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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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Jim Vesely
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Jim Vesely
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Lee Moriwaki
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Lynne Varner
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May 24, 2005

Forbidden Vanity Plates

What bizarre things make the news: According to a story in the Times Tuesday, someone with a 2002 Audi has the Washington vanity plate “C9H13N.” That is listed in some sources (but not all) as the chemical formula for methamphetamine, an illegal drug, but also for amphetamine, the (highly regulated) legal drug.

There is a (tiny) to-do about this plate, because it is against state policy to issue a vanity plate that makes reference to “alcohol or illegal activities or substances.” I guess that’s why I haven’t seen the vanity plates, “STONED,” “HEROIN,” or “ABUD4U.” Somehow, “C9H13N” does not seem like a threat to the public peace and order. Nobody will know what it means.

“JOHN316,” a plate on the car of a prominent Republican woman in Pierce County, is similarly cryptic, though probably more people know Biblical verses than chemical formulas. Some busybody objected to JOHN316, but the state recently reviewed it and reapproved it. I don’t see the problem with it—or with other plates one might imagine, such as “RAPTURE,” “JESUS,” “ALLAH” or “OM.” Indeed, such plates might make traffic jams—and parking lots—more interesting.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at May 24, 2005 03:17 PM



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