Ingleside on the Bay repeals filming ordinance

Corpus Christi Caller, Texas/August 3, 2011

Ingleside-On-The-Bay -- An ordinance that required outsiders to obtain a permit to film in Ingleside on the Bay was repealed by the City Council.

The council enacted the ordinance in June after receiving complaints from residents about the Squirrel Busters film crew.

The Squirrel Busters say they are filming a documentary about Ingleside on the Bay resident Mark Rathbun, a former high-ranking official in the Church of Scientology. But Rathbun says the crews are there to harass him for speaking out about abuses in the church. Some residents have put up signs saying the Squirrel Busters aren't welcome. "Squirrel" is Scientology-speak for a heretic.

Mayor Howard Gillespie said the council, responding to the residents' complaints, enacted the ordinance to try to exercise control over the situation. The city chose not to enforce the measure after the film crews argued the ordinance was an unconstitutional infringement on their First Amendment rights.

Gillespie said the city attorney is considering other regulations the council could adopt in response to citizens' complaints.

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