Sign Language Ordinance Too Hot to Handle

Tuesday, 20 Aug 2013 05:59 PM

By Michael Reagan

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I don’t know if my home state of California has a monopoly on stories like this, but we certainly have more than our share. The city council in Monterey Park has decided to meddle in what type of signs should be posted at business locations.

The rule under consideration would force businesses to put up at least one sign that uses the “modern Latin alphabet.” This is a clever politician’s way of dodging another form of illegality — requiring signs in English. Monterey Park is 48 percent Chinese and it seems that some stores use only Chinese characters in business signage, which is somehow an affront to council members.

They want signs in English and, like leftists around the world; the council intends to use the coercive power of the state to enforce its whims. Unfortunately, the country has been here before and the ordinance violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Earlier anti–smoking fanatics at the FDA attempted to force tobacco companies to print lurid photos of cancer–ridden smokers on the outside of cigarette packaging. The idea was any photo that caused a potential customer to vomit was probably a photo that would prevent a sale.

The courts didn’t rule on the regulator’s anti–market strategy, but the judges did find the overall rule unconstitutional. It’s obvious the same precedent will apply to the Monterey Park fatwa.

Like much leftist social engineering this ordinance is an ugly combination of control and irrelevance. The council claims the rule will promote economic development, public safety and public discussion.

Well, this column proves they’re right about discussion, but that’s all that’s correct. The one time bump in sign maker’s revenue sounds suspiciously like an Obama stimulus package.

As for promoting public safety by allowing police and fire to locate a business, most cities already have a successful program that does just this: It’s called an address and the technique uses a combination of Arabic numbers and city street names.

Economic development will take care of itself, if the nosey parkers at the council will leave the market alone.

If a business can prosper by excluding non–Chinese readers, then more power to it. People like me will shop elsewhere. If the business can’t prosper, it won’t be in business long and the next entrepreneur can choose a more successful business model.

If the council insists on passing the legislation, I suggest business owners show their displeasure by using the “modern Latin alphabet” to post a sign in Spanish.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and Chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is a in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Click Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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