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Life’s No Beach (For Tattooists) in Hermosa Beach

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Throughout this past week, I’ve been posting some updates to stories that I original wrote about several months back.  Well, I might as well continue with that method today, although the story that I have to write an update on isn’t exactly a happy one.  Not that it’s sad either, but it certainly is annoying.

In September of last year I was delighted to help spread the news that tattoo artist Johnny Anderson had won his lawsuit against the city of Hermosa Beach, California, after he was initially refused the right to open a tattoo studio within city limits.  It seemed as though the tattoo community had landed a great victory against the negative stereotypes and attitudes that typically casts tattooing in an unjust and incorrect light.

Unfortunately, given the chance, the narrow minded, bigoted views of the uninformed will often creep back into the picture.  Some residents of Hermosa Beach are now gathering themselves into a well organised and downright annoying group of do-gooders who believe that they and only they know what’s best for Hermosa Beach.

‘They’ve passed out fliers, organized on Facebook and relayed messages on Twitter. They’ve signed petitions and taken out newspaper ads. And this week, they took their fight to City Hall.

“I’m all for free speech, but this brings a certain vibe that I don’t want in our town,” said Greg Maffei, a resident living near the site of a new tattoo studio on Eighth Street and Hermosa Avenue.

“We are going to have six or seven tattoo parlors in a 2-square-mile city – and we only have two supermarkets,” Maffei said. “This is going to be a playground for the element of people that live that style. We believe that will bring problems.”‘

It’s interesting when people say that they are for a particular right or belief and then completely contradict it.  Take for example, Mr Greg Maffei, who says that he’s “all for free speech”, only to go on to say that tattoos bring a “certain vibe” that he doesn’t want in his town.  You know what that vibe that you speak of is, Mr Maffei?  It’s the free speech that you so glowingly claim to endorse.  That’s the point of free speech – it doesn’t just apply to things that you like, it also applies to things that you might not be all that crazy about.  Dealing with it is part of living in a democracy.  So quit your whinging and deal with it, you snivelling hypocrite.  It’s also worth noting that Maffei is lying when he says that Hermosa Beach is going to have six or seven tattoo parlors in a 2-square-mile city.  In fact, only three tattoo studios have been approved by the city.

City Councilman Patrick “Kit” Bobko is also opposed to tattoo studios in his city:

“We are in a precarious situation and we need to make sure we don’t drive ourselves into a worse situation,” Bobko said. “You can’t predict the outcomes … And the outcome could be something worse than what exists today.”

I particularly like this comment.  Once again, someone with a limited grasp on the reality of the situation at hand contradicts themselves.  When Bobko says that you “can’t predict the outcomes”, he’s exactly right.  Yet he goes on to offer only a negative option for what could result from allowing tattooists their right to operate a business within Hermosa Beach city limits.  If we’re going to play in the hypothetical realm of what ifs with regard to a situation that hasn’t yet occurred, then it’s also completely applicable to say that the outcome could be something absolutely brilliant and more beneficial for the community than anything it’s ever experienced before.  You do realise that, don’t you Mr Bobko?

Sheesh.  Let’s hope that the tattooists of Hermosa Beach and those who appreciate art can once again shrug off the ignorance that is being heaped upon them.

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