How to Avoid Arrest in Santa Barbara

Breaking Down Our New Laws So We Don’t Break the Law

One acceptable translation of Virgil’s quote above our Santa Barbara Courthouse is ‘Learn justice: you are warned.’ In that same chilling spirit I here offer the effects of some new laws beginning in 2023. | Credit: Rick Doehring

Because new laws go into effect every year, we Santa Barbarians should learn about the new California laws in 2023 so that we don’t break them and get arrested. What we need to learn surprised me:

We need to learn how to legally use a parking lot. We need to learn what not to sing in court.

And, most importantly, we need to learn the answer to the age-old question, “Why did the Santa Barbarians cross the road?”

Here’s a list of some new laws (identified by their numbers), what they mean, and what behaviors we need to change in order to comply with each law.


Limits the use of creative expression, such as rap lyrics, as evidence in criminal cases.

Consequently, Inspectah Deck’s “I bomb atomically / Socrates philosophies and hypotheses / Can’t define how I be dropping these mockeries” and Jay Z’s “I sell ice in the winter, I sell fire in hell / I’m a hustler baby, I’ll sell water to a well” will no longer be heard in our court rooms. Justice will now be served without a backbeat.

AB1287 aka “The Pink Tax”

Prohibits gender-based pricing on similar products from being based on who they are marketed for.

Banning the sale of the same product sold at different prices to different genders is the right idea, but the law is named after the wrong hue. Pink Tax refers to the practice of charging women more than men for the same products (the products for women are often marketed in pink); a government study showed that women, on average, pay $2,381 more per year than men for those products. If I were a woman, I wouldn’t be seeing Pink, I’d be seeing Red.


Bans the sale of food packaging that contains perfluoroalkyl.

This ban does not go far enough. It should also ban the mere utterance of perfluoroaldlkyl — because if you say it out loud three times real fast you could choke to death.


Bans the sale and manufacture of fur clothing and accessories. Does not apply to fur products, leather, cowhide, or shearling.

It’s the exceptions to this complex law that make it hard to follow. “Fur products” are not banned — but isn’t “fur clothing” a fur product? “Leather and cowhide” are not banned — but aren’t they what fur is without the fluff? This five-page bill contains two pages of definitions — a lot of different hands typed up this law.

Perhaps the worst omission is that “shearling” is not included in this ban. “Shearling” is killing young sheep or lambs (because they have less blemished skin) and skinning them with the wool still on them. It’s used to make that fluffy stuff in your slippers or on the collar of your jacket. Activists maintain that some lambs are skinned before they’re dead. So why isn’t shearling banned? Well, if you walk through the lobby of the Bribery Hotel in Sacramento, you’ll probably see quite a few “corporate sheep farmers” booking rooms.


Bans car racing and sideshows from parking lots.

This law bans one of America’s favorite pastimes — racing around mall parking lots and cutting people off who are trying to take our parking space!

Just kidding. The law bans street car racing in parking lots. Which is a good idea. But banning sideshows?! Does this mean no more circuses can come to town? No more Tucker Carlson broadcasts? No more immigrants being sent to Martha’s Vineyards?

Just kidding. Banning sideshows in this context refers to dangerous car stunts. Though pulling the plug on Tucker might be a good idea.

AB1314 aka “Feather Alert”

Similar to “Amber Alert,” this police alert tells people when an indigenous (my italics) person has gone missing, been kidnapped, or abducted under suspicious circumstances.

Good idea, but aren’t there always suspicious circumstances when someone’s been kidnapped or gone missing? And using the term “Feather Alert” and applying it only to indigenous people seems very condescending and racist. Or perhaps the term “Tonto Alert” was already taken. Lawmakers — keep the idea but change the name.


Allows jaywalking without a ticket if crossing the street is done when it is safe to do so.

Wait — when it’s safe to cross a street, you can cross the street? That idea actually used to be against the law?

Apparently. But we did finally get the answer to the earlier question, “Why did the Santa Barbarians cross the road?”

Because they can — now that it’s legal.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see the new laws of 2024 to find out what our lawmakers ban next. Maybe they’ll ban graft in lawmaking.

Just kidding.


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