sadly, our beautiful beaches aren’t even safe. Just yesterday there was a gigantic brawl between surfers and a few paparazzi who shuffled over the hot sand to see Matthew McConaughey in the water, trying to catch a few waves. Pretty pictures are, of course, easily sold. But the surfers didn’t want any photographers on “their beach” and threw bottles (also forbidden, by the way) and stones at them. It wasn’t pretty. Blood flowed.

By and large, however, and to calm the fears of those who may be considering heading to California, I must say that the beaches are quite safe. The police keep close watch on rowdies and quickly take them into custody. And every morning, an army of workers cleans up all the garbage from the previous day before the tourists again hit the warm sands.

This army, by the way, is made up completely of criminals who have been given the option of cleaning the beaches instead of sitting in a cell.

Somehow, that’s also typical for summertime in California.