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OCCUPY L.A. - Legal Info for Los Angeles protest at City Hall

by Sue Basko Saturday, Oct. 01, 2011 at 4:39 PM

OCCUPY L.A. - Legal Info for Los Angeles protest at City Hall, October 1. L.A. Municipal Code pertinent parts in everyday language.

OCCUPY L.A. - Legal Info for Los Angeles protest at City Hall starting on October 1, 2011.

The L.A. Municipal Code parts in everyday language. See:

Legal Info for Los Angeles Protest/ Occupy L.A.

by Sue Basko

FEEL FREE to copy, link, print up, share, use.

The demonstration is supposed to have a Special Event permit. It doesn't have one. Also, it seems there is an event taking place on the City Hall lawn until 5:30 pm. This is a police-sponsored Emergency Preparedness meeting and picnic for 1,000 people. These are mainly community volunteers training to help in emergencies, such as earthquakes. Such a conflict of time/ place would have been prevented if the Occupy L.A. people had applied for a permit on time. The lawn area is very big and should easily accommodate both groups.

The event organizers say they have talked to the police and the police say they are welcome. There are certain rules planned to be in place, such as moving tents off the grass onto the sidewalk at night. Please follow the directions of the police or any officials. The lawn has an automatic sprinkler system that someone who went and watched says turns on at 8 pm - 9 pm. The park area closes at 10 pm, but sleeping on the public sidewalks adjacent to the street is allowed from 9 pm to 6 am. That is the sidewalk surrounding the park area, not the sidewalk within the park area.

Also, keep in mind you can be charged for clean-up and repairs, so wherever you go, be sure you do not create any need for clean-up or repairs. Please be very mindful of this.

Also, there is a movement going asking people to dress nicely - they are calling it "khakis and a polo." By day, that makes sense, but dress warmly for night time! Hypothermia is dangerous.

Here is a basic list of the laws that apply. This is not legal advice to anyone in particular and may not be a complete list. These are based on the provisions of the L.A. Municipal Code, put into everyday language.

1) DO NOT go in the street! Do not interfere with traffic. This is the most important rule. Cross any street only with the Walk signal and be out of the street on time. Do not wave or shout at cars. This is of crucial importance. Disturbing the normal flow of traffic is one of the main reasons given for requiring a permit for First Amendment activities. Do not do anything that disturbs the normal flow of traffic!!!

2) DO NOT block the sidewalk. Anyone walking past should easily walk past. This is one famous reason that people at demonstrations get arrested - blocking the sidewalk. These are NOT legally-allowed reasons for blocking a sidewalk: Listening to a speaker, looking at a performance, handing something out. No excuses or explanations, you can't block a sidewalk.

3) DO NOT block doorways or staircases into buildings. Anyone that wants to walk in should be able to walk in easily and not feel threatened or harassed. Keep off Handicapped ramps unless you are handicapped. This is another major reason people at demonstrations get arrested - blocking entry or exit to buildings. Don't do it.

4) Sign Sticks. Use signs with no sticks or small, short sticks. This is actually in the law. Sticks can be 1/4 inch thick by 2 inches. If the stick is rounded, it can only be 3/4 inch wide at most. Demonstrators cannot carry any other sticks or lumber.

5) GLASS containers, full or empty, are NOT allowed on public property. Keep glass containers at home.

6) Toilet. Use a real indoor toilet. Do not defecate or urinate outdoors anywhere, even by a bush. Unless someone gets porta-potties, this will be a challenge, since, to my knowledge, there are no public toilets in the area.

7) CAMPING is not allowed in Los Angeles, except in actual campground spaces. The event organizers claim the police are allowing people to put tents on the lawn as long as they move them to the sidewalk for the night time. Sleeping on the main public sidewalk adjacent to the streets is allowed from 9 pm to 6 am. Dress warmly! Sidewalks are cold! The City Hall lawn has timed sprinklers that saturate the ground at intervals. It would be nice if they left these off, but don't count on it. Someone says the sprinklers go on 8 pm - 9 pm. The City Hall park area closes at 10 pm and you are subject to a citation for illegal camping (or possible arrest) if you or your tent are in the park area after 10 pm. Hence, the night time move to the public/ main sidewalks adjacent to the streets.

8) Do not post any signs onto street poles or lamps.

9) DO not post any signs on trees. Do not touch trees or bushes, do not climb trees, do not hang anything in trees. Do not let anyone else climb or touch trees. Do not take or break any branches. Do not pick any flowers or plants.

10) NO Amplifiers, megaphones, or bullhorns: An amplifier, megaphone, or bullhorn is the fastest way to irritate people and have people wanting you to leave. It may also be the fastest way to get arrested. Keep in mind, this event has no permit. Los Angeles has complex noise ordinances and the easiest way to follow it is not to use any amplification.

