Friday, July 28, 2006

Too Many Laws

July 28, 1907
Los Angeles

City officials, hampered by a bramble bush of old and unenforced laws, have appointed deputy prosecutor Eddie to prune back outdated and unnecessary regulations from the early days of Los Angeles.

Among the old regulations are bans on “rabbit coursing,” in which the animals were released to be chased down by dogs; bear baiting (an event dating to the days of Shakespeare involving a fight to the death between a chained bear and dogs); fighting between a bull and bear that were chained together; and cockfighting on public streets.

“Eddie’s office resembled a secondhand bookstore yesterday morning, when the attorney began work. Every ordinance ever passed by any council since the city’s birth was there,” The Times said.

Other antique ordinances forbid conductors to abandon their streetcars at the end of the line to go quail hunting. Another law banned mounted police officers from shooting through the windows of streetcars in Boyle Heights.

“We know that we have a big job ahead of us but we are willing to work hard at it and try to get the city laws in some kind of presentable shape,” Eddie said. “There are close to 15,000 ordinances on record. Of that number, nearly half have been repealed at some time or another.

“When a complaint is made regarding some misdemeanor under the present conditions we often file a complaint only to find that the ordinance has been repealed at some later date. In many instances, ordinances have been passed, repealed and passed again every two years as one power or the other gained political prestige.”

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