If the first couple of weeks of the year have been any indication, 2007 will be the Year of the Ban. Already on the chopping block—trans fats, smoking in parks, and wiping snot on city property.
This Thursday, January 11, City Commissioner Dan Saltzman was scheduled to revisit his new proposed parks conduct rules, which details all the things you'll no longer be able to do in the city's parks. He's already signed an administrative rule that bans smoking in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Regular readers may remember that Saltzman's original list included the line, "No person shall ejaculate in any city park." He has since pulled it out, just in time to avoid creating a policy discussion pregnant with unintended hilarity. Instead, the rules now say, "No person shall... blow, spread, or place any nasal or other bodily discharge." Um.
Also probably important for Mercury readers to know—the proposal bans sex offenders from swimming pools, locker rooms, and children's play areas. After some objections from the ACLU, Saltzman's office amended the rules slightly—sex offenders are only banned if their victims were under 16 and not biologically related. So great news, incestuous sexual predators—the parks are still wide open for you.
Of course, all this banning doesn't go far enough for some people; City Commissioner Randy Leonard is gearing up to add an amendment to Saltzman's rules that would ban smoking from city parks entirely.
Initially, Leonard planned to exempt golf courses from the ban. According to Leonard, children and families don't typically run around the courses, lessening exposure to secondhand smoke. But there was another reason—banning smoking on city golf courses would put them at a disadvantage to private courses.
But when faced with the likelihood that his policy could be seen as classist (on the Mercury's Blog Town, PDX), Leonard backed off of that exemption, and will now be pushing for a total smoking ban in parks.
And since he's in a banning mood, Leonard has also started making noises about a ban on trans fats in city restaurants. But it looks like Multnomah County scooped him—County Commissioner Lisa Naito announced plans last Friday for a county-wide ban on trans fats, with a possible vote on March 1.
Meanwhile, City Commissioner Sam Adams probably wishes he could ban sleep apnea. On Thursday, January 4, he made something of a resurrection at city hall, after having been out for more than two weeks for a surgery to correct his sleeping condition. The news that he suffered from sleep apnea surprised many, since nobody could figure out when the city's busiest official had time to sleep.