by: Rachel Stockman Updated:
VILLA RICA, Ga. - City leaders tell Channel 2 Action News that a local business will face penalties for using so-called human signs to advertise.
The City of Villa Rica passed an ordinance to ban hand-held signs because of safety issues, but there is growing pressure to rescind the law.
"I just bought this location and I feel like if I don’t have my wavers. I will have to shut down this location,” said Derhan Horton, owner of Liberty Tax Service in Villa Rica.
Horton on Wednesday instructed his sign wavers to continue, after saying he got approval from Villa Rica Mayor J. Collins.
“We are a small town. In these economic times, if someone wants to hold up a sign, then 'hey, more power to them,” Collins told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.
Collins added that the ordinance also raises freedom of speech issues.
“We’ve had four or five near-miss accidents because of people like this waving signs,” said Verland Best, a Villa Rica council member who voted in favor of the ordinance.
When asked about the mayor’s statement, Best noted that the mayor doesn’t have a vote on the City Council.
On Wednesday, a city worker came to take a picture of the sign holders on South Carroll Road in Villa Rica. Best says they will face citations for holding the signs up.
“I haven’t been able to find work in a long time and it means a whole lot to me,” said Paul Westmoreland, a sign-waver.
Westmoreland says he doesn’t care if the city presses charges.
“I think I would ultimately have the law found unconstitutional,” said Westmoreland.
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