Photo by Anthony Citrano

One of the most popular tourist spots in Southern California is off-limits to photographers.

At least photographers who carry big lenses.

Or photographers who are not photographing their families.

Or photographers who have not signed a prior waiver.

Security guards could not make up their minds as to exactly why Anthony Citrano was not allowed to take photographs inside the famous Pacific Park amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier Friday night.

The first guard told him he was only allowed to take photos of family members. A second security guard told him he could not take photos of the rides, such as the Ferris Wheel. A third security guard said he could only take photos if he signed a waiver agreeing to give up his first born.

The trio of security guards finally concluded that Citrano was not allowed to take photos because the amusement park is private property. However, Citrano did some research and discovered that the amusement park is actually sitting on public property.

But upon further reflection, I don’t understand how Pacific Park can fit the legal definition of private property. The entire pier is owned by the City of Santa Monica (thus the name “Santa Monica Municipal Pier”), and Pacific Park appears to lease the space from the City (as Santa Monica Amusements LLC.)  The Park is entirely surrounded by – and from a purely physical point of view literally sits atop – public property.

Thus, Pacific Park appears to be a private service operating on public property. I’ll let the lawyers out there more clearly define this for us.