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Wu proposes ban on early morning residential picketing, like the anti-vax bucket banging outside her house at 7:30 a.m.

Mayor Wu today asked the City Council to ban picketing between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. in residential areas, to "protect the health and well-being of residents in our neighborhoods against targeted harassment."

The proposed ordinance would only apply to people who stick themselves in front of one particular house and picket, rather than people protesting something who pass through a residential area without targeting a particular home.

In a statement, Wu said:

Boston has a strong legacy of activism, and it’s important to uphold and protect the ability to speak out and advocate fiercely to keep our democracy strong. But in a moment of divided national politics, we can’t normalize the harassment and hate spilling over into our communities. Boston must model not only bold, urgent policies, but also inclusive, empowering politics.

The proposal has the backing of City Council President Ed Flynn, whose house has occasionally been targeted by the screaming anti-vax brigade as well:

Public protests at people’s homes must have reasonable limits. These demonstrations are not only causing stress to the families of elected officials, it is also hurting their neighbors, many of whom are seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans and young children. Now is the time to come together as a city and country to treat each other with empathy, respect and dignity.

Acting Police Commissioner Gregory Long agreed:

This ordinance will add to our existing laws to stop harassment of residents in their private homes, while respecting the right to protest. People have a right to privacy and peace in their homes.

Wu said the proposed local law is based on Frisby v. Schultz, a 1988 Supreme Court decision in which the court upheld an even stricter ban on residential picketing.

The City Council will likely formally consider the bill Wednesday, after which Flynn would send it to a council committee for a public hearing and recommendation before the council votes on it.

Earlier:
Fed up neighbors plead with police to do something.

Neighborhoods: 
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Comments

on the anti-vax crowd? Let whooping cough or diptheria take them out? Asking on behalf of rational society.

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Voting closed 86

We never should have forced them to wear seatbelts 30 years ago; we might not be in this mess

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Voting closed 51

It would be rational if these people were only hurting themselves. Sadly, that isn't how it works. There are people who cannot be vaccinated or for whom vaccination doesn't work due to immunocompromise. We shouldn't expect them to sacrifice.

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Voting closed 21

This is how you get a horde of angry protesters outside your front door at 9:01am on a Sunday.

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Voting closed 45

I'd say the correct descriptor would be "a smattering of anti-vax choads."

They're already there at 7:30 anyway, now they get to sleep in later.

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Voting closed 62

They start at 7.

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They used to start at 7:30, when Wu left for work then. She started leaving at 7, and they got really upset that she didn't want to hear them calling her Hitler and various racist slurs, so they moved up their time.

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Voting closed 47

It won't be anti-mandate protesters anymore. It will be rallies for free speech.

Wu is giving them a way to pivot.

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Voting closed 25

Good one.

They'll be protesting for their "free speech" rights because they have to bang a drum in a residential area starting at 9am instead of 7am.

That'll win over all the fence sitters.

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Voting closed 28

Why do you hate free speech?

The complaint will be "Government is blocking me from peacefully protesting on a public sidewalk at 8:45am on a Wednesday, the same time when garbage trucks, landscapers, and roofing contractors are all making a racket."

Instead of calling her Hitler, protesters will be calling her Putin, or Winnie the Pooh, and they'll have a point.

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Voting closed 29

The 5- 10 idiots that already show up will have to make some new misspelled signs.

Instead of calling her Hitler, protesters will be calling her Putin, or Winnie the Pooh, and they'll have a point.

Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, your opinion, man... why don't you join them?

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Voting closed 31

The bottom line is that Wu's strategy on this doesn't seem well thought out. First, she's proposing a new city ordinance that addresses a nuisance which everybody knows is specific to her (as opposed to your average constituent).

Second, the mandates are imminently going away on their own anyways in a matter of weeks. When that happens, the anti-mandate protesters will claim a small victory - whatever, who cares - and then they'll stop protesting and disappear from view.

I don't see Wu gaining anything from this move, but she loses a lot by taking the "wrong" side on a free speech issue, which is opposing free speech.

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Voting closed 27

"Specific to her" - I mean I dunno if my neighbor was the mayor and there were racist yahoos out in front of our shared houses screaming at 7am waking up my baby, I'd kind of expect her to do something about it....

