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Arcadia : Asian Group Hits Sign Law

An Asian civil rights organization that has pressured other San Gabriel Valley cities over laws restricting foreign characters on business signs is targeting Arcadia.

City officials have not responded to letters asking them to rescind an ordinance requiring that two-thirds of all business signs be printed in English, said Dennis Murphy, an attorney for the Los Angeles-based Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

“We feel we’re being harassed by people outside the community,” said Arcadia Councilman Robert Harbicht. He said the council had decided not to change its ordinance.

Last year, a Pomona ordinance requiring that business signs with foreign characters devote 50% of their space to English characters was struck down when a federal judge ruled it restricted free speech and discriminated on the basis of national origin.

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Similar laws were amended in Rosemead and are under review in Temple City after pressure from the legal center.


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