Organizers call on Ladera Ranch Homeowners Association for restriction of planned Pride event

A planned LGBGTQ+ Pride event at Ladera Ranch has drawn objections from the local homeowners association, which organizers say has threatened them with fines if they don’t confine their event to a limited space in a public park in the unincorporated town of South County.

Morgane Sabin – a resident and mother – said the sailing seemed to be going smoothly when she first contacted the Ladera Ranch Homeowners Association (LARMAC) to get the permit for an event this month at Founders Park, a large public space and a community gathering center.

Few questions were asked, said Sabin, who had watched other big events, like a “Freedom Rally” in September to protest Covid-19 restrictions, take up space over the past year. in other Ladera parks with seemingly few hiccups.

Then she and other local parents supporting the Pride event, scheduled for Friday, began posting rainbow-colored flyers on social media.

A flyer for the event, shared with Voice of OC by Morgane Sabin.

Shortly after, Sabin – who came up with the idea for local pride after an unsavory interaction between a group of children and a dog walker on a street earlier this month on LGBTQ+ support signs children – said LARMAC quickly told him the event had to be small in size.

According to emails from LARMAC, which Sabin shared with Voice of OC, the owners’ association told organizers they could indeed hold their event, but had to limit their function to 100 people at a barbecue table in the park.

“LARMAC does not allow large scale events in community parks, therefore I am unable to offer you a permit for your event. Since this is a neighborhood park, we are limiting the number of large-scale events held at Founders out of respect for the neighbors,” reads a June 17 email from the general manager of LARMAC, Ken Gibson.

Requests for comment to Gibson and the LARMAC offices went unanswered Tuesday morning.

In another email to organizers, a LARMAC employee writes:

“If your event is held with more guests than allowed, you as the “host” will be responsible for holding an unauthorized event. This could include reimbursement to the HOA for any cleanup required by LARMAC and any damage to the park, as well as possible fines.

Sabin, in a Monday interview with Voice of OC, said it was unfair to limit the Pride event, when other big events last year went ahead without restrictions.

It is “a huge park. I don’t know how they expect me to keep count of everyone entering and leaving the park,” Sabin said.

“No one has stopped the big pro-Trump events” in Ladera parks over the past year, which have spilled over into all these public spaces, said Shannon Lenke, Ladera Ranch resident and mother of seven. , in another interview.

Lenke’s non-binary child was among a couple of children who stood in the streets earlier this month, on the afternoon of June 9, with signs of LGBGTQ+ support, a she declared.

Lenke said a dog walker expressed disapproval of their post.

It was then that Lenke said Sabin and other parents decided to plan a Pride event in the local town, to support their children.

“When we first discussed holding this, the night I went to bed, 18 people joined the (organizers’ social media) page. I said to my kid, ‘Oh my God, if there’s 18 people holding up signs supporting you, that’s going to be amazing,’ Lenke said.

“When I woke up in the morning there were over 80 people. Now there are over 100,” Lenke said.

Sabin, Lenke and other parents say they plan to go ahead with the event Friday anyway, despite the threat of liability and fines.

Why?

“I think it’s about them disagreeing with some of these causes,” Sabin said. “Here there have been Trump rallies during the lockdown, church rallies in every green space… for them to tell me I can’t have more than a certain number of people in a park – that doesn’t makes no sense.”

Lenke said everyone is welcome at the event and that she and the other organizers have the right to use a public park for which they pay.

If LARMAC ultimately imposes a sanction on the event organizers, Sabin and Lenke said they are prepared to challenge it in court.

“If we can’t stand up for our children and help them fight for their future, then what are we showing them?” said Lenké.

Brandon Pho is a staff writer for Voice of OC and a body member of Report for America, an initiative of GroundTruth. Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @photherecord.

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