Permission for Campaign Signs

I’ve said before that I love campaign sign season. This election will probably undo that for me. This morning, a property owner was quoted saying this in a letter to the editor of the Ventura County Star:

As a property manager responsible for several shopping centers in Simi Valley, a situation has reached a point where I am obliged to inform the public of a wrongdoing and ask that a candidate cease an ongoing practice regarding political signs.

Mayoral candidate Bob Huber stated back in July that he was going to delay putting up political signs out of “respect for the community.” We find this statement somewhat ironic in that no respect for property owners is actually being displayed by Huber’s campaign, and his campaign workers have no respect for the city’s political sign regulations.

Under city regulations, candidates are supposed to obtain permission to place campaign signs on commercial property. Huber did not contact us to obtain permission, yet every day his signs are posted on our properties. You would think after 20 or more signs are removed, his campaign would attempt to call for permission. No call. No letter. No e-mail. No permission.

Read the article in its entirety by clicking here.

Several weeks ago, I read a letter in one of the newspapers from someone who felt his house had been TP’ed and vandalized because he had Huber for Mayor signs in his lawn, and he held Huber’s opponent responsible. Signs have been disappearing mysteriously throughout the past several months with plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle suggestions that the culprits are connected to opposing campaigns. Most people, including myself, have taken those suggestions at face value, but this letter suggests signs might be disappearing for other reasons.

68 thoughts on “Permission for Campaign Signs

  1. I agree with the letter writer. It shows absolutely no respect for the property owner, or for the community. Stop popping signs all over the place without permission!

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  2. Tenants have a right to place signs in their windows. They do not have the right to place signs on the property such as out on the corner. And 20 times? C’mon, Soldierman, this is egregious. I’m seeing Huber signs illegally in parkways along Royal, all over the place where they’re not supposed to be. Just stop putting signs up illegally and be done with it. “Out of respect for the community” MY ASS.

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  3. I’m just happy to see that someone solved the mysterious case of “all the disappearing signs.” Who would have thought that it was just property owners taking down signs that were put on their land without permission?

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  4. Well this letter to the Star sure explains alot.
    It is obvious this property manager is an incumbent supporter and as I have brought some situations involving some illegalities with the Yosemite and L.A. Avenue property to the attention of both the city and a council member, I now understand why NOTHING has been done and it has repeatedly been swept under the rug.

    MIKE,
    Why did you remove the thread about the Royal High incident where Huber was denied an ad but Sojka was approved for a political ad?
    You haven’t had any personal visits from the incumbents that might have swayed your reporting of this injustice, have you?

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  5. The statement posted above, “Huber was denied an ad but Sojka was approved for a political ad?” is erroneous and needs to be deleted.

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  6. Puhleeze!
    There is an awful lot of whining and disrupt coming from Camp Huber. Isn’t this how you ran our City before Bob?

    All candidates in this election cycle have had their signs stolen, broken or mangled. supporters for candidates other than Huber have had their cars vandalized. Heck, there are actual candidates who’ve had their homes TP’d, and believe it or not had the peace of their home violated by the POA – and we don’t hear a goldurn thing – why is it when this happens to an SOB (Supporter of Bob), it’s news?

    Calling you out Bob Huber- quit your whining, pointing fingers and seeking people to blame, sue and intimidate. Man up and show the people of Simi Valley true leadership – if that is within your character.

    No tantrums, no whining, no public beat downs or berating your detractors. No pouting and no lawsuit intimidation games. Just enlighten us Bob – how do you plan to improve the quality of life for those of us in Simi Valley?

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  7. Why Now – just slightly off topic… but you do bring out a valid point. When the sign campaign first started one candidate was vilified for putting his signs around town – and there did seem to be a lot of vocalizing coming from Huber supporters. Now these very same folks are plastering every nook and cranny in Simi Valley with their signs? I’ll just be glad when this is all over.

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  8. Regardless of who you are for, unless you don’t want to be fair and do the right thing, you should understand that the correct thing to do if there is a sign placed on your property is to either call the campaign or call Simi Valley Code Enforcement. If you call Code Enforcement, they will contact the campaign and verify that permission was granted and if not, then deal with it. Just removing the signs is wrong and could be illegal under several laws (it could be considered theft as the signs are not free). Also, it does not solve anything to just remove the signs, unless you know that someone gave permission and you don’t like that.

    Some property owners don’t understand that if they lease their property that the tenants have rights.

    I have to wonder what the reaction would be if it was reversed. It seems to be that many people are a bit hypocritical when it comes to campaign issues and their response really depends on who they are for and who things are happening to. It would be nice if people could try to be far more objective.

