Oakland Could Be Butt of More Jokes
Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross, Columnists for San Francisco Chronicle, January 22, 1999
There were a host of issues on Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown's agenda when he ran for mayor, but spanking wasn't one of them.

But thanks to the tricky nature of East Bay politics, it's an issue that's threatening to hit Jerry smack dab in the . . . behind.

That's because a resolution is headed for the City Council next week to make Oakland the nation's first city to declare itself a ``no spanking zone.''

The resolution is the brainchild of Jordan Riak, who runs a nonprofit devoted to keeping violence out of schools.

Riak, who lives in suburban Danville, wants Oakland to put up signs proclaiming the city a ``No Spanking Zone'' -- with language in fine print that reads: ``Spanking teaches children two dangerous lessons: that hitting people is OK, and that violence works.''

Great sentiment, but you can almost hear the jokes on Leno and Letterman.

(``First we had Ebonics -- now we have spankonics.'')

Brown, who is trying to stay focused on crime, education and housing, does not want to be dragged into the path of an oncoming paddle.

Which may explain why he has quickly suggested that Riak first give the spank zone a try in Danville before bringing it to Oakland.

As for an official comment, Brown said: ``Child-rearing practices are the prerogative of the family. Other than to vigorously enforce the laws against child abuse, government has no business passing resolutions favoring some discipline practices over others.''

And if you do, we might spank you.

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