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City Finding New Ways to Keep Occupy LA Away From City Hall

Photo of the new lawn at City Hall as seen on March 28, 2012 by STERLINGDAVISPHOTO via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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The refurbished grounds of Los Angeles' City Hall are expected to re-open in May, and already the City Council is working to clarify and adjust the park rules, which many believe is aimed at keeping Occupy LA protesters at bay.

On Wednesday, Councilman Jose Huizar introduced a new motion requesting the City Attorney draft an ordinance "that would 'help protect and maintain' the park by limiting the hours it's open to between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. The previous hours of operation were 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.," reports the L.A. Times.

But wait, there's more:

Along with limiting how late people can be in the park, Huizar's proposal calls for new mechanisms to enforce park rules. It also asks the city attorney to "clarify the language and definition" as it relates to tents in the section of the city's municipal code that regulates parks.
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Hmmm, tents?! Enforcing park rules?! Why would those issues be on the minds of our civic leaders?

The City gave the Occupy LA protesters a pass by letting them set up on the lawn at City Hall October 1, 2011; the group said they'd stay until at least December 1, and the City Council said they could stay as long as they wanted. Turns out they didn't mean that, and on the night of November 29, 2011, the city and the Los Angeles Police Department raided the encampment, arresting over 200 people, including many who were not even in the park or part of the encampment.

Occupy LA has long cried foul at the seeming two-faced actions of the Council, who toured the camp one day and passed a resolution in support of them, who then a few weeks later saw to their protest was going to come to a destructive end.

Following the eviction, protesters returned to City Hall to hold meetings, and to test the limits of law enforcement. Some arrests were made, but largely the aftermath has been peaceful. The park surrounding City Hall has been closed off, and the landscape treated to a nearly $400,000 rehab job.

Chery Aichele of Occupy LA told the L.A. Times she thinks the Council should be working to help people losing their homes, not focusing on tents in parks: "It's too bad the city is wasting time talking about tents when they should be doing everything they can do to save people's homes so they don't have to live in tents," she said.

"Are they really that afraid of another occupation? One of the cultural capitals of the world, may have a city hall park that closes at 7:00pm. Maybe they ought to start calling our city Los Diablos?" posted an Occupy LA member in regards to news of Huizar's motion on the Occupy Los Angeles Facebook page.

The full City Council is expected to hear Huizar's motion in the coming weeks.

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