Thursday, August 21, 2008

Political Signs and Signs of Politics

Ward 1 Alderman Adella Gray says she will sponsor an amendment to the Fayetteville Sign Ordinance that would allow more than one political sign now allowed on a residential or commercial lot during the 60 days before an election. It could be voted on as soon as September 2.

"I just feel like if folks want to put more than one sign in their yard, then they ought to be allowed to," Gray said. "There are many, many elections that we want to put more than one sign in the yard, and I’m sure there are other folks in the city who want to do the same. They ought to be allowed to."

If Alderman Gray's amendment is enacted, it will mean that residents could have political yard signs for both Dan Coody and Matthew Petty. All other candidate signs would likely be declared in violation of the sign ordinance and taken down by City Code Enforcement as they are now. Alderman Gray's amendment cannot stop the incumbent's attempted suppression of opposition, and Gray admits, "I know lots of places where there were bunches of signs and nothing was done about it."

In the last two mayoral elections of 2000 and 2004, I had a yard sign supporting Dan Coody. This year I had a political sign for another candidate in the same spot in my yard. City employees took it down and slapped a sticker on it explaining that it was too close to the curb in violation of the city sign ordinance. I still see Coody and Petty yard signs in my neighbors' yards that are closer to the street and have been allowed to remain unmolested.

Allowing more than one political sign per home or business is a fine idea. Sending out city employees to take down the signs supporting particular candidates is selective enforcement, and it is a shameful abuse of power by the current mayor and his tax-paid toadies.

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