Candidates should follow law on political sign placement

To the Editor:

I recently concluded attendance at the Cleveland Heights Citizen’s Police Academy. What a wonderful learning opportunity this experience was. My mind was stretched as I gained an understanding of the work of our police department.

At the first class of the academy, we were taught the definition of “crime.” A crime is anything that breaks a law. Things are legal or they are not legal, based on statutes in the criminal code and ordinances.

Citizens are held to the standard of following laws. One does not need to know specific legality of an issue to be required to obey all laws. Laws are created in
response to a specific situation. Once a law is written, compliance is mandatory.

This brings me to the issue of political signs in Cleveland Heights. The statute addressing temporary signs states in part “. . . All yard signs must be placed parallel to the street adjoining the yard upon which they are placed and must be set back at least 20 feet from the nearest edge of the sidewalk . . .”

At every election cycle, people post yards signs in positions that are illegal. While candidates cannot have absolute control over the placement by their supporters, the supporters should be informed when the signs are distributed by candidates.

Some candidates opt to have their signs printed with their message on only one face of their yard sign. This obviously encourages supporters, even those without knowledge of the statute, to put the message in a position parallel to the street. I would expect this type of forethought by all candidates. I conclude Cleveland Heights candidates with printing on both sides of the sign either are ignorant of the statute or encourage this statute to be ignored, showing disregard for the law of our community.

Candidates, especially candidates currently holding positions within our city government, ought to be aware of the law concerning the proper placement of yard signs. This group must have working knowledge of city laws and be in full compliance to all laws. It logically can be assumed that persons in these held positions would have knowledge of our community laws and statutes. This is a reasonable expectation of the persons working for the city.

I cannot help but conclude that an incumbent official of our city [who] may be willing to bend rules and break laws to retain their position might be willing to break other laws.

Louise Barmann

Louise Barmann
Cleveland Heights

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:16 PM, 10.26.2015