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Committee Makes Rulings On Pop Culture Vanity Plates

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File photo of an Ore. license plate. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

File photo of an Ore. license plate. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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SALEM, Ore. (CBS Seattle) — A committee charged with making decisions about which vanity license plates stay and which go has grappled with several rather odd cases in its day.

A variety of vanity plates – one reading “GOES211,” one that said “ELKNUT” and a third proclaiming its owner to be a “JUGALET” – have been brought before the six-person Personalized License Plate Committee, an offshoot of the state’s Department of Licensing.

According to the Seattle Times, only two of those made the grade.

The plate reading “GOES211,” which sat on the 1989 BMW of owner Tony Cava, was given clearance after a complaint reportedly labeled the plate as “vulgar, profane or offensive to good taste and decency.”

“I find it in poor taste that the great state of Washington would issue a plate that allows a driver to insinuate in public that his penis grows to 11 inches in length,” a complainant who identified himself as Johnny Dixon stated, according to the Times. “The rest of the citizens of Washington should not be subjected to this vulgarity.”

According to Cava, the plate is a reference to the 1984 mockumentary style movie “This is Spinal Tap,” a Rob Reiner-directed film in which one of the lead characters, portrayed by Christopher Guest, talks about an amplifier he owns whose volume goes up to 11, instead of 10.

The less-recent 2010 case of Fred Talbot’s “ELKNUT” license plate went similarly.

“This is a very well-known name in elk hunting circles as it is the name of an Internet company called Elknut Productions which sells products to help elk hunters,” Talbot was quoted as saying to the committee in his appeal, after the plate was accused of referencing an elk’s testicles. “I did not ask for ‘ELKNUTS’ or ‘ELKSNUT,’ yes, even I would agree that might be taken the wrong way.”

Resident and driver Lisa Kleiner was not so lucky, however.

Her license plate, “JUGLAET” – a reference to the word “Juggalo,” the name given to fans of Insane Clown Posse – was suspected of referring to a gang in neighboring Washington state.

“I am a law-abiding citizen and I have devoted the last 15 years of my life to helping others. I was shocked and offended that someone would make a complaint,” she wrote to the committee in her defense.

However, her request to keep her plate was denied.

Officer Mike Lusk of the Puyallup Police Department, who made the complaint wrote, “Regardless of the plate holder’s activation in the gang the plate still refers to a known recognized gang in WA. It would be no different if DOL issued a plate titled Blood or Crips.”

The Times learned that the committee has a list of 654 terms that are not allowed to be issued. The result is the prohibiting of license plates such as “OLDFART,” “WANTSEX” and “MRPOOP.”

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