Earlier this week, before the first snow flakes fell, a San Juan Island lawmaker unveiled a a punishing piece of legislation designed to make one's ferry voyage as free from bad behavior as a trip on the Good Ship Lollipop.
Smoking and spitting, urninating and defecating in places outside the bathroom, would not be tolerated and could result in a maximum 90-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. OK. But spitting?
The list goes on. Sen. Kevin Ranker also wants misdemeanors doled out to those who dare to rollerskate, skateboard, or if they loose all control and let Spot off his leash. Or even in they jack up the sound of their radio.
A final no-no: No one will be allowed to pass themselves off as ferry workers. One has to wonder how often someone masquerades as an ferry employee.
"Well, actually it has happened a few times," Ranker told Seattle Weekly this morning. "They'll do it to get a head in a ferry line or walk on the boat without paying the fare."
Ranker, who lives on Orcas Island, said he's been approached by ferry workers who are concerned that rude behavior is growing more frequen and more egregious. "We're seeing situations we're people are really been harassed and that the Washington State Patrol doesn't have the power to make an arrest."
Capt. Jason Berry, legislative liason for State Patrol Chief John Batiste, told the Kitsap Sun that troopers have those arrest powers on other forms of transit, but ferries were left out.
Troopers, added Berry, for one, are frustrated that dog owners must keep their pets on a leash in Seattle, but when they get to Colman Dock, they don't have to to.
"A lot of times when we're dealing with things at a lower level we can control it before it ever gets to that point," said Berrr. "If somebody's behavior gets so out of control or somebody is doing a dangerous things, we can arrest them and immediately remove them and that will stabilize things."