Long Beach City Council could seek ban on protesting outside of a person’s home
The Long Beach City Council could consider creating a new law that would ban protests from taking place within 300 feet of a residence, following the lead of Los Angeles lawmakers who took a similar vote last week.
Los Angeles’ ordinance was prompted by protestors opposed to vaccine mandates being considered by the LA council showing up to the home of Council President Nury Martinez with bullhorns where they allegedly shouted obscenities into her daughter’s bedroom, Martinez said.
The LA council voted 13-1 to have its city attorney draw up an ordinance even though LA already has an existing law that bans targeted protests within 100 feet of a residence.
The Long Beach council could direct the city attorney to draft a similar ordinance at its Sept. 14 meeting. The motion was introduced by Councilman Al Austin and supported by council members Mary Zendejas, Cindy Allen and Suzie Price.
“Elected officials undertake the responsibilities of office knowing that there will likely be dissent and protest regarding positions they take and policies that are debated,” the motion reads. “However, there are numerous opportunities for this protest and dissent to take place in public spaces, without targeting a private residence and an individual’s family.”
Long Beach council members have been targeted at their homes in the past. Organizers have used a variety of methods to protest council members at their homes including car caravans and parking U-Haul moving vans outside council members’ homes.
The latter tactic was used by protesters opposed to restaurant shutdowns last fall. The U-Haul trucks were a message to council members to stand up for local businesses “or move out,” an organizer told the Post last year.
Price’s home has been targeted numerous times with housing advocates placing coffins on her front lawn before the City Council’s approval of last year’s city budget. The groups said Price and other council members had blood on their hands for not voting to reduce the Long Beach Police Department budget.
One of those protests led to a physical attack by one of Price’s neighbors who grabbed a protestor by the neck in June 2020.
Protesters marching in the wake of George Floyd’s murder last May made their way to Mayor Robert Garcia’s home before ending at the George Deukmejian Courthouse in Downtown.
The LA ordinance is expected to be modeled after an existing law in San Jose that’s been in place since 1993. Both LA and Long Beach council members cited the San Jose law, which prohibits protests within 300 feet of a residence, and is limited to occasions in which picketing “proceeds on a definite course or route in front of a residential dwelling and is directed at that residential dwelling.”
The San Jose law was challenged in California appeals court but was upheld because of its narrow application.
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