By William W. Abbott

City officials in Playa Del Toro, an upscale enclave in Southern California, recently adopted an ordinance regulating dog use of the public beach. Unlike other cities, it wasn’t a case of banning dogs from the beach, but restricting access to the right kind of dogs: purebreds. The San Diego Union quoted Mayor S. Black as saying: "our residents invest a lot in their dogs. The community wants the off-leash experience for their dogs to be similar to what the dog’s owners enjoy as they interact in our award winning downtown." Warily observing a mixed breed border collie running out of control on the beach, the mayor went on to say; "we won’t have to deal with that sort of behavior any longer". The mayor emphasized that city beach staff had received special training in recognizing purebreds, and at first, would only be handing out citations. If this doesn’t work, Mayor Black added: "one resident suggested that the city use ‘boots’ on repeat offenders like we do on the vehicle wheels of repeat parking violators. We checked; the smaller sizes are not available on the market yet."

In other news, the California legislature enacted another round of tentative subdivision map extensions this week. One long time local government legislative consultant, expressing relief that the bill did not come through his committee, said that “this latest round of amendments had one overarching purpose, that being to make the law so complicated so that land use attorneys will have something to do in the coming year. On that score, this legislation may be the most successful of any bills signed this year. The same consultant observed that the new extension provisions are "so convoluted that it took two weeks for Legislative Counsel to draft the bill, and those attorneys still don’t understand it. What hope is there for anyone else? Perhaps we should just abolish the Map Act next year."

The final local government news involves the City of Berkeley enacting an ordinance regulating tattoo artists. The mayor noted the city council was concerned with the explosion of non-sensical tattoos of Chinese letters that are quite the rage. "These consumers are being duped" said the mayor. "They think that they are getting a tattoo about their family and it turns out to be an advertisement for toothpaste. We want to regulate the tattooing of Chinese characters by requiring the tattoo artist to have a city verified, minimum proficiency in written Mandarin, before they ink someone up. We are quite proud of our cultural sensitivity here in Berkeley. No longer will our residents of Chinese ancestry have to walk down the street or go to the gym and face blatant misuse of their language." Reportedly, the City Attorney’s office was also researching an additional regulatory option involving compulsory removal of existing, improperly scribed tattoos when observed in public. The Natural Liberties Institute has promised a quick legal challenge. Its spokesperson said, "the right to make an uninformed, dumb choice is one of the most important freedoms of all. Nobody elected the Berkeley City Council to be their mother."

William W. Abbott is a partner at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP. For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, real estate, environmental and/or planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann, LLP at (916) 456-9595.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.