Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Where are all the political signs?

Get out your measuring tape.

Even though Denver is at the center of a battleground state, so far the war of the words has yet to land on many front lawns.

And the lack of political shout-outs is surprising, because this summer, the city quietly changed the rules to allow for more election signs. Under Section 59-537 (9) of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, homes and businesses were limited to "one sign per candidate or issue per street frontage" -- which meant that houses on corners, but only houses on corners, could put up two signs per candidate or issue, while the rest were limited to one.

But to bring the city code in alignment with more generous federal free-speech rules, you can now post as many election signs as you want, so long as you follow the rest of the regulations: Election signs are not allowed on the public right of way (basically, within three feet of the curb or sidewalk), can be no more than six feet above grade, must not be illuminated or animated, and should be no more than eight square feet.

For a case study on what happens when a sign for Barack Obama gets too big, see my October 2 column. -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun