The La Canada Flintridge City Council Tuesday voted to adopt an ordinance requiring that all sexually oriented newspapers be displayed in so-called "blinder racks," devices which cover the lower two-thirds of the newspaper's front page.
The ordinance will go into effect April 1 and is believed to be the first of its kind in the state, city officials said.
La Canada Flintridge Mayor J. Bixby Smith said the new ordinance "provides us with a legal way" to regulate sexually oriented displays.
"There are two of those news racks at eye level . . . where the kids hang out," Smith added. "We want to do anything we can do to get rid of that particular kind of literature. I don't think it has a place in our community."
A state law that went into effect Jan. 1, gives cities and counties the power to regulate the display of sexually explicit material.
State laws previously preempted local governments from restricting news rack displays, said Stephanie R. Scher, a private attorney who represents La Canada Flintridge and five other cities.
The law was created by the passage of Assembly Bill 711, written by Assemblyman Gary A. Condit (D-Ceres) at the request of an anti-pornography group from his local district.
Kim Chudoba, Southern California manager of the League of California Cities, said the law "specifically authorizes cities to adopt ordinances which place certain restrictions on displays" of material in public places "which is considered harmful to minors."
'Harmful Matter' Definition
Scher said "harmful matter" is defined by the state penal code.
Scher said other Southern California cities she represents, including Norwalk, Cerritos and Monterey Park, also are considering adopting ordinances to regulate news rack displays. However, she said, La Canada Flintridge was the first to act.
Violation of the La Canada Flintridge ordinance could result in a penalty of $1,000 or up to six months in jail, said Donald H. Otterman, city manager of La Canada Flintridge. He said the City Council "has been trying to figure a way to regulate" sexually oriented news rack displays for years.
He said the city has already notified the one distributor who owns several news racks--all located along Foothill Boulevard--that display sexually oriented material.
San Fernando-based Kimbo Distributors supplies about 30 racks on Foothill Boulevard with issues of the Los Angeles Free Press, Impulse, His and Hers, and the Hollywood Press, owner Freddy Franco said.