Boy, 2012 was quite a year, wasn't it? After gaining national notoriety for banning Happy Meals (and by proxy: happiness in general) in 2011, the city really stepped up its nanny-state game in 2012. In 2013, no one will ever see a naked peen in public again, basically. (Except for, you know, when the city feels it is acceptable.) The right to show show your dick to whomever and whenever you want isn't the only thing San Franciscans lost this year. We also banned — or at least tried to ban — everything from: foie gras to grocery bags to phone books to new restaurants. Without further ado, here's our recap of the things Baghdad by the Bay outlawed over the last year:
After years of unnecessarily violent opposition to fatty goose liver products, anti-foie activists got their way when the state of California banned the succulent treat in July. With the (largely ornamental) ban on the books, the savory and rich bot of decadence has gone underground, forcing foie enthusiasts to go to far off locations like France, Nevada or the Presido. Like any other strong substance preferred by rich people, you can still find it if you really want it, you just have to know where to look for it.
Also interesting to note: California's foie gras ban nearly triggered a ban on California wines in France, making it the most outsized response to California or San Francisco legislation since Arizona passed a ban on banning McDonald's.
As you know by now, public nakedness will no longer fly in San Francisco's public spaces starting in January 2013. While the nude set is still trying to trying to take the city to court over it, City Attorney Dennis Herrera has already shot the lawsuit down. Sorry, folks, you'll just have to get your jollies by dropping trou at the same nudity-approved events where all the other well-worn kooks get naked.
The Yellow Pages:
Technically, Supervisor David Chiu's legislation preventing phone book companies from littering your stoop every year was passed back in 2011. The ban should have gone into effect this year, but was stalled when terrifying phone book industry lawyered up and deemed the legislation oppressive against the hallowed medium and preferred advertising space of personal injury lawyers. If your apartment is anything like ours, there is still a stack of untouched phonebooks sitting in your entryway, slowly rotting away after so many winter rains. Phone books are far and away the most irresponsible form of unsolicited paper products and it is, quite frankly, a travesty that we can't put these things to bed already.
Former Supervisor, current Sheriff and misdemeanor conviction-holder Ross Mirkarimi pat himself on the back when he had plastic grocery bags banned from chain grocery stores back in 2007. Some years later we caught Mirkarimi using the hard-to-recycle landfill cloggers to serve tortilla chips in his office. Tsk. This year, however, the city expanded the ban, mandating that even corner stores and small time grocers charge 10¢ for a paper bag. The ubiquitous pink plastic bags of Chinatown are even facing extinction.
The bag ban is not all bad, though: around the time it took effect on October 1 of this year, there was a noticeable increase in companies greenwashing their public image by handing out free, reusable tote bags any chance they could. Now we just have to deal with the endless supply of perpetually forgotten shopping bags that are now starting to choke up the space under our kitchen sinks.
New restaurants on Valencia:
This one is unfortunately mired in bureaucratic process and layered with the heaps of spin that come from the food and Mission blogs that love to toss up controversy along the bustling thoroughfare. The Valencia Corridor Merchants Association originally called for a 1-year moratorium on new eateries. A breather, if you will, between the hearty main dish of new restaurants (16 since Spring 2011) and a pleasantly competitive dining scene.
The momentum seems to be going against the moratorium now. Supervisors Campos and Wiener favor a solution that would put a cap on the number of restaurants along the corridor. Even local grump Chuck Nevius thinks a moratorium is a bad idea, but then again he might be misinformed (again).
Our hope for 2013? Let's finally finish the deed and ban cars on Market Street.