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Bloom Wants Law to Control Paparazzi at Preschool  
By Jonathan Friedman
Lookout Staff

March 23, 2010 --After an attempt to resolve the situation without creating an ordinance failed, City Council member Richard Bloom says a new law is needed to protect children and their families from paparazzi intrusion at preschools, particularly First Presbyterian Nursery School, where several incidents have been reported.

Bloom has placed an item on the council agenda to request the City Attorney’s office draft an ordinance “restricting photographers and videographers from blocking or otherwise creating dangerous and/or intrusive conditions at preschool entrance and exit areas in order to protect the safety and privacy of children entering or exiting said facilities.”

The council member first raised the issue during the summer. He asked school staff to work with the Police Department to find a solution to the problem. However, paparazzi disturbance issues still persist, Bloom said.

“I really wanted to look again at crafting something that will create some relief for the children and families that are affected by this,” said Bloom, who said a main concern is an alley next to the school where paparazzi congregate and sometimes block access to the area.

He said the problem could not be resolved without an ordinance is not the fault of the police or the school, but rather is due to the random nature of paparazzi.


“They come when they decide to come,” he said. “And by the time police can do something about it, they get up and leave.”

Other Cities, including Malibu and Los Angeles, have attempted to create laws to restrict paparazzi. But they have never been approved because of First Amendment issues. Bloom said he was not familiar with the attempts in Malibu, but he knew about what was tried in Los Angeles at least twice.

“They (proposed ordinances in Los Angeles) were focused differently,” Bloom said. “It wasn’t schools; the law was focused on keeping paparazzi away from celebrities. That is not the intention here.”

Malibu City Council member Pamela Conley Ulich, who was unable to pass the First Amendment test to get a proposal before that City Council for a vote, said on Monday she would be watching what happens in Santa Monica. Conley Ulich told her colleagues on the Malibu council she hoped Santa Monica could get something passed, and it could serve as a model for a passable item in Malibu.

At the beginning of this year, a state law went into effect that places a fine up to $50,000 on a publisher who causes or condones a paparazzo “to engage in offensive behavior such as persistent following, chasing or trespassing” while in pursuit of photos or video footage of celebrities.”


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