Peace activist Jerry Rubin — who is running for Santa Monica City Council in November — appeared in court Friday, September 26th, for an arraignment hearing after being arrested early last month. At the hearing, the city dropped a resisting arrest charge and Rubin pled no contest to interfering with a city employee.
Rubin had been taken to jail September 3rd after chaining himself to one of the seven Downtown Santa Monica ficus trees set for removal and relocation as part of the city’s controversial $8.2 million Second and Fourth Street Pedestrian and Streetscape Improvement Project.
He was arrested just outside the restricted area of one of the seven ficus trees along Fourth Street set for relocation. At the time of the arrest, he was no longer chained to a ficus tree.
Rubin spent the night in jail and was charged with willfully obstructing a police officer and interfering with city employees who were working to remove the seven ficus trees along Fourth Street. His bail was set at $10,000, he said.
Rubin was released on his own recognizance on September 4th, with the condition that he not go within 100 yards of Fourth Street between Colorado Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.
Those restrictions were lifted at the arraignment hearing September 26th, where Rubin was represented by attorney Barry Smith.
Smith worked with the City Attorney’s Office — which brought the charges against Rubin — to craft a resolution of the case.
At the hearing, the city dropped the resisting arrest charge and Rubin pled no contest to the interference charge.
“The deal was basically no jail time, no fine, one year probation,” Smith said.
Rubin had to agree to not interfere with any tree work in the City of Santa Monica for one full year.
“I’m still going to double my efforts with Treesavers,” Rubin says. “I was doing my heartfelt best to try to save the life of a tree. I take responsibility. Would I have done it again had I known all these things? Sure.”
Says Smith of Rubin’s probation, “He can do whatever he wants to do as long as he does not interfere with work that’s done on trees in Santa Monica. He can worship trees, he can hang from trees, he can even plant trees, he can trim trees, he can prune trees — as long as he doesn’t interfere with people doing tree work.”
Smith believes Rubin will comply with his probation.
“I think he’ll stay clean,” Smith said. “He’s running for City Council. He’s almost 65. He does not need any more of these headaches. It’s too stressful for him. I think he’ll stay clean and so does the city.”