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LA City Council Considers Prohibiting Protests Near Target’s Home

CBS Los Angeles logo CBS Los Angeles 9/14/2021 Syndicated Local – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles City Council will vote Tuesday on an ordinance that would ban protests within 300 feet of the target’s residence.

a group of people riding bikes down a street © Provided by CBS Los Angeles

A Santa Monica police officer clears the street as anti-vaccination protesters take part in a rally against COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Santa Monica, Calif., on Aug. 29, 2021. (Getty Images)

The policy was developed at the request of city council members after anti-vaccination activists showing up at two of their homes at the end of last month.

The motion was introduced by Council President Nury Martinez and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell on Aug. 31. Two days earlier, an anti-vaccination protester at a Santa Monica rally shared the addresses of council members and encouraged people to go to their homes if they vote yes on a proposed ordinance that would require at least partial proof of vaccination before entering most indoor public spaces.

After the rally, protesters, gubernatorial recall candidate David Alexander Bramante, showed up at the homes of Martinez and O’Farrell.

Martinez said people who want to protest elected officials should go to their offices, not their homes.

Speaking from City Hall on Monday during an unrelated news conference, Mayor Eric Garcetti similarly said that it was important to protect the rights of private citizens, including neighbors of public officials and people who live with public officials. He added that some of the “darkest chapters” in the U.S. involve people targeting private homes.

The draft ordinance states that a person who is “aggrieved” by violators of the ordinance can sue for damages. The violator may also face a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation. The draft ordinance also includes an urgency clause under which the ordinance would go into effect immediately upon publication, instead of after 30 days, due to the “urgent need to protect elected officials and their staff from threatened intimidation at their residences.”

Los Angeles’ municipal code currently prohibits “targeted demonstrations focused upon and at or about a private residence” that take place within 100 feet of the address.

Councilwoman Nithya Raman cast the sole dissenting vote on the motion to develop the ordinance, saying the city should focus on enforcing its existing law instead of adding an ordinance that “will likely have the exact same problems in its design and its enforcement.”

The ordinance requires unanimous approval to pass on its first reading. If it falls short, it will be reconsidered the following week, when it needs 12 votes to pass. Ordinances typically require a majority approval on the second reading, but due to the urgency clause, this ordinance would require 12 votes.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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