The City's Going to Crack Down on Campaign Signs Planted on Public Property This Election

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I was on the City Secretary Office's website looking for something the other day when I noticed a new addition in bright red letters: "NOTICE: PROHIBITION OF ADVERTISING ON PUBLIC PROPERTY." It goes on to quote Section 3-1(a) of the Dallas City Code, which says that it's ...
"... unlawful for any person to...paste, stick,...or place any advertisement, handbill, placard, or any printed, pictured or written matter or thing, for advertising purposes, upon any...public property, or to knowingly permit the same to be done for his benefit."
The oh-no-you-don't goes on to say that "City staff will be strictly enforcing the prohibition of advertisements on public property," referring to campaign signs stuck in front of public schools, rec centers, libraries and any other government building in which voting is taking place, early or day-of. If someone from the city espies a sign, it'll get yanked and tossed by code compliance. And that, as they say, is that.

I called City Secretary Deborah Watkins to make sure I hadn't somehow missed this warning in years past. Nope, she said, not at all: "The provision is not new. But it's the first time it's been posted on our website."

Why now?

Says Watkins, the city is "enforcing it very strongly this time, more than in the past, because we'd gotten a lot of inquiries during the November election. A lot of the candidates were fussing about each side having more signs than the other, and we said, 'Well, nobody's supposed to have signs posted.' So that's why it's there." She laughs. "We're kinda of doing our job."

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16 comments
scottindallas
scottindallas

"it'll get yanked and tossed by code compliance."

I haven't seen those guys lift anything more than a pen. That sounds overly simple to me.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Deborah Watkins is not telling you the full truth. Do an open records request and you will find that two City Councilmembers recently pressured her to post this notice.

I'm told by a Council staff person that one of those was Dave Neumann.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Just like they do on regular illegal signs posted on public property? Where the city goes around and slices them into parts and leaves them En Soto? We still have a Christmas Lights sign hanging on a telephone pole from 3 years ago in my hood. How about picking up the sign and fining the candidate $50.00 for each illegal sign? “Ohhhhhh we can't do that we are soooooo inept! Even though we can’t live within our income of 2.75 BILLION DOLLARS”.

Granny
Granny

Thank you, Jesus.

City Secretary
City Secretary

QUOTING - "Says Watkins, the city is "enforcing it very strongly this time, more than in the past, because we'd gotten a lot of inquiries during the November election. A lot of the candidates were fussing about each side having more signs than the other, and we said, 'Well, nobody's supposed to have signs posted.' So that's why it's there." She laughs. "We're kinda of doing our job."

So if WATKINS is doing HER job while her son is out on the campaign stump pushing Rawlings signs in the hands of anyone who can fog up a mirror, then just what part of her job as City Secretary lets her have an opinion in who her next boss will be??? Who's enforcing her impartiality in the election??? Or is Rawlings just sucking up to Watkins because he has the money to do it so well?

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

I think that the city needs to come to Oak Cliff and South Dallas and pick up all of these Kunkle and Natinsky signs in vacant and empty lots before they go messing with polling locations...

Mark Anthony Dallas
Mark Anthony Dallas

At the forums I have attended in North Dallas, Natinsky looks like he's just going through the motions of running for Mayor.

He had no idea there would be any opposition to his being elected Mayor once Leppert moved on; Kunkle and Rawlings in their own ways have eaten his lunch and handed the plate back to him.

Having to loan himself $250k to get through the campaign is not a good sign when Carol Reed (oops her daughter) is the one managing the campaign - are they really expecting to get paid??

Natinsky is a RHINO - republican in name only. Actually, as many times as he's been to China on the city's dime, he would be better labeled as a 犀牛 rhino in chinese

Herman Muenster
Herman Muenster

I question the effectiveness of campaign signs and the visual blight, but I gotta say the sign clutter sure makes it easy to know when you've reached your polling place.

Geez
Geez

Apparently this was discussed by the Dallas City Council in closed executive session about a month ago. I question the timing of such a decision just before a major election and I wonder how current council member and mayoral candidate Ron Natinsky voted.

Signs at early voting and election day locations - even if on city property - have always been allowed as part of the political process. Political sign restrictions have the effect of favoring incumbents over challengers, since one of the major obstacles for any challenger in a political campaign is name recognition and signs are an inexpensive way of creating awareness.

Is this a another insider deal to help Natinsky? No signs, loosen ethics rules, give tax breaks to his own campaign treasurers' employer . . . all happily voted upon by his fellow council members who endorsed him for mayor. Geez.

Mark Anthony Dallas
Mark Anthony Dallas

And what about the Rawlings signs - you gonna let them just sit there alone?

Mark Anthony Dallas
Mark Anthony Dallas

For those who doubt the RHINO RON label, here's a doc circulated to Republican precinct chairs earlier this week, supposed to be from tea party folks who can't stand Ron either

Ron Natinsky: Fiscal Conservative Republican or RINO?

http://www.scribd.com/doc/5416...

stupidisasstupiddoes
stupidisasstupiddoes

Natinsky signs are all over highway medians in South Dallas..... right next to a whole bunch of Carolyn Davis signs!

NOTinsky
NOTinsky

Supposed Republican - and millionaire - Ron Natinsky only political contribution was for $250 to John Carona in 2006 (Texas Ethics Commission reports), OpenSecrets show no federal contributions at all. According to many Republican activists, they have never seen him volunteer for any candidate. RINO is giving him more than he deserves.

I hope my fellow GOP'ers will see they have been fooled. Especially by the heir-apparent to Neerman - Deb George-whatever who did a ROBO call for Natinsky against Kunkle. If she is fooled this easily, bye-bye-GOP.

Phelps
Phelps

I wasn't aware that city elections are divided by party affiliation.

It's a convenient conceit in Dallas, and keeping up the facade favors Democrats.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I wasn't aware that city elections are divided by party affiliation.

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