Council Considers Laws to Regulate Protests, Surfing
By Lookout Staff
January 7 -- The City Council Tuesday will seek to regulate
two activities that have become synonymous with Santa Monica's image
as a radical beachfront city -- protests and surfing.
Worried that protests targeted at homes are increasing and could
become more violent, the council will consider a law requiring demonstrators
to stay at least 50 feet from the targeted dwelling.
“Demonstrators usually stand in groups outside the targeted
home, yelling and chanting at the target and often making threats,”
staff wrote in its report.
“The impact upon the targeted residents has been extremely
adverse and particularly devastating in the case of residents who
were elderly and infirm.
“Such requirements reduce the risk that targeted residents
will become captives in their own homes, forced to endure the threats
of a hostile group in a space where they should be able to enjoy
The ordinance establishing a “buffer zone,” similar
to that instituted by other cities, including Los Angeles, also
would restrict the size of sign poles that could be wielded as weapons
during violent confrontations.
Santa Monica’s law -- which would protect both residents’
and protestors’ rights -- will be guided by legal decisions
made when similar laws have been challenged in the courts, according
to City staff.
The courts, for instance, upheld a Los Angeles ordinance regulating
the width of demonstrators’ sign poles used to strike police
officers, staff said.
The council on Tuesday also will consider an ordinance that would
limit surfing instruction on Santa Monica State Beach by requiring
that surf classes of any size be authorized by the City.
“Surfing has long been an integral part of the Santa Monica
lifestyle,” staff wrote in its report.
“Recently, however, there has been a significant rise in the
number of commercial surf schools operating on Santa Monica State
Unlike the County of Los Angeles and California State Parks, which
strictly limit all surfing school activities, Santa Monica’s
liberal surf instruction policies do not regulate most surfing instruction.
Under the current municipal code, groups of less than 20 children
or any number of adults can operate a surfing school without a permit
or contract, although limited number of permits are available for
larger groups on a first come, first served basis through the City’s
Open Space Management Division.
The City also contracts with surf instructors to offer surfing
lessons through the City’s Community Programs Division.
Under the proposed ordinance, the City would limit instruction
to those groups issued a permit through the Open Space Division,
or contracted through the Community Programs Division.
“The Permit would be issued with priority first to the City’s
Community Program contractors, who offer affordable classes for
the community, and secondly to accredited educational institutions
offering surfing instruction for course credit,” staff wrote.
“Other permits, such as permits for high-quality individual
and walk-up instruction, would be awarded on a competitive basis
such as through a Request for Proposals process.”
The City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, January 8 at
7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 1685 Main Street. The consent calendar
portion of the agenda will take place at 5:45 p.m., followed by
City Council Agenda