Sign Victory


It looks like Dennis Ballen, proprietor of Blazing Bagels in Redmond, Washington, is going to prevail in his First Amendment challenge to the city's sign regulations. Concluding that Ballen (represented by the Institute for Justice) is likely to win the case, a federal judge this week enjoined the city from enforcing its ban on portable signs like the one Ballen has used to attract customers ("Fresh Bagels–Now Open").

The judge concluded there is little sense to the ban, which "distinguishes between different types of commercial portable signs (e.g., allowing real estate signs while banning other commercial signs including the disputed bagel signs) and between commercial and non-commercial portable signs (e.g., allowing political signs while banning bagel signs)." He noted "there is no evidence in the record that the banned signs are less aesthetically appealing or more harmful to traffic and pedestrian safety than the permitted signs." Hence the ordinance "is more extensive than necessary and not narrowly tailored to the City's interests because the City could have possibly implemented reasonable content-neutral time, place and manner regulations, such as those the City has implemented for real estate signs, for all portable signs."