Legal Question in Business Law in California

My city council claims I, a small business owner, cannot pass out flyers in our city. These flyers advertise my new business. They were made of high quality paper through a leading printer and simply reads name of business email address and phone #. I provide transportation for our community and city officials use my service. I explained I will

follow up with pick up of any flyers left behind or tossed on ground so no littering wont be an issue. I was simply told NO! I have an investment in my advertising and just starting out. I feel this opposition is violating free enterprise to start with. I searched city ordinance and did not find any such ruling to support refusal by city personel.

Asked on 6/26/15, 4:09 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

You're thinking of fighting City Hall? Not wise, unless you're well armed. I suggest finding out who the city attorney is, then trying to get an appointment with him/her to discuss what's happened and to get some professional clarification on where the city council is coming from, whether there is some ordinance that controls the situation, etc. While there is some Constitutional protection for pamphleteering as an exercise of First Amendment free-speech rights, it doesn't extend very strongly to so-called commercial speech such as advertising. For a non-lawyer to conclude that there's no law prohibiting something (such as passing out handbills) is very risky; it can be an implied power of the council under some much more general ordinance.

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Answered on 6/26/15, 8:55 pm

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