These days in San Francisco, there's a law against just about everything. Tying your dog's leash to a tree? Check. Letting the Tamale Lady inside your bar? Up to 90 days in jail. Seriously.
With dozens of antiquated laws still on the books, it's hard to know what's legal. And lately, the San Francisco Police Department has been cracking down on some historic code provisions--a move that Supervisor Scott Wiener aims to change.
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Supervisor Wiener introduced a piece of legislation Tuesday that would repeal several laws that, according to him, serve no purpose but can pack some hefty consequences.
Wiener was inspired to draft the legislation after a recent police crackdown on second-hand dealer permits, his spokesman explained.
The city's police code dictates that any second-hand dealer is required to carry a special permit. Though the provision was created to help police track stolen merchandise and arms-dealing at pawn shops, it technically still applies to antique shops, vintage clothing stores, used bookstores and art dealers. Curiously, the code was never enforced until very recently.
"One day about a month ago, a police officer just came to my door asking if I had a second-hand dealer permit," James Snidle of James Snidle Fine Art and Appraisals told The Huffington Post. Not only did Snidle not have the permit, he'd never heard of it.
"I've been in business for years and thought I had everything in order. I showed the officer my seller's permit," he told HuffPost. "But next thing you know, I was getting fingerprinted and paying almost $2000 for the permit." According to those in the industry, Snidle's story is not unique.
The seemingly random enforcement has led some to presume the SFPD may be trying to pick up some extra cash--an argument that sounds surprisingly similar to those made during the recent infused drinks controversy.
In a press release, Wiener's office explained the Supervisor's proposed legislation:
At today's Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener will introduce legislation repealing various Police Code sections that are outdated, that serve no purpose, that can trigger significant penalties, and that need to be removed from the books.
“As legislators, we pass a significant amount of legislation to address issues facing San Francisco," said Wiener in the statement. "It’s also important to continually reevaluate existing legislation and repeal or amend laws that are past their useful life.”
The good folks at Supervisor Wiener's office took a deeper look at some of the antiquated code that might need adjusting. Check out a few common SF practices that are still technically illegal below: