Tag Archives: los angeles

Regulation of the Day 209: Playing on the Beach


When President Obama and his family took a recent vacation to Hawaii, paparazzi snapped some pictures of the big guy playing a game of pickup football on the beach. It’s a good thing he wasn’t in Los Angeles, or he might have been fined. A recent ordinance made it illegal to throw balls and even Frisbees on the city’s beaches.

After the public raised a hue and cry, the city’s Board of Supervisors liberalized the ordinance. Kind of. Now Angelenos are allowed to play a game of catch on the beach – if they ask the lifeguard first, or get a permit. And if they don’t follow orders, they can still be fined. This lighter touch is still awfully heavy.

You can read the entire 37-page ordinance here.

Other highlights:

  • “No person shall dig a hole deeper than eighteen inches (18”) into the sand… except at Director’s discretion, in consultation with Fire Chief, for film and/or television production purposes only.” (p. 16)
  • “[A] person shall not camp on or use for overnight sleeping purposes any beach[.]” (p. 20; Oregon has a similar law)
  • “No person shall operate any model airplane, boat, helicopter, or similar craft… except in an area that may be established and/or designated for such use by the Director, and subject to all rules and regulations pertaining to such area.” (p. 28)
  • “A person shall not use, possess, or operate in the Pacific Ocean opposite any beach regulated by this Part 3 a fishing pole, spear, sling, or other spear fishing equipment… within 100 feet of any person[.]” (p.34. Worth asking: is the “opposite any beach” clause sending a message to spear fishers in Japan, China, and other countries on the opposite side of the Pacific?)
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Regulation Roundup

Here are some regulatory bloopers I’ve uncovered recently:

  • Burping in church is illegal in Nevada unless it’s accidental.
  • In Arkansas, it is illegal to spend more than 5 minutes voting.
  • Los Angeles city regulations place a limit of one rooster per household.
  • If you buy a burger on a Sunday in Oklahoma, you are legally required to eat it in the restaurant. No takeout or drive-through allowed.
  • In Texas, “No person may possess, manufacture, transport, or sell an illicit beverage.” Licit beverages are allowed.
  • Reptile sellers in Illinois are required by law to advise customers to not “muzzle or kiss your pet reptile.”
  • The Texas House of Representatives once unanimously passed a resolution honoring the Boston Strangler. The resolution’s sponsor wanted to point out to his colleagues that they should read bills before voting on them.
  • In 2008, the city of Brighton, Michigan made it illegal to be annoying.

Regulation Roundup

The latest happenings in the world of regulation:

A new Senate bill amending copyright law would make lip-synching to other people’s music a jailable offense. The legislation has bipartisan support.

Two women were arrested in New York for eating donuts in a park while unaccompanied by minors. Strangely specific!

A church in Charlotte, North Carolina was fined $4,000 for violating the city’s tree-pruning regulations. The penalty is $100 per branch incorrectly cut.

-Another bill winding its way through the Senate would allow states to tax companies that have no physical presence inside their borders. I’ve written on similar state-level proposals before. It’s a bad idea.

A new Mercatus Center study ranks the 50 states by economic freedom and regulatory burden. New York scored the worst. New Hampshire and South Dakota did best. You can read the study here.

-Wayne Crews has a good article in Forbes about why antitrust regulators should back off the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

Los Angeles would like to pass regulations for what colors BB guns can be.

Regulation of the Day 121: Cussing

It’s officially “Cuss Free Week” in California. Last Thursday, the state legislature passed a resolution to make the first week of March swearing-free.

Los Angeles County passed a similar measure last year, inspired by 14-year old who has started no-cussing clubs at schools across the country.

The resolution is non-binding, and will not be enforced. There are no First Amendment issues. It’s just a feel-good measure.

What doesn’t feel so good is the fact busy-body legislators feel it is their place to tell you to watch your language.

Then again, all the time they spent crafting cussing legislation was time not spent digging California even deeper into fiscal hell. Might I suggest that the California legislature also pass a non-binding “Eat Your Vegetables Week” resolution?

Regulation of the Day 118: Unlicensed Dogs

In Los Angeles, it is illegal to own a dog without a license. The city government employees eight people whose full-time job is to make sure that people are complying. But they aren’t doing a very good job of it; roughly two thirds of Los Angeles’ dog population is unlicensed.

This epidemic of unlicensed dogs is easily the most pressing issue facing America’s second-largest city. Packs of wild, unlicensed dogs roam the streets at night. People are scared to go out after dark. An entire city huddles in fear.

Or not. Maybe unlicensed dogs don’t really matter. Most places do just fine without dog licensing regulations. So why is the city government clamping down on enforcement all of a sudden?

The answer is simple: money. LA is looking at a $400 million budget deficit this year. At $15 per license, the city estimates it will make $3.6 million from full compliance. Hopefully it will spend somewhat less than that getting there.

Los Angeles is hardly the only city having revenue troubles. One wonders what other obscure regulations are being used for money grabs across the country.

Regulation of the Day 108: Murals in Front of Houses

A Los Angeles couple recently paid an artist to paint a mural on the wall in front of their house. As you can see from the picture, it is filled with cute, cuddly forest creatures.

Now the city is threatening the couple with half a year in jail and $1,000 in fines for violating outdoor advertising regulations.

It is worth noting that the mural is clearly not an advertisement. Tacky, maybe. But definitely not an advertisement.

John Stossel has more.