On Tuesday, members of Friends of San Onofre Beach, a nudist group, attended a Huntington Beach City Council meeting to protest the city manager’s decision to prohibit their use of the Huntington Beach Gym and Pool for nude bathing.
Roughly 15 people, led by the group’s president, R. Allen Baylis, asked for the regulation stipulated by City Manager Fred Wilson last September to be revoked. Wilson had argued that the nudists’ use of the facility “unreasonably interfered” with city employees’ abilities to perform their responsibilities, according to the Orange County Register.
Baylis charged that Wilson “adopted the resolution on his own with no input from the City Council.”
City Attorney Michael Gates agreed with Wilson, writing a letter to Baylis reminding him the city had an ordinance in place for years that barred nudity in public facilities. He added that the fact that the ban had not been recently enforced was irrelevant. The Huntington Beach City Council had placed a ban on public nudity in 2007, after Miguel Angelo Ferreira repeatedly lounged naked in front of his home. The city code states that no one over the age of nine is allowed to be exposed on public land.
California law bans public exposure “where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed.” But protestors argued that their use of the facility was private, the windows were covered, and the public employees who worked there volunteered to do so.
Baylis has been fighting for public nudity for roughly a decade; he said in 2008 that government crackdowns arose from misunderstanding and “bodyphopia.”