Everybody knows this is an election year, and everybody knows that during election year political signs dot the landscape.
So-called yard signs play an important and necessary part in any political campaign, and we cherish the First Amendment right of candidates and their supporters to publicly express their political loyalty and views. They should be able to do so, with signs on their own property.
But in Claremore we have ordinances which regulate placement of advertising signs -- political or otherwise -- and candidates, their supporters, and other entities wishing to advertise with signs should be compelled to abide by these laws.
Nearly all cities of any size have such laws, and for the most part the laws are enforced. In Claremore, Ordinance No. 2000-17, Section 132-10, Advertising on Rights-of-Way, states:
“It is unlawful for any person firm or corporation to erect or display any advertising sign (political or otherwise) or advertising of any other character upon any public utility easement, street, alley, sidewalk, or any other public easement or public right of way, within the city.”
There is nothing in the language of this ordinance that is hard to understand. You simply are not allowed to advertise your candidate, your business, your opinion or anything else on city property.
The ordinance goes on to say that such signs “may be removed and destroyed by any person.”
Reasons for prohibiting signs on public property are obvious. First, no entity of government should be involved in any political campaign, and secondly, it becomes a matter of public safety when signs obstruct drivers’ view at intersections. Also, a clutter of signs along the right of way does little towards city beautification.
Finally, it’s not only political candidates who must follow sign ordinances, but also those advertising dating services, insurance, furniture rentals, mortgage rates, garage sales or any other event or sale.
In short, in Claremore private signs simply are not allowed on public property.