Riverside County supervisors OK limits on picketing in residential neighborhoods

The Church of Scientology’s concerns about protesters outside their Gilman Hot Springs base led Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone to seek and gain approval Tuesday for county restrictions on picketing in residential neighborhoods.

Only Supervisor Bob Buster voted against the ordinance, which forbids demonstrators from coming within 300 feet of a home they are targeting in unincorporated Riverside County.

Buster said a 300-foot buffer would effectively quash demonstrations outside residences. He said the ordinance threatens free-speech rights.

Stone said that protesters can still present their message, but at a safe distance that prevents violence.

“We need to do what we can locally to allow people to have freedom of expression but not provide a bully pulpit for hate,” he said.

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