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Posts Tagged ‘free speech’

By JOHN EARL
OC Voice

Note: This article was originally published in the OC Voice Oct. 2007 print edition. It is reprinted here because it relates to Joe Shaw’s column about the banning of street signs by the Huntington Beach City Council. His column focused on the economic consequences, this article focuses on the related constitutional issues at they played  out in the city of Costa Mesa.  Also read Shaw’s column here.

Costa Mesa day laborers looking for work on street corners at two separate locations in the city, Placentia Avenue and 17th Street, and Placentia Avenue and Victoria Street, say that city police are routinely harassing them and making it difficult for them to find employment.

police-carAlmost without exception, workers at both corners who were interviewed by the OC Voice on three separate occasions during September claimed that police routinely—from once in a while to several times a week—approached them while they were standing on sidewalks or in parking lots and told them, sometimes without giving a reason, that they had to leave the area, sometimes threatening them with tickets or even arrest if they returned.

Costa Mesa Chief of Police Christopher Shawkey says that his officers are only enforcing a city ordinance that prohibits anyone from soliciting employment, commercial, or charitable transactions on public streets in a manner that distracts motorists and creates a potential safety hazard, and that prohibits the same types of solicitation in private parking lots where the owners have posted signs banning those activities. (more…)

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By Joe Shaw
OC Voice Columnist

(This column was written in February, 2009)

sign_spinner_2 California lost 600,000 jobs in January. The jobless rate in California is now 9.3 percent. Huntington Beach’s Quiksilver recently announced 150 layoffs in their workforce. Boeing laid off 64 local workers. Home Depot’s Expo Design Center and Circuit City is closing, leaving more workers without a job.

And Huntington Beach home sales remain down and foreclosures continue to edge up.

Perfect time for the HB City Council to create some jobs and help our small businesses, right? Wrong. A move by planning commissioners to remove a ban on human signs was rejected by the city council 5-2.

Why wouldn’t the council vote to lift one of the many rules and regulations that frustrate small business and cost them money? Why wouldn’t our city council support free trade, small business and creating jobs?

Councilman Don Hansen told the Los Angeles Times the signs were a “form of visual blight.”

Sounds like hypocrisy from the councilman who just named a realtor as his new planning commissioner. Ever driven around Huntington Beach on the weekends and seen all the real estate signs on every corner? (more…)

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