What Will San Francisco Ban Next?

I keep thinking the headlines are from The Onion but they are not. First we read that San Francisco has effectively banned the Happy Meal. Then we learn of a new law that bans people from sitting or lying on city sidewalks from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. (known, naturally, as the “sit/lie law”). Some months ago, the city’s Commission of Animal Control and Welfare proposed banning the sale of any pets other than fish, but that measure has apparently been tabled. (For now?)

I cannot wait to see what San Francisco comes up with next. Will it ban eating with your mouth open? Will it criminalize jogging too slow (or perhaps too fast)? Will it require all males between 16 and 40 to grow their hair in the style of Tim Lincecum?

Maybe it will ban earthquakes?

I would love to hear your proposals, especially if you live in the area.

Alev Ertek

I think the change in the requirements for happy meal is good, I'd motivate children to prefer healtier foods by offering toys only with those meals. I don't know in depth about the sale of the pets law, but if it is just limiting the sale of cats and dogs at the pet shops, i thing it is a good approach because I feel very bad for the poor animals who get stuck in their little space and don't have enough space as they grow bigger.
About the sit/lie law, I think is ridiculous, I would like to really know more about the reasoning behind it.

Andrew L.

I hear there's talk of a ban on Oakland A's fans.


I think they should ban people having cell phone conversations within 20 feet of anyone who doesn't care about their private lives.


I don't live in San Francisco, but I do reside in the Easy Bay and travel to SF frequently, so I think I have some perspective on this.

First, the city didn't ban happy meals, they instituted nutritional requirements for meals that come with a free toy. This might be overbearing, but you can still get a happy meal with a toy if you order fruit instead of fries, or you can get a regular happy meal and buy the toy separately.

Second, the sit/lie ordinance is designed to discourage aggressive panhandlers who block the sidewalks or otherwise intimidate pedestrians. If you've ever spent significant time in SF, you'd realize that such people are a serious problem and a significant impediment to businesses in many areas of the city. Customers are reluctant to go places where they are likely to be harassed by people blocking the sidewalk. At any rate, since the sidewalk is a public thoroughfare, why shouldn't the city be able to prevent people from taking up residence on it?

The pet banning measure didn't pass and isn't likely to.

I understand that you have a particular political point of view/bias, but whether or not you agree with these two laws that have passed, I hardly think they are so onerous as to make the city a subject of mockery, nor are they likely to lead to the sorts of frivolous things you are suggesting.



I would say they are going to ban rational thinking, but apparently they already have,.

james rogers

Hopefully we will ban the Times from publishing endless articles about our city. Not that it will do any good.


I would like them to ban all the banter by cashier's at Trader Joe's. I mean, I appreciate how nice and happy the folks that work there are, but when the line is 10 deep perhaps a discussion about how much they like the cheese you bought can be rain-checked?

Side Note: This ban should be adopted world-wide.

Jay De Montalegre

Perhaps in a failed attempt to regulate how they live and a failed attempt to regulate health and morality San Francisco will ban obesity? All over-weight people are required to meet specific weights to use public facilities as they do take up a lot of space and I'm sure some people feel they aren't "nice" to look at. Weigh ins to gain access to a city? Not so crazy is it? Sick but possible.

The real truth is flawed democratic systems as such exploit the rights and will of the minority. Mob rule isn't a just and free way to live. It is an abomination and a failed god. Just ask Hoppe. San Francisco has no right determining how private companies market products. Anyone opposed simply DOESN'T HAVE TO EAT THERE. Small children can't hop in the car and drive over for a Happy Meal. It comes back to parenting and that is no one's business but the parent's.

dePaul Consiglio

Short people, like in Atlanta.


I'm pretty sure McDonalds will just charge an extra 25 cents if you want to get a toy with your happy meal to get around the law. Considering that the cost of the toy was already priced into the cost of a happy meal, I think the only effective difference will be higher profits for McDonalds.


Why don't you try to "sit/lie" on a sidewalk in New York and see how long it takes for the NYPD to be in your face?


Is that true?!
I tried to access and get a page not found.

Jeff Holland

They could solve a lot of problems if they would make a law that bans people from banning things.


I think its terrifying how many control measures are being implemented all over our so-called "socially free" countries. I'm Canadian but have also noticed some infringements upon our personal freedoms. In British Columbia we have seen so many laws go into place this past year that make our province seem more socialist than democratic. To be frank though I dont mind seeing the Happy Meal ban but seriously, why can't consumers use their heads and learn that many Mcdonalds items are poor health choices? Its lazy parenting that is causing the problems, Mcdonalds is just trying to operate a free enterprise within the rules and regulations of the business environment.

I'm not angry but I could see this getting out of hand in the future.


I disagree with government legislating every little aspect of our lives, but this is part of the "Nudge" idea that is discussed on this site quite often. This Blog Post is from Dubner, who lives in the City that banned trans-fats four years ago, and most likely has a similar Sit/Lie Law to counteract vagrancy. I know that some cities even require panhandlers to register with the city and follow specific rules.

Julian Baum

Like NYC, could effectively ban the Oreo cookie by banning trans fats. Like NYC, we could ban tourist photographs of our cable cars and subways, because our police are terrified of terrorism. Unlike NYC, we could ban supposedly professional journalists from off the cuff writing.


I think of these as nudges, subtle reminders for a need to adjust course ... we could question whether the policies are pushing on the right levers in the right direction, but the intent cannot be questioned (which is what I applaud about all three).

Of the three listed, I am hoping that a ban on luring kids with toys in Happy Meals will ignite a debate on, and eventually lead to, banning advertising to children, period.


I would like to ban ignorant out-of-towners from pontificating about us.

Re: the sit/lie situation.
We have a little slice of paradise here, where the scenery is breathtaking, the climate moderate and the people convivial. So naturally we are a vagrant magnet, with undesirables coming in from such inhospitable places as Chicago and New York, sometimes sent here with a one-way ticket, who then proceed to soil and impede and sleep and beg in our public spaces. After many many years of putting up with this aggravation, and generous offers of assistance and housing, we are trying to re-establish a balance between private and public rights and responsibilities. We welcome constructive suggestions, not snark.

Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team

San Franciso is a 'different' town.
They ban McDonald's Happy meals to tweak the nose of Industrial Corporate Food.

But they passed ordinances permiting the practice of Nude Yoga in Public Places. See a local favorite who at one time ran for mayor known in the neighborhood as the "Nude Yoga Guy."


I would like to see him attend a Nancy Peolosi fundraising drive in his pink glory and do the downward dog.

The Nun's Priest's Dogsbody

As "Anon" shows us in Post #4, the Bay Area's ban on having a sense of humor has proven marvellously effective.