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but what i’m hearing is that the protesters outside Wu’s house are an unreasonable bunch who will resort to bad faith arguments upon any attempt at curbing their obviously disruptive behavior

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Cheer up, it might never happen.

Now if only it could be extended to construction crews.

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Wouldn't be surprised if we wind up with a line painted somewhere on her street ala the Planned Parenthood in Allston -- these antivaxxers are the same sort of rabid nutcases as the anti-choice people.

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The 1st Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The only possible opening here is to claim these protests are not being done "peaceably," but if other larger, louder protests can't be banned, I can't see how these ones would be an exception just because they're "causing stress."

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Voting closed 39

But do take a look at the link I provided about the court decision ruling that, yes, a city can place limits on protests, as long as they are "content neutral" (i.e., if you ban one sort of protest at a particular spot, you have to ban them all).

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Voting closed 82

The Frisby decision is good precedent, but the Supremes have long recognized that reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on speech do not violate the free speech clause of the 1st Amendment. Unlikely that any court would find this content-neutral time, place and manner restriction on protests in a residential neighborhood anything but reasonable.

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Voting closed 20

Free speech has it's limits and that's been upheld many times. With the obvious "fire in a crowded theater" example as the classic.

I believe some governments way overdo it. Like when you have a convention and "protest zones" are allowed. In this case we have people who set up camp essentially at someone's home. She is easily protested in very public spaces like city hall, there's no reason for them to be seen at 8am at her doorstep.

For the record I was against protests at Bakers home and Walshes home etc.

Public figures who are easily protested elsewhere are very different from oligarchs like Musk and others who are always avoiding the public despite impacting so many

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Voting closed 34

It’s been 2 straight months of daily (sometimes pre-dawn) protests in Rozzie — 60 days and counting — including by BPD and BFD members us on sirens.

BLM went to Walshs house one (1) time. The pink boat was outside Bakers house for a few hours.

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Why do people use the whole "fire in a crowded theater?" The case it was paraphrasing in was overturned in 1969.

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Boston has a strong legacy of activism, and it’s important to uphold and protect the ability to speak out and advocate fiercely to keep our democracy strong. But in a moment of divided national politics, we can’t normalize the harassment and hate spilling over into our communities. Boston must model not only bold, urgent policies, but also inclusive, empowering politics.

First sentence: Free speech is important

Second sentence: but there were hateful nazis outside my door...and something something Trump

Third sentence: Woke word salad

I hate these Anti-Vaxx dipshits too. But you are limiting free speech, and people are cheering you on solely because they disagree with the people who were protesting you. Nobody complained when people showed up with a guillotine outside Bezos' place. Nobody complained when environmentalists were outside Charlie Baker's place.

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I complained about people showing up at Baker's house.

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It's not that people are holding a protest. It's that they sit there every single morning banging buckets and yelling.

That's a key difference between what happens at Charlie Baker's house or what used to happen at Marty Walsh's house: This has become a sort of permanent thing, and we've entered the phase where these people hate Wu so much, they will find some other reason to park themselves in front of her house even after the vaccine issue is resolved. Baker gets occasional protests, nobody has been setting up camp outside his house every single morning for weeks on end.

If Wu lived in a mansion surrounded by acres of land, that'd be one thing. But she lives in a relatively dense area with lots of neighbors who didn't sign up for this and at some point, you have to realize those people have rights as well.

Wu works at City Hall. There's plenty of places where protesters could set up an encampment and yell to their heart's content; her office overlooks the plaza in front of Faneuil Hall, for example.

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It regulates the time of day that protests are allowed, nothing else. It doesn't even regulate it that much, just lopping a couple of hours off at the beginning and end of each day.

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and judging by your use of the word woke, i think it’s fair to question whether *you* know what you’re talking about. i read Wu’s statement about four times trying to find even the slightest invocation, let alone any outright mention of Trump.

furthermore, as a member of this site for over 8 years, you’re being *incredibly* dishonest when you say “nobody complained when _______.” for better or for worse, this commentariat has been overwhelmingly vocal and consistent in its view about early morning protests.

