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EAST LOS ANGELES : Neighbors Protest Adult Bookstore

April 17, 1994|MARY ANNE PEREZ

A loud group of neighbors and merchants, placards in hand, have gathered nearly every day for four weeks to protest the opening of an adult book and video store in their community.

They hope their actions will discourage potential customers of Andy's Adult Bookstore and force owner Greg Tucker to close up shop at 4624 Whittier Blvd.

"As soon as we found out about it, we jumped right on it," said Connie Nieto, who has lived nearby on McDonnel Avenue for 38 years. She and members of her Neighborhood Watch group and another residents group, More Advocates for Safer Homes, have joined Whittier Boulevard merchants in their afternoon protests.

The drivers of several passing cars honked their support as the protesters hollered and blew whistles to bring attention to their homemade signs: "Who Needs Dirty Business?" and "No Porn."

"It's a slap in the face, what he wants to do to us," said Martha Martinez Cooper, who has lived in the neighborhood 42 years. "We're going to do this until he gets the message."

Tucker could not be reached for comment, but his attorney, Roger Diamond of Santa Monica, said Tucker is committed to fight for his right to own and operate the store.

Diamond filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Nov. 23 challenging the county's business licensing procedures. He says his client has a right to operate the store despite legal measures by the county.

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to have county lawyers take action to close the business for operating without a conditional-use permit or business license. The permit was denied by the Regional Planning Commission and again by the supervisors. The supervisors plan to file a lawsuit in Superior Court seeking an injunction that would close the business until legal matters are settled.

"We have a long history in this country of allowing civil disobedience," Diamond said.

Diamond said the county has wide discretion in denying operating permits and should base decisions instead on specific, objective regulations, such as adequate parking.

Students from nearby schools walked past as the protesters decried the potential harm they say could come from such a business in their neighborhood.

Other passersby yelled their support of the business.

But the protesters vowed to continue their effort. "It's not good for our community," said Martha Hernandez, who lives on Arizona Avenue.

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