Signs Of Vigilantes

Alert “06880” reader Jeff Wieser — who doubles as president and CEO of Homes With Hope — writes:

The end of the political season is a terrible time to raise this issue – again. The entire town is sick of yard signs, and the controversy they continue to stir up.

But I would love to make “06880” readers aware of a different reality about yard signs.

The town has a very specific policy about non-political yard signs. Not-for-profits (those that abide by the regulations) ask the office of the selectmen (in advance) for permission to erect yard signs at specific town-owned locations.

They can be placed no more than 2 weeks before an event, and there can be no more than 15 of them. At Homes with Hope we abide by these rules for the 2 events per year for which we put up yard signs. We also make sure after those events to take the signs down quickly.

This Saturday (November 10) we have our annual fundraising benefit — “Stand Up for Homes with Hope,” at the Westport Country Playhouse. We put up yard signs 2 weeks ahead of time in our town-approved sites. The storm uprooted a few signs, but we replaced those in our last-ditch attempt this week to inform Westporters about this important annual fundraiser.

Have you seen me?

It appears, though, that a few neighbors object even to these town-approved attempts at getting the word out. A large number of signs have disappeared, seemingly victims of a few vigilantes.

While I apologize for our need for yard signs, the fact is they are very effective in letting people know about events. For those of us who respect the rules of the town, I think it fair that our neighbors should also respect the rules and let us keep up our signs!

10 responses to “Signs Of Vigilantes

  1. Yard signs are protected speech, and as noted above an effective (and regulated) way to get a message out. I’d like to see a good old Westport Police Report about the person(s) stealing these signs.

  2. I vote based on the amount of signs I see, not issues.

    What if the yard signs (political/non-profit, etc.) are placed on State of Connecticut property? Shall the Westport PD arrest the state workers taking them down? How about the Westport PD go after the politicians and other organizations placing the signs illegally? What say you
    Chief Call?

    Just for curiousity, what resource(s) are being used to quanitify that the signs are “effective?”

    • I believe Mr. Wieser stated above that they have been effective tool for his non-profit. He also described the town’s regulations regarding placement on town property. If you are the sneak thief, and you feel so strongly, why not do it publicly as an act of civil disobedience?

      • I vote based on the amount of signs I see, not issues.

        I have much better things to do with my time than play with yard signs. But if the politicos are so offended by the “theft” (one could also feel that by removing the signs, that criminal element of Westport are voicing their free speech too), why won’t they turn themselves in to the PD and be charged with illegally placing signs on State property? Or are they above the law? I’d like to think that they cannot have it both ways. Of course the easy solution is to NOT PUT THEM OUT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      • I vote based on the amount of signs I see, not issues.

        I was curious what metrics did Mr. Wieser use to measure effectiveness of the yard signs. It is actually a reasonable question (especially coming out of me). 🙂

        FWIW, I’ll give a local charity a lot more leeway than say the mailbox install guy who posted a sign on the newly installed telephone pole (thanks KCPL!) on Hillspoint Road. He too has violated the law (yes it is illegal to post signs of any sort on telephone poles [that are actually property of CL&P] ).

  3. Babette d'Yveine

    Do you think anyone ever changed their vote based on a yard sign?

    • That’s really not the point. It doesn’t matter what you or I believe, it matters what the candidate/organization believes works for them to get their message out (legally). Not everyone has a $100 million to self fund a campaign. A couple of bucks for a lawn sign represents a low cost of entry for paid political speech and/or non-profit advertising.

      • I vote based on the amount of signs I see, not issues.

        Please read my name. There is no way one can establish a candidates position on issues based upon his yard sign. If one does believe that, we are in bigger trouble than I thought.

  4. What a beautiful town to live in, too bad no one can see the landscape because of all the hideous signs that litter the sides of the road and compete for attention. The signs make Westport look like a suburban Times Square. Social media is the fastest and most effective way to get a message to the people. There is the web, facebook, twitter, pinterest, blogs and email. There are also local newspapers. There has to be a better way to communicate a message than to use lawn signs which just become a blur of visual monotony.
    It is time to rid our roadways of this blight! Can’t we please go back to admiring nature?

    • What is your thought on lawn signs if it’s for a good cause that will help the needy or a charity? Rather than the local school production or some obscure political race?

      Should a few feet of “nature” (grass) still be spared in that case? Just asking…