11) Music - No amplifiers or loud speakers. Noise ordinances in Los Angeles are very complex and the use of amplifiers is strictly limited. The best bet is to avoid all amplification and to stop all music at 10 pm. Soft, live acoustic music and singing without amplifiers is probably fine. Don't have drums or drum circles or tambourines. Drum noise carries and is also a good way to have people wanting you to leave. Flutes are high-pitched and the sound carries, so leave your flute at home. Oddly, playing hurdy-gurdys or hand organs is specifically illegal in public places in Los Angeles. So leave your hurdy-gurdys at home. GOOD live music choices are: Singing, acoustic guitar, ukulele, violin. Be sure to safeguard your musical instrument against breakage, theft, or water damage. Use headphones for your personal devices.

12) No littering. Do not put any paper, wrapper, or empty bottle on the ground even for a second. Hold all litter and carry it to a trash can or take it home. Do not allow anyone to bring or pass out any flyers or other papers, as these soon become litter.

13) No one should solicit anyone for money. If someone needs to collect money to buy food or something, this should be done quietly between friends.

14) No one should be stopping people and asking for signatures for anything.

15) Do not erect any structures. DO not set up any booths, shelters, screens, poles, fences, stages, art pieces, fabric hangings, banners, props, sound systems, projectors, lights, platforms, ramps, big signs, domes, etc. Remember, this event does not have a Special Event permit. At a permitted event, these types of items are inspected in advance by the City to be sure they are safe and won't injure participants. Since that is not happening in this case, do not bring any of these items.

16) Do not hang any banners on street poles or anywhere.

17) Do not shout out at anyone, follow anyone, laugh at anyone, harass anyone in any way.

18) If the police tell you to do something/ not to do something, do it and be polite!

19) DO not tinker with or harm any utilities or facilities such as sprinklers, water fountains, fire hydrants, plumbing, sewers, street signs, railings, windows, etc.

20) No skating. No skateboards. Park and lock bikes in legal location.

21) NO dogs or other pets, even on a leash, even for a short time. No dogs.

22) Watch for and follow all the signs. IF a sign says not to do something, do not do it. A sign is letting you know there is a particular law in effect at that location.

23) No smoking on public property! And remember, throwing down a cigarette butt is littering.

24) No smoking marijuana or using illegal drugs on public property.

25) Playing ball or frisbee on the lawn or sidewalk is probably prohibited.

26) DO NOT do any gymnastics, parkour, have running races, etc.

27) DO not climb anything such as trees, onto cars, up the side of the building, poles, etc. Do not balance or run on railings or ramps. Do not do flips off anything or jump off anything.

28) DO NOT throw anything in the air for any reason.

29) DO NOT light any fires or burn anything, for any reason, even a bonfire or to stay warm. It is not okay to start a fire in a container. Do not burn incense. Do not bring propane. No flames of any kind.

30) DO NOT BRING guns, knives, fireworks, explosives, sticks, martial arts equipment of any kind, glass containers, pipes, heaters, barbecue grills, propane, sky lanterns, chains, large rings of keys, bike locks or other locks (except to lock your bike, not to carry with you), laser pointers or other lasers, frisbees, boomerangs, yo-yos, kites, food in cans, tools, rope, bungee cords, hooks, sprays, canisters, chemicals, poisons, cleaning fluids, or any other type of potentially dangerous item.

31) Do not bring any spray paint, other paint, paint markers, other markers, or chalk. DO not do any tagging or graffiti or any other such thing. Do not write or draw on anything other than your own piece of paper. DO NOT write with chalk on the sidewalk or on anything. DO not bring silly string.

32) No alcohol possession or drinking. No public intoxication.

33) No cooking or barbecuing. Pack cold food. If you want to go for a walk to buy cooked or prepared healthy food at inexpensive prices, Grand Central Market at 317 South Broadway is a great place to buy meals in to-go boxes to eat there or to bring with you. They have fish, tacos, Chinese, pizzas, pupusas, pastries, coffee, juices, and many other wonderful things.

34) NO selling anything.

35) No abusive language, arguing, threatening, curse words, profanities, shouting.

36) Do not touch or harm any vehicles.

37) DO not engage in any sort of gambling, card reading, fortune telling, or magic. All that is illegal on the public way.

38) Do not allow anyone to bring stickers, since anywhere these are placed causes damage, for which you may be charged. The damage caused by one sticker may be several hundred dollars, in addition to the fine.

DO -

1) Dress very warmly. There is a movement asking people to dress nicely, which they are calling "Khakis and a Polo." By day, that works. At night, you have to dress much warmer so you don't get hypothermia.

2) Bring cell phones, ipods, ipads, mp3 players, books, puzzle books, paper and pen, and other quiet ways to entertain yourself. Use headphones. Keep it quiet.

3) Use a real toilet. Bring toilet paper.

4) Bring water, but no glass containers of any kind. Glass containers, empty or full, are not allowed to be carried onto the public way.

5) Talk, but don't use a megaphone or amplifier.

6) Sing or make soft music, but don't drum or make loud noise. Don't bring any amplifiers.

7) DO be polite and kind to everyone.

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