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Campaign signs need to be put in their place

Last week, 79-year-old Victor Anaya was questioned by police after a northwest Denver resident said he'd seen Anaya pulling up campaign signs. And, in fact, when police looked inside Anaya's van, which they'd stopped near the 1900 block of Lowell, they found dozens of signs that had been on private property. At first Anaya said he thought the election was over and that someone had paid him $20 to take the signs. But he later told police that he just doesn't like the signs, says Denver Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson. "He said he didn't like the way they looked all over the place."

Can you blame him?

Although any election attracts a clutter of causes and candidates on front lawns, the sign-posting for mayoral and city council elections always seems more intense. Even worse — and illegal — is when gung-ho volunteers or canny pranksters plant signs up and down the medians of busy streets, in empty lots or in front of vacant buildings. "Denver prohibits the placement of signs in the public right-of-way," says Julius Zsako, the city's community and planning development spokesman. According to Denver Revised Municipal Code section 59-537(9), election signs are limited to private property, and then only with the owner's consent; election signs cannot be placed on the public right-of-way (which includes roadways, median strips, utility poles and boxes, and the lawn area in front of houses between curbs and sidewalks).

"In the twenty years I've been here, though, this is the best campaign I've seen in terms of placement," says Zsako, adding that most politicians understand the rules. "All in all, the folks running the campaigns have been good about not littering the median strips, which, fifteen to twenty years ago, was common."

Even so, last week dozens of signs — Ortega! Linkhart! Hancock! — were stuck in places they shouldn't have been. And more than twenty signs for mayoral write-in Marcus Giavanni appeared on medians along Colorado Boulevard and Monaco Parkway — placed there without his knowledge, the candidate insists. "You can't fight corruption if you are corrupt yourself," explains Giavanni, who calls himself a "disenfranchised voter" and says he's running in an effort to root out moneyed special interests and corrupt politics. Giavanni had petitioned to be on the ballot, but the Denver Clerk and Recorder's office rejected 176 of his 427 signatures, leaving him 124 short; Giavanni filed a complaint but has since withdrawn it.

"People from other campaigns don't want me," says Giavanni, adding that he is aware of the rules about campaign signs. "If they can get rid of those signs, they will."

The Giavanni signs were gone by this past Monday, as were many others that had been on public rights-of-way before the weekend. But Zsako doesn't know where they went. Although the city can remove illegally posted signs, his department hasn't conducted any sort of sweeps. "If our inspectors see something when they are out in a district, they'll call the campaign offices, but we had no special initiatives this weekend," he says. "People in the community pick up and call the campaign offices, as well. Residents appreciate the median strips and want to keep them nice. They are a real treasure in Denver."

Scene and herd: Former governor Bill Ritter has gone fishin' — and so has the painting of a fisherman that used to grace the governor's office in the State Capitol. It's just been replaced by a massive reproduction of a John Fielder photo of the Last Dollar Ranch near Ridgway, which Governor John Hickenlooper had been fishing for when he contacted the photographer shortly after his election and asked if Fielder had anything that might spruce up the place (Patricia Calhoun's "Photo Finish," March 3). Because the photo was so big, though, the wall had to be shored up in order to support it.

 
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8 comments
Dan
Dan

I think that candidates should have the opportunity to represent themselves and their campaigns through their campaign signs.

hoho11
hoho11

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KLF
KLF

Linkhart had signs on Alameda and Colorado on park property and in the median wit a sign against a car saying Honk for Linkhart and him on the NW corner waving to cars. Wow! A complete disregard for campaign rules. 5-2-11 5:30 pm

Seagirl 0907
Seagirl 0907

Signs are visual junk that should be banned anyway!

Donschlotte
Donschlotte

I live in the springs and there every where , all cluttered together its a mess . and there in front of feneral homes .That a disrespect to the dead, they should have limit on how many to put in aarea and where there putting then

ILLRefugee
ILLRefugee

Stories like this are a social barometer. If articles like "Sign Placement" are the headline it show that even the far...far left is living well, despite economic and social upheaval.

I do think its low to interfere with the voting process. America relies heavily on road side political signs to trigger election thoughts. Some chump with an axe to grind about how tacky, and yes they are tacky, political signs are has no place in America. A textbook act of terrorism. Doing harm to change the way a government operates and scare people from acting normally. The cold truth is if Americans fail to exercise their right to vote they are leaving their future in the hands of more motivated people with unknown agendas. GET OUT AND VOTE.

Vaghnchef
Vaghnchef

Are you f'n kidding me, an act of TERRORISM, you f'n Glen Beck wanna be psycho. Do I think it is wrong going around stealing/removing campaign signs, yes I do. But that is where it stops. You should go out and buy duck tape, a generator and a years worth of water and ammo so when the world ends next week, you'll be all set. YOU sir are the problem in this country. Did you analyse the color coded threat level today also? It's orange according to the computer voice at DIA so you better go in the corner and suck your thumb!

ILLRefugee
ILLRefugee

BooM! I just stole your sign! Social terrorism, theft with a political motive, or however you would care to categorize this strange problem is all the same. I steel your sign, sending you a message (a rather undemocratic and very impolite message), you stop putting up signs. I'm no doom sayer but if American citizens start f-ing with our right to vote and how we get the word out someone who was elected will use it as a platform... then we will all need generators and duct tape... Sucking my thumb in my bomb shelter...

 
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