Dumb California Laws

Early Morning Whistling 

In the sleepy Bay Area hamlet of Berkely it is unlawful to whistle for a lost canary before to 7 in the morning – at least that’s what Internet sources tell us. However, a primary source confirming this dumb California law could not be located. 

False Whiskers 

As the good book says: Thou shall not bear false whiskers. And, of course, the good book to which we refer is the California Penal Code, Section 185 of which (enacted the same year Ulysses S. Grant defeated Horace Greeley to win a second presidential term) declares:  

It shall be unlawful for any person to wear any mask, false whiskers, or any personal disguise (whether complete or partial) for the purpose of: One Evading or escaping discovery, recognition, or identification in the commission of any public offense. Two Concealment, flight, or escape, when charged with, arrested for, or convicted of, any public offense. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. 

Those who violate Section 185 risk being charged with a misdemeanor – on top of any other charges stemming from the reason that they donned false whiskers to begin with. Source 

Repurposing Used Underwear 

One might assume that San Francisco would be at the head of the line when it comes to reducing, reusing and recycling. And, for all we know, it is. However, there is at least one thing that the Golden Gate City doesn’t want you to reuse: The denizens of San Francisco are forbidden from wiping down cars with used underwear, according to several (likely unreliable) online sources. As has too often been the case during our delve into stupid laws in California, primary sources elude us.

Altruistic Car Washing 

Planning on doing someone a solid by washing their car for them (sans the old underwear, of course)? Not so fast, buddy – always bear in mind the wisdom of someone or other: No good deed goes unpunished. And in Los Angeles undertaking to “dust, wipe, wash or otherwise clean” a vehicle that isn’t yours without permission is a no-no. A first offense of this ordnance, effective as of 1993, could result in a $50 fine and up to five days in jail. Repeat offenders face fines of up to $500 and six months in the slammer. Source 

Bath House Rules 

It was 1964. The conflict in Vietnam was escalating amid the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Back in the United States, LBJ had signed into law the Civil Rights Act and stars of the silver screen Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton wed for the first time (the couple would later divorce, remarry each other and then divorce again). 

That same year, officials in Los Angeles were focused on bath houses and thus enacted an ordinance that bars people from bathing “in any tub or tank in any public bath house at the time such tub or tank is being occupied.” The rule goes on to prohibit bathing solo in a public tub “if the bathing water has been used by any other person.” Source 

Sewer Adjacent Angling 

Also in 1964, the powers that be in Los Angeles deemed it illegal to fish in any water that is within a mile from the point of discharge of a sewer. The ordinance also stipulates that, should fish be caught in sewer adjacent waters, it cannot be sold – or even offered for sale. This one makes sense. Nice work L.A. of yesteryear! Source 

Discover more dumb laws

%d bloggers like this: