Shop Owner Fed Up After Officials Target Him for Obstructing the Sidewalk

( – Los Angeles officials are waging a campaign against a business owner for allegedly obstructing the sidewalk. The victim, who owns a store, says he’s being persecuted over a small sign and an American flag. Meanwhile, nearby homeless encampments are ignored.

Officials Launch Code Crackdown

Arik Air owns Motostyles, a store in the Granada Hills area of Los Angeles that sells motorbike accessories and hobby supplies. Like many store owners, when he’s open, he puts an A-frame sign on the sidewalk outside to attract customers, and as a patriotic businessman, he also displays a US flag on the wall of his store. There’s nothing about his store that sets it apart from thousands of other small businesses across America — but LA’s code enforcement officers have him squarely in their sights.

On July 12, Air told journalists that he’s been having problems with city officials since “kind of forever.” He says it started when he got a ticket for the US flag on a small pole fixed to the front wall of his store. A code enforcer cited him for displaying “flag banners” and fined him $461. Now they’ve switched their attention to the sign out front.

Air says that, in June, he was contacted five times about the foldable display; four times, officials called at the store in person, and for the fifth, they asked him to text a photo of the sign to show it complied with the law. Air insists that it does; his store is set back slightly from the sidewalk, and he says a land survey proves the sign is standing on his land. However, officials have repeatedly asked him to move it one inch closer to the wall so it isn’t on what they claim is city property. Photos of the sign show it’s clearly off the sidewalk and not causing an obstruction — but the visits keep coming.

Homeless Camps Get Ignored

Meanwhile, homeless encampments continue to pop up all over LA — and city officials do nothing. Residents are forced to weave through clusters of dirty tents that block sidewalks, running a gauntlet of homeless people who are often addicts or mentally ill. At the same time, business owners feel increasingly unsafe as crime rises.

Fox News reported about one woman who recently decided to close her five beauty stores after a series of break-ins. Police have only caught one suspect for a total of 12 robberies, one of which saw owner Evette Ingram threatened with a knife.

Businesses are being left to fend for themselves in California’s homelessness and crime epidemic, while officials add insult to injury by persecuting them for alleged trivial violations.

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