At last week’s City Council meeting, members of the hospitality union Unite Here! Local 11 flooded the speaker’s podium with nearly four dozen members speaking out against a proposal by Councilmembers Phil Brock and Lana Negrete to curtail the hours and ways in which the union could conduct its picketing of local hotels. Brock, to the surprise of Negrete, altered the noise pollution motion to remove the portion that impacted the union activities but vowed afterwards to bring the motion back at the next meeting on social media.
“I will bring the full noise proposal back on 9/26 and attempt to improve conditions throughout the city,” Brock wrote on the social media website Next Door in response to a poster who has been disappointed in Brock’s first term in office.
Brock, never one to shrink away from a fight, continued by pleading with the Next Door residents to actively join the fight to change the city’s noise ordinance.
“I can use your help to offset the noise from the Unite Here folks. Please support the noise ordinance changes proposed by Mayor Pro Term Negrete and myself.”
The politics around the noise ordinance changes were messy before the last meeting which ended after hours of public comment on a noise ordinance that was no longer actively being considered and the meeting ending before other public business could be considered. Full coverage of the meeting can be found here and here on Santa Monica Next. The meeting was also panned in other local newspapers.
Many of the Unite Here! members and supporters that spoke at the meeting wondered why the Council was considering curtailing their protests in any way when it has yet to ask for charges or investigation into the incident where security for the Fairmont-Miramar were caught on camera attacking protestors in early August.
“We have no idea what’s being done about the violence that goes on against workers that are on strike.” said Unite Here! Member, Hermana Escorba through an interpreter at the meeting.
Brock and Negrete will clearly vote for the changes. It is likely that Mayor Gleam Davis and Councilmembers Caroline Torosis and Jesse Zwick, all of whom have either marched with the picketers or written op/eds supporting their positions. That leaves the fate of the ordinance in the hands of Councilmembers Christine Parra and Oscar de la Torre.
If passed, the new noise ordinance would change what hours people are allowed to picket with chants and instruments in front of hotels and other businesses. Currently the city allows protests to begin at 7 a.m. The new ordinance would push that time back to 8 a.m.