Friday, October 27, 2006

Defining Halloween & "No Silly String"

Franklin Avenue posts about the quotable signs put up on Hollywood Boulevard that warn of a "$1000.00 Fine" for using Silly String on Halloween there. A commenter, Will Campell, indicates that it is "because of alleged "rampant" use of the product resulting in altercations as well as complaints from Hollywood Boulevard storeowners that led to expenditure of city resources to clean up the mess."

Just to clarify...
The initial motion by Councilman Garcetti reads:
Recently there has been a problem with vendors selling what is commonly known as 'Silly String' at various major holidays and events such as the Hollywood parade as well as the Chinese New Year parade. 'Silly String' is a product which when used emits a string-like or streamer-like substance that is shot or expelled from a pressurized container.
This product creates a great nuisance, significantly adds to the trash problem and can also raise security issues at these mass gatherings. Several cities throughout the nation, including New Orleans have enacted ordinances to ban the sale of 'Silly String' along designated parade routes.
THEREFORE MOVE that the City Attorney be requested to prepare and present an ordinance which would prohibit the sale of 'Silly String' during parades and other special events, inasmuch as this product can create potential health, safety and welfare concerns for members of the public who attend parades and other similar events.
It was originally for all parades and special events and related to the sale of the product. Then, it was amended to focus on the specific day of the year and possession. The law enacted reads as follows:
WHEREAS, every year, a large quantity of products known as "Silly String" are used and the empty Silly String cans then are discarded in the Hollywood Division of the Los Angeles Police Department during Halloween festivities; and

WHEREAS, Silly String and Silly String cans cause a safety hazard in that they may cause pedestrians and police officers on horseback or motorcycles to slip and fall; the cans may be used as weapons in the event of a melee; and in the past the cans
have been thrown at store windows along Hollywood Boulevard; and

WHEREAS, Silly String and Silly String cans cause an environmental hazard in that these products are discarded in large quantities onto the street, clog the storm drains, and ultimately travel to the ocean.

No Person... shall possess, use, sell or distribute Silly String at, within or upon any public or private property that is either within public view or accessible to the public, including, but not limited to, public or private streets, sidewalks, parking lots, commercial or residential buildings, places of business, or parks within the Hollywood Division during Halloween."

So, to recap: No Silly String anywhere in Hollywood Division for 36 hours because of "environmental hazards" and "safety hazards." (Oh, and the store owners complained about a few broken windows and a potential "melee.")

And also, the City of Los Angeles has defined "Halloween": the adopted ordinance defines Halloween as "the 36-hour period from 12:00 a.m. on October 31st of each year, through 12:00 p.m. on November 1st of each year." Who knew the holiday was 36 hours long!

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