With summer at an end, I have a final post about the ban on for sale signs in a Chicago suburb. (You can read the others here, here and here.) In this last post, I offer some observations about how community norms and identity play a role in perpetuating the ban.
In prior posts, I’ve written that many in the Village are unaware of how problematic the ordinance is under the First Amendment. But some residents undoubtedly know, either because of their own familiarity with constitutional law or because the issue is occasionally raised in the opinion section of the local paper or on local blogs. Political will to change the ordinance, however, seems close to non-existent.
This lack of will may partly reflect the political reality within the Village. The same political organization has been in control for more than thirty years and its candidates almost invariably support the Village’s integration policies, which include the ban. Some residents probably also appreciate the aesthetic effects of the ordinance, because the lack of signage makes the Village prettier than it otherwise would be. Other residents may feel that the issue doesn’t warrant action, either because they are already inclined to use a realtor to sell their house or because the inability to use a sign does not deter them from entering the for-sale-by-owner market. I also suspect, however, that some residents who are aware of the constitutional issue would describe themselves as trading freedom of speech for integration. Read More