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A Question for Legal Buffs: Should Naked Drivers Be Cited?

Steve Harvey / ONLY IN L.A.

September 12, 2006|Steve Harvey

Is it illegal to drive while naked in California?

The provocative question was raised by sports talk show hosts John Ireland and Steve Mason of ESPN radio (AM 710) -- and not because of the recent hot spell.

The issue arose after an assistant pro football coach was arrested in the Midwest on suspicion of driving intoxicated and in the buff.

Cops and lawyers who phoned in to the radio show said it was not clear whether nude motoring itself constituted public indecency.

But one officer said that a naked driver who was otherwise behaving himself might run into trouble if a bus pulled up alongside, affording passengers a surprising view. Naked runs to drive-throughs could also be a problem.

In any event, the consensus was that a naked driver would most likely not be behaving himself.

The same officer said he once arrested a driver who had taken it all off but that motorist was charged with something else: drunk driving.

If it's any consolation to vehicular nudist wannabes, you can still doff your shoes. It is legal to drive barefooted in California.

Kick this around: Speaking of feet -- bare or otherwise -- Marna Geisler of Santa Monica chanced upon an unusual warning outside a temple in Myanmar (see photo).

Another warning? A Mexican restaurant that seemed to make reference to its noisiness caught the eye of Mildred Berger of Bell Canyon (see photo).

"Loud tortilla chips?" she wondered.

More food for thought: As for the sign about the type of butchers employed in one West L.A. market, Sal Lombardo wondered if there is any other kind (see photo).

Unfortunate coincidence: Dean Lofgren of Torrance spotted a boat whose name fit its status as a repossessed craft (see photo).

Word perfect: The new movie "The Black Dahlia" calls to mind a story that the late Times columnist Jack Smith used to tell. He was working the rewrite desk for the old L.A. Daily News in 1947 when he received word of the murder of a then-unknown woman named Elizabeth Short.

Smith recalled hammering out this quick lead for the next edition: "The nude body of a young woman, neatly cut in two at the waist, was found early today on a vacant lot near Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards." When the edition came up, Smith saw that it now began: "The nude body of a beautiful young woman.... "

The city editor had added the word "beautiful." Smith wrote that the editor "of course, no more knew what the unfortunate young woman had looked like than I did. But the lesson was clear. On the Daily News, at least, all young women whose nude bodies were found in two pieces in vacant lots were beautiful."

miscelLAny: Newspapers began calling Short "the Black Dahlia," Smith wrote, when they learned that was what friends called her at a Long Beach soda fountain. The name referred to her black hair and preference for dark clothes and was also a play on the 1946 movie "The Blue Dahlia."

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Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at steve.harvey@latimes.com.

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