For background, see my past postings:
Today, a claim was filed with the City of Blythe under the California Tort Claims Act because the city is trying to force us to take out an insurance policy just in case a riot takes place at our peaceful demonstration in support of women’s and immigrants’ rights. In other words, the City is unwilling to enforce our rights under the California Constitution to safety and liberty against people who might want to violently interfere with those rights unless we pay for those rights. THAT’S NOT THE WAY THE LAW WORKS!
Here’s what several California courts have had to say about the legal and constitutional issues at stake here:
Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride, Inc. v. City of Long Beach (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 312, 17 Cal.Rptr.2d 861:
FN9: The last case bears quoting: “[T]he burdensome effect of the insurance requirement itself has not been shown to be necessary. The government may impose financial burdens on the exercise of First Amendment rights, such as permit fees, only when the amount involved is reasonable and directly related to the accomplishment of legitimate governmental purposes. [Citations.] In this case, defendants have presented no evidence whatsoever of the … need for such a burdensome insurance requirement. Nothing in the record shows that Skokie or any comparable municipality has ever been threatened with damage by a public assembly which would have been prevented or alleviated by an insurance requirement of this type.” (Collin v. Smith, supra, 447 F. Supp. at p. 685.)
Concerned Dog Owners of California v. City of Los Angeles 2011 WL 1601919 194 Cal.App.4th 1219
“[A] law subjecting the exercise of First Amendment freedoms to the prior restraint of a license, without narrow, objective, and definite standards to guide the licensing authority, is unconstitutional.” (Shuttlesworth v. Birmingham (1969) 394 U.S. 147, 150–151 [89 S.Ct. 935, 22 L.Ed.2d 162].) The prior-restraint rule in Shuttlesworth was designed to safeguard against the content-based, discriminatory enforcement of laws by officials who may use their unfettered discretion as a means of censoring a particular viewpoint. (Ibid.) The rule is generally applied to cases which involve censured forms of speech or expression, such as gay rights or antiwar parades. (Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride, Inc. v. City of Long Beach (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 312, 325; Dillon, supra, 4 Cal.3d at p. 864.)
Aguilar v. Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. (1999) 21 Cal.4th 121, 87 Cal.Rptr.2d 132; 980 P.2d 846
When we leave our homes, we enter a hurly-burly world where we are sometimes required to endure the unpleasant and undesirable opinions and entreaties of others. Unfortunately, such unwelcome speech sometimes attacks us on the basis of our race, gender or ethnic heritage. (See, e.g., Brandenburg v. Ohio , supra , 395 U.S. 444 [Ku Klux Klan leader made derogatory remarks about African-Americans]; Contento v. Mitchell (1972) [21 Cal.4th 169] 28 Cal.App.3d 356 [104 Cal.Rptr. 591] [defendant called plaintiff a "bitch" and a "whore"]; National Socialist Party v. Skokie (1977) 432 U.S. 43 [97 S.Ct. 2205, 53 L.Ed.2d 96] ( per curiam ) [American Nazis wishing to stage parade in predominantly Jewish village].) Ensuring proper breathing room for the airing of diverse views generally requires that we simply close our ears, avert our eyes and move on. The freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment “presupposes that right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues, than through any kind of authoritative selection. To many this is, and always will be, folly; but we have staked upon it our all.” ( United States v. Associated Press (S.D.N.Y. 1943) 52 F.Supp. 362, 372 (opn. of Hand, J.), affd. sub nom . Associated Press v. United States (1945) 326 U.S. 1 [65 S.Ct. 1416, 89 L.Ed. 2013].)
To Protect and Serve or what?
There are of course different opinions on the role of the police when it comes to demonstrations. For instance, because so many corporate board meetings wind up getting picketed in Beverly Hills, the Beverly Hills Police Department get kudos from me on being reasonable and doing their utmost to protect everybody’s civil liberties with courtesy and professionalism. Every time I’ve dealt with them they knew what to do and how to do it.
Then there was the opinion of Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago who made a brilliant statement by accident, that “The police man isn’t there to create disorder. He’s there to preserve disorder.” From an anarchist perspective that actually makes sense.
We pay taxes to have law enforcement protect and serve us. They deserve to be well compensated for that frequently dangerous and difficult work. They deserve to have collective bargaining rights just like other workers. A chief of police however and a city government does not get to charge you money for exercising your constitutional rights or make you pay for an insurance policy just in case somebody else wants to break the law by denying you the right to exercise your constitutional rights by force, violence, or threats.
