Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Don't Let The Dogs Out

     The BOS met yesterday to work on amending the ordinance concerning "menacing" dogs. (See the March 1 posting.)  To date, the county only has a leash law (when off your own property, dog must be constrained by a leash or under direct voice control at all times, except for being in a designated dog park, etc.) or State Law that allows potentially dangerous dogs to be processed through the courts and if they repeatedly attacks, have them seriously contained and/or destroyed.  There is no inbetween.
     Under present state law, a dog has to kill or injure something twice before the authorities can begin do anything. And under present law, potentially dangerous animals, like a giant python that kept escaping from its owner and roaming the neighborhood, are free to roam the neighborhood until they have something for dinner once.  Not a happy situation if you happen to live in that neighborhood.

     Which is why the Supervisors were at work.  After some testimony and some discussion, it was resolved and voted 5 - 0 to have county counsel review the language to see if they can clarify the language a bit in order to make sure the public has clear definition, up the fines imposed and return it all on April 10th for final review.  At that time, if improved, the ordinance would:
     1.  Be complaint driven.  If your neighbor's dog escapes and chases you up on your porch, or runs at passersby and threatens them or harasses their dogs while they're walking by, terrorizes a neighbor who's just trying to enjoy her backyard, and so forth.
     2.  A DAS officer will go out to assess the situation, issue a citation if needed, that would require the owner to properly secure the dog/animal in question and issue a "ticket."  He'll return later to see that the problem is solved.  If it repeats, if there are other complaints, another ticket, at a much higher price, will be issued.  If the harassment involves any kind of injury/bite to man or beast, depending on the seriousness of the bite, even on a first strike, certainly on a second strike, the dog can be removed to a secure, licensed boarding kennel (paid for by the owner) and the matter taken immediately to processing via the state laws and the court.
          3.  First citation will cost up to $250, the second up to $500, the third up to $1,000 and or removal.
         4.  It was urged that perhaps the ordinance also include language that would allow property owners be notified of the citation as well (in the case where the dog's owners is a renter) since a lot of incidences seem to involve (implied, Cal Poly?) renters, who may  have little or no liability, but the landlord certainly does.  Which might be one way to put them on alert that they might be left holding any lawsuit bags if their tenant is keeping a dangerous dog on their property.
     So, if you own a dog named "Trouble," or an escaping python or irascible wombat, come April 10th, you're on notice.  And if you are "Trouble's" neighbor, come April 10th, you now have a glimmer of  hope that you can get some help to get your life back from a clueless owner and a menacing mutt with sharp pointy teeth who's terrorizing the neighborhood.

Uhhnnn, Awwww, Noooo, Dear God, NOT Another Six Weeks  
      Yes, I'm afraid so.  The Hideous Republican Primary Traveling Circus will grind on for another month or six weeks like a horrible groundhog that has seen his shadow.  There's nothing for it, I'm afraid.  The Menacing Dog ordinance doesn't cover politicians, even though they are life threatening, so that's no help. I know.  It's awful.  I suggest moving to France for a while.  That might help. 

Rush Gets a PAC!

     It's not just for politicians any more!  As Rush Limbaugh faces a bunch of advertisers heading out the door pretending they are shocked! shocked! by his latest over the top outrage, an unidentified big money donor from a PhonyName PAC stepped up to give Rush some nice money to make up for the loss.  Rush, of course, blamed "the liberals" for his troubles (Classic abuser tactic.  Classic!), and whined that the advertisers who were fleeing were ingrates who were now deserting his ship.  A point the advertisers probably didn't appreciate.  I mean, reminding their customers that they made lots of nice money off of Rush for years, all the while knowing what kind of man he is and what kind of things he says, and now that they are being held to account, they're running for the hills pretending to be all high-minded?
     Well, I suppose that reminder is better than nothing.  Not known at this point is whether Rush's support/fans/sponsors will continue to erode until, like Glen Beck before him, "management" decides that Rush is a liability and suggest he "retire."
     This whole kerfluffle has been interesting on a lot of levels. First, of course, Rush breaking into the mainstream consciousness allowed a lot of people who don't normally listen to the guy to get a giant YouTube, full-color, audio/visual gander.  It's all sorta like your creepy Uncle Herman.  You know the guy makes you shudder, but you ignore him because, well, he's harmless, isn't he?  Until you're forced to take a close look and, uh-oh, there he is, that guy, naked under a dirty raincoat, standing out on the sidewalk drooling over sweet young things walking by and yelling at them incoherently about "too much sex." And you think, Holy S--t!  I'm going to change my name and move to France and pretend that I don't know that guy.  No, no, he's not related to me.
     On a deeper level, Rush speaks to, feeds  and feeds on the ugly deep well of American Know-Nothings -- a primarily older, white, male cohort that is unconsciously reacting to our Brave New World -- a world that's browning/blacking, it's youth-ing, it's female-ing, it's gay-ing, it's unchurching, it's high-tech-ing, it's equal-rights-ing.  All of which spells the death knell of the primacy of the angry, gun loving, fearful, blue collar, white Christian patriarchal male.
     Which creates a ripe brew for Rush to paddle about in, stoke, and stir up -- an historical blend of  anger, resentment, bullying fear, seething paranoia, misogyny, racism, xenophobic jingo, anti-anything non-Christian, suspicion, gun-toting anti-government paranoia. And when times get tough, that dark pool ripples out to infect even "decent folk" who usually don't want to be (publicly) associated with such ugly stuff.  (Unless they pretend that Rush is "just an entertainer, a comedian," which allows them to publicly venture safely into a little nostalgie de la boue.)
     Eventually, the toxins people like Rush feed upon and dish out to their followers can grow so toxic
it poisons the organism itself.  And when the light is turned on or the zeitgist changes, when people suddenly wake up and peer into their cups and find that anger and meanness has becomes a liability, not a badge, or they find themselves exposed as objects of ridicule or worse -- irrelevant -- then suddenly to be seen drinking that dark brew in public becomes a liability.  When that happens, the brew-master demagogue becomes an embarrassing has-been. I mean, who knows who Father Coughlin is today?  And, say, where is Glen Beck anyway?
     Meantime, Rush has his anonymous PAC, advertisers get to pretend their hems are now clean and they always never did like that guy anyway (even though advertising on his show was incredibly lucrative), and Rush gets to play the victim.  A total win-win for everyone.
     Except for so many of his true believers who truly are forgotten.  Their displaced suffering is real.  While trashing women, blacks, gays, muslims and all the other "others" that haunt their dreams, won't fix their problems, we know from history that reaching out to women, blacks, gays, muslims and all the "other" others in shared solidarity actually can improve their lives.  After all, each one of us is an "other," and isolated and targeted and alone we are weak and helpless. Fair game for demagogues and corporate-owned lawmakers.  But together, we are the US of the USA.
     That's the one fact that Rush and his ilk do not want his listeners to understand.  It would cut into the bottom line of his corporate/political masters.

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