I spent an interesting afternoon with Jesse Tapia and his friend nick-named "Bumblebee." It's a sweet sounding name for a somewhat ferocious looking 10 foot long Burmese Python snake. Jesse says not to worry though. If you've been to the Santa Monica pier perhaps you've seen Jesse and Bumblebee and had your picture taken with the snake gently draped on your shoulders in exchange for a small donation.
All good? Well not so much. The city's concern is that when Jesse and his competitors with various snakes exotic birds another wild animal show up on busy days trying to make a few dollars ,that the crowded area at the Pier or the park or the Third Streed Promenade will be dangerous. "A ban is a possibility or some type of regulation - the City Council will be debating this issue later this month", says Karen Ginsberg who runs the citiy's Cultural and Community Service Department also known as Recs and Parks in most other places.
She says the city has received one report of a girl being injured by a bird cutting her face. Jesse says he's been handling exotic animals for 15 years and understands the concerns but thinks the city should focus on other more pressing issues. He's willing to submit himself to regulation ,permits and other restrictions but banning him and Bumblebee and their assorted friends would be too extreme and his opinion. Stay tuned. Always competition for scarce space in this part of paradise.