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Lon Beach to Redraft Events Policy

by posted by Rokcircle Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2001 at 5:25 PM

People for Community Empowerment sued the city when the group was required to get permits for its July 4 rally on energy issues.

Lon Beach to Redraft...
j4solaranarchy.jpg, image/jpeg, 600x450

Friday, August 10, 2001

L.B. to redraft events policy

By Jason Gewirtz

Staff writer

LONG BEACH - The city has agreed to rewrite portions of its special events ordinance that were questioned by a U.S. District Court judge last month.

The action comes in response to a lawsuit filed by organizers of a July 4 energy rally near the AES-owned Alamitos Power Plant. The group protested the city's permit process that requires advance notice of events, insurance costs and security costs.

The City Council agreed to the change in a recent closed-door session, ordering city attorneys to draft new language, said Deputy City Attorney Dan Murphy.

"The council has directed us to basically rewrite the ordinance," he said.

Carol Sobel, an attorney for the People for Community Empowerment group that sued the city, said she was not surprised by the move.

"There was no point in defending an ordinance that can't be

defended," she said.

Last month, District Court Judge Robert Takasugi issued a temporary restraining order preventing the city from enforcing its ordinance. A hearing on that order had been scheduled for Monday, but the city has agreed not to fight the order until it rewrites the ordinance, Murphy said.

Special event organizers are required to have city permits before their events can take place on certain public spaces such as streets and parks.

But People for Community Empowerment sued the city when the group was required to get permits for its July 4 rally on energy issues. The rally took place between El Dorado Park West and the Alamitos Power Plant along the Los Cerritos Channel.

The group's suit challenged the city's policy of requiring 30 days advance notice of events and requiring event organizers to pay for insurance and police protection, among other costs.

The ordinance provides an exception to the 30-day notification and certain insurance requirements "by a person enjoying First Amendment protection under the U.S. Constitution."

But in a hearing last month, Takasugi argued that the language was vague and open to potential censorship because the city determines who is protected.

Murphy said the new ordinance will feature more specific wording on First Amendment protection. The city will not enforce its special events ordinance until the new wording is presented to and approved by the City Council, he said.

No timetable has been set for the revision.

The special events ordinance has been an ongoing topic of

controversy.

Earlier this year, members of the Cambodian community protested the ordinance, saying the city charged excessive costs for police in an effort to prevent a Cambodian New Year event. City staff is preparing a report for the council on the policy, examining how other cities

charge for police and other services.



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

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