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They seem to have constructed a Automated Stupidity System from word salad tweets. They wanted to make libs mad, so they threw in some MadLibs to structure it.

Everyone gets Knuckledragger Bingo!

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people are cheering you on solely because they disagree with the people who were protesting you

Horseshit. People approve of this restriction because they imagine what it would be like to have a bunch of snot-gobbling knuckledraggers making a racket outside their house. At that, it is a very modest restriction, only limiting the hours at which these circus animals can indulge in their antisocial behavior. They've been treated with a degree of deference and restraint that are completely absent in their conduct toward others I'm astonished that the neighbors haven't bought a truckload of air horns and followed these can-bangers around blowing the air horns right in their ears.

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Voting closed 38

Protesting at anyone's house, at any hour, is out-of-bounds. This measure still allows protesting, but with common sense restrictions. Let's get this on the books.

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(noise and disruption) are already covered by other laws and ordinances.

Perhaps we should focus on apply and enforcing these existing laws and ordinances, instead of creating new ones. But I guess we've got the keep the lawyers busy.

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This moves it to 9 am. There is a similar adjustment at the end of the day, though I don't remember what the current limit is in the evening.

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There already are noise restrictions in place. Nothing prevents my neighbor from gunning up his leafblower at 7am, which he does OFTEN. Friends of mine recently fled an apartment where massive, loud construction started every day at 7am. If that's not an acceptable time to be making noise, then change the hours across the board. Political speech is more valuable than leaf blower noise and should be more protected, not less.

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Voting closed 9

Leaf blowers should be banned, period. Those small engines are insanely bad co2 producers for their size and it's the height of lazy suburbia. Get a rake. Especially in the city of Boston where the average yard is about 20 square feet.

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Running a leaf blower for 1 hour emits more carbon dioxide than an automobile emits driving from Boston to New York.

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But is it political speech or a bunch of whiney dumb asses lead by a Karen Kop who has how many complaints filed against her?

As if her badge & gun didn't give her a big enough attitude problem, now she and her cohorts need to make themselves feel like big brave crusaders whilst disturbing the rest of the neighborhood with their trash "facts." How pathetic.

Guaranteed if the same thing was done in her neighborhood she'd be the first to wave her badge around and then call 911. I am sure there would be some quote that she is being violated by the "woke left."

They should protest at City Hall...but then that would mean she'd have to leave her overly large Suburban and take the T because there is no free parking right in front of City Hall.

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What time can leaf blowers start? Should be the same...

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Lots of kids, especially elementary school kids, go to bed before 9 pm. If you're going to restrict times, I think 8 - 8 is far better than 9 - 9.

I also think they shouldn't restrict the times at all.

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Asking for a friend.

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Cities can set what are known as time, place, manner restrictions on First Amendment-protected speech. Think of requiring permits for large events and so forth. This one runs kind of close to the line of what is and is not allowed, though. It's hard to make an argument for this having tighter restrictions than the existing city noise ordinance, for one. And where it's filed by the current mayor facing protests outside her home in the morning, it's hard to argue this is content-neutral or not targeted in intent, even if the overall application would in theory be neutral. Sidewalks also get pretty broad leeway under the law as a place of protected free speech, even if outside the mayor's home. This is the kind of thing that could find its way to the Supreme Court.

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Why do we need an anti-residential-picketing law? If they're being too noisy (and you'd be surprised at how noisy they're not allowed to be), then hit them with a noise violation and/or arrest them for it.

https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/boston/latest/boston_ma/0-0-0-4970...

Between 7a and 11p they can't be louder than 70 dB and no louder than 50 dB between 11p and 7a.

70 dB is like a loud restaurant at best. You'd never be able to hear them inside your house with the TV on or if you're having your own discussion. And the 70 dB is at the property line, not your window.

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No more armed police invasions predicated on "noise" because students were having a quiet conversation on their back porch. They would actually have to measure and document the noise before busting heads and dragging people from their homes.

That's no fun!

Also have to start ticketing Harley drivers.

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Then ISD would have to fiǹe my neighbors landlord and dismantle his cheesy basement rap studio. His customers park.to do commercial business on a residential street to boot! If this Bostonian can't have peace and quiet why should Wu?

