Posted on May 20, 2005

Ruling Aids Day Laborers

Nicholas Shields, Los Angeles Times, May 19

A federal judge has struck down a Glendale city law that barred day laborers from soliciting work at curbsides.

In his 11-page ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said that the word ‘curb,’ which is not defined in the law, ‘is too vague for the purpose of enforcing the statute.’ He also said that the city’s ordinance ‘is likely to chill permissible speech.’

Glendale Assistant City Atty. Ann Maurer said she was disappointed by the ruling. The city has not decided if it will appeal.

Maurer said that Glendale stopped enforcing its ordinance in 2000 after a judge struck down a similar law in Los Angeles County. But she said there have been increasing complaints from residents and business owners about loitering, littering, public urination and trespassing, which prompted the city to amend the law last year so it could be enforced.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in turn filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of laborers. MALDEF attorney Thomas Saenz said he believed the city’s ordinance and similar labor solicitation laws are discriminatory in their application and enforcement.