For once, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors have passed an ordinance in a timely manner. The aggressive solicitation ordinance, which was approved at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting, may actually provide some much needed respite to Humboldt locals from predatory solicitors.
Of course, we’re not talking about people begging for change – we’re talking about the group behind the push to institute a rent control ordinance for mobile homes in Humboldt County.
THC received a few emails over the past month from readers concerned about the down right aggressive attacks of Hilary Mosher’s gang of clipboard-wielding geriatrics, the Humboldt Mobilehome Owners Coalition. According to THC’s tipsters, it might be necessary to forget about gun control to tackle the real and present danger to Humboldt’s citizens – petitions! (Relax kiddos – it’s called sarcasm.)
Apparently, at a number of high-profile and highly attended Humboldt events (and also at Pony Days), Mosher’s crew assailed people just having a good time with aggressive and at times nearly combative rhetoric aimed at brow-beating people into submission. Or submitting their signatures to the petition.
Of course, THC is of the mind that this is a common tactic for any grass-roots push for political change worth its salt. What’s the point in trying to push your own very specific (and in this case, small-minded) political agenda if you’re not allowed to get in people’s faces when they disagree with you? Throw in some very vague accusations about the nefarious aims of unnamed corporations, and voila!
One of our readers reports being followed around Oyster Fest and heckled about their views on rent control policy. (We think this is exaggerated, because you spend so much time at Oyster Fest waiting in line that there’s really no need to “follow” someone. Plus, how could the blue-hairs with clipboards have kept up anyway?)
But never fear, Humboldt-ians, the Humboldt Mobilehome Owners Coalition (HMOC from here on out) will probably leave you alone from here on out. Number one, their fear-mongering campaign has garnered the 5,000 signatures required to put an ordinance before the BoS, who can then either approve it or put it on the November ballot.
Number two, the new aggressive solicitation ordinance passed at Tuesday’s BoS meeting contains language that could be used as a paper shield against HMOC’s paper swords, as it were. Here’s the language contained within the newly adopted ordinane – judge for yourself whether HMOC could have violated this statute:
“AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF HUMBOLDT ADDING CHAPTER 1, DIVISION 10 OF TITLE IX TO THE HUMBOLDT COUNTY CODE RELATING TO AGGRESSIVE AND INTRUSIVE SOLICITATION
WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors finds that, it is necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the general public and improve the quality of life and economic vitality of the COUNTY by imposing reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on aggressive and intrusive solicitation while respecting the constitutional rights of free speech for all citizens;
WHEREAS, aggressive and intrusive solicitation typically includes approaching or following pedestrians, the use of abusive language, unwanted physical contact, or the intentional blocking of pedestrian vehicular traffic;
WHEREAS, there has been an increase in aggressive solicitation through the COUNTY and that such behavior has become disturbing and disruptive to residents and businesses, and has also contributed to the loss of access to and enjoyment of places open to the public and has created an enhanced sense of fear. Intimidation and disorder;
WHEREAS, solicitation from people in places where they are a “captive audience” in which it is impossible or difficult for them to exercise their own right to decline to listen to or to avoid solicitation from others, is problematic and presents a risk to the health, safety and welfare of the public. Such places include public transportation vehicles and their designated locations for stops, as well as gasoline stations;
WHEREAS, solicitation on roadway median strips, at traffic intersections, and in the public roadway is unsafe and hazardous for solicitors, drivers, pedestrians and the general public. Soliciting on roadway median strips, at traffic intersections and in the public roadway increases the risk of drivers becoming distracted from their primary duty to watch traffic which may result in automobile accidents, congestion and blockage of streets, delay and obstruction of the free flow of travel, all of which constitute substantial traffic safety problems;
WHEREAS, the practice of solicitation near driveways accessing shopping centers, retail, and business establishments is unsafe and hazardous for solicitors, drivers, pedestrians and the general public. The location of the solicitor near the driveway compromises the solicitor’s safety, impedes visibility, and impairs a driver’s ability to safely enter and exit. Drivers also become distracted which may result in automobile accidents, congestion and blockage of streets, delay and obstruction of the free flow of travel, all of which constitute substantial traffic safety problems.”