The East Bay city of Antioch is struggling with too few cops and too many sideshows, but its city council just unanimously passed a ban on advertising, promoting, encouraging, or even watching a sideshow.

Many Bay Area cities grapple with sideshow mayhem, but the Contra Costa County city of Antioch seems to have a uniquely bad sideshow problem. Antioch sideshows have led to large brush fires, and one sideshow managed to plow over a fire hydrant and land a car in a river. Antioch sees more sideshows relative to other Contra Costa County cities, which may be because the city is down about half if its police force amidst the fallout of a broad police misconduct scandal, plus Antioch has been without a permanent police chief for going on a year now.

So the city’s latest crackdown against sideshows had Antioch City council voting unanimously to ban promoting, encouraging, or even watching sideshows, as KTVU reports. Even sharing social media posts about a sideshow could be prosecuted under the new law that the city passed unanimously Tuesday night.  

“You can be arrested, you can be fined up to $1,000 and you can spend time in jail. You will be prosecuted,” Antioch Mayor Lamar Hernandez-Thorpe said, according to NBC Bay Area. The mayor has previously sworn to use drones to catch sideshow participants, a strategy that may have worked to some degree.  

Antioch City Councilmember Mike Barbanica has been pushing for prosecuting sideshow audiences in previous versions of this legislation, and he finally got it added Tuesday. But there are concerns over how wide a net would be cast by such harsh laws.  

"If you're stuck," one resident said during public comment, “and someone's decided they're going to cut off lanes and do donuts, that doesn't make you a spectator. You're trapped, you're stuck."

But city councilmembers insisted that drivers merely stuck in traffic would not be prosecuted under the measure.

The rule is not yet law, and it will be given a second reading in July. And per NBC Bay Area, it would not take effect until the fall, so the current summer of sideshows would not result in viewers being prosecuted in Antioch.

We’ve seen similar bans on viewing sideshows in Alameda and Sonoma counties, as well as the city San Jose, where it seems to have had mixed results as best.

Related: Antioch Sideshow Injures Three, Plows Over Fire Hydrant, Leaves Car In River [SFist]

Image: @CHP_ContraCosta via Twitter