Mountain View Voice

News - September 17, 2010

Ideafarm arrested for trespassing

by Nick Veronin and Andrea Gemmet

Wo of Ideafarm, the oddly named man with the sign-laden trailer often seen around Mountain View, was arrested twice last week by Mountain View police on trespassing charges.

Ideafarm told the Voice via e-mail that he was sitting in a conference room in City Hall working on his laptop on Wednesday, Sept. 8, when a police officer asked him to leave. The conference room is normally locked, and is not open to the public, said Liz Wylie, spokeswoman for the Mountain View Police Department.

The officer arrested Ideafarm, 54, a transient, and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office is filing charges against him for allegedly trespassing and resisting a police officer, Wylie said.

He was arrested again on similar charges on Friday, Sept. 10, Wylie said, this time for sitting in front of the public counter at the police station.

"He was preventing people from coming up to the counter," Wylie said.

A police sergeant and another officer offered Ideafarm a seat and "spent an inordinate amount of time" trying to convince him to move, but he refused to leave his spot at the front counter, where he sat reading a book on the First Amendment, Wylie said.

Ideafarm is well known to the police, Wylie said. His signs about homosexuality and Proposition 8 are the cause of frequent complaints from the public, although they are protected free speech, said Wylie. There have been occasional reports of him causing a traffic hazard by walking in the middle of traffic with signs or leaflets, Wylie said.

Ideafarm sent a two-minute audio clip he made of his exchange with the officer who arrested him on Sept. 8 to both police Chief Scott Vermeer and the Voice. He has not responded to the Voice's request for comment.

Ideafarm said in his e-mail that he had entered the room in City Hall to "put some final touches on a 33 page Opening Brief."

The recording begins with the arresting officer telling Ideafarm, "Unplug your computer and come with me."

Ideafarm then asks the officer to identify himself, and the officer responds, "Do what you are told."

Wylie said Ideafarm and the officer are familiar with each other, and that in the full recording, Ideafarm can later be heard referring to the officer by name.

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