That's right: Britney Spears is no longer just a pop-culture phenomenon; Britney Spears is a bonafide legal force!
LA councilman, Dennis Zine, a former cop, introduced legislation Friday that limits the freedom of the press. But this is not a Constitutional issue (although it will certainly be fought on these grounds); this is a real necessity. Zine also proposed legislation which limits access to cyber-cafes - notably those which appeal to gamers - based on "a single incident" (according to some sources) in which two rival teams playing Counterstrike got into a brawl. Other sources suggest there have been shootings, gang activity, and other problems surrounding these cyber-cafes, and that the legislation was necessary.
Cops busted four paparazzi on January 16th who were driving recklessly while following Britney Spears. On the 29th, police once again cited paparazzi in conjunction with Britney. When Brit-Brit was taken to the hospital earlier this week, her ambulance (and her family in a separate car, along with dozens of paparazzi) was accompanied by a cadre of officers, along with helicopters. Estimated cost for taxpayers ranges from $10-25k. Once they arrived at the hospital, police had to continue to ensure the celebrity's safety, along with that of the other patients.
"Paparazzi are becoming increasingly aggressive in their tactics, posing a clear danger not only to the people they are trying to photograph, but to the general public around them." Zine wrote in his proposal, calling paparazzi "a serious hazard to public safety."
Zine's proposal calls for new regulations to paparazzi practice, including a specified amount of "clear space." Further, he wants to be able to cite them for blocking entrances to public places (leave it to the cops - that is already a law, Zine!), disrupting private business, and bothering citizens in public. Of course, cops don't know "laws" and other such details - why should they be expected to, right? - because all of these things are covered by laws already on the book, such as Public Nuisance, Disorderly Conduct, and others.
In fact, Police Chief William Bratton said he does not think additional laws need to enacted, though he agrees there is a problem. Officials have been given 30 days to "brainstorm" ideas, including a specific "clear space."
© C Harris Lynn, 2008