    Can anyone explain why they think that it is right to just remove the signs rather than correctly reporting it and actually getting the whole issue resolved?

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  9. Ken, if someone sticks something in my front lawn without asking, I’m taking it down and throwing it away. It probably will not matter what it says. It’s going to piss me off.

    Let’s go to your house right now and stick a sign in your lawn that says “Dicks rule!” You can leave it there while you wait for Code Enforcement to come and get it. Or, leave it there as long as you want in the name of free speech.

    This whole matter is an assault on property owner rights.

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  10. Interesting, Exercise Constitutional Caution, those cases involve the gathering of signature petitions or dissemination of leaflets. It looks like by students. Hardly apples and oranges.

    Think BROADLY. This involves respecting and supporting a local business owner. Does this candidate respect this local business owner? A major point of political signs is for a property owner or private resident to indicate their support for a candidate. The more signs a candidate has securely and legally placed, the more people and property owners support that person.

    A sign sitting on a property without consent is litter. It is no different than the signs we’ve seen in recent years peppered all over town about the singles parties, or the handyman. They were illegal, illegally placed, and were taken down.

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  11. Not an Injustice

    You say my statement about Sojka’s political ad at Royal is “erroneous and needs to be removed”. Why is that?
    Did you know the school board is investigating this incident?
    Seems someone related to Mr. Sojka is on the board at Royal that approves, or denies, such ads.
    This information is common knowledge throughout Simi valley as I have heard this same information from several members of the community in the last few days.

    CHECK IT OUT

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  12. Mike, I think just Jackie told you about it! LOL! Thats what I heard buddy. Thats not really several community members is it? LOL!! Shouldnt you be working right now?

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  13. As candidate for School Board here in Simi Valley, I too have had a lot of my precious few signs disappear.
    In a letter I received from Samantha Argabrite, Elections Coordinator City of Simi Valley, the city’s policy is:

    “Signs placed on commercial private property or residential vacant lots are required to have property owner or leaseholder permission…”

    As a non-incumbent, I have had great difficulty reaching property owners to obtain permission. After leaving multiple phone messages, I finally approach the leaseholders and obtain their permission to post my signs. I am very grateful to these leaseholders and know the other candidates are as well. Yet, even with permission, my signs vanish. We are all having difficulty. I ask any property owner who does not want my sign to take it down, and call me to pick it up. My phone number is on the sign. I would be happy to remove them for you and would appreciate the ability to place my signs in other places where I have obtained leaseholder permission.

    Thank you leaseholders!

    Josie Hirsch

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  14. Why is it always the source that gets attacked, and not the content? Guy has to go out every single day and pull litter from his property, day after day after day, and now we’re getting conspiracy theories posted.

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  15. Perhaps the leaseholders should read their lease agreements closely. They are probably free to stick a sign in their window. Besides, whether or not that is involved in this matter has not even been established. All this speculation, and so quickly.

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  16. Now these very same folks are plastering every nook and cranny in Simi Valley with their signs? I’ll just be glad when this is all over.
    Stephen……just think what our town would look like if they could place them in the public right of way!!

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  17. I think it’s just a lack of understanding by those placing them, which could be people not even associated with the campaigns, just supporters. Then they assume their signs are being stolen, so they go and replace them.

    I too am glad when this will be all over. The signs are way too much. It’s insane.

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  18. Everyone who has ever been a candidate for office all come to realize that the disappearance of political signs is part of the process. It happens. It is going to continue to happen…move on. 🙂

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  19. An article will be appearing in the Ventura County Star’s Letter to the Editor addressing this issue. Obviously you dont have the full and correct story so you go off half baked once again and start printing things that are not even cluse to being true and in fact border on defamation / libel

    My advice is that if you have no idea what you’re talking about keep your hands off the keyboard until you do!

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  20. Huber was set up. Come on, this guy was President of the Chamber of Commerce. Of course he supports businesses. More than likely he got permission from the major tenant and thought that was enough. The Griffin worker used this mistake to sting him in the press. These things happen and big boys get burned from time to time. Score one for Sojka. What goes around, comes around. As Barbra said, move on!

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  21. It is obvious the sign ordinance is not working. ALL candidates are guilty of contributing to a visual nuisance within our city. There are even reports of candidates turning each other into code enforcement for minor sign violations. If this is the case, how petty! The voters of this city deserve to learn about all candidates in a mature manner.

    The current council has ignored cries for a change in the sign ordinance and after years in office, have chosen to abandon their leadership roles. They are nothing more than part of the problem. This campaign cycle is coming to a close so any reform at this time is not possible.

    In the interest of protecting the citizens of this city from future, visual attacks that they are currently experiencing, I would like to present the following suggestions for discussion.

