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LA sets 300-foot buffer zone for protests in front of private homes

Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday to crack down on protests outside people’s homes, passing a law that allows people targeted by illegal protests to demand fines from protesters.

The council voted 12-2 to pass an ordinance prohibiting picketing within 300 feet of targeted residential housing, replacing a current law that prohibits such picketing within 100 feet.

The order also allows anyone “aggrieved” by illegal picketing to claim up to $ 1,000 for each violation. Injured parties could include the target of protests, as well as neighbors.

The city council adopted the law without discussion. Councilor Nithya Raman, whose district includes Silver Lake and Los Feliz, and Councilor Mike Bonin, who represents several communities in Westside, voted against the ordinance.

City councilor Joe Buscaino, candidate for mayor, was absent from the vote.

Sari Zureiqat, an attorney for the ACLU in Southern California, said the law will make it harder for protesters to get their messages heard by their targets.

“The city says, ‘if you want to target someone’s house, you have to be at a football pitch on either side,’” Zureiqat said. “It could be around the corner or far away.”

Zureiqat also asked if the city council correctly explained to the public why the greater buffer distance was necessary.

“My first thought is, is this prescription even necessary?” Zureiqat said.

Protesters on the left and right have targeted officials at their Los Angeles home for the past year and a half, protesting around the clock to voice their grievances over mask warrants, rent cancellation and other issues.

The car of City Council President Nury Martinez was vandalized in her home by two people earlier this year, and a group of protesters opposed to the vaccination warrants demonstrated outside her home last month, shouting in her daughter’s bedroom, according to the city councilor.

Critics of the city council who have regularly demonstrated in front of members’ residences targeted the new law at Tuesday’s meeting.

Ricci Sergienko, an organizer for the activist group People’s City Council, accused Martinez of not calling for the law until after anti-vaccination protesters targeted her home. He also accused the council of turning a blind eye to clashes between anti-vaccination protesters and opposing groups.

“All of a sudden, because you are threatened, you want to pass this law,” Sergienko said.

The city’s new law is modeled on that of San José, which the city passed in the 1990s after anti-abortion activists targeted abortionists in their homes.

It allows aggrieved parties to bring complaints against anyone who broke the picket law, conspired or proposed to violate the law.

Political strategist Jasmyne Cannick said on Tuesday she had mixed feelings about the new restrictions. Cannick was involved in protests outside the home of West Hollywood resident Ed Buck, who was later convicted of supplying the drugs that killed two men at his residence.

“If we hadn’t been able to protest Ed Buck in his apartment building, I doubt we would have been able to draw the necessary attention to [show] what was going on there, ”Cannick said.

The ordinance requires the signature of Mayor Eric Garcetti. Weighing in on the proposal on Monday, Garcetti said the 1st Amendment rights “are not intended to target residential areas of private citizens.”

The mayor added that he did not understand why protesters are targeting residences when there is “a public space … where you can certainly be heard, where you can protest, where you can express your voice,” Garcetti said. .

Tuesday’s vote requires a second procedural council vote.