John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, a Florida town outlaws nightclubs and a skating rink that could possibly be used for illicit dancing, and more.
Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (last week's edition here):
DANCING, IN FLORIDA
It's Friday night in Weston, Florida: Time to stand around motionless on the sidewalk! This satellite town of Fort Lauderdale just passed a prohibition against nightclubs and dance halls. City leaders proactively banned such establishments from opening as a way to prevent violence and drug use, behaviors that everybody knows are biologically activated by dubstep. They also banned a skate rink because it could be used to "conceal a nightclub or dance hall," according to the Sun Sentinel, which quoted cranky mayor Eric Hersh avowing: "There aren't those uses in Weston, there won't be those uses in Weston, and we were never planning to allow those uses in Weston." The leaders passed the ordinance in the nick of time, as it currently has no such businesses; nightclub patrons will now be forced to line up outside mommy-daughter postnatal dance classes.
BATMAN, IN MARYLAND
Baltimore's baseball team has banned a man for life after he streaked across the field wearing nothing more than a hat, a cape and, uh, "adult-sized Batman underwear." (Yes, there is such a thing, although the real Batman goes commando.) Mark Harvey told station WJZ that he loves to "make people laugh and get them going," and boy oh boy, mission accomplished: Before security eventually tackled him, the crowd was roaring like Cal Ripken was back and knocking them out of the park. Harvey may no longer be able to attend Orioles games but at least he didn't have to go to jail, thanks to a "miscommunication" between the team and police. As he told the Washington Post: “They said all the charges were dropped, which I was surprised. I asked them twice, like, are you sure?”
PARADES, IN MONTREAL
Hasidic Jews are no longer allowed to hold religious processions or parades in the Montreal neighborhood of Outremont, basically thanks to the efforts of one woman. Councilor Celine Forget has dogged the local Hasidim so much about alleged violations of the municipal code that the city temporarily eliminated the public events to calm "rising tensions," according to CIReport. Tensions like when Forget had to be detained by police at a Hasidic celebration last month that devolved into a yelling-and-cursing match. (Of course it's on YouTube.) A Hasidic spokesman said the group is considering suing Montreal for allegedly violating their religious rights.
SOCCER FANS, IN ENGLAND
Soccer fans in Medway have established a reputation for acting so awfully that the local council is considering banning them from attending a big game between your favorite teams, Gillingham and Swindon Town. The only way the April 21 match will proceed is if the teams pay for extra security; if they don't, the ball-kicking will be conducted in an empty stadium. Gillingham fans have been causing a ruckus since the '90s, chucking missiles, getting all stabby and kicking a man to death. The country's Association of Chief Police Officers says research shows a significant uptick in crime any day a soccer game takes place.