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City Council Stresses Protection in Light of Protests

The San Marino City Council sent a mass email message Friday explaining protesters’ rights and the San Marino Police Department’s role in light of the most recent protest outside a San Marino home. What do you think?

One woman was arrested for trespassing onto the lawn of , while the dozens of other protesters moved to a buffer zone enforced by the San Marino Police Department and assisting agencies.

As part of a , protesters are required to assemble at least 150 feet from the front door of a home or 75 feet from the property line, whichever is further.

To emphasize protesters’ rights and law enforcement’s role during such residential protests, the sent the following message Friday to residents who subscribe to CLEARS messages from the San Marino Police Department:

The City Council and the City Administration are communicating with you in this way to assure our residents that we regard protection of property and privacy as one of our primary duties. Last fall an ordinance was adopted setting strict limits which "Occupy" type demonstrators may not cross in residential neighborhoods. These boundaries have been, and will continue to be strictly enforced by our San Marino Police, and when necessary with assistance from neighboring police departments pursuant to local mutual aid agreements. If violations occur, an unlawful assembly will be declared and the assembly will be dispersed.

Such protests cannot be prohibited completely in light of Constitutional rights of assembly and free speech, but they can and will be strictly controlled.

Please feel free to contact any member of the City Council, the City Manager or the Chief of Police if you have any questions or require further information.

The CLEARS message from the City Council came eight days after a May 4 San Marino Tribune editorial that criticized how the SMPD and City Council and staff handled the protest, saying, “Since when did a private residence become a public protest area? Under the law, it is not …” despite the fact that protesters were within their rights to protest within the buffer zone on the street.

“If the SMPD can’t (or won’t) defend a family from terrorists, it’s time to end the SMPD and bring in the Sheriff’s Department,” said the Tribune, who added that City Council members should be recalled if they don’t take action against the protesters, who the publication also referred to as “anarchists.”

San Marino Police and a protest organizer told Patch at the April protest that they think law enforcement handled the protest well, in contrast with the that involved dozens of protesters on Sloan's front lawn and led to residents and draft up the buffer zone ordinance.

Do you think the San Marino Police Department, City Council and staff handled the recent protest well? Do you consider the protesters “terrorists” or “anarchists?” Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

smhs '12 May 15, 2012 at 01:10 AM
I do NOT consider these protestors as "terrorists" or "anarchists." That is just an extreme right-wing attack. These people are just expressing their views, whether you agree with them or not. Bank executives during a tough economy should expect many more people to be angry at them, resulting in protests even in front of their residence due to the free flow of residential information in this digital age. The city and the police handled it in a way that toed the line between our 1st Amendment rights and rights to privacy. On another note, I applaud San Marino Patch for providing the BEST unbiased and updated local news to the San Marino community. The firestorm editorial by The Tribune just shows the old and weak journalism there. I hope that Patch will supplant The Tribune as the go-to source for local news. Online news is today and the future, and the SM Tribune really needs to overhaul its site and operations if it wants to stay fresh and relevant in the community. Thank you San Marino Patch for all the news coverage!
Jeff Groseth May 15, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I believe the City Council and the SMPD did well. I do not beleive this or any other protest belongs at a personal residence, that is TERRORISM. They belong say in front of the Wells Fargo offices or the offices of whichever institution is being protested. Just think as a parent or sibling with a 6 year old child at home when this happens.
John Dustin May 15, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I feel the SMPD has done a commendable job handling the protest incidents. The City Council has now enacted appropriate regulations for protests in residential areas. I believe the SMPD is doing an excellent job balancing the rights of the protesters with the rights of residents to enjoy their private property unmolested. I personally feel it is a poor choice for protesters to exercise their rights in residential areas when a more appropriate corporate location is available; however, that is their right. I am disgusted with the poor editorial choices made by the San Marino Tribune on how to engage the community on this issue. Certainly it is appropriate to encourage a discussion on how aggressively the City should direct the SMPD to respond to protest incidents. The San Marino Tribune; however, has chosen to engage in unproductive hyperbole at the expense of serving our community.
smhs '12 May 16, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Could the banks and financial institutions that helped get us in the terrible economic situation today be called terrorists? They certainly have caused a lot more havoc and pain on the country as a whole than a group of protestors on a house. To me, the only terrorists I know are the ones that kill innocent civillians, such as Al-Qaeda. Yes I do think it is in bad taste and choice to protest in front of a person's home, but it is well within the group's legal right to do so if they follow the local buffer laws, and do not create an inherent danger. People protest at funerals too, but I think they need to be a certain distance away. Public protest on non-private land is totally legal, given they abide by noise restriction laws, traffic laws, and local laws.
Cristiane Costa May 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Cris Costa I think people should be able to express themselves without big time repression. we don't want our San Marino to turn into China!

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