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Dozens of signs taken down during election season

Posted: April 2, 2014 5:55 p.m.
Updated: April 2, 2014 5:55 p.m.

Community Preservation Officer Ron Brown looks at City Council election signs removed for violation of the city's sign ordinance. Signal photo by Charlie Kaijo

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It’s a common sight during election season: local intersections dotted with signs offering advice to passersby on which candidate they should vote for.

An accompanying sight is Santa Clarita workers taking down those signs that violate the city's sign ordinance.

Santa Clarita workers have removed more than 50 campaign signs for Tuesday’s election during the current campaign season, city spokeswoman Gail Morgan said Tuesday.

“The city does have a sign ordinance and an enforcement policy,” Morgan said. “Basically what it says is: If there are signs in the public right-of-way, the city shall remove them for safety and visibility reasons.”

The public right-of-way includes areas that are owned by the city, such as a street, sidewalk, curb or intersection.

Morgan said city crews are proactive in terms of keeping an eye out for signs that have been placed in areas where they are not allowed.

“Over the last month it has gotten more intense in terms of removals,” Morgan said.

While city crews are proactive regarding signs in public areas, they are reactive when it comes to signs posted on private property, according to Morgan.

“If we get a call, a complaint about a sign on private property, we will make contact with the property owner to find out if they’ve allowed the sign there,” Morgan said.

One candidate, Gloria Mercado-Fortine, has seen 27 campaign signs taken down, according to city figures provided earlier this week.

Mercado-Fortine said Wednesday she has a number of volunteers who have helped place signs around the city and, though volunteers receive information on the city’s sign ordinance, that doesn’t necessarily mean all the signs they place are in legal locations.

“We try, like any candidate, I think, to be careful,” she said. “But you can’t always control where the placement of every sign is.”

Another candidate, Moazzem Chowdhury, has seen 10 of his signs removed, according to the city.

Chowdhury said he too has used volunteers to help him place signs around the city and that, by and large, his campaign has been instructing volunteers to put signs up in areas where other candidates already have theirs.

“They are kind of getting the idea that, if other signs are there, they can put a sign there,” Chowdhury said.

Other candidates who have seen signs removed include Dante Acosta, Alan Ferdman, Maria Gutzeit and Duane Harte, according to the city.

When the city removes signs, they are placed in a “sign jail” of sorts in storage.

Photos taken by a Signal photographer of that “sign jail” Tuesday show signs for Sandy Bull and Mayor Laurene Weste in “custody,” as well.

Candidates can bail out their signs or pick them up after the election is over, according to Morgan.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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