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City Should Fly Far From Fur Ban

Why the West Hollywood City Council should reconsider its proposed ban on fur sales.

At its first meeting of November, the West Hollywood City Council will once again consider a ban on fur sales within our city limits. I initially thought it was a good idea, but upon further consideration, I've changed my mind.

Although most of us find animal cruelty to be revolting, the measure before the City Council is ill-advised for many reasons.

Fur ban is unconstitutional

Although it may as many members of Congress spend on their own races, that does not give the Council the authority of Congress—only the United States Constitution does.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the right "to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." It does not grant that right to the City of West Hollywood.

Unless a fur ban is limited to California-produced products, using California-grown fur, the City is opening itself up to legal liability by passing this ordinance.

Fur ban hurts local business

In addition to subjecting the City to legal jeopardy, the economic impacts of the ban are much wider than claimed by then-candidate John D'Amico.

While campaigning on the fur ban issue, D'Amico claimed only a handful of stores in West Hollywood would be covered by a fur ban. After all, our sunny climate does not prompt too many folks to feel the need for mink coats.

In fact, almost half of West Hollywood retailers carry some kind of fur product. Add in calfskin and shearling and mink eyelashes and you're looking at more than 110 West Hollywood businesses that will be covered by the ordinance, should they choose to stay.

Fur ban is political cowardice

Fur ban supporters argue that animals should not be killed for their fur. If that is true, then should they be killed for their hides? What about their meat?  

The moral thing for the Council to do, if it believes that no animals should be harmed, is to ban not just fur, but leather, pulled pork, hamburger and chicken sandwiches as well.

Such a widespread ban would not be taken well by the City's business or residents. The fur ban is a half-measure that is politically difficult to oppose. It is the easy way out.

What's with this legislating morality?

In West Hollywood, we loathe when politicians try to legislate morality. Herman Cain and Rick Perry shouldn't tell us how to live our lives...but neither should Abbe Land, John Heilman or John D'Amico.

Mayor John Duran pointed out the City's trend toward legislating morality as one reason for his drift toward the opposition. Duran, and his colleagues, should unite in opposition to a prohibition on fur sales, and instead propose an alternative that will educate, not regulate, so market forces can end the sale of fur in the City naturally.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

joninla October 30, 2011 at 03:46 AM
am as much against Real Fur as the next average caring person and animal lover. THE ISSUE, however, is exactly what you are pointing out. Does a small municipality have the power/ability/authority to pass any law that regulates peoples use/right to use,wear,buy a item that is not illegal nor under any specific Regulatory Body regarding compliance or use. With the 25 year incumbent John Heilman being not just an attorney, but a Professor of Law (Whittier Law School, I believe) HE KNOW OR SHOULD KNOW BETTER than to call a major press conference to DECLARE WEHO THE FIRST CITY IN THE US TO PASS A LAW BANNING FUR. I am not an expert, but I am pretty sure there is no way any such law passed by the City Council of the City of West Hollywood could past even the first level of scrutiny when brought before a judge in a court of law who will have to decide if such a law is indeed within the power of a Municipality AND not in violation of the US CONSTITUTION or CA STATE CONSTITUTION and is not usurping the power to Legislate from the properly elected government official. Were this some small hick town in the middle of nowhere, I could understand the lack of knowledge of the legislative process (Doesn't anyone still remember the School of Rock cartoons .... "I'm just a Bill and I'm sitting here on capital Hill..." NO EXCUSE AND A DISGUSTING MISUSE OF OFFICE FOR HEILMAN AND THE REST CALL A FORMAL PRESS CONFERENCE WHILE KNOWING IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO BE THE FIRST TO DO SO
joninla October 30, 2011 at 09:55 PM
I guess John Heilman was too busy studying to have time to learn the basics all the rest of us learned from a Children's Cartoon. Here's to School House Rock to teach those who think they can 'just pass any law they want' without going through the necessary steps. I'm just a bill. Yes, I'm only a bill. And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill. Well, it's a long, long journey To the capital city. It's a long, long wait While I'm sitting in committee, But I know I'll be a law someday At least I hope and pray that I will, But today I am still just a bill. school house rock - original lyrics
Bayjh October 31, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Well said, Mr. Schmidt. You show with this commentary that you are the kind of level-headed, common-sense Republican that our nation lacks today. Let us join together to protect animal welfare AND business revenues in a manner both constitutional and truly historic.
Manny November 01, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Thank you Scott for an intelligent and reasonable commentary. The "Fur Ban" was started in February as a way to get votes. Get a bunch of people to show up with their cats and dogs to protest animal cruelty (who can't agree with that?) and you've locked in 300 votes. Mostly from people who probably wouldn't have voted at all. Elections mean something alright.
Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move November 05, 2011 at 05:17 PM
What an intelligent article. Educate not regulate is a very good point. Enforcing morality laws leads us into very deep water indeed and opens the door to a lot more than just a ban on fur.
carlos November 07, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Well if "most of us" consider animal cruelty abhorent, then are we really having this debate? Only 150 yeArs ago the abolishment of slavery "hurt" a lot of businesses... who cares if it was a president, or just small communities that ended it first? "Most of us" knew slavery was wrong, but only a few of us had the kahonas to do anything about it. If drastic measures weren't taken to end this idiocracy, and only educational means were pursued, then perhaps today still we would still be trying to "Educate" morality after all this time. I mean come on really? If a business is perpetuating needless suffering it should go bankrupt PERIOD!!! Why is this a gray area people? Are we still as stupid as our ancestors to think that profiting of others suffering is ok?

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