Every once in a while, a headline will emerge in the great state of California that blurs the line between reality and the comical escapades that one might expect to see on NBC’s hit show, Parks and Recreation.

We hope that you enjoy PublicCEO’s new feature, Word on the Weird: a  collection of the bizarre, the odd, and the just plain silly side of the Golden State’s local government scene.

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A city councilman from the Merced County town of Atwater has recently taken the old saying, “we all scream for ice cream,” to a new level. Mayor Pro Tem Craig Mooneyham pleaded no contest on Tuesday to misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace. The charges were brought forward after Mooneyham got into an impassioned disagreement with a fast food employee of the price of the milkshake earlier this year. What’s that milkshake costing Mooneyham now? 2 years probation and 20 hours of community service.

A ban on fortunetellers and psychics may be in the cards for La Cañada Flintridge. After receiving a request from a resident interested in practicing fortunetelling, city staff decided to look into a citywide policy. As for now, the future of La Cañada soothsayers remains unclear.


Friday and handler Jeremy Partch.

San Diego County’s first ever “Agriculture Crime Dog” is set to retire. Every dog has his day and after several years of sniffing out illegal produce, Friday will ease her way into doggie retirement. Handler Jeremy Partch remarked that it will be a tough transition for such a hardworking canine.

The Berkeley City Council is sinking its teeth into the controversial issue of dental fillings. According to Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, the California Dental Association has been fighting tooth and nail for dentists to retain the right to use dental amalgam, which they claim is a “safe, affordable and durable material for dental patients.” Community groups—including the Community Health Commission and the Community Environmental Advisory Commission—disagree, citing the fact that such fillings contain high levels of mercury.

Perhaps hoping to cash in on the The Walking Dead phenomenon, the City of Menifee is welcoming the survivalist community with open arms. In August, the city council passed a controversial ordinance allowing for residents to apply for permits to construct subterranean housing on their lots.

Not to be shown up by Menifee, the Ventura County Emergency Planning Council will soon launch a campaign to inform the public on how to respond to a “nuclear explosion set off by terrorists in nearby Los Angeles.” Critics have questioned whether or not this is the best use of federal grant funding.


Dr. Mark Fajardo is LA’s first new Coroner in decades.

Los Angeles County has just hired a new chief medical examiner, an oddly-esteemed position which has been deemed “Coroner to the Stars.” Dr. Mark Fajardo says the title is apt given the County’s long history of handling famous celebrity deaths, including Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

♫ And she’ll have fun fun fun, ‘til her daddy city leaders take the t-bird her flipflops away. ♫ San Juan Capistrano city leaders recently passed an ordinance outlawing flip-flops at the city’s new dog park. The council took up the issue after its contracted state insurance agency advised that such a provision would protect the city from legal liabilities.

On October 1, the City of San Leandro will ceremoniously raise the flag of the Red Dragon. Amid significant controversy and a close 4-3 vote, the city council passed a measure last night to raise the flag of the People’s Republic of China. Councilmember Benny Lee originated the idea and believes it will encourage Chinese investment and demonstrate that San Leandro “feels welcoming towards China.” Other U.S. cities—including SF, Houston and Alameda—have previously engaged in similar courses of action. Critics are quick to point out that the flag represents “tyranny, oppression, censorship and human rights abuse on an unimaginable scale,” expressing bafflement at the council’s rationale to even discuss such a measure.

Jim HolmesPlacer County Supervisor Jim Holmes has recently A) commissioned a portrait of himself; and B) written it off as a campaign expense. Holmes is not in violation of the FPPC because the portrait will be used “for publicity.” Because of the FPPC rules, however, the portrait will not be gracing his home anytime soon.

Know any other oddball ordinances from Crazy California? Pass them along to Justin@PublicCEO.com.