Word has it that Mayor Pro Tem Don Bankhead was not so happy to see volunteers gathering signatures to recall him from office outside of Ralphs supermarket on Harbor Blvd. earlier this week.
Petition gatherers say that he and the Mrs. suggested that they shouldn’t be there and were then seen to be speaking to a store manager inside. A couple of days later the signature gatherers were told by both the manager of Ralphs and the manager of the shopping center that they were not welcome there, and had to leave. Volunteers collecting signatures in front of Albertsons on Raymond Ave. were told the same thing.
Fortunately Fullerton Recall Coordinator Chris Thompson knew that petitioners have the right to collect signatures on some private property as long as they are not causing a disturbance. The California Supreme Court upheld this right in something called Pruneyard vs. Robins, that basically holds that any place that is normally open to the public, like a mall or shopping center, is covered by free speech rights, even if it is private property.
Thompson called the city of Fullerton and had none other than City Manager Joe Felz and the city attorney confirm that the signature gatherers had a perfect right to collect signatures in front of both Ralph’s and Albertsons. Thompson then met with police officers at Ralphs, who agreed. One of them even gave the signature gatherers his card and told them to call him if they had this problem again.
Don Bankhead, who has no problem giving away millions of dollars in public land to developers is suddenly bothered by a couple of people collecting signatures in front of a busy supermarket. I guess he hasn’t learned much since the last time he was recalled from the Fullerton City Council 17 years ago.