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Bellflower : English Sign Law Delayed

February 19, 1987

After hearing protests from several Latino businessmen and representatives of the League of United Latin American Citizens and the American Civil Liberties Union, the Bellflower Planning Commission voted Tuesday night to delay action on a proposed sign ordinance that would require 75% of each business sign in the city to be written in English.

The five-member commission decided to continue discussion on the ordinance until the commission's March 3 meeting and to talk with sheriff's and fire officials about whether English language signs are necessary when trying to find a business in an emergency.

The commission also asked the city attorney to study the constitutionality of the proposed ordinance after Jessica L. Fiske, an ACLU representative, told commissioners that the ordinance violates the First Amendment.

The ordinance was proposed by Councilman John Ansdell, who said he does not know of any signs in the city written entirely in a foreign language, but said he is concerned that non-English signs will appear as Latino and Asian populations continue to grow.

Francisco Gonzalez, a Paramount resident, criticized the proposed ordinance, calling it restrictive to business owners who cater to Latinos and Asians. "There are many ethnic markets that comprise this region," Gonzalez said. "This will definitely serve as an obstacle for Bellflower businessmen who want to penetrate certain markets. . . ."

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