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Valleywide : Ban of Racist Fliers Gets Preliminary OK

A proposal to make it illegal to insert racist fliers into product packages in stores cleared a key hurdle at City Hall on Wednesday.

The City Council’s Governmental Efficiency Committee recommended that the full council approve the proposed ordinance, sponsored by City Councilman Joel Wachs. The council will take up the matter Tuesday.

Wachs made the proposal after a North Hills resident recently found a hate flier in a box of crackers at a local Ralphs supermarket.

“This is just appalling,” said City Councilman Mike Hernandez after viewing samples of the hate cartoons and literature that have been slipped into product packages.

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The proposed ordinance would outlaw the insertion of any written material into any product package without permission from the store management. Fliers, pictures and advertising would be subject to the law.

Wachs, chairman of the committee, said that if the ordinance is enacted, Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) will lobby for a similar measure statewide.

Wachs asked Deputy City Atty. Maria Perez Manning, representing the city attorney at the meeting, to explore the possible need for additional ordinances to close other legal loopholes hindering the prosecution of racist leafleting.

One man known to the Anti-Defamation League has been leaving hate fliers in high school and elementary school lockers, newspapers and mailboxes, according to Tzivia Schwartz, an attorney for the Anti-Defamation League.

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Two officials from the Los Angeles Police Department, Capt. Joseph Curreri of the Anti-Terrorist Division and Capt. David Kalish of the Criminal Intelligence Group, testified that the proposed ordinance will make it easier for them to catch distributors of racist leaflets.

“The department is completely supportive and appreciative of this ordinance,” Kalish said.


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