Pinball okay in Los Altos Hills, but not in Oakland

So one my favorite things to do after a rough day at work is relax with some pinball. And of course, as anyone who’s played pinball anytime in the last decade knows, the games all cost $0.50 nowdays. I’m okay with that. Two quarters seems a fair price to pay for several minutes of fun. Also, if you’re good, a game can easily last half an hour or more. Also, you’ll earn free games. But imagine my surprise as I was browsing through our Municipal Code the other day, and stumbled upon this:

9.24.090 Pinball machines.
A. It is unlawful for any person to keep or use in any public place any pinball machine equipped with any device which cancels and records the cancellation of free games won without the actual playing of said free games by the player.
B. It is unlawful for any person to keep or use in any public place any pinball machine game which permits the insertion of more than one coin per game. (Prior code ยงยง 3-5.17, 3-5.18)

Zut alors! The code bans my after-work distraction! It’s apparently a danger to the public peace, morals, and welfare! How could this be? Something must be done!

Okay, I lied. I wasn’t actually just browsing the municipal code, nor am I particularly worried that the fun police are going to come and try to take away my pinball. I’m more concerned with the Council not passing any more stupid laws they can’t enforce than I am with them rescinding old ones. I know this only because I looked it up after reading this story about Los Altos Hills, a sad town that apparently doesn’t have any pinball machines. But if somebody wants one now, it’s all good, because they just rescinded their law banning them.

Which is a cute little story, and one that I normally would have read and immediately forgotten about, except that their mayor, Craig Jones, had to go and challenge me:

“Los Altos Hills, like Palo Alto, is one of those towns where people pay attention,” Jones said. “We have the eyes and ears to point it out.”

So there you go, Mr. Jones. People in Oakland pay attention too.

UPDATE 05.20.08: New pinball machines now cost $0.75 per game.