John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, politicians in Naples are sick of you assuming they're all criminals, and the U.K. suspends the coolest teacher ever.
Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (past editions here):
TREE-CLIMBING OBAMA HECKLER, IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
It turns out there's no such thing as free speech when you're doing it 40 feet up in a tree at the inauguration of the President of the United States. After scaling a timber near the Capitol's reflecting pool on Monday, California resident Rives Grogan spent the next five hours trying to interrupt Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony with loud shouting. At one point police attempted to dislodge him using a ladder, but he scurried up higher to give them the slip. Grogan came down on his own accord later in the day, and was arrested for disorderly conduct.
A fervent anti-abortion activist, Grogan is now banned from entering the nation's capital, where he has quite the history. Reports the Washington Post:
Police said Grogan once dropped to the ground in the Capitol Rotunda while clutching a doll and screamed in front of 60 visitors. Another time, police said, he paced the Capitol steps holding a bible and shouting, "Stop killing the babies."
In June, police said, he stood up in the Senate gallery and yelled "Obama doesn’t see the light," prompting the president of the Senate to bang his gavel several times to restore order.
When the Post tracked down Grogan's mother for her opinion on the matter, she stated that she considered her son a "wonderful Christian man."
I couldn't find video of Grogan's last stand in D.C., but this is footage of him doing some sort of protest last year at a Cincinnati Reds game. He's rather sprightly for a middle aged guy:
ITALY'S VERSION OF THE WIRE, IN ITALY
Not everyone who lives in Scampia is a member of the Camorra, a Mafiaesque crime ring. But the world might not realize that, due to the Neapolitan suburb's much-publicized gang battles, open-air drug markets and the occasional senseless torture/murder. Now, however, the local government is fighting back against the (seemingly justified) stereotypes. Like a New Jersey town exiling a Snooki, council leader Angelo Pisani has barred camera crews from filming a show about the Camorra in Scampia, saying that the "constant exaggeration – only of the negative things, which exist, it cannot be denied – solves nothing."
The ban puts a hitch in the schedule of Italian producers looking to make a TV followup to the 2008 film Gomorrah, a chilling look at the violent criminal activity around Naples. Roberto Saviano, who wrote the book that inspired the movie, has taken to the press to decry the alleged "censorship" – Scampia's leaders are trying to whitewash their city's troubles, he claimed in The Guardian, by "shifting attention from the problem to the recounting of the problem." But he's not convincing the mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, who's sick of the "negative brand" stamped on his locale. "We are tired of seeing Scampia reduced... to a place of conquest for the warring Camorra," he complained, "as if nothing else existed in Scampia beyond the drug-pushing and the feuding clans."
THE COOLEST TEACHER EVER, IN ENGLAND
Quite possibly the most awesome teacher in the history of the world has been banned from entering a classroom for the next five years. A disciplinary panel suspended Catherine Reynolds, who taught at the Manchester-area Saddleworth School, for a litany of alleged bad-ass behaviors, like cursing during lessons, telling her students to avoid marriage so they can "sleep around," and praising the virtues of having "lots of sex," according to The Week.
Reynolds also allegedly waxed poetic about a fling with an older dude and taking the morning-after pill, called another teacher a "bitch" and showed her pupils her killer back tattoo. The Week has more:
The panel also learned that she told her class about a sex show involving a horse she had seen in Amsterdam and referred to parents as "retarded" on her Facebook page.
After attending a parents' evening at the school she took to the social networking site again, describing the event as "the most f***ing horrendous evening of my life."
What was Reynolds teaching at Saddleworth School? That would be "religious education."
Top photo of tree-shimmying pro-life guy by Mary Calvert of Reuters.