It’s law (pending a suit)

The Chico City Council ratified the “disorderly events ordinance” Tuesday night (Nov. 6), so we think it’s only fair that we reinforce our editorial about it (”Disorderly process,” Sept. 13).

We’re pleased that councilmembers listened to the community, but they didn’t listen hard enough. They kept the definition of “disorderly event” so broad that the ordinance applies to anything from a funeral to a peace march. And since “[c]ircumstantial evidence … shall be sufficient” for police to act, this addition to the municipal code takes too big a bite out of the First Amendment.

We won’t presume to anticipate abuses by police officers, whom we trust with far more serious tests of their discretion and judgment. But we’ll make this prediction: Someone will challenge the ordinance in court, and the court will strike it down. It’s a shame that a well-intentioned tool for law enforcement is so vulnerable to legal challenge.