NAC Action Alert
Huntington Beach, California

July 13, 2007

RESOURCES

CITY OF HUNTINGTON BEACH

NATURIST

LAW AND POLICY

| Return to Current NAC Action Alerts | Return to NAC Home Page |

**********************************************************************
                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                           ACTION ALERT
**********************************************************************
                   http://www.naturistaction.org
**********************************************************************
Copyright 2007 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its entirety and without alteration.

DATE: July 13, 2007
SUBJECT: Huntington Beach, California
TO: All Naturists

Dear Naturist,

This is an Action Alert from the Naturist Action Committee concerning an important situation in the state of California.

The police chief of the City of Huntington Beach has requested that the City Council adopt a new ordinance targeting "naturists," a term the Chief has used specifically in asking for new power to cite and arrest.

WHAT'S THE SPECIFIC THREAT?

Under existing California law, section 314.1 of the State Penal Code is the portion of general state law used to charge indecent exposure. California courts have said that absent any lewd content, benign nudity like skinny-dipping is not prohibited under 314.1.

The proposed new Huntington Beach ordinance, if adopted, would go beyond existing law, and would criminalize mere nudity, even in the absence of lewd content. The ordinance is made necessary, Huntington Beach Police Chief Kenneth Small has told the City Council, because of "incidents involving a 'naturist' living in the downtown area."

This ordinance is not aimed at strip clubs or sex predators. As Chief Small has pointed out, it's aimed specifically and directly at naturists.

BRIEF HISTORY AND DISCUSSION

Former Huntington beach resident Michael Ferreira is the individual at whom Chief Small's ire is directed. Ferreira, who has told law enforcement officials that he considers himself a naturist, was arrested several months ago for being nude at his residence in Huntington Beach, where he was sometimes visible to others. Ferreira had a previous California arrest for indecent exposure from more than a decade ago. Neither the previous incident nor the more recent one involved lewd behavior, but both were charged under PC 314.1.

The 1995 arrest was from a time in which the offense did not automatically require sex offender registration, and Ferreira simply pled guilty in 1996, as many others did during that time. However, upon the more recent arrest, authorities improperly charged Ferreira with having failed to register as a sex offender. That charge was thrown out, and the underlying 1996 conviction was vacated. Successfully representing Ferreira in the legal matter was California attorney Allen Baylis, who is a board member of the Naturist Action Committee.

Since Huntington Beach Police Chief Small has declared publicly that "the subject's behavior did not include an overt element of sexual gratification" in the recent incident, it seems likely that the more recent charge will be dropped, as well.

However, the matter has left Chief Small angry at Mike Ferreira and antagonistic toward naturists. Not content to do the job of enforcing laws as they are written, Chief Small now wishes to see the creation of new laws that more closely reflect his idea of what he'd like to enforce.

Meanwhile, Michael Ferreira no longer lives in Huntington Beach.

WHAT IS NAC DOING?

The Naturist Action Committee has let the Huntington Beach City Attorney, Mayor and City Council know that naturists are quite unhappy at being targeted for lawmaking of this sort and are vigorous opposed to the proposed new ordinance.

NAC board member Allen Baylis will attend the Monday evening City Council meeting, speaking on behalf of NAC and naturists.

WHAT IS NAC ASKING YOU TO DO?

The Naturist Action Committee is asking you to do TWO things:

   1) Write immediately to the mayor and city council members of Huntington Beach, expressing your opposition to the proposed ordinance.

   2) If you live in the vicinity of Huntington Beach, attend the upcoming meeting of the City Council on July 16, at which the proposed anti-naturist ordinance will be introduced.

IMPORTANT: The hearing is scheduled for JULY 16, so it's necessary for you to take action quickly.

WHO SHOULD WRITE

NAC is asking ALL NATURISTS to write, regardless of your residence. Huntington Beach bills itself as "Surf City," and it considers itself to be an attractive destination for tourists from across North America, and beyond. Now, the City's police chief is singling out naturists, demanding that the City Council make them the specific target of a new law that goes beyond state law. This is a matter that affects nonresident naturists who might visit Huntington Beach, just as much as it affects those who live there.

