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Huntington Beach Councilwoman Proposes Picketing Ban

April 20, 1993|BILL BILLITER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

HUNTINGTON BEACH — Councilwoman Linda Moulton-Patterson on Monday night proposed a new city law that, like Tustin's, would prohibit picketing of homes by protesters.

"I consider this a civil rights law," Moulton-Patterson said. "It's neither for or against the abortion issue; it's just a law to protect people's privacy in their homes."

However, Moulton-Patterson acknowledged that a major reason she introduced the ordinance was because a Huntington Beach doctor's home had recently been picketed by anti-abortion activists.

The City Council was scheduled to vote on the proposed ordinance late Monday night.

The proposed ordinance received support from Anita Mangels of Laguna Beach, representing the California Abortion Rights Action League. Mangels told the council the ordinance would protect people in their homes from "harassment."

"The inflammatory tactics of residential pickets must not be tolerated," Mangels said. "It must be made clear to extremists of any sort that our cities will not stand for the terrorizing of families at home."

Moulton-Patterson's ordinance was modeled after the one passed April 5 in Tustin. That city law was based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision which said that, while picketing can be allowed in residential areas, it is not unconstitutional to forbid picketing of specific homes.

Moulton-Patterson said her ordinance extends beyond the abortion issue.

"I certainly defend anyone's right to picket or protest, but there are other places where this can be done," she said. "I don't think picketing should be allowed to harass family members or neighbors."

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