Public Safety Chair Greig Smith Sort of On-Board with Anti-Harassment Law

Smith's early Holiday Present to cyclists: won't stand in the way of legal code changes.  Photo:## Media Group##
Smith's early Holiday Present to cyclists: won't stand in the way of legal code changes. Photo:## Media Group##

Readers with long memories might remember that when Councilman Rosendahl was pushing for an anti-harassment ordinance for cyclists last January, his motion ran into trouble in the Public Safety committee.  Because the report from the City Attorney’s (C.A.)office that would give cyclists more legal rights after a crash needs to be heard by the Transportation and Public Safety Committees, I reached out to the Councilman Greig Smith, Chair of the Public Safety Committee for his opinion.  The good news?  He’s not going to stand in the way of the new motion.  The bad news?  He doesn’t think too much of the C.A.’s recommendations:

“I will support this motion, but it is totally unenforceable because the law requires the violation be committed in the presence of a law enforcement officer. The citizen can make a citizen’s arrest – but that is dangerous and puts the citizen in serious legal jeopardy.”

The Public Safety Committee will hear the C.A. report on November 1.

  • norm

    I’m not an Angeleno so I’m not familiar with Councilman Smith, but I have to ask: is he, you know, all there? It seems like he didn’t read the report, and seems to really misunderstand how civil and criminal law work. Does he really think that nothing can be done if a police officer doesn’t witness a crime? It’s very odd.

  • I’m confused–is there a “report from the Chief Legislative Analyst’s office” as referenced in the article? The article’s links take you to the only report I’ve seen thus far, that being from the City Attorney in response to Rosendahl’s February request to that office (and the same report containing only the City Attorney’s one-paragraph scant proposal).

    Is there a CLA report and the link was off–or was the article intending to refer to the City Atty’s report?

    I’d love to see more information/details on this from our government officials.

    Until that time, I’ll refrain from commenting on Councilmember Smith’s comments, as he may have more information that I do. But based on what (little) I’ve read so far, his comments seem to miss the mark and leave me totally scratching my head as to what he’s read. It wasn’t what I read. Citizen arrest??

  • Aaron

    I’m not sure that I’ve seen the latest proposal, but I would be shocked if there was a requirement that an officer be present for the civil cause of action enforcement mechanism which is really the heart of the proposal.

    It’s worth looking into, but I have a feeling this is just more of Smith’s uninformed, knee-jerk antagonism of anything on two wheels.

  • Ross, that was a typo on my part. I read “CLA” when the research said “CA.” Fixed and my bad.

  • Thanks for the clarification.

    So then what the heck is Smith talking about? No wonder he was initially either confused and/or not sure whether to back it. It doesn’t sound like he’s got a clear understanding of what is being proposed (or he’s got the inside scoop and keeping it from us).

    In my legal practice, I’ve litigated several other laws that also have citizen enforcement provisions (similar to what we all presume is being proposed here), so I’d be happy to explain it to Smith or any of his staff if they’re interested. Call anytime.


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Go ahead, harass away. Photo: Slippy Jenkins/Flickr  Earlier today City Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl’s legislation requiring the City Attorney to draft "anti-harassment" ordinance protecting cyclists and pedestrians was heard by the City Council Public Safety Committee. The passage of Rosendahl’s motion, which doesn’t tie the Council to the final ordinance in any way, […]