WHOM TO CONTACT

In this instance, contacts by e-mail or FAX will be most effective. Please write to the Mayor and the City Council members.

   To send an email to ALL SEVEN City Council members at once, please email:
city.council@surfcity-hb.org

   Or you may contact each City Council member individually:

   Mayor Gil Coerper   
GCoerper@surfcity-hb.org
   Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Cook   
hbdac@hotmail.com
   Council Member Keith Bohr   
kbohr@surfcity-hb.org
   Council Member Joe Carchio  
jcarchio@surfcity-hb.org
   Council Member Cathy Green  
cgreen@surfcity-hb.org
   Council Member Don Hansen   
dhansen@surfcity-hb.org
   Council Member Jill Hardy   
jhardy@surfcity-hb.org

   To send a FAX to ALL SEVEN City Council members at once, use this FAX number: 
       (714) 536-5233.

Key points to remember when writing:

   1. Identify yourself. Anonymous correspondence is generally disregarded. If you are a resident of California, or especially of Huntington Beach, please say so prominently.

   2. Be brief and polite.

   3. Say clearly and specifically that you OPPOSE proposed Ordinance Number 3773.

   4. Say clearly and specifically that you OPPOSE the attempt to target naturists in an effort to go well beyond state law.

WHAT ELSE TO SAY?

Here are some additional points to consider:

   1. The California legislature and California courts have given careful consideration to the existing law, fine tuning and interpreting it over a period of many years.

   2. Laws presently exist to restrict lewd behavior and truly disorderly conduct.

   3. The proposed ordinance serves to erode further the already-endangered concept of personal freedoms. Where does this stop?

   4. It is risky business and bad governance to create an ordinance that is the result of having targeted an individual or a named group, like naturists. The proposed ordinance would make bad law for the City of Huntington Beach.

   5. The criminalization of non-violent, non-lewd, non-threatening behavior seems to be tied to a person's individual appearance, through proposed government insistence that elements of that appearance be masked. Extent of proposed enforcement is certainly tied to a person's gender, with women having been singled out for even greater criminalization, because of their breasts.

   6. The proposed ordinance is flawed and unnecessary.

VERY IMPORTANT: ATTEND THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING:

Date: Monday, July 16, 2007
Time: 6 PM PDT
Location: City Council Chambers
2000 Main Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Please plan to meet on the lower level outside the council chambers no later than 5:30 PM for a briefing by NAC personnel.

Even if you do not intend to speak at the City Council meeting, your presence is important as support for those who will be speaking on behalf of naturists.

IF YOU SPEAK AT THE MEETING   The public comment period is near the beginning of the meeting, which starts at 6 o'clock PM. Each speaker must fill out a pink form before the meeting begins. Your speaking time will be limited to 3 minutes.

There will likely NOT be an opportunity for the public to speak on the proposed anti-naturist ordinance at the time that ordinance is actually introduced, which will be later in the City Council meeting.

It's perfectly natural that you should be outraged at attempts to target naturists for criminalization that goes beyond the state law! Nevertheless, if you speak at the meeting, you must avoid making personal attacks. If you like, you may make use of the points offered above for those who will be writing.

MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Additional information and links are available, along with this NAC Action Alert on the web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

  
www.naturistaction.org

Select "Alerts" and find this NAC Action Alert under Current Alerts.

PLEASE HELP NAC TO CONTINUE HELPING NATURISTS!

The Naturist Action Committee is a volunteer nonprofit organization that exists to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. Identifying and fighting bad local lawmaking is necessary, but it's expensive. To do its job, NAC relies entirely on the voluntary generosity of supporters like you. To donate to NAC, use the address below

   NAC
   PO Box 132
   Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 to donate by phone using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. Or use your credit card to make a convenient online donation: www.naturistaction.org/donate/

Thank you for choosing to make a difference.

Naturally,

Bob Morton
Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee

---------------------------------------------------------------
Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton       -
execdir@naturistaction.org
Board Member Allen Baylis      -
rab@baylislaw.com
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  -
naturist@sunclad.com
---------------------------------------------------------------

 
 Top | Return to Current NAC Action Alerts | Return to NAC Home Page |

 

Entire contents © 2007 Naturist Action Committee, Inc.
All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.