THE BLOG

Ban on Bull -- Really

01/30/2012 03:29 pm ET | Updated Mar 31, 2012

Santa Cruz, a beach town in northern California, has become the first city in the country to ban the bullfrog. According to KION TV news, the Santa Cruz city council voted unanimously on January 24th to prohibit the purchase, sale or possession of American bullfrogs.

This, of course, is the same town that has directed its police to make enforcement of marijuana laws its lowest priority. That means a person walking down a Santa Cruz street with a bullfrog will now get busted faster than a person smoking a joint.

The city, a 1960s time-warp located between San Francisco and Monterey, has long been known for its hippies, new age demeanor, political correctness and pointless city council actions. For example, does anyone really think that making Santa Cruz a "nuclear free zone" will prevent an atomic attack? You get the idea.

Maybe the city council believes it can enforce a bullfrog ban. After all, the city has faced unique law enforcement challenges in the past. A few years ago, headlines were made after weeks of confrontation between police and a drum circle at the Santa Cruz Farmer's Market. Drum circle members claimed they had the right to assemble peacefully. Police claimed the drummers played badly and too loudly. An accommodation was reached. (You don't want to know!)

But enforcing a bullfrog ban is a different story. Probable cause for a search is mostly based on what a police officer can see in plain sight. Will this apply to what can be heard? Will police search everyone they hear "croaking" down the street? What about smell? If you smell like a bullfrog can you be searched? (Don't worry. Just smoke a joint to cover the frog smell.)

Enforcement aside, the wisdom of a bullfrog ban is dubious for other reasons. It's subject to the law of unintended consequences. Artificially trying to suppress public demand for bullfrogs may lead to growth of an illegal frog market and an influx of mobsters to support it. Hey, it happened with prohibition. Santa Cruz may become like Chicago in the 1930s. Want to play with a bullfrog? You'll need to know the password to get into a croakeasy. Guys with fedoras and Tommy-guns will cruise the streets. If you get out of line, they'll take you for a ride. Mr. Toad's wild one, if you know what I mean. After all, when bullfrogs are outlawed only outlaws will have bullfrogs.

You'd think that in a town as politically correct as Santa Cruz, the city council would have removed a lot of other bulls before bullfrogs. How about bullets? Or bullfighting? Or bullying? So why did it choose to ban bullfrogs? The council was talked into it by a group called... wait for it... "Save the Frogs." You can't make this stuff up.

But here's the big question. If the Santa Cruz city council is willing to ban bullfrogs then what bull comes next? Bulldogs? Bulldozers? Bulletins? If the council really wants to rid Santa Cruz of bull, it should start with itself. And I think we all know what kind of bull that would ban!