Updated after the jump: What kind of awards show would this be without a guest star?
Nothing like a good hard ban to make life in this concrete jungle a little more oppressive.
Between the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and most other governing bodies within county limits, politicians on power trips made 2010 a rough year for doing whatever the F we wanted to do.
While the City of Los Angeles cut public libraries and bus lines like they were cherry trees, valuable council floor-time was spent on more important things like telling us all the places we couldn't smoke, eat junk food or park our leaky RVs. And just when we thought we couldn't take any more, the FDA came along and yanked the one thing that made us feel better: Four Loko. Things just haven't been the same since.
With no further adieu, here are the top 10 bans of 2010, in no particular order --
your little guide to not paying a ridiculous fine for something you thought was a human right. Like, say, skipping around downtown West Hollywood singing "How much is that doggie in the window?"
10. Fast food joints in South Central. The existing ones can stay, said L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry, but new ones can't be built within a half-mile of each other. Considering 70 percent of existing food within the ban zone is "fast," this will probably bar all hopefuls.
Of course, the council hasn't yet done anything to ensure healthy, affordable alternatives will be built instead. They're more focused on tsk-tsking the bad guys and riding San Francisco's no-Happy Meal hoopla.
Oh, and if you do find a mile diameter in which to hawk your grease-wiches, make sure "a minimum of 7 percent of the total area of the surface parking lot is landscaped with planting materials and the project has a coordinated landscape plan that includes abundant trees and shrubs." Really Jan?
9. Raves, temporarily. The happiness of half-naked tweens with pacifiers everywhere was threatened after 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez overdosed on ecstasy at L.A.'s Electric Daisy Carnival. The coliseum where it was held quickly put a ban on all future raves until a safer party environment could be ensured. San Bernadino County officials thought that sounded cool and followed suit with a similar ban -- even though they have no raves there. Hey, it's the thought that counts, right? As for the wildly popular Electric Daisy Carnival: It's now 18-and-over, might end at midnight and will have to be approved by a bunch of fogey politicians in 2011. Can't wait!
For full slideshow, see "Electric Daisy Carnival feat. Deadmau5, A-Trak and more."
8. Pot shops. Ah, marijuana. You were all up in this town in 2010. After the L.A. County Board of Stupid-visers put a ban on medicinal weed dispensaries across Los Angeles and the L.A. City Council did the same to all but 180 shops, the
stoners patients in pain of California could barely keep track of when and where they were allowed to buy/smoke you. Especially after the Governator admitted on late-night TV that he wouldn't really care, as long as it was only a couple joints or whatever. Since then, Prop. 19 failed, a superior-court judge told the city not to punish recently opened shops and the city said "Don't think that means you can open a new one!"
If you're still confused, we recommend taking another affordable-ass toke and forgetting about it.
7. Plastic bags in L.A. County. It's an inevitable step in the green revolution -- one that will no doubt soon be passed in L.A. proper as well. But it was still a shock to see the pooper scoopers of our unincorporated parts banished forevermore. We still haven't really figured out a good way to gather dog crap. Hopefully Obama's vested enough to step in on this one.
6. Renegade RVs in Venice. Being poor and/or homeless in Los Angeles has never been very popular with city officials. Hence the fast-food ban, the plastic-bag ban and Venice's own special crackdown on RVs parked on city streets. Earlier this year, City Councilman Bill Rosendahl proclaimed that all mobile homes along Third Street, notorious for dumping shit (yes, shit) on the sidewalk, would be moved to a parking lot. That didn't jive well with the dread-heads. "Tell them residents, this is a beach," one told the Weekly. "Fuck that shit. We don't give a fuck what people up in them hills think about us." Since then, it's been a lively game of tug-o-war. Banned? Yes. Enforced? Kinda sorta.
For the full print story, see "Gentry Against Funky in Venice."
5. Four Loko and its many imitators. This one is especially close to our collective heart; it may not be L.A. specific, but the ban on Four Loko's original recipe more than affects the myriad party people of this Angelic crazytown. Here at the Weekly, we tracked the last seven days of legality for alcoholic energy drinks, from some overflow stock dropped off on Skid Row to surging black-market prices and an official holiday gift guide for your entire Loko family. R.I.P.
4. Smoking on your own patio in Santa Monica. Sure, the L.A. City Council has its own public-area smoking ban in the works, and West Hollywood doesn't allow smoking in outdoor restaurant/bar areas, but Santa Monica takes the cake for most draconian cigarette stamp-out. When you can't even smoke a cancer stick on your own property, you know you live in the stick-up-its-ass capital of the West Coast. "If you want to smoke, go take a walk," Councilman Bob Holbrook said. But not on the beach. Or within 25 feet of any building. Sigh. We need a cig break just thinking about it.
3. Supergraphic billboards. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich won another victory against the further Tokyo-ification of our overdeveloped urban sprawl this year. He's attempting to undo years of damage by the L.A. City Council, during which they allowed supergraphics -- the blinding new "it" thang in flashy billboard technology -- to be erected throughout the city. Not anymore.
The council quickly shifted to Trutanich's side in 2010, issuing its own ban of new supergraphics in Hollywood (more of a symbolic move than anything). Meanwhile, 17 signs approved before the ban are still in the works, and special "sign districts" throughout the rest of L.A. serve as a simple way to get around silly attorney babble. Like those 65-story Wilshire towers City Councilwoman Jan Perry seems to love so much [latest plans available at Curbed LA].
2. Hare Krishna solicitors at LAX. How about one for the underdogs? LAX officials banned Hare Krishna reps from asking travelers for money outside the airport this March: "Panhandling may increase congestion, cause travelers to miss flights, and subject them to possible intimidation and even fraud," said the judge, who obviously sided with the airport. According to the LA Daily News, "violators could face a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted." (Probably not worth the handful of nickles they might be able pry from stressy jet-setters.) Hare Krishna advocates called the decision "disgusting" and "cowardly." But they lost, so... sucks.
1. Pet shops in West Hollywood. The last but definitely not least cute of rights we gave up this year was buying brand-new cats and dogs in West Hollywood. Sad day. While allowing corrupt, billion-dollar land deals to fly by under the radar, the WeHo City Council made a huge stink about
supposed "puppy mills" and assembly-line pet production. [Update: At the request of our devoted commenters, we will direct you to this very not supposed account of a real-live puppy mill, courtesy of the Humane Society. And for the record, "our" dogs are from the pound, and we love them that way.] Reminds us a little of the cat-declawing debacle of '09.
Update: Ladies and gentlemen, L.A. "banner" of the year goes to...
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L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz! He's stood up against electronic signs and aforementioned cat de-clawing in the past, but this year, he had a special target: Guns in Starbucks! Of course, the battle's not over yet, and Starbucks is totally not buying into it, but not for lack of our winner's enthusiasm.
He was equally vocal about banning all city commerce with Arizona last spring -- though the feel-good boycott ended up being lifted three times: once for red-light cameras, once for an airport shuttle company and once for tasers. Come to think of it, the ban was never not lifted. Still, look how much Koretz cared, via the Los Angeles Times:
Before the Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to boycott most city travel to Arizona and future contracts with companies there, Councilman Paul Koretz compared the environment in Arizona now to Germany in the 1930s.
"This is very frightening stuff," he said. "If this was being proposed at the federal level, I would think we're absolutely at the very beginnings of what went on in Nazi Germany."
Koretz went on to talk about his aunt dying in the concentration camps.
"And you may think I'm overstating it, but I'm not, because SB 1070 -- the immigration law -- is just the tip of the iceberg," he said. In addition to the law, which requires police to determine whether people they stop are in the country legally, Koretz cited the ban on ethnic studies programs in Arizona schools.
But Paulie, we thought you liked bans! Now we're just confused.