John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, Spokane bans malt liquor after a rash of drunken crimes and Austria outlaws noisy cows.
Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (last week's edition here):
MALT LIQUOR, IN WASHINGTON STATE
It's a sad day for brew lovers in East Central Spokane. Faced with a rash of malt-fueled boorishness, the city has decided to rid the neighborhood of cheap, high-alcohol beers like Stack, Natty Daddy, Blast, Earthquake, Dog Bite and something called Vampt's "Smooth Talker." The prohibition mirrors another passed two years ago in downtown Spokane, and covers all beverages with a 5.7 alcohol content or higher. However, critics complain that these bans simply make alcoholics relocate to other parts of the city; after the downtown ban went into effect, for instance, emergency calls for intoxication went up 80 percent in East Central. But it's hard to fault the decision-makers for attempting to gain control of the situation. Spokane has gotten particularly bad press this summer, with stories about a boozed-up, middle-aged naked woman ramming her boyfriend's car, a foggy-headed man showing up inside a senior citizen's house in the middle of the night ("I am not trying to start anything here"), and a drunk law student driving over a young child riding a bicycle. Even the pilots landing in Spokane have had a few too many.
COWBELLS, IN AUSTRIA
The ruling of the Austrian court is clear: less cowbell. In a blow to the country's musical-ungulate fans, last month a judge upheld a law that cows should not wear bells when confined in fenced meadows if their incessant clanging disturbs the neighbors. The case originated with a farmer in the small town of Stallhofen, who had a herd of cattle that tolled regularly through the night and kept up everyone within hearing distance. The man refused to take off the bells, according to Der Spiegel, because "they were traditional and had a generally calming effect." (They also help an owner locate a lost animal.) But a judge who visited the scene agreed with neighbors that the ringing was a nuisance, especially when the beasts scraped against a metal trough. Now Stallhofen is presumably locked in eerie silence save for the occasional moo, at least until the farmer finds the loophole that lets him to put concertinas onto hooves.
THOSE DAMNED TURKEYS! IN NEW JERSEY
A town that's knee-deep in turkeys has forbidden residents from feeding the snooded birds or face a $2,000 fine. You read that right: This burg is so terrified of the Thanksgiving centerpieces that throwing one a kernel of corn could ding you the amount of a used car. Officials in Hainesport, just south of Trenton, adopted the ban after residents reported being attacked on a walking path by the bulky, virgin-birthing gobblers. A postal worker complained that he got pecked whenever he tried to deliver a letter, and the woman in the hilarious Fox news report above got run off her land by an irate bird and eventually fell on her face. ("I think he was trying to eat me.") Locals blame the turkeys' bad behavior on people feeding them all the time; when somebody cuts them off, they apparently revolt. State officials plan to clear the town of turkeys when the fall comes.
Top photo of a young turkey by Peter Smith.