Updated: City Council Approves 'Urgent' Picketing Restriction

Following a large non-violent protest outside Wells Fargo CFO Tim Sloan’s San Marino home in October, San Marino Police Chief John Schaefer introduced two ordinances Wednesday to restrict targeted residential picketing.

Updated 7:34 p.m.

The regarding targeted picketing in residential San Marino neighborhoods. The approved "urgency" ordinance immediately instated restrictions for such protests and another regular ordinance introduced would instate the restrictions more permanently.

Four council members approved the ordinance, with Vice Mayor Richard Sun being the dissenting vote.

"If we can totally eliminate picketing in the residential district I would prefer that," said Sun, who felt the ordinance requiring protesters targeting a specific residence to be 75 to 150 feet from the residence just transfers the problem since protesters are pushed closer to neighboring properties.

Schaefer said Sun had a valid point but used the example of prostitution to illustrate the crime theory of displacement, in which police telling prostitutes to go elsewhere may relocate the prostitutes but it is less likely they will all relocate to the same area.

"You can't ban picketing," said city attorney Steve Dorsey. "The point of this is to protect the people targeted by the picketing."

, who lost , said during public comment at the meeting Wednesday that she agrees with Sun's view and the city should respect people's right to free speech. 

"When you limit people's right to free speech you need a very, very good reason to do that and I don't see that anyone has done that," said Johnson."I don't know of any other incidents like that protest that have happened since I've been in the city."

Mayor Allan Yung threw in his additional thoughts before the council approved the urgency ordinance.

"I approve of this because it has no negative impact," said Yung.

Original Article Published 4:37 p.m. Wednesday:

The San Marino City Council will discuss two new ordinances Wednesday night that would limit how close targeted picketing can take place near a San Marino home.

Check back on San Marino Patch Wednesday night for live coverage of the city council meeting.

The ordinances, written by , are the result of a last month.

“Picketers who target a particular residence or dwelling generally do not seek to disseminate a message to the general public, but seek to harass the targeted resident, intruding upon residential privacy,” one of the proposed ordinances states.

See full targeted picketing ordinances here.

About 100 protesters from the group Refund California, who are not officially affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement but claimed solidarity, stood on Sloan’s lawn for about a half hour, holding signs and chanting demands like, “Make banks pay!”

One San Marino police officer was at the scene during the protest and eventually told an organizer that the group had to move their charter bus and vans, which were not allowed to be parked on Woodstock Road. Assistance from the South Pasadena Police Department arrived as protesters were leaving.

Though a state law against trespassing was in place during the protest, Schaefer told Patch Wednesday that, “this has an additional something that [a] trespassing [law] does not.”

The proposed ordinances state they would create a “buffer zone” 150 feet from the residence or 75 feet from the curb abutting the property, aiming to protect residents from unwanted harassment and intimidation, but picketers would still be free to express their message to the general public or local residents.

“Picketers in residential areas have First Amendment rights to express their opinions,” the ordinance background states. “However, narrow ordinances that prohibit picketers from making targeted residents a ‘captive audience’ have been upheld. The proposed ordinance has been modeled upon ordinances that have withstood court challenges before the United States Supreme Court, California Court of Appeals and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Schaefer also referenced other cities such as Monrovia that have similar residential targeted picketing restrictions.

Check back for further coverage of the targeted picketing ordinances.


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