Last year I moved to Point Loma. I grew up in San Diego but never really hung out too much by the bay. My question is, what’s up with the Harbor Police? I see them driving around a lot (which seems to be a bit of a non sequitur), gabbing on cell phones while speeding round, running stop signs. I see them on foot occasionally, harassing a bum. Last week I saw one driving down the 101 in Cardiff. What is their scope of service, and who pays for them? Can they really arrest a landlubber like me?
— Phil, Point Loma
Woo-wee! Bad Harbor Police. Bad, bad Harbor Police. The law does not permit officers to break speed or other traffic laws while just tootling around town. And if they do pull a U-ie or some such, they have to turn on their flashing red-and-blues while they do it. As for the irritated bum, the legality depends on where the bum is bumming. The Harbor Police are the law-enforcement arm of the San Diego Port District. Their jurisdiction includes most of the wet areas of town (San Diego, Coronado, National City, Imperial Beach coast and wetlands) and marinas and Lindbergh Field. They enforce the same laws the land-bound police do (so don’t jaywalk on the bay if they’re nearby). They pull dead bodies out of the drink. Maintain suicide statistics for local bridges. Watch for high-performance boats driven by people with low-performance piloting skills. It’s a very full day. I don’t know whether this satisfies you, since you seem pretty cheesed off. But that’s the story of the Harbor Police, San Diego’s damp safety patrol.
I was wondering how many Reader issues I am allowed to take from the various locations around San Diego. Is there any law forbidding me from taking two Readers at a time? Ten? Thousands? I never was much of a builder, but I think it would be cool to construct a fort out of the free weekly Readers. BTW, I was going to make a shake-shingle roof out of San Diego City Beats.
— Jay, via email
Git goin’ quick, Jay. You have until December 31 to make some headway on Fort Reader. Our business manager sez there’s a law in place that allows any citizen to shoot anyone who takes more than ten Readers at a time, but I think he’s kidding. Anyway, if Arnold signs AB 1778, as of January 1 it will be illegal to bring in to a recycling center more than $50 worth of newspapers at one time. This law was put in place to stop the increasing problem of gangs of paper thieves who even follow newspaper distribution trucks and scoop up the bundles of papers as they’re dropped off. They also clean out public recycling bins and vending machines. Fifty dollars’ worth of newspaper weighs just short of 850 pounds, by the way. The only punishment these bin divers will suffer is to have to present a picture ID when they bring in their vanload of newsprint, and they’ll be paid by check rather than in cash, as they are now. But hey, wait a minute, the law doesn’t say it’s illegal to scoop up 850 pounds of Readers and make a fort out of them, so maybe you’re home free. Anyway, let us know where you’ll be so we can stop by after the next big rain.
What’s up with all of the people that name their animals with “people names”? I understand that some of the best intentions have ended up in the worst catastrophes. I’ve discovered that people have named their cats, cows, dogs, horses the same that I have. Sometimes I feel I have superhuman strength; most of the time I feel left out, neglected, unreasonably feared, and totally taken advantage of, castrated, and I can even sense my oncoming death. Have I tapped into some spiritual connections? It’s pretty bad when you see something going on and can’t stop it from happening and are then punished for making a ruckus. And why don’t police officers enforce the laws of physics?
— Jack Rabbit, via email
This same wandering query came in under another whole different email address and name. Just a small example of what we have to deal with here at the Matthew Alice Centre for Peace, Justice, and $29 Quickie Oil Changes. So, Jack, your first question: People name their pets people names because they consider their pets just very small, furry people. Your spiritual, superhuman, castrated question: No, you’ve tapped into whatever’s in the air in North Park. Your last question: Police don’t enforce the laws of physics because they’re very rarely broken.