Berkeley and indecency laws

Because Berkeley is such a nice place I figured that I would find out the nature of their indecent exposure laws, if any. I should go for a walk sometime but it appears that that will take several years before I can walk in undies in Berkeley!

It turns out that Berkeley forbids the exposure of the buttocks and breasts, as well as other parts which are at times forbidden by cities which allow for breasts and buttocks to be shown or seen. There has been a free the nipple protest or agitation but the city council, but a vote of six to one in 2017, voted to table the motions to hear or the discussion of the idea of striking women’s breasts being forbidden to be shown.

It was actually in the local and maybe national news that a city council guy of Berkeley, the guy who represents an area with the most heavy concentration of the university students, brought the motion to strike the exclusion of breasts from being shown or viewed in public.

The other city council members said something like, “Yeah, we are liberal, but no one cares about this and it does not matter.” Other people, including some journalists or editors and some high school and university students are convinced it does matter.

About 25 years ago several women students at the University of Washington were convicted of the Seattle version of the indecent exposure law because they were topless at some relatively isolated beach. They were convicted and their convictions stuck. However, several years later, someone else managed to get the law overturned on different grounds and Seattle never put back the old law saying you cannot show your breasts. Now, it is normal for several percent at a given Seattle beach to wear a thong while sunbathing and several go topless at various spots in Seattle, for events and mere sunbathing or park visiting.

Berkeley seems to forbid wearing clothing that shows the buttocks. However, in practice, in warm weather, there are several to a few dozen girls or women who fracture that law while wearing short shorts, while merely walking on the sidewalks of or near downtown. At least, I think that police and courts at times interpret showing a part as if showing all.

It is not that I have staked out downtown Berkeley. I just walk it a few times a day such as for lunch or dinner or to use the Bart or get to the coffee place. No one pays any abnormal attention.

I do not know if there is a beach or park used for sunbathing or playing in the water in the city limits of Berkeley. I do not see how the current law would fit with the modern sensibility and the majority of women’s swimwear at a beach or park used for swimming or sunbathing.

The Berkeley campus itself does have a nice lawn in one of the areas where people are entering the place from off-campus. Yesterday was warm and sunny and there were a few people resting on the lawn of campus.

Downtown Oakland has this big giant park with a body of water and a walking path all around it! People run and jog and walk every day, but not many or not as many use it for sunbathing or playing in the water as they do such places in Seattle. At least, I saw that park up close and was in it once or twice and saw an interacted briefly with the persons walking and jogging.

It would be less than 10% of normal womens swimwear or panties that covers *all* the butt, at least if we go by what I remember of Seattle beaches and parks, and, as best I can recall, a lot of the girls or young women as well wear items that show *some* of the butt.

The news says that there was a crazy or disturbed fellow who was put on trial for poor behavior in January 2018. It appears that he attempted to ask a woman he did not know on a public sidewalk to engage in some sex at some nearby backyard. That did not work as he perhaps expected, ha, ha, and then he pulled down his pants to then show the woman his butt, allegedly, his attorney says, to offend her.

He was put on trial the jury was hung, because in California by the state law, you have to prove sexual motivation, rather than gross stupidity or highly irrationally offensive conduct.

I think that the Washington and Seattle laws are superior on this topic. They can include intending to offend a person, but they do not require short or long registration as a sex offender. So a person can act like a very rude idiot and be convicted of being intentionally offensive, but he does not register for life as a sex offender which far too high a penalty for pulling your pants down briefly, showing your butt, briefly, in public.

During this guy’s trial one of the jurors was dozing and was replaced.

That is really what people should be thinking of the fact that an adult woman in our society, from a distance, saw a guy’s butt. Forgive my not being very empathetic to the “victim” of the crime.

Most of the jury, in the 2018 William Turner case, and I seem to agree. He was not guilty of indecent exposure by California state law but of something else . . . gross stupidity and intentionally offending a person without good cause for no rational, meaningful reason.

This guy had previously frightened parents by going to the kids sections of parks and offering them or inciting them to drink some unknown concoction. The local police had put out public notices or notifications to beware of the idiot, who then graduated to mooning an adult who did not wish to have a sexual encounter with him.

It seems we live in a society in which some people have the idea that he or they must get some sex somehow, by some way, by hook or crook. So you wonder if it is possible to be happy without sex and if the guy had heard of that possibility. I think Turner the deranged man will get some counseling, but you never know what the content of the counseling will be!

He is supposely bipolar. He supposedly had had a mental evaluation around the time of the kids drinking potion but before the woman got upset by being propositioned and then by seeing either his butt, or as she alleges, his butt and gens.

Well . . . well . . . well. Some people are not trying very hard to get along.

In other indecency news . . . we have rain today but last week was warm and sunny. Every day in the warmer weather women or girls fracture the indecency law re butt exposure but that is not something a rational person would make into a problem.

People here in Berkeley jog. Dozens of people people this morning have been jogging by our corner in shorts in the rain! Are they the university track team?

On Sunday morning, in a residential area, a woman was jogging by in what seemed to be a bikini with a flimsy wrap or partly see-through skirting that is not really a skirt. Maybe she wears the wrap to prevent a question of her butt being shown and thereby, actually breaking the law. Ha, ha!

I have emailed the city councilguy and perhaps some others with my idea that adopting an indecency law similar to that of Seattle would solve their free the nipple concern. Allow it where it is normal, reasonable, artistic, educational and disallow it where it is used to offend people for no good reason.

That is my theory. Washington and Seattle IE laws are pretty good and the Berkeley IE law is too much because it does not allow for differences based on the context and reasonable expectations and reasonableness for a park.

In a few years there will be an initiative and people will vote on which version they would prefer.

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