Following up on the questions of the legality of the raid as brought up by OLA Blog
Essentially, the law (federal case law) says the government may close a public forum at any time and for any reason--so long as it isn't doing so based on any disagreement with the views being expressed in the public forum. In other words, the regulation or policy behind a decision to close a public forum must, as a matter of First Amendment law, be "content-neutral."
This is the apparent reason why the City's attorney chose to use the park regulation (L.A. Mun. Code, § 63.44), cited on those posted signs. Most courts would view this park regulation as "content-neutral" since it has nothing to do with public assemblies or speech made at a park. Cases involving forum closure stop on this point.
However, I believe that a compelling argument can be made that OLA's overnight camping is symbolic speech connected with the local homeless issue; and that as a matter of First Amendment law, OLA members should not have been denied an opportunity for further expression by Mayor V.'s decision to close the park.
So OLA seems to be building a Federal Free Speech Case against the City using a local ordinance that states:
(a) No person shall enter, remain, stay or loiter in any park between the hours of 10:30 o’clock p.m. and 5:00 o’clock a.m. of the following day. On any public park or recreational facility subject to this section, the supervising employee at such site may extend the 10:30 p.m. closing time for up to one hour to accommodate any departmentally approved event.
But then there's this - City Hall Park is a State Park, and the argument made by Chief Beck to Jim Lafferty of National Lawyers Guild is that Camping isn't allowed in a State Park. But that isn't absolutely true, you can camp in a state park - at a designated Campsite.
CAMPSITE USE must be paid for in advance. To hold a campsite, it must be reserved or occupied. To prevent encroachment on others the limits of each campsite may be regulated by the District Superintendent. Checkout time is 12:00 NOON. In order to provide for the greatest number of visitors possible the CAMPING LIMIT in any one campground is 30 days per calendar year.
Lafferty's counter argument as documented during the November 22nd GA was that There were no Signs indicating that it was a State Park or that Camping was not allowed. "Putting up signs tomorrow (which would have been after the occupation began) would be Ex Post Facto" he told Beck.
So it's interesting to note that in the end, the City didn't even go after the State Park issue, but instead relied on City Park ordinances - while at the same time City Hall Park is not listed among the Cities actual Parks. Is Found here.
If the City Ordinance was mis-applied, each and every arrest that night - was Unlawful. 292 Cases of False Arrest. Occupy the Courts!
Update: As I've continued to look into this, it seems to me that Beck was wrong. City Hall Park is not listed among the State Parks, although Los Angeles State History Park several blocks away is listed. I eventually found City Hall Park on the LA City Website Here.
This then presents another possible location for OLA if they're so inclined. The State Historic Park at 1245 North Spring Street.