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Raucous Caucus

By Tom Cushing

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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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and my friend here will have the kibble."

Uploaded: Aug 22, 2014
Sutter Brown strikes again. Hounded by pet lovers' dogged determination, the legislature has rolled-over on AB 1965, which allows pet dogs to sit, and stay with their people in the outdoor areas of restaurants, under specified conditions. They thus join service animals, as well as certain crustaceans and a few other 'live' exotics that may currently occupy eating areas under the Health and Safety Code – the difference being that Fido might share, but not be, dinner.

Previously, the state Health and Safety Code (Sec. 114259.5, if you're keeping score) prohibited the practice, and apparently pre-empted any local ordinances on the subject. That code section makes it clear that contamination concerns underlie it, despite the experience of other, more civilized cultures where canines get more respect (les French, particularement). Of course, there is also a dawning realization among medicos that most bugs are actually good for us, but that's for another column.

One might have expected the retail community to have set up a howl, but you'd be barki (never mind – just can't do it). According to sponsor Mariko Yamada (D, Davis), her bill had "the unwavering support of the CA Restaurant Association (CRA)." BTW, she dubbed it 'noodles with poodles," so RC readers can appreciate that they don't really have it so ruff. My guess is that the CRA would prefer to allow each proprietor to set its own rules – there may be relative marketing advantages for both bans and grants.

Important limitations are built-into the new law. First, it also amends H&S Code section 113709 to explicitly allow local governments jurisdiction to make their own rules on the subject. I predict our various county and local council folk will demur. Pet people can be a vicious pack when provoked – do you recall the impressive mass demonstration on the Capitol steps when the Governator threatened to repeal the Hayden Bill? Council meetings would look like the dog park, only a lot less friendly. The people (as usual) would be doing most of the snapping and growling. Add to that the fact that Danville has banned disposable bags

Second, canines are restricted to outdoor areas, not near where food is actually prepared. They must enter and leave in a way that does not take them through restricted areas, and any food or water on their menu must be provided in single use containers. That last provision is quizzical – my dogs ALways clean their plates. They do it better than cold water -- practically well enough for dishware to be returned directly to the cupboard.

Finally, Bowser must be leashed, under control and not given his own seat at (or on) the table. Actually, that last 'on' provision is not expressed in the statute – if this were ObamaCare, somebody'd being suing over the omission. Of course, "Fifi's a good girl" – meaning that this is where practical problems will occur. 'Control' is a remarkably flexible concept among pet people. Here's hoping that folks will err on the side of circumspection, and courtesy to fellow diners.

This new law may be a minor reform and lifestyle improvement to the likes of me; others will consider it further proof that society is going to the dogs. There are legitimate concerns about dust-ups between adjacent canines, and perhaps allergies of other diners. I can only respond that both Europe's and any dog park's experience will suggest that the former concern is over-stated. Those places are nobody's turf, and they must smell like soup to dogs' much more sensitive scent sense – a fascinating distraction to a dog. I have seen much more conflict, posturing displays and other embarrassing behaviors from humans at Hap Magee K9 Corral. There will undoubtedly be a few well-publicized skirmishes in the wake of this new law, but far fewer than there will be bar fights on any Saturday night.

As to allergies, restriction of these diner dogs to the great outdoors may help to disperse the problem. I would also note that there are allergies to many other things that are allowed – including perfumes, various legumes and golfing attire, in general. Why would this situation necessarily be different?

Here's hoping that various establishments will move swiftly to remove their former species-ist restriction on the legitimate canine range. I'm thinking of one place in particular – where you could even leash your pup to a brass rail – if they had one. What do you say, Pete (whoever you are)? Maybe other restaurants could chime-in on their plans, in the Comments -- advertising is never better than 'free.'

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by DirkaDirka, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:29 am

Tommy, your best column ever. This is what you should stick to. You make great points and your humor is corny, but this is acceptable given the topic. You must be drinking the goat milk. See I told you it is better for you. This is an excellent example of personal choice and discretion. You see, sometimes communities can solve problems, or ignore the lack there of problems without the help of politicians. It's sad that we needed politicians to fix something that they broke, but at least they had the decency to do it.

As far as removing the restriction, well, there is a certain amount of liability here and some may not want the risk. Beer halls and coffee shops tend to be pretty easy going hosts, their business their choice. It's also the customers choice. Let the market decide, this is a good thing.

Love,
Dirka Dirka


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:56 am

Glad to have your approval -- you know how I crave it. When you crank-out, err compose eight-or-so of these columns per month, some topics will be lighter than others. You may not like the next one quite so well.

As to goat's milk -- I tried it once in college, but found it interfered with logic and rationality, and gave me an occasional bout of Tourette's. Apparently your experience is similar?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Tom,

I was just going to agree with Dirka (wow this must be Leap Day). See how much better it is when you stick to the innocuous. How come cats are not allowed too? Dogs get all the perks and parks. My cats are jealous. As Cholo would say, "I rest my case."

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Hiya Roz: I guess it depends on how you define "better." The way I see it, my goal is not to make everybody agree -- that'll never happen in this politically diverse valley -- nor is it to avoid controversy (not with a title like the RC). Rather it is to opine on a topic of possible interest, and to get the discussion going.

In turn, the goal of the discussion is not to keep score -- that's just silly. Everyone's personal scorecard necessarily depends on their personal viewpoint. Anyone who believe him/herself to be the font of sweet, unbiased wisdom is self-deluded. The goal is to promote a good to-and fro-ing On The Issue, and to err on the side of inclusion.

