Garage Sale Ordinance Strikes The Right Balance

I’d like to provide a counter-point to Matt Cunningham’s criticism of the new garage sale ordinance. Local governments have a great deal of leeway in dealing with public nuisances and upholding community standards. Enacting a limitation on outdoor neighborhood activities like garage sales, the Anaheim City Council acted within its legitimate powers.

The purpose of the ordinance isn’t to limit the freedom of residents. It doesn’t,  in my opinion, limit anyone’s freedom in a meaningful way. It is a response to concerns expressed by residents over those who are running thrift stores on their lawns. They are eyesores and can impact property values. It’s a case of their rights colliding with the rights of their neighbors, and finding a middle ground that accommodates both. The fact that this divided council approved it unanimously says a lot.

This council or future councils are free to make adjustments in the ordinance as experience and circumstances, informed by feedback from residents and enforcement officers, dictate. Let’s save the homilies on liberty for issues where that is really what is at stake.

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