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Opinion: Weho Fur Ban a Little Hairy

West Hollywood resident Chris Bray says 'something is off' about the city's ordinance banning the sale of fur apparel.

I've been fascinated by the debate over the City of West Hollywood's "." That hilariously obtuse debate has assumed a set of facts not in evidence, and I have a suggestion for anyone who thinks the alleged "fur ban" is a great development:

Go down to , to the business license service counter, and tell them you need to take out a one-year license for the fur coat store you're going to open on Melrose Avenue. Ask for yourself if there's any reason at all why you couldn't open the House of Mink and Bunnies in Weho.

The short answer is no, and the first reason is easy. The alleged "fur ban," loaded with loopholes and exemptions, doesn't take effect until September 2013. The ordinance that adopts the ban recites a long set of facts about the urgent need to stop the suffering of helpless animals. Then, answering that urgency, the city council announces its fierce determination to take action in a couple years. Something is off here.

And that something is never going to change. Last week, I asked the City Clerk's office for every document the city has prepared regarding the implementation of the ordinance, including documents that describe regulatory policy and documents that plan for the training of the city employees who will enforce the so-called "ban." I got the response almost immediately, and it wasn't surprising: The City of West Hollywood has no documents at all that describe or plan for the enforcement of this ordinance.

So this is where we are: We have an ordinance supported by no policy, training, plans, budget or personnel for enforcement. But aside from the fact that they have no plans or policy or budget for the thing they claim to be doing, they're totally serious about it.

If you believe this ban actually has weight or meaning, stop fooling yourself. It was a symbolic gesture designed to serve the West Hollywood City Council's foremost policy agenda, getting their names in the New York Times. They don't believe in anything else. They don't intend to do anything else. They don't know how to do anything else.

Just to amuse myself, I also sent email messages to City Manager Paul Arevalo and John D'Amico, the councilman who introduced the nonexistent fur ban. I asked them for a ride-along with the city employees who enforce the "fur ban," requesting permission to actually observe the city's anti-fur enforcement in person. They didn't bother to respond, which is what I expected. How do you respond to a request to watch something that doesn't exist, and will never exist?

West Hollywood animal rights activists, find out for yourselves. Go to City Hall and ask about getting a permit for your fur coat store. Share the response.

—Chris Bray, West Hollywood resident

West Hollywood Patch accepts commentary from residents. Please e-mail yours to Local Editor Danielle Jacoby.

steve c November 23, 2011 at 11:20 PM
2 years is a long time for common sense and freedom of choice to win out. it is also a long time for a see-sawing mayor to find a way to wiggle out of this mess he voted in and it's also a long time for the council members who voted in their own agenda disregarding their constituents opinions to BE VOTED OUT!
kab1200 November 24, 2011 at 08:11 PM
Wow, great work Chris! So interesting.
Chloe Ross November 27, 2011 at 12:53 AM
Both Chris and Steve C raise important points. Bravo for their thoughts.
joninla December 20, 2011 at 11:42 AM
The "fur ban" and the vote by the Council to create the ban by legislating a new law is a very serious violation of the fundemental form of Government that exists in the United States which gives STATES the power to legislate by a joint decision making process (Governor and the Legislature must work and vote together to create a new law). Usurping such a critical part of our entire Governments carefully created system of 'check and balances' by elected official of a Municipality within the State of California does not satisfy the oath to protect and uphold the States Constitution and could be seen as an attack on the by the West Hollywood City Council Members against the existing Governmental Rule of Law and Due Process of Procedure. The "fur ban" improperly states its validity under a subsection of an Article of the California Constitution itself. The State of California's Constitution establishes the and means and limits by which the State may Govern the State. It does not give the City Of West Hollywood the ability to create the 'fur ban' nor any other legislation that has not been conferred by codified legislation in the California Codes of Law. The City can not just skip the the Codes and take action under the Constitution that only provides for protection of rights by the legislature. It is not a document that can be used by the City or anyone who feel like it, to "make up a new law".

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