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SIGNS: Help your favorite candidates

| April 25, 2010 10:00 PM

Political signs are the life blood of any political campaign. During the campaign signs spring up all over the county. While some consider them to be unsightly, they are one of the cheapest ways to get out the word that you are running for office. Some settlements do not permit any political signs, which violates the spirit of the First Amendment, and is very short-sighted. They ought to at least have a spot at the entry to the tract where residents can put up signs.

In Idaho signs may only be placed on private property, off the right of way (behind the sidewalk) and then only with the permission of the homeowner. No sign may be placed on public property any place in Idaho. In the City of Coeur d’Alene they used to require permission in writing, but that was changed to allow for a phone call or other personal contact to gain permission.

It takes many hours to contact residents and obtain permission to place campaign signs. Going door to door and asking each resident is a daunting task. Then, even later calling to confirm that it is still okay is a big task. That is why it was such a discouragement when certain incumbents running for school board in SD 271 placed their signs willy nilly in prime locations and without permission of the adjacent property owners. They insisted they did not know this was a violation of the city ordinance, but the signs were placed late on Friday so that it was too late to contact the city clerk, and when the police department was informed they refused to enforce the law, deferring to the clerk, who would not be available until Monday morning. This was a great discouragement to us, and in one case, where the vote was close (7 votes) it probably meant that the wrong person won the election.

America has one of the best election systems in the world, but unless we police one another there will continue to be abuses. Taking time to get permission seems like a waste of valuable time, but it is reasonable and necessary. If you favor a particular candidate take a few minutes to call and ask for a political sign. It is probably one of the best ways to show your support.

JIM HOLLINGSWORTH

Coeur d’Alene

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