L.A. Now

San Marino creates buffer zone for protesters

Upscale San Marino, which has its share of company executives, has a controversial answer to the Occupy movement.

After about 100 anti-bank protesters marched last month on the home of Tim Sloan, chief financial officer of Wells Fargo Bank, city officials decided to take tough action.

Last week, the City Council approved an ordinance creating a buffer zone between activists and their target at any future protest. Those who violate the buffer face arrest.

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The law requires demonstrators to be 75 feet from the curb or 150 feet from the home, whichever is farther.

But critics say there is just one problem: Under the law, protesters are going to be kept so far from their target's home they will end up demonstrating in front of someone else's house.

"It basically transfers the problem from the target's home to the neighbor's," said Vice Mayor Richard Sun. "You create a buffer zone, but the neighbor is now the victim."

Sun, however, was in the minority on the City Council.

"The purpose of the ordinance is not to reduce picketing, but to protect the people who are the victims of picketing," said Police Chief John Schaefer. "We're a prime target. We have a lot of people who fit the profile to be the victim of this type of crime."

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