Red Phone: Masks in public are not illegal - Morgan Hill Times: Red Phone

Red Phone: Masks in public are not illegal

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Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 11:26 am

“Dear Red Phone, Twice recently I have seen a sign-twirler for one of those temporary Halloween stores that pop of every year holding a sign on the corner of 10th and Camino Arroyo (and in Morgan Hill on Cochrane Road). My problem is, these sign-twirlers wear full masks, you know those scary white ones that burglars wear. Isn't it illegal to completely cover your face in public with a mask, even in the festive season of Halloween? Thank you.”

Red Phone:  Dear Stickler for Signs, The problem you describe isn’t a crime at all. The employee just trying to earn a paycheck has been asked to wear a mask to perform his/her job, but we can see how it might seem off-putting as you drive by in your car. Just know that citizens are free to wear what they want without fear of breaking any laws.

The only instance when wearing a mask would be considered illegal, according to Gilroy Police Sgt. Pedro Espinoza, is when it’s paired with “evading or escaping discovery, recognition, or identification in the commission of any public offense,” or “concealment, flight, or escape, when charged with, arrested for, or convicted of, any public offense,” according to the California Penal Code.

It’s “certainly not illegal to have your face covered in public. Halloween or not,” said Sgt. Troy Hoefling from the Morgan Hill Police Department. There you are good caller, hope that gives you some perspective on the situation.

MHUSD closed Monday for furlough


“Dear Red Phone, I saw on my kid’s calendar that he doesn’t have school Monday, Oct. 8 - why is that? I don’t remember Oct. 8 being significant. Did I miss something?”

Red Phone: Dear Parental Control, The reason schools at Morgan Hill Unified School District are closed is due to the budget reduction that was passed for the 2012-13 year, which includes one furlough day for students and employees.

Of course, that day is Monday and district offices will be closed as well. Projected savings for the one furlough day is $200,000, and the overall budget reductions for 2012-13 totaled $1.2 million, according to MHUSD.

A second furlough day may be necessary in the month of May if Gov. Jerry Brown implements mid-year cuts, though that might depend on the passing of Prop 38, which asks voters to extend  an income tax increase to support public education.


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  • hypocrisyhater posted at 10:01 am on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    hypocrisyhater Posts: 234

    What about the ladies at the incoming Islamic Center of Happiness? Will they be denied wearing the full gunny-sack?

    I mean...they have religious reasons for doing I'm sure there must be some kind of exceptions, or a form they could fill out.....right?

  • David posted at 8:09 am on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    David Posts: 6

    October 8th's only significance this year is that it also happens to be Columbus Day.

  • Calle posted at 5:11 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Calle Posts: 64

    Perhaps this kind of roadside hawking is a public offense (?!). If so we have a crime wave on out hands!

  • FW posted at 3:42 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    FW Posts: 1

    it's a person with a big sign! Who cares if they are wearing a mask or not? Nothing to be worried, scared , or concerned about.

  • Calle posted at 2:24 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Calle Posts: 64

    CALIFORNIA Penal Code Section 182-185
    185. Section One Hundred and Eighty-five. It shall be unlawful for any person to wear any mask, false whiskers, or any personal disguise (whether complete or partial) for the purpose of: One--Evading or escaping discovery, recognition, or identification in the commission of any public offense. Two--Concealment, flight, or escape, when charged with, arrested for, or convicted of, any public offense. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.

  • Calle posted at 2:22 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Calle Posts: 64

    I believe that there is a law about covering one's face in public in California that dates back to the KKK days although I doubt if it's enforced.

  • hypocrisyhater posted at 2:21 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    hypocrisyhater Posts: 234

    The only thing you absolutely cannot wear in Morgan Hill are American flag colors if it happens to be May 5th.

  • Seascape26 posted at 1:53 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Seascape26 Posts: 2

    I can see where this can be kind of shocking when you drive by as I had done a few days ago myself. I have to think about it this way though.... So many other businesses send out employees with signs and chicken suits and such and it never sparked any questions in my mind previously. The difference is that the Halloween stores are using scarier costumes. It's for the spirit of Halloween so I understand, but my 5 year old was afraid of it. Luckily it's a quick drive by. [smile]