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North Hollywood : Garage Sale Signs Put Woman in Fine Fix

Norma Boudreaux didn’t know it was illegal. She was just trying to raise money for the Lowman Special Education Center, a public school for disabled children in North Hollywood.

The city slapped her with a $205.40 fine for putting garage sale signs on city lamp posts--nevermind that proceeds from the sale went to the school.

“We had the sale back in June to help the school raise money to build a new playground,” said Boudreaux, whose daughter, Christhi, has cerebral palsy.

About 275 severely mentally and physically disabled children attend the school, located on Saticoy Street. In October, the school was hit by vandals who stole equipment, smashed windows and ruined other property.

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The garage sale organized by Boudreaux was a big success. Many items were left over, so Boudreaux and a friend offered to continue selling them from a house in North Hollywood. She put up signs on lampposts directing people to the sale.

A few weeks later, she was fined by the city’s street use inspection division.

“I called the lady at the city and said: ‘Why don’t you just give me a warning? I won’t do it again,’ ” Boudreaux said. “I told her she could put me in her computer and fine me if I do it again. I told her I could prove that it was for the school. She said it didn’t matter.”

An official from the city’s Department of Public Works said people should know that it is illegal to place signs on public property, including sidewalks, medians, lampposts.

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“Some people think our inspectors don’t work on the weekends, so they can get away with putting up lots of garage sale signs. But they do work on weekends, sometimes,” the official said.

Boudreaux said she was reluctant to tell anyone about the fine, but a friend mentioned it to officials at the school, and teachers, parents and other friends of the school pitched in to help her pay the fine.


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