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Lake Forest

March 09, 2000|Alex Katz, (949) 574-4206

The city's yearlong battle to remove half a dozen illegal balloons from "balloon lady" Marlene Sicari's shop escalated when city officials threatened Sicari's landlord with legal action. Jennifer Peat, manager of the Twin Peaks Plaza on El Toro Road, faces up to a $1,000 fine or six months in prison if the balloons aren't gone by today, according to the city's notice.

Sicari received notices last December and last week notifying her that the balloons violate a little-known city code. She protested each notice by tying hundreds of floating balloons throughout the plaza. Sicari said she's had balloons around her door for 18 years.

"Not only are the [plaza's] tenants not complaining, they all back her," Peat said. But "I have to ask her to take them down," Peat said. "The city's putting a gun to my head; what else can I do?" City officials did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

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