FREE SPEECH — The Press-Enterprise in Riverside reports that Riverside County supervisors today suspended enforcement of a newly approved picketing ordinance, backed by the Church of Scientology, and instructed county staff to return in one month with clearer rules.
Last week, supervisors fast-tracked and unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting picketing within 50 feet of the property line of a targeted residence, with the exception of a sidewalk across a street. They also passed an urgency ordinance that put the picketing rules into effect immediately in unincorporated Riverside County.
The Church of Scientology has pushed for the ordinance in order to limit sporadic protests outside its sprawling base in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet.
Tuesday's unanimous decision followed a demonstration outside the base last week that led to Scientologists calling sheriff's deputies and uncertainty over whether the new ordinance applied.