FREE SPEECH -- The Los Angeles Times reports that the city may start cracking down on the impromptu, do-it-yourself used car lots that have sprung up along some streets, raising the ire of nearby residents who find them a more common sight in these tough economic times.

A City Council committee created a task force Wednesday to consider ways to restrict vehicle owners from selling their cars the cheap and easy way, by slapping "For Sale" signs in the windows and parking them on major thoroughfares and neighborhood streets.
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    The council instructed the task force to consider adopting restrictions similar to those imposed in Lawndale in November. That city limits the time owners can park a for-sale vehicle on major city streets to four consecutive hours. There are no time limits for vehicles parked within 500 feet of the owner's residence, however.
    Peter Eliasberg of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said the Lawndale law raises serious constitutional issues because, instead of regulating parking for all vehicles, it targets those with "For Sale" signs.
    The ACLU helped represent Edward Burkow in his successful court challenge of Los Angeles' ban on parking cars with "For Sale" signs on city streets in 2000. Burkow took the city to federal court after he received a $35 parking ticket in September 1999. A judge ruled in Burkow's favor, striking down the ordinance as an unconstitutional violation of free speech.