Tag Archives: community standards

Wilbur’s Reckless Peeing Habits Come under Attack


Wilbur, who has his favorite spots to pee, has admittedly developed habits unbreakable. Photo by Jason Vest

by Dell Franklin

Just about every weekday afternoon, at around 3 o’clock, Wilbur, my 10-year-old, 95-pound chocolate Lab, sunning himself on my spacious terrace, hears Randy Crozier, otherwise known as “The Pirate” and resident boozer at the downtown Schooner’s Wharf, returning from work as a builder and approach our residence in his loud, growling 25-year-old truck. Wilbur immediately tears to the railing, tail wagging frantically, drooling, pacing, as Crozier pulls over, steps out and lobs a couple biscuits up on the terrace, which Wilbur instantly devours and returns to the railing to watch Crozier turn down the street below us and park three doors down. Wilbur rewards Crozier for his generosity by peeing on his tires when we walk down that street.

Wilbur rewards Randy Crozier, also known as "The Pirate," for his generosity by peeing on his tires when we walk down that street.

Wilbur rewards Randy Crozier, also known as “The Pirate,” for his generosity by peeing on his tires when we walk down that street.

Wilbur has admittedly developed habits unbreakable. I was walking him the other morning around the corner from Crozier and along the same route I’ve been walking dogs in this neighborhood for 17-plus years when the blinds went up at a new residence and a stern voice blurted, very curtly, “I’d appreciate it if your dog didn’t pee on my bushes, thank you.” His “thank you” was very dismissive and condescending, as if Wilbur and I were trash when for years we’ve been regarded as harmless if a little eccentric and unruly of appearance due to the gentrification of Cayucos.

I paused after Wilbur peed on the bush and faced the narrowly opened blinds and laughed in a jeering manner as the blinds snapped shut. Wilbur and I continued on past signs on some yards of a dog squatting to shit and a red arrow running through it. I try and refrain from allowing Wilbur to shit on any lawn, but in case he does I keep plastic poop bags like a thoughtful neighbor. This little grid of a neighborhood is rife with dogs of all sizes and we’re all pretty respectful and affectionate toward each others’ dogs. So far no signs have popped up of a dog lifting his leg to pee with a red arrow running through it. As far as I know these signs don’t exist. Dogs here and everywhere are hard pressed NOT to pee on every fire hydrant they pass, as well as  plants, bushes, mailbox posts, fence posts, tires, trash cans, or any object other dogs have peed on, and if you try to stop them they fight hard and become confused and perhaps unhappy.

This is THEIR time.

Wilbur and I continued on past signs on some yards of a dog squatting to shit and a red arrow running through it.

Wilbur and I continued on past signs on some yards of a dog squatting to shit and a red arrow running through it. Photo by Stacey Warde

I’m concerned about this guy who lurks near his window so early in the morning laying in wait for miscreants like Wilbur and myself who are used to roving around with impunity. Has he maintained this vigilance with all the tiny dogs and pretty pedigrees walked by ladies wearing designer sunglasses and toting Evian bottles of water? Does he have it in for Wilbur and me? I recall him glaring at us and issuing a muttered, grudging “hello” when I greeted him with an ebullient “hello” one afternoon as I allowed Wilbur off the leash to indulge in some frenzied sniffing and peeing. Since then, I’ve made sure to leash Wilbur and wonder: Has this guy employed a hi-tech surveillance system to catch dogs peeing on his newly planted bushes so he can gather an enemies list and confront them, too?

My problem with this guy is he’s the first person ever in all my 71 years that I’ve ever heard of having a problem with dogs peeing on his or her bushes. What he needs to understand is that before he moved here Wilbur had already established territorial rights on his property and has no inclination whatsoever to relinquish them. Wilbur jerks and pulls me to that bush, threatening my bad knee, hip and shoulder. It is a vital part of his peeing grounds, just as he leads me invariably to the same shitting grounds and shows displeasure if another dog has violated these grounds. And this is all set off by his sniffing mechanism, which controls his every instinctive action and reaction.

The blinds went up at a new residence and a stern voice blurted, very curtly, “I’d appreciate it if your dog didn’t pee on my bushes, thank you.”

Anyway, I’m in a quandary about this situation. One friend warned me about pushing it and advised me to avoid this street, home and bush so as not to trigger a confrontation, which in my past history has led to threats and violence and the police called in. “Be big,” he said. “And let this asshole be small.”

Another advisor said “You’re too old to get worked up and involved over such a petty predicament. And besides, you’re too crippled to fight like in the old days.”

