Monday, June 09, 2008

State Court Foolishly Upholds Sign Pollution

I think political signs are huge waste of time and a ugly blight on our landscape.

We traveled to Italy this spring to visit my number 1 daughter in Ferrara and I discovered that the Italians have tamed these ugly beasts quite well by insisting that all political signs be posted together in common areas.

In Italy, political campaigns must use the sign boards conveniently placed around town like you see in this photo on the left. The sign boards are only available during the election season. (Please click on any photo to enlarge.)

Today I read that we will never be able to control these signs in Maryland because U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has struck down a Baltimore County law restricting political signs, deciding that time limits violate free speech. She issued a written opinion on a suit brought by the ACLU on behalf of three former candidates and four Baltimore County residents who wanted to place political signs in their yards outside of the permitted dates.

By the way, below is a picture of candidate's sign from Ferrara, Italy, that sounds strangely familiar? Anybody ever hear of this guy before?


Karl Brendle said...

I understand your concern over political signs, The City does not enforce timing regulations for political signs that are placed on PRIVATE property. They are still PROHIBITED at all times on streets and other public right-ways!

johnny g. said...

did #1 daughter spy any Rosapeppe signs?

Rick Wilson said...

Karl: I know the city does all it can. A few weeks before an election is more than enough. As a recovering politician, I put up a few signs in my day. They do serve a useful purpose. Your department does a very good job keeping enforcing the law.

Johnny G.: During his most recent election, my Number 1 daughter worked for Senator Rosapepe stuffing envelopes and organizing grass rooters. At that time, she did not take too kindly to my incessant complaining about the green sign plague emanating from her campaign. She will not be too happy with my asking her if she pasted any Rosapepe signs in Ferrara. But since you asked instead of me, maybe she will let us know in a comment.

Rick Wilson said...

Posted for Delegate Ben Barnes


I can't say I agree with you on this one. To me, nothing is more fundamentally American than the right of a citizen to voice his or her support or opposition for a candidate or a cause at a time of their choosing on private property.

I have campaigned across the east coast for varrying candidates and nothing is more thrilling than going into a neighborhood on a crisp fall day and seeing an energized electorate not only making their voice heard with their vote, but also by posting and showing their support on their private property (which is what this case deals with).

Certainly there are legitimate constitutional restrictions on the rights of candidates to post on public property. Indeed this is usually restricted by most governments. Itally seems to allow for some posting on public property, which is fine and we could certainly also do that here. But not in place of a private citizens right to post on his or her private property. This right is part of who we are, part of our history and is a vital component to our demacracy. Any bit of annoyance I feel based on how ugly these things can be, it is more than made up for by how proud I am to see people expressing their opinions and of our democracy in action!

ps - Thanks again for your blog, I always enjoy it!

oh feel free to post this response if you wish...

#1 daughter said...

No Rosapepe signs as of yet, but I'm still getting emails from his PR person, so maybe there's a Mediterranean campaign in the mix. Will keep you posted.