Collecting books is Richard Hopp’s passion. He never expected that to subject him to a fight with city hall.
But it did when the city of Los Angeles told him he had to have a permit as a “secondhand book dealer” to set up a buyer’s booth at local flea markets and swap meets. To make matters worse, a judge agreed.
In a published ruling released this week, a Los Angeles appellate court called that “absurd,” saying that someone who collects books for personal enjoyment is not a secondhand book dealer. The court called it “a matter of logic and common sense.”
Even lawyers purchasing a set of annotated California codes from a retiring attorney could run afoul of the city’s interpretation, the court said. “The ordinance cannot bear the weight of such an absurd result.”
Now, if Hopp’s buying booths become selling booths, the court said, L.A. might have a case.