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Glendale to Require News-Rack Covers for Sex Publications

March 17, 1988|STEPHANIE O'NEILL | Times Staff Writer

The Glendale City Council voted this week to require covers on news racks containing sexually explicit publications.

Without discussion, council members voted 4 to O Tuesday to amend the city's news-rack ordinance to require so-called "blinders" covering the lower two-thirds of such racks. The amended ordinance will take effect April 14.

Councilman John F. Day was absent from the meeting.

The council action comes in response to a state law that allows cities and counties to regulate public display of sexually explicit materials considered harmful to minors, said Scott Howard, Glendale senior assistant city attorney.

The city will fine distributors $200 for news racks in violation of the law, he said.

Glendale's action follows adoption of similar ordinances in the Southern California cities of La Canada Flintridge, Burbank, Downey, Manhattan Beach and Moorpark.

Burbank is expected to approve a similar requirement next month, said Marge Lauerman, assistant Burbank city clerk.

Passage of the amendment has sparked the ire of a distributor of sexually oriented newspapers who has filed a lawsuit challenging the city on another aspect of the same ordinance.

Donald W. Cook, attorney for Paul Duffy, owner of San Fernando based-Kimbo Distributors, said his clients may now file a second lawsuit against the city.

"Those kind of restrictions definitely hurt sales," Cook said. "There's no doubt about it."

In January, 1986, Duffy filed suit against Glendale contending that a portion of the ordinance restricting the number of news racks on city streets is unconstitutional because it favors large daily newspapers.

Duffy, whose papers include the Los Angeles Free Press and the sexually oriented Impulse, is in the process of selling part of his business to Ralph Fishel, who is also named as a plaintiff.

Glendale Superior Court Judge Joseph Kalin is expected to render a decision on that issue soon, said Mark Natoli, Kalin's clerk.

Fishel, who operates more than a dozen sexually oriented news racks in Glendale, said he too will probably fight the new law.

"I would say that if I have to cover the papers it would put me out of business," Fishel said. "You can't sell a paper like that unless they can see it. I don't think they have a prayer in making this thing last, but we'll see."

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