2010-08-27 / Letters

Sign ordinance is bad for democracy

In 2006, the city of Simi Valley enacted a city ordinance prohibiting the placement of temporary signs, including pre-election political signs, in the public right of way.

Yet the ordinance justification offered no proof of hazard existing in the city.

The only proof of justification stated within the ordinance concerned aesthetics.

The ordinance states, “Prior to the adoption of the ordinance, the city of Simi Valley has permitted temporary signs in the public right of way, which has resulted in substantial unsightly conditions, as illustrated in evidence presented to the City Council during its consideration of this ordinance.”

The ordinance further states, “A limitation on temporary sign display is directly related to the objective of aesthetics.”

It goes without saying that a sitting member of the City Council enjoys a considerable political incumbent advantage over an election challenger. That advantage is the result of name recognition and opportunities to interact with the residents and business community in the course of conducting city business.

One of the main mechanisms to gain name recognition is the time-honored tradition of posting temporary political signs in advance of an election. There is no greater venue for political signs than the public right of way.

By improving the “aesthetics” of the city and forbidding the posting of political signs on the public right of way, the council voted a political advantage for themselves.

Limiting candidate free speech robs the public of the opportunity to learn about their prospective city leaders.

City Council challenger Keith Mashburn wants to amend the city sign ordinance to correct the political injustice. Vote for Keith Mashburn, a man of integrity.
Paul Coambs
Simi Valley

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