Monday, August 16, 2010
Political signs coming down in midtown Tucson
Midtown Tucson with its mix of funky old houses and mid-century in-fill is an economically and culturally diversely part of Tucson. But at its core, it's heavily Democratic.
Due to the fluke of city-wide City Council elections and a marginally performing Democratic Party incumbant, midtown's Ward 6 is now represented by Republican City Councilman Steve Kozachik.
This summer, as always in an election year, political signs are popping up all over town. According to my neighborhood's newsletter, some residents (not sure how many) are concerned about the blight caused by political signs in and around our neighborhood. As a result, our neighborhood president contacted the Ward 6 office about this, and Kozachik's office has agreed to remove all political signs not on private property.
This statement from our recent newsletter bothers me: "City personnel are removing ALL [political] signs from the intersections for the next three weeks."
I also understand that political signs can be unsightly. In my opinion Tucson has hundreds of unsightly signs and billboards. What is Kozachik's opinion on the sign code regulations?
I take issue with removing political signs right before the primary and general elections. I see this as an unnecessary intervention and an infringement of free speech. The Arizona primary will be held in 8 days. Half or more of those signs will be removed soon after that.
Legislative District 28 (which includes Ward 6) has 5 Democrats running for the Arizona Legislature. There are also many highly qualified Democrats who are vying for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction-- not to mention the hotly contested Congressional District 8 (Gabrielle Giffords' seat) and the US Senate race for John McCain's seat.
My point is: Republican Councilman Kozachik is more than happy to remove signs because, in reality, he will be removing primarily the signs of hard-working Democratic candidates, thus hurting their name recognition and wasting valuable campaign funds.
This is a problem. If the signs have been placed in accordance with city sign ordinances, they should not be removed. If you live in midtown, contact Kozachik's office at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him that you value free speech and you want him to leave the signs as they are.
I understand the concerns about neighborhood blight. If Kosachik wants to help midtown neighborhoods, get after neighborhoods with illegally tall grass and weeds, broken furniture in the curb lawns, and graffiti.
UPDATE: For an update to this story click here.