Apparently — and I know this will be difficult to believe — the city staff has promulgated all sorts of rules to make it difficult for restaurants to welcome dogs on their patios. This was supposed to be the goal of an ordinance passed earlier this year, pushed through by councilwoman Angela Hunt.

I’m ambivalent about the actual ordinance (though I have owned dogs for almost as long as I have been alive, so please don’t make any "you must hate dogs" comments). What fascinates me are the politics. First, that the rules make it difficult, if not impossible, for restaurants to get a dog permit. This is the essence of our council-manager form of government, in which the bureaucrats undermine the work of our elected representatives. Second, that many restaurants flout the law, knowing there are no consequences to doing so. This is the essence of our government on the cheap, in which many ordinances are enforced only when someone rats out their neighbor — and then the complaint is enforced by a department without much in the way of enforcement powers.

Finally, and far be it from me to postulate any conspiracy theories, but would the city staff be so eager to wreck the ordinance if it had been Ed Oakley’s idea?

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