Campaign Sign Restrictions?
The Blue Lake Casino poll (on right side of page) up on the KIEM TV web site asks whether there should be restrictions on the time campaign signs can be displayed. As I write this 90% of those voting chose Yes. I actually voted Yes, too, but with reservations, and I don't know that I'd want a rule like that actually enforced.
Campaign signs, as annoying as I find them to be sometimes, seem to me to be a fundamental form of free speech. I don't like the idea of any restrictions on them, so long as they're not obstructing traffic views or anything along that line. I don't like the idea of an enforceable ordinance where people could be sanctioned in some way for making their views known.
However, I don't mind a community consensus as to how long we feel like subjecting ourselves to campaign signs- call it an agreement on politeness, if you will. After all, those signs are almost akin to yelling at someone as they're passing by, "VOTE FOR ************!". At least that's the way they strike me.
Community consensus- perhaps even embodied in a city ordinance- I have no problem with. Just don't enforce it.
I believe in Eureka the consensus is that signs can be placed out 45 days(?) prior to election. Seems fair enough to me, although I'd prefer it more like a month prior. No biggie, especially since the signs can't all be put out overnight so they need some extra time.
I noticed a Virgina Bass sign across the street beginning a week or two ago. Too early for me. But I plan on having one in my yard, too. Just not yet. I e-mailed the Bass campaign yesterday and they asked if I'd mind a sign in my yard. I told them to bring one by but I wouldn't put it out in my yard until late April or early May- around a month before the election. I'm funny like that.
Oh, and the signs come down as soon as the polls close. I make a point out of that, as well. Every election I go out at 7 or 8pm and take down my signs, and those across the street. I hope you'll all do the same.
I do recall years ago when Jeff Smith ran for a seat on the Eureka City Council. I didn't make a formal count of his signs, but it seemed to me he easily had the most yard signs out. He came in third in a three way race.