Sorry, but I just can’t get over this. I’ve always hated authoritative tight-asses trying to control my behavior. I’ve got a good notion to purposely have Wilbur pee on his putrid little bush and wait for him to snap open that blind so I can explain to him that Wilbur cannot live without sniffing this bush every day to find out who else has peed on it and then pee on it himself, and if he doesn’t like it, well, build a goddamn fence to keep all the goddamn dogs in the neighborhood from peeing on his goddamn bush!

Or, I could come by without Wilbur while he’s obsessively maintaining his vehicles or premises and explain very diplomatically that it is the destiny of every living dog to pee on any bush any other dog has peed on and if this is interfered with it destroys the harmony dogs have brought to this and every neighborhood in America and perhaps the world.

Is his precious bush so important it antagonizes the entire neighborhood, especially when I’ve lived here so long and know everybody on HIS street as well as the surrounding grid and will soon inform all of them about his antics regarding Wilbur and myself? Does he realize that in a case like this EVERYBODY is on Wilbur’s side and that automatically puts them on MY side? Does he know that his immediate neighbor, Crozier, has lived here since he was a child and loves Wilbur as his own and has a history of unchecked vengeance when he feels his friends are being wronged?

Maybe I should leave a business card from my lawyer, Gifford Beaton, Esq., a heavy hitter who resides in San Luis Obispo, on his bush, with these words, “I am Wilbur’s lawyer and anybody trifling with his peeing habits will be taken to court!” §

Dell Franklin writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he and Wilbur spend their days when not peeing on bushes in the neighborhood. He’s the author of The Ballplayer’s Son.

Trampling the First Amendment in a small town by the sea

Even the chamber of commerce asked us to remove our rack from its vicinity. Images by Stacey Warde

Some readers felt we had crossed a line. Even the chamber of commerce asked us to remove our rack from its vicinity. Images by Stacey Warde

by Stacey Warde

In the early days of the Rogue Voice, when it was still merely a monthly newsprint journal, we published a story about what prisoners do when they get horny.

Tito David Valdez, Jr., doing 25-years-to-life for conspiracy to commit murder, wrote an essay about “Hittin’ it,” an intimate look at the secret ways inmates find opportunities to masturbate or get off without being observed in a well-guarded penal institution.

We also learned about lady boys in mini-skirts who look fabulous and would by all appearances seem to be real women, except for the fact they weren’t, and how most inmates, like David, avoided unnecessary drama and complications in prison, by not getting involved.

It was an informative and educational narrative. David’s column, a regular known to readers as “Life in the Cage,” and all his other subsequent columns, gave taxpayers a close-up, insider’s view of how their dollars were being spent to incarcerate convicted felons.

But one meddlesome mom from our fair village by the sea didn’t like his column. She felt we had stepped over the line, and offended the community standard for frank talk about prison sex in ‘06.

As any good moralist, she decided to take action. She meant to protect her teenage daughter and other impressionable youth in our town from the adult content, and unseemly influence of our magazine, which was then in 2006 only four months old.

Like an enormous huffing beast, she stormed into the coffee shop where I was talking with a friend and barreled into the rear of the shop where we kept stacks of our magazine. I felt her rage as she passed by me.

Seconds later, she came back our way, a full stack of Rogue Voices stuffed under her arm. “Hey, wait a minute!” I demanded. “Where do you think you’re going with those?”

“I’m going to make a barbecue out of these,” she fumed, heading for the door.

“No you’re not!” I answered. “I work my ass off to put out those damned magazines. Put them back, right now!”

She harrumphed, breathing loudly and laboriously through her nose. I felt as if she were about to punch me, but she turned away, with close to 100 of my magazines stuffed under her arm, and walked out the door of the coffee shop.

A sheriff’s deputy arrived. The barista, a contributor and editor and supporter of the magazine, had called for law enforcement to protect my First Amendment right to free speech.

The angry mom had stolen that right. She was violating state, federal and constitutional law.

The deputy dutifully questioned me, asked me what was the problem, and I told him that a woman had walked out of the coffee shop with a stack of my magazines and threatened to burn them.

“Well, why should I help you,” he said finally, “when you write negative stories about law enforcement?”

Dell Franklin had recently written a first-hand account of the City of San Luis Obispo’s fascist policing operation to intimidate Mardi Gras revelers by bringing in hundreds of police from around the state to control the unruly student mob.

By many accounts, including Dell’s, the police, called upon to keep order, were as likely to create disorder—randomly shooting bean-bag rounds into parties, freely harassing passersby on the street, detaining and questioning revelers—as students were to misbehave by celebrating the centuries old annual tradition of upending the conventions of culture.

Dell’s article offered graphic evidence of police going a bit too far, terrorizing college students who were minding their own business.

Tired of moralists trashing our publication, we ran a full-page ad reminding them of another standard.

