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State's Top Court Refuses Case, So Rooftop Sign to Be Removed

July 24, 1986

A Glendale businessman who unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of the city's stringent sign laws for more than a decade admitted defeat this week after the state Supreme Court refused to hear a final appeal.

Insurance broker Bob New, who claimed that the city's sign ordinance violated his freedom of speech, said he will take down a rooftop sign the city has declared illegal.

The court's refusal to hear the case last week ended New's long battle against the city, which he had waged since being cited for criminal violation of the laws shortly after they were adopted in 1973.

"It has been a rewarding experience and we have achieved our end," said New, who has maintained all along that he was waging a battle for freedom of speech. "We won the moment we elected to stand up for our rights."

However, he said, "The courts have ruled against us and we will abide by the law as it is written."

The city's sign laws, which granted business owners 10 years--until 1983--to phase out illegal signs, prohibits rooftop and protruding signs. The sign atop New's roof is one of the last of its type remaining in the city.

The city granted a variance to preserve only one rooftop sign, the one above George Seeley Furniture Co., because of its historical significance. The sign is referred to as "the red beacon of Glendale." But the City Council has required that all other rooftop signs be removed.

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