San Marino City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday night that will allow police officers to redirect protests on private property to a public area.
Police Chief Timothy Harrigan says the new law allows groups to express their free right of expression “in a way that is going to not be interfere with public safety.”
“It’s a balancing act,” he continued.
The ordinance comes following an Occupy protest in which Wells Fargo executive Tim Sloan’s San Marino home was targeted. It happened last October and again in April. The Council passed an ordinance last year that created a buffer zone for protesters of 150 feet from any residence or 75 feet from the curb abutting the property.
Wednesday’s ordinance doesn’t just apply to protesters, says Harrigan. It applies to any type of assembly and parade.
“The city has the ability to help and guide whatever activities there may be,” he said. “It’s a positive thing for all groups; it spells out what the procedure is.”
The ordinance identifies Huntington Drive medians as "the best location for persons to gather for expressive activities." Why? Because they "provide adequate space for parking and can accommodate protesters without the need for a permit."
However, the law states people gathering cannot use areas of the median that are within 100 feet from the curb of signalized intersections on Huntington Drive.
Related: Should People Protest Outside Homes?
Patch Asks: What do you think? Should protesters be allowed to gather on residential properties? Are you in favor of the new ordinance? Will it have a positive impact on public safety?