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Park rubber protest leads to call for restraining order, ban of lone adults

A heated debate over Belvedere’s decision to install rubber matting at Community Park playground bubbled over last week when two members of the city’s parks committee confronted a resident there as he protested over concerns about carcinogens. One of the city officials called police while the other is pushing for Belvedere to take out a restraining order and pass an ordinance banning adults unaccompanied by children from the public space. Parks and Open Space Committee member Mario Valente said he called police for assistance after a Feb. 27 exchange with community activist Bill Rothman inside the fenced playground, where Rothman was attempting to disseminate information about the danger of potentially cancer-causing toxins in the poured-in-place rubber approved for the playground remodel. It also attracted the attention of parks committee Chair Bryan Kemnitzer, who said he immediately called City Manager Craig Middleton and asked that the city file a restraining order against Rothman — a request Middleton later said the city will not entertain. Kemnitzer said he has since drafted a city ordinance that would prevent solo adults from entering the space.

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