    Have the city designate, city public right-of-ways, on major thoroughfares, where campaign signs may be placed.

    Limit the size and number of signs that can be placed on these city designated areas. If 100 signs are allowed, signs must be numbered 1 to 100.

    Limit the number of days campaign signs can be displayed to 60.

    Business owners may place signs within their business, or within 10‘ of the main entry to the business.

    Shopping centers will fall under the normal temporary sign ordinance and will be required to obtain a permit from city hall to display temporary campaign signs on their property.

    An unlimited number of residential properties may have signs

    The argument from the city that it is a safety issue regarding signs in public right-of-ways is simply a flawed argument and proven so by their own actions. For several months each year persons selling strawberries place signs in public right-of-ways and attach the homemade signs to light standards and utility poles. They then block the public right-of-way (actual sidewalks) with shade umbrellas and chairs. I attended the city council meeting where they decided to “Grandfather” the illegal strawberry sales businesses in. I never heard mention that they were exempt from the sign municipal code. If safety is such a concern, why is it that there is no enforcement of the blocking of the public-right-of-way?

    It is my goal to limit the visual impact on the citizens of this city to a reasonable time frame, and to limit the number of signs posted. Further, I think the above actions would reduce the cost to those running and may encourage more individuals to consider running for office.

    Lastly, and very important, this action would reduce the appearance of a conflict of interest between the candidates and developers as there would be city designated areas for all candidates to place their signs. The city would be neutral and include all official candidates in the designated areas.

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  22. Excellent point, Mr. Green.

    The concept of the city designating city public right-of-ways, on major thoroughfares, where campaign signs may be placed will not work, for the simple reason that every single campaign season candidates just ignore the law, just like they are now. I mean, there are Huber and Mashburn signs in public parkways right now (Royal west of Sequoia is an example). Why change the law?

    That’s not fair to the candidates who would abide by the 1-100 rule as outlined by Mr. Mashburn. Typically, once one or two candidates cheat, the cat’s out of the bag and it gets ugly.

    A major problem right now is candidates that ordered a ton of small signs fully understanding that they would lose a lot of them. The “stick them all over and force them to take them down; they can’t get them all and whatever they remove we’ll just replace” mentality. It happens every election. Actually typically it’s not the candidates, but overzealous supporters. But the candidates are responsible for stopping the practices.

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  23. Keith, the only cries about the sign ordinance are coming from the candidates. I have yet to hear one resident…who is not attached to anyone’s campaign, complain about the sign ordinance. So if you’re a resident, who is not involved with a campaign, it IS WORKING…BELIEVE ME! The only one who seems to be complaining about the sign ordinance seems to be you.

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  24. Political signs aside…I for one was happy for the sign ordinance…are we forgetting all the signs that were popping up for every everything imaginable..it was truly turning our city into a mess…has it affected me …yes…as a member of a service club and probably speaking for all service clubs it has made promoting ones annual fund raising events more difficult…but going back to signs covering every inch of our city is not something I am in favor of…

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  25. It does not matter how you change the ordinance. See previous post – no matter what you approve as the ordinance, as soon as one candidate cheats, all bets are off, mayhem ensues. Everything was orderly here in July and August, and then someone decided to start cheating and peppering the little signs into parkways and illegally onto chain-link fences. Change the ordinance all you want, some candidates will do the same thing in 2012.

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  26. Another thing the sign ordinance has done is it has kept outsiders from coming into Simi Valley and posting signs on telephone poles (do we still have those?) Southern California Edison poles, fences, in the right of ways throughout our community, with insurance rates, bridal events, gun shows, etc. I am still of the belief that our residents do not want to see signs, whether they be political or commercial plague our beautiful city, however, having said that, perhaps we should lift the sign ordinance from August through November on election years allowing a free-for all? It’s just a thought.

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  27. It looks like the signs for the Mt. Sinai property were just mistakingly put in the wrong place, and once informed about it they were moved to the correct, approved spot. No need to get your panties in a bunch over it, Mr. Mackel.

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  28. Councilwoman Williamson, I am not trying to be confrontational. What do you think about a sign ordinance that is specific to elections just addressing political signs? I agree with Heather about analyzing the code, and I very much agree with you, that residents don’t want to be plagued by all of these temporary signs. My first post was to promote discussion because I believe improvement is needed. Seems you and I both want to preserve and/or improve the visual appearance of the city. Lastly, I do appreciate you posting on this blog.

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  29. Full Circle Vinny:

    I know who you are.

    You can let me change this post to your real name, or you can let me delete it. That is exactly what I am about to do with the literally hundreds of comments I have uncovered as phony and bogus.