The late great Assembly Member Leon Ralph, author of the Ralph Civil Rights Act, Sections 51.7 and 52 of the California Civil Code
In California we have a couple of really good laws on the books: the (Leon) Ralph Civil Rights Act and the (Tom) Bane Civil Rights Act. By effectively threatening us with arrest because we want to engage in Guerrilla Theater and give some speeches, distribute voter registration forms and encourage people to vote, we are being threatened with violence for exercising rights that are guaranteed to us by Constitutions and laws….and that is why I filed this tort claim today:
October 4, 2012
Mallory Sutterfield, City Clerk, Oscar Galvan, Mayor; 235 N. Broadway Blythe CA 92225 By Fax: (760) 922-4938
Christian L. Bettenhausen Jones & Mayer 3777 N Harbor Blvd Fullerton CA 92835
By Fax: (714) 446-1448 By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Honorable Mayor Galvan, City Clerk Sutterfield, and City Attorney Bettenhausen:
The following is a claim in compliance with the California Tort Claims Act, Section 910 of the California Government Code.
Sectio 910. A claim shall be presented by the claimant or by a person acting on his or her behalf and shall show all of the following:
(a) The name and post office address of the claimant.
L: President Bill Clinton; R: Jan B. Tucker
Jan B. Tucker individually and on behalf of Miss Revolutionaries, an unincorporated association; California League of Latin American Citizens, a non-profit California Corporation; National League of Latin American Citizens, a non-profit Nevada Corporation, Independent Voices, an Arizona unincorporated association, and all others similarly situated. P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433.
(b) The post office address to which the person presenting the claim desires notices to be sent.
P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433
The date, place and other circumstances of the occurrence or transaction which gave rise to the claim asserted.
The City of Blythe has stated its intention to impose an insurance policy requirement on a peaceful political event in which First Amendment rights and rights protected by the Federal Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973–1973aa-6, including but not limited to voter registration and planning for Get Out The Vote (GOTV) actions will be done, for the use of Queshan Park. The City of Blythe knows or should know that it is violating the United States Supreme Court decision in National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977) by attempting to impose such a requirement. Because this requirement was communicated by the Chief of Police of the City of Blythe, the requirement inherently implies the threat of arrest for non-compliance with this unconstitutional act, in violation of the Ralph Civil Rights Act, Sections 51.7 and 52 of the California Civil Code and the Bane Civil Rights Act, Section 52.1 of the California Civil Code.
The City’s conduct further violates 18 USC 241 and 242, criminal conspiracy to violate civil rights and violation of civil rights under color of authority and is civilly actionable under 42 USC 1983 and 42 USC 1985.
If other City officials fail to put a stop to this behavior, they will be personally liable under 42 USC 1986.
Further, the City of Blythe is collaterally estopped from reneging on information that was initially supplied by the Parks Department to the organizers of the event prior to its being scheduled by the participants.
(d) A general description of the indebtedness, obligation, injury, damage or loss incurred so far as it may be known at the time of presentation of the claim.
As stated in response to (c), above, and, the City of Blythe has made clear its intention to violate the rights of the Claimants under:
- Article I, Sections 1, 2, 3, and 7 of the California Constitution;
The First, Ninth, and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution;
Articles 3, 4, 5, 9, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 26 and 27 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights.
Voting Rights Act of 1965 as amended, specifically, 42 USC 1973i(b) and 1973j(c).
(e) The name or names of the public employee or employees causing the injury, damage, or loss, if known.
Blythe Police Chief Steve Smith
The Blythe Chief of Police, Steve Smith and other potential Doe defendants.
(f) The amount claimed if it totals less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) as of the date of presentation of the claim, including the estimated amount of any prospective injury, damage, or loss, insofar as it may be known at the time of the presentation of the claim, together with the basis of computation of the amount claimed. If the amount claimed exceeds ten thousand dollars ($10,000), no dollar amount shall be included in the claim. However, it shall indicate whether the claim would be a limited civil case.
This case is within the jurisdictional level of the unlimited Superior Court and/or the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. The civil penalties associated with the Bane and Ralph Civil Rights Acts alone place any legal action within the jurisdiction of the unlimited Superior Court or the United States District Court.
Jan B. Tucker, State Director, California League of Latin American Citizens
Email the City of Blythe and tell the powers that be what you think. Speak truth to power, to Mayor Oscar Galvan of Blythe:
Feedback in the press: