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Long Beach Backs Down in Sign Dispute

March 20, 1988|CHRIS WOODYARD | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — A week after slapping a mayoral candidate with a violation notice, officials have backed down a little in their battle against illegal signs.

Luanne Pryor still must comply with the order to remove campaign signs from vacant residential property, city officials said.

But she will not have to pay a separate $80 fee for every sign posted on a vacant commercial lot, said Deputy City Atty. Arthur Honda. Instead, Pryor must pay $35 for a master permit that will cover all the signs.

Honda said a candidate must determine whether zoning of vacant property is residential or commercial and follow other requirements before posting a political sign.

Greg Hummel, vice president of the Covina company that posted the signs for Pryor, said he plans to fight the city if it continues to insist that the Pryor campaign remove signs from vacant residential property. Such laws, he said, have been found to violate the First Amendment's provision for freedom of speech.

"I don't care what the zoning is," Hummel said. "If it is not public property, the city cannot restrict the posting of a political sign in any way, shape or form."

Hummel also said the city should not be able to impose any fee and that he will contest another city law preventing the posting of political signs until 45 days before an election.

Pryor, a public relations executive who is one of nine candidates for mayor in the April 12 primary, was mailed the violation notice March 8 ordering her to bring the signs into compliance with the city law.

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