    The choice is yours. I will accept a non answer as your request for deletion. But if you intend to carry this conversation, I will happily put your real name in place and delete this warning.

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  30. Councilwoman Williamson, I am not trying to be confrontational. What do you think about a sign ordinance that is specific to elections just addressing political signs?
    Hi Keith..If you take a looki at my earlier post, I made mention of a temporary sign ordinance during the election cycle… That just may work?? 🙂

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  31. Mrs. Williamson,

    This sign law is crap! It is a law to protect incumbents and scare the little guy and you know it! I’m a resident of Simi and a voter… I would love to see more signs… if it means a fairer election. Basically, having a large property owner circumvent the constitution of this state when they have a lot of business before the “incumbents” is a farce and they should be admonished and shamed for violating our independent businessman’s and citizen’s right to free speech! Having to get the property owners permission is akin to silencing free speech and you, Barbara, know that it benefits you as a professional politician. So, get of your high horse and come back to reality… You’re a criminal and should be jailed!

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  32. The sign ordinance question is not as easy as it looks. There are U.S. Constitution questions involving regulation of the content of speech. The government, in this case the City Council, can regulate as to time, manner and place, so long as access is provided.

    It is an unfortunate truth that some voters are swayed by how often then see a sign, whether they like the design, etc. I happen to know all of the incumbents and most of the challengers, so the signs will no impact my thinking. If I didn’t and if signs were a consideration, seeing how many were on the front laws of my fellow citizens would persuade more than signs on the corners of shopping centers.

    I give Keith Mashburn cudos for having the courage of putting a real idea up for review. Putting an idea up for consideration includes putting it up for criticism. People running for office do not typically like to expose themselves to opportunities for negative reviews.

    If there was one thing I would change, right away, it would be to limit again by at least another 30 days the signs could be up. 90 days is too long.

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  33. Tim, Yes, I know what you’re saying , but allowing a time frame during an election cycle may work as I mentioned above.(that would he of courwe for all signs, not just political as we can not regulate content, which I know you know. 🙂

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  34. File this in the “Now I’ve heard everything” folder:

    “Having to get the property owners permission is akin to silencing free speech.”

    No, it’s about respecting property owners’ rights and deterring the defacement of properties with the unwanted placement of items on their property without their permission.

    No one is silenced. Running campaigns takes work. Use a phone or put on some good shoes and go knock on some doors and generate support of people who will let you put signs up. A sign on a property indicates the support of the owners of that property – whether it is a business or a resident. A sign sitting somewhere without the support of the property owner indicates that some campaign worker plopped it down and took off to go plop another and another. That just amounts to who has the most money to purchase the most signs.

    Yes it is not easy. That’s why strong candidates don’t wait until summer to announce their candidacies.

    Much of this debate is focused on just making it easier for candidates liked by commenters here. Some of us here appreciate the current sign ordinance because we know the previous one, the one in force for the Farce of Spring 2006, sucked.

    The current ordinance was adopted because the People were upset, the People spoke up, and the Council listened. Few complained about it in Fall 2006 when it first was in effect, or in 2008, or even this past spring when the same ordinance was in effect for the June election.

    Candidates have an opportunity right now to show how smart, clever and energetic they are: they can read the ordinance closely, develop a game plan, and hustle, if they so choose to get a decent showing in the sign element of their marketing plan. Or, they can choose to expend energy complaining about the ordinance. It’s their call.

    Mr. Green seems to understand, expending his energies elsewhere, such as in the newspaper ads. I’ve seen them, both in the newspaper and on the newspaper’s online version.

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  35. Ultimately the sign ordinance requiring permission is a moot issue. The property owner has the absolute right to remove any sign the property owner does not want. The ordiance requiring permission simply allows Code Enforcement Officers to act, which means removal, but not until there is a complaint by the property owner.

    The City Coucil could remove the permission element and once again, if the property owner doesn’t want it, down it comes with no right of compalint by anyone.

    The part of the sign ordinance I like is the requirement of putting the identity and contact information on the sign. This way, the “owner” of the sign can be easily contacted and told to have it removed.

    Moving away from signs, I would like to see more events such as the Burgers with Bob where you didn’t have to buy anything, even the burger, to hear the candidate. There are many of us…many…who do not have the resources to make the fundraisers. Voters want to hear candidates speak about what they want to do if they get elected. How about more events where the candidate speaks and takes questions without having to pay?

    A few more of those may mean more residents will put up sigs in yards, and wew might be able to do with fewer signs keeping us from seeing more than the curbs in commercial areas.

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  36. Yes, the property owner will always have the right to say yes or no, but what about a 2 or 3 month moratorium on right of way placement?

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