Tired of moralists trashing our publication, we ran a full-page ad reminding them of another standard.

“Your job,” I reminded the deputy, “is to protect my First Amendment right to free speech. It doesn’t matter whether you like what I print.” I pointed my finger in the direction where I’d last seen the angry mom walking out the door with my property: “She’s violating my right to free speech. What she’s doing is illegal.”

He thought for a moment. “It’s a free magazine, isn’t it?”

“That doesn’t mean she can take the whole stack!”

In fact, state Assemblyman George Plescia, a Republican from San Diego, had recently authored, and the legislature passed, a bill, AB2612, protecting free newspapers and magazines from abusers lifting full stacks off the racks. Apparently, San Diego was having the same problem. The offense carried a sizable fine.

“We must work to ensure that no one is able to deprive others of their First Amendment rights,” then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement on AB2612. “The freedom of the press is one of the most precious freedoms that Americans enjoy.”

The deputy left, presumably to consult with the offending party, and asked me to wait. He returned and informed me that the woman had been reminded that it’s my right to publish what I want and that she didn’t have the right to refuse it.

“Where’re my magazines?” I asked.

“They’re gone,” he said.

I was too angry to press the matter about the fate of that stack of magazines. I did not want to be thrown in jail for harassing or assaulting an officer.

I wrote a letter to Plescia, thanking him for protecting my First Amendment rights, while local law enforcement and would-be protectors of community standards thought less of those rights than they should.

“I edit and publish a free monthly literary journal,” I noted after thanking him, “which has had its share of vandalism from those who object to its content.

“Until now, our only support [has come] from readers who do not want others deciding for them what they can or cannot read.

“Thanks for your support. We lift our hats to you, Mr. Plescia, for your defense of our First Amendment right to a free press.”

As regards community standards and federal guidelines for offensive material, we avowed again in our pages the value of reading, of determining for oneself whether there are any redeeming qualities in our content, which would then guarantee its full protection under the law.

Not content with literally trashing our magazine, the angry mom rounded up a herd of like-minded matrons to pester local businesses to cease advertising in our magazine or to quit displaying the Rogue Voice on their premises, which is their perfect right.

The Cayucos Chamber of Commerce, coerced, asked us to remove our rack from its vicinity. We lost one advertiser while another said: “Tell those gals to get a life!”

Those “gals,” I noted in a 2006 February column titled “Our naughty little rag,” were going about town, raging to this or that business owner, “to protest its unseemly content, and to protect our impressionable teens from words like ‘fuck’ and ‘titty.’”

We were amazed that our troublesome youth had given up the internet and cell phones to go in “search of colorful language in the pages of our…morally reprehensible rag. It’s hard to imagine youngsters,” I mused, “pulling themselves away from their computers to actually read a newspaper; more terrible to think they’re reading one with naughty words.”

Oddly, or perhaps not so odd, the small-town upheaval came on the heels of an earlier trashing of another publication in which it seemed everyone everywhere in the county felt they had a moral duty to censor content they didn’t like.

Local alternative weekly New Times had published a story about methamphetamine by Alice Moss that also included a recipe on how to make the stuff. Residents went berserk, lifting the rag off racks throughout San Luis Obispo County and sending them to the landfill.

An eery absence of the weekly could be seen on virtually every rack in the county. Not one New Times could be found any where. The article itself had been informative enough and may have actually had some redeeming social value, despite its loony and irresponsible instructions on how to make meth.

A better method for informing readers about the ease of making meth would have been to take a photo of and list the ingredients. Let some fool decide how to put it all together. Good citizens, meanwhile, took it upon themselves to protect hapless individuals from the dubious joys of meth-making by eliminating the newspaper’s presence from our community.

The hysteria broke national news.

Amid the frenzy of throwing newspapers into the trash, KVEC hometown radio host Dave Congalton asked me and Dell to go on the air to discuss the issue. Many callers agreed that while they may not like what our publication prints, it’s our legal right to publish as we see fit. In fact, despite our “liberal” label, as some claimed, our most vocal defenders were more often conservatives.

It wasn’t the last time hoodlums took it upon themselves to sabotage our publishing efforts. Throughout the county, we continually heard reports from our friends that individuals were helping themselves to stacks of our magazine and making them disappear.

Finally, we’d had enough and ran a full-page photo on the back cover of the Rogue Voice showing nothing but a bible sitting on our rack, no magazines, with the headline, “Thou shalt not steal.”

It may not have made any difference in whether people trashed our magazine but it made us feel better, and we got a good laugh out of it. More importantly, we continued to publish, 32 more editions in all, without apology, and with a commitment to give voice to those who don’t often have a voice, protected by the First Amendment. §

Stacey Warde is publisher of TheRogueVoice.com