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Then ISD would have to fiǹe my neighbors landlord and dismantle his cheesy basement rap studio. His customers park.to do commercial business on a residential street to boot! If this Bostonian can't have peace and quiet why should Wu?

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I can’t stand those picketers. But this is a democracy. Wu should be ashamed.

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How someone with the intellect (or at least the money and/or cunning) necessary to become mayor of a large American city has lived her entire life without having heard of squirt guns or the means of acquiring them.

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How someone with the intellect (or at least the money and/or cunning) necessary to become mayor of a large American city has lived her entire life without having heard of squirt guns or the means of acquiring them.

I'm gonna make a wild guess that she's a good bit smarter than you -- or at least, smart enough to know how stupid it would be to deploy squirt guns on these clowns.

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Around 30 years ago Mayor Flynn banned squirt guns in Boston, because a few young kids were filling them with Chlorox.

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But verified: https://www.upi.com/Archives/1992/06/08/Mayor-seeks-to-stop-sale-of-high...

Funny how our society didn't completely collapse with the advent of Super Soakers. It's almost as if government didn't solve the actual problem.

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Voting closed 12

Why doesn't she do something to actually help her constituents? The speeding is out of control. My once quiet side street is now a race track and busy cut through. Cars from all 50 states left all winter long. Every level of city government does not care. But of course the self interested mayor uses her power to benefit herself. Thanks mayor! Love this sacred democracy!

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Parked there from December 21 - March 21, and I'll buy you a steak.

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1. pictures, please

2. Have you ever heard the term "home of record"? You don't have to switch your plate over if you are, say, assigned to the Coast Guard station and your home of record is in another state.

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Voting closed 17

How did Mayor Wu personally increase the traffic flow on your street? And how is 311 and/or your City Councilor responding to your abandoned vehicle reports?

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You know, you could start with your Councilor. JP managed to get speed humps on some of the streets with City Council's help. Maybe start there?

https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council

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One of my rights as a citizen residing in Boston is that I get to vote for the mayor, and if that candidate wins, he or she gets to be mayor. If that candidate doesn't win, I don't get to harass the winning candidate and their family until they do what I want.

So far as I can tell, none of these racist cretins genuinely wants to contribute anything to the public discourse: if they did, they would be on City Hall Plaza. Instead, they want to harass the mayor and her family, which is why they are on a side street where no one can see them except the handful of people who reside there. Enough. Their right to free speech does not trump the rights of the majority of Bostonians to elect a mayor of their choosing.

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he's gotten some of the same right-wing wackos who have been harassing Mayor Wu (as well as other possibly more reasonable folks protesting about drug policy or environmental issues). I would totally support Swampscott enacting a similar ordinance if they feel a need to do that.

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Unfortunately, being a woman and Asian, the shit she has to experience is a reality. Anti vaxxers and mask protesters are as embarrassing and haters of peace as Putin.

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Be fun to automate a bucket banging array in their neighborhoods at 5am. As a protest.

Be tough to have to drive to upstate NY and NW Connecticut to do it, though.

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I think a counter demo at these protesters homes would be manageable.

People would take short shifts because certainly they would be outnumbered, and that is what democracy sounds like.

Maybe not noise, just a constant presence with signs and surveillance, the kind of stuff they value.

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about noisy neighbors partying late until the early morning hours. Do you think they’re going to do something about people ringing cowbells?

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The term

anti-vax bucket

has me compulsively repeating it.

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what are the noise ordinance times ?

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https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter272/Sect...

Because what they are doing is clearly, on purpose, disturbing the peace of the residents on that street.

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I'm uncertain as to how much it would help, but it does seem that soliciting the enforcement of noise ordinances and disturbing the peace ordinances is a more appropriate approach. Probably just ticketing and a court visit in most cases, I imagine, but sometimes not without progressive sanctions. Makes it a civil disobedience exercise, and while I certainly think antivaxxers are - at best - folks whose opinions far outpace their expertise, it seems overreach to set back civil rights generally just because a subset of people motivated to protest are idiots.

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It was 9 degrees at 7 am today. If the protestors were there, then turn on your sprinklers and soak'em. They'll either leave or freeze.

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Voting closed 6