John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
A "wholesome" beach community outlaws saggy pants, Rome goes to war with messy eaters and other banning news.
Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (past editions here):
MESSY EATING, IN ITALY
Roman officials are incensed that tourists are destroying their ancient city. First they targeted visitors for covering a 2,000-year-old bridge with “love” padlocks, causing part of the structure to crumble, and now they're PO'd that people are dropping food all over the place.
Well, no more: The next sloppy eater who drips tomato sauce onto the steps of a medieval church could incur a $650 fine, under a ban on eating or drinking in public places anywhere downtown. Mayor Giovanni Alemanno laid out his program to reform people who can't eat a sandwich without spreading mayonnaise everywhere in an executive order in which he complained of “episodes in contrast with the most elementary norms of urban decorum” that have “damaged monuments and artistic fountains," reports Time. One activist interviewed by La Repubblica claimed an ever harsher law was needed to win what Italians are calling the War on the Panino, saying, "We have an ordinance against alcoholic drinks, one against pub-crawls, one in the future against capri pants, but we still need a new law to give this city back its dignity."
THIS LITTLE PIGGY, IN MASSACHUSETTS
The residents of Brockton no longer have to live in fear of a pig. After seeking a court order to punt him out of town, plus a restraining order banning him from returning, officials have completed the de facto nullification of Porkchop, a 125-pound pot-bellied oinker.
The pig is cooling its trotters in a city kennel after an animal-control officer last Friday either kidnapped him from a front yard or enticed the animal to come on over into his truck, depending on whose side you believe. Owner Anthony Ruiz has a license to own the lil' porker (well, had – the city just rescinded it), but his neighbors have complained vociferously about the pig's wanderin' ways; it's escaped its pen and roamed the neighborhood more than a dozen times. In explaining why the pig has to go, Executive Health Officer Louis Tartaglia said that it "could be detrimental to residents if it gets in the way of passing cars," according to the Brockton Enterprise, which is absolutely dominating this story (as well as running a feature on ready-to-heat freezer pork chops).
Speaking in front of a judge, Ruiz said that he would "love" to get his bristly pet out of Brockton: “The city isn’t deserving of him.”
FEAR OF THE SAGGY PANTS, IN FLORIDA
Recognizing that the city has a “legitimate government interest in attempting to preserve the quality of urban life," Cocoa
Beach (just Cocoa, about 25 minutes to the west of Cocoa Beach) just banned saggy pants. Town leaders nipped this sartorial threat in the bud with Ordinance No. 23-2012, which prevents people walking around in public with "pants or skirts below the waistline that exposes undergarments or skin," reports the Smoking Gun.
The new law explains that the local dress code needs to be tightened in a rather round-about way, arguing that droopy drawers are anathema to a wholesome, family-oriented community with a population under 18,000. The crackdown on sag has perked the ears of at least one civil-rights leader. Alberta Wilson, president of the Central Brevard NAACP, told Florida Today: “I'm worried about enforcement, I fear a police officer getting some resistance and resorting to some means and doing bodily harm to a child."