LOS ANGELES - The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California today called on Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo to respect the First Amendment rights of Valley secession supporters to distribute information on Proposition F, the upcoming ballot measure that would grant the Valley autonomy. Secession supporters were prevented from handing out literature at a Los Angeles Neighborhood Council meeting at the Los Angeles Convention Center, while opponents of Proposition F were allowed to sit at a table outside the Council meeting and hand out 'No on Proposition F' materials.

The ACLU/SC strongly opposes secession but believes that any violation of First Amendment rights of people who are speaking in support of secession is unacceptable and illegal.

'I am very concerned about what appear to be blatant First Amendment violations by city employees or persons acting at their direction with respect to the upcoming vote on Proposition F,' said ACLU/SC Managing Attorney, Peter Eliasberg in a letter sent today to Delgadillo. 'Specifically, I have received a number of complaints about unequal treatment received by persons engaged in First Amendment activity on city property in support of Valley secession and those opposed to Valley secession.'

The incident described in the letter took place earlier this month at the Los Angeles Convention Center. A public meeting of the Neighborhood Councils was taking place on the second floor when supporters of Valley secession were told they would have to leave the premises. Secession supporters were prevented from distributing flyers while secession opponents were allowed to sit at a table and distribute 'No on Proposition F' literature.

'Los Angeles' remarkable diversity has made it one of the most economically, politically and culturally vibrant cities in the nation,' said Peter Eliasberg. 'The ACLU/SC opposes secession but respects the rights of those who disagree with this viewpoint. This is a blatant violation of citizens' First Amendment rights and we hope the City Attorney will see to it that this does not happen again.'