Sam Jammal for US Congress statement on today’s vote to limit free speech in Brea
Fullerton, CA — Sam Jammal, candidate for California’s 39th Congressional District, today commented on the Brea City Council ordinance restricting free speech outside Congressman Ed Royce’s office:
“The Brea City Council should table Ordinance No. 1201. This ordinance raises significant constitutional questions. As a resident of neighboring Fullerton, who spent much of my youth working in Brea and currently frequents numerous local establishments throughout the City, I am concerned about how defending such a clearly unconstitutional ordinance will waste taxpayer dollars and draw negative publicity to this great city. Brea does not need or deserve the divisive litigation or politics this ordinance will bring. The Brea City Council should be promoting peaceful political discourse in our community.”
Jammal also released a letter to the City Council questioning the constitutionality and merits of the ordinance. Language of the letter is pasted below.
Jammal (CA-39) grew up in the communities of California’s 39th Congressional District as the son of immigrants from South America and the Middle East. A veteran of the Obama administration, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and, more recently, Solar City and Tesla, Jammal believes that his 2018 election isn’t just about stopping Donald Trump. Jammal believes flipping the 39th means building a progressive future by fighting to make sure workers get a raise and families can still afford the basics, like health care, housing and a secure retirement. To learn more about our campaign, visit www.sam4congress.com.
December 19, 2017
The Honorable Glenn Parker
Brea City Council
1 Civic Center Cr.
Brea, CA 92821
Dear Mayor Parker and Members of the Brea City Council:
I am writing to urge you to table Agenda Item 7, Ordinance No. 1201 on tonight’s City Council agenda. This ordinance raises significant constitutional questions and will likely cost the city more in legal fees than any perceived costs incurred when residents peacefully assembly and exercise our constitutional rights outside of Congressman Ed Royce’s Brea office. As a resident of neighboring Fullerton, who spent much of my youth working in Brea and currently frequents numerous local establishments throughout the City, I am concerned about how defending such a clearly unconstitutional ordinance will waste taxpayer dollars and draw negative publicity to this great city. Brea does not need or deserve the divisive litigation or politics this ordinance will bring.
The proposed ordinance infringes on the fundamental right of free speech. Courts have consistently held that the government’s ability to restrict speech on public streets and sidewalks is very limited. Make no mistake – given the clear intention of the ordinance to restrict peaceful protest outside of Congressman Royce’s office during a time when there is significant national attention being paid to our community – there will be litigation if the City were to pass this ordinance. Provoking litigation is a terrible use of taxpayer dollars and needlessly shines a negative light on the City when we should be highlighting the economic opportunities that Brea has to offer small business owners.
As a civil rights attorney, I strongly advise the City table the ordinance due to the heavy legal burden that the City would be required to meet for this ordinance to ever take effect. For example, as written, this ordinance falls outside of the precedent set for when a permit is required in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case of Long Beach Area Peace Network v. City of Long Beach, which allowed a permit requirement for a group of 75 people or larger. More so, the ordinance interferes with the ability of individuals to gather to petition their government in the location of their choosing, which on its face is intended to censor the message of those protesting by requiring “spontaneous protests” be held at the City Hall Plaza instead of the Congressman’s office. Moving the location of these protests undermines their clear intent to draw the attention of the Congressman. Lastly, it appears that the sound restrictions violate decades of legal precedent and state law. If sound concerns are an issue for the City and local businesses, then I recommend they petition the Congressman to relocate his office since Downtown Brea should not shoulder the burden of Congressman Royce’s inability to be responsive to his constituents.
The key question for the City is whether it is willing to enter years of costly litigation to defend an ordinance that appears to be intended to provide political cover to Congressman Royce. For over 7 years, the Congressman has refused to hold a town hall or engage in direct conversation with his constituents. Now, given the understandable concerns and fears of so many in our community over the Trump presidency, there is significant community interest in hearing from our Congressman. Rather than restricting the right of protestors to assemble and register their concerns, the Brea City Council should be passing an ordinance demanding that the Congressman hold a town hall and explain the significant reforms to our tax and health care policies currently being undertaken by the Trump Administration and Republican Congress.
In closing, there are much better uses of taxpayer dollars than engaging in costly litigation over First Amendment rights. This is especially the case as the tax reform effort being championed by President Trump and Congressman Royce will make it more difficult for Brea to raise revenue due to changes to the state and local tax deduction, as well as deductions related to municipal bonds. Budgets are already tight and are going to be made tighter by the Trump Administration. Brea does not need these new litigation costs as it seeks to balance its budget.
I strongly urge the City Council to table this resolution and consider providing a forum for our community to register concerns with Congressman Royce’s support of the Trump Administration. We are much better than the divisive politics that define so much of America today. Brea doesn’t deserve a tarnished image for the sake of partisan politics.
Sam Jammal, Esq.
Candidate in California’s 39th Congressional District
CC: Mayor Pro Tem Christine Marick
Councilmember Cecilia Hupp
Councilmember Steven Vargas
Councilmember Marty Simonoff
 McCullen v. Coakley, 134 S. Ct. 2518 (2014).
 Long Beach Area Peach Network v. City of Long Beach, 574 F. 3d 1011 (9th Cir. 2009).
 Galvin v. Hay, 374 F.3d 739 (9TH Cir. 2004).