That's why I consider the Disorder blog to be a success -- at least until it devolved into the personal toward the end. I locked it because I didn't have time to babysit it.

That said, everybody gets sidetracked into personal attackage from time-to-time, myself included. Comments about my age, or girth, or various perceived personality flaws don't serve the discussion goal, so I don't hesitate to delete them. Some folks don't approve, but that's okay -- when you consider the crap I leave in, you can be pretty sure that nothing of substance could have possibly been removed.

Now, as to your cats, I think if they Really cared, they'd never let-on. Bad enough they have to tolerate us under foot around the house. Subjecting them to the confinement indignities of travel and other nearby, unnecessary humans -- well, I just can't imagine they want That. After all, the cat walks by himself: Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Peter Kluget, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Once again it falls to me to be so rude as to make a loud noise in the midst of the chorus of Kumbaya.

I have two observations to make:

1. All dog owners are crazy in love with their dogs.
2. "Your freedom to swing your arms ends at my nose" is invariably met these days with "Well, your nose is too long. And I've been swinging my arms this way forever, so it's your problem. I like swinging my arms - who are you to tell me I can't? If you don't like my swinging my arms, leave town. And what's the big deal about an occasional punch in the nose? Lighten up!"

Here's the thing: if Joe's cafe decides to secure your patronage by inviting you and Fido to dine al fresco, Joe loses my patronage. This law will create a problem for Joe.

I'm generally fine with dogs, especially those I know, but a human-canine relationship with strangers is not something I seek out. And while most dogs are well behaved, not all are. And guess what? The owners of dogs who shouldn't be in a restaurant will take them anyway. (See point 1) I'm sure if you were not overcome with dog-love insanity you would recognize that your "hope" to the contrary is misplaced. It is 100% certain that you will be disappointed in that one. (I don't know if you saw the movie CBGB. Perhaps an extreme example, but an example nonetheless.)

When I'm sitting on a patio enjoying a cuppa whatever, I don't want a stranger to come up and stick his nose in my crotch. Most humans seem to be able to resist the temptation to do so. Dogs... not so much. I could give other examples of reasons why I don't want dogs in an eating establishment I'm patronizing, but they are all merely unpleasant, not fatal, and thus vulnerable to observation 2. So yeah - I don't want to patronize a dining establishment that invites canines to share my dining experience with me, and I'll stop going to Joes if your fond wishes are granted.

Having said that, as noted, dog owners are crazy. They will lobby like maniacs to obtain the right to take their beloved's anywhere they damn well want to. "Purse dogs" and the incredibly expanding categories of "service animals" attests to dog-crazy people's ingenuity in this regard. People who would prefer not to be involuntarily paired with dogs while in business establishments won't have any say in the matter. In fact, they won't even try to say anything, because they don't want the grief that crazy dog owners will shower them with. This is classic special interest group legislation, where those who shout the loudest will win.

(Cue the refrains from observation 2.)


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Kluget! I won't cast any intemperate aspersions toward your crotch, but I fear your soul may be bereft! That said, you're half-right about the restauranteurs -- some Will continue the ban in deference to your several tenders, but others will grant admittance, and thus get more of My patronage. Whatta country!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Well this at least proves once and for all that PK and Tom are not the same. Tom isn't clever (or mean) enough to write an anti-dog blog just to throw off the trolls.

The cat story is very funny and it's nice to have a female protagonist for a change. There are some men, more than two out of five, who like cats too.

Roz


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Roz -- I'll take it. I raised my kids on Seuss and the Just So Stories -- Kipling's phraseology endures in the family lexicon, especially the elephant's child, the camel and the parsee man -- based on innumerable bedtime repetitions.

PK -- thanks for the reference to CBGB: Web Link. But The Voice thinks the dog got a bad rap (sort of):

"10. Hilly's dog's bowels were legendary
Hilly's dog poops quite often in the movie, a fact the film feels it must remind you of about every 20 minutes or so. As the movie ends and some of the "Where Are They Now" text fills in some of the blanks, HIlly's dog even gets the last shout out, in an attempt (we guess?) at lighthearted whimsy. "His bowels were legendary." OK? But was his poop really deserving of so much screen time? The fact that he crapped all over the bar and Hilly's apartment may have been right, historically, but in terms of telling CBGB's story, it comes across so very wrong."

Now I have to go find the movie.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by DirkaDirka, a resident of San Ramon,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Niein, you proofs nuting!
Vee half vays to see dees deceitful metods.
Web Link

Dirka Dirka


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Well, I AM going to the A's game tonight. Maybe if ol' punky Pete would be so kind as to post something -- preferably long and well-spelled -- during the evening, that might help dispel any lingering doubts.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Dogs and A's, damn you Tom, I am back!! Let's hope friendly confines of Oaktown lead to sweep of Angels!!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Welcome back, Am! High drama in the top of the Ninth -- classic A's - Angels baseball with an October feel. It's a start ...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Sep 2, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Just leave your pit bulls at home.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 14, 2014 at 10:42 am

Hi Tom...I don't know how else to send this interesting story to you re: Senator Rand Paul: Web Link

I understand how this will help set him up with certain voters but still, there are many instances in which actions do speak louder than words!

I gotta tip my hat and say GRACIAS RAND! VIVA SENATOR RAND PAUL!



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