Saturday, April 3, 2010

A “sign” of things to come….

Annual Town Elections are Tuesday, June 8 and there is an important race for Select Board with two seats being contested by four candidates. The outcome of this SB election will likely be very important with regard to the future of Longmeadow given that 2 out of 5 voting members will be selected. There is also a contest for a School Committee seat. In addition, there is likely to be a ballot question regarding a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion override for the new high school.

See posting on the Longmeadow Community Bulletin Board for additional election race details.

With so much at stake our town could easily become the lawn sign capital of western Massachusetts.

Below is the town bylaw covering the placement of lawn signs in advance of an election.

6-314. Billboards, Signs and Other Advertising Devices
(e) A temporary sign relating to (i) a candidate for public office, or (ii) an issue which will be voted on at a town meeting or election, or (iii) some other issue which may be of general concern, interest or controversy or (iv) a scheduled function, event or activity sponsored by a non-profit organization, may be erected by the owner of property in any zone or by permission of such owner, but subject to the limitations set forth in subsection (c).

(ii) Temporary signs permitted by subsection (e) (i), as limited by section (e) (i), or signs permitted by section (e) (ii) may be erected no sooner than sixty (60) days prior to the election or meeting at which the candidates or issue will be voted on and must be removed no later than two (2) days after such election or meeting.

This means that Friday, April 9 is first day that lawn signs can be placed without violation of our town bylaw.

There have been past town elections that seemed to suggest that the more signs the better since the election would be determined by who had the most signs on the major streets in town. Let’s hope that town voters are smarter than that and will make informed decisions based upon knowledge of the candidates and/or issues rather than relying upon sign counts.

I ask that each election committee for SB and SC candidates and the expected pro/con political action committees related to the new high school project consider limiting the number of signs placed on lawns to 100 or less so our town does not become the lawn sign capital of Western Massachusetts.

Longmeadow is such a beautiful town in the springtime.


Jerold Duquette said...

I will never understand why folks get upset about political lawn signs. The fact is POLITICS is IMPORTANT and lawn signs create opportunities to talk about politics. The widespread, but very wrongheaded notion that politics isn't "family friendly" or that it's just a bunch of pols begging for votes is part of the reason Americans know less about their government and political system than any other industrialized country.

The more signs the better! it's not just a right, it should be part of our responsibility as citizens to encourage and celebrate political participation.

Jim Moran, LongmeadowBiz said...


I guess that I am not surprised that you commented on my post... given your past notoriety with campaign signs in Longmeadow :-)

My point was to establish a rational limit for lawn signs in this upcoming election season that is likely to get very heated.

It is clearly more important for each individual voter to learn about the candidates and the issues rather than vote based upon his neighbor's choice or some informal lawn sign count.

BTW: Politics is family friendly!

Jerold Duquette said...

Sadly, though I know you are being playful, some folks really would call me "notorious" for my spririted defense of the Constitution and the role of politics on the town green. If these folks understood the purpose and placement of that very spot by our town's founders, maybe they would have a greater appreciation for the positive role of politics in community life.

By the same token, I do have to allow for those among my critics whose objection is to my style, not my message. To them I can only apologize.

Anonymous said...

signs can't vote!

True, but if the law states that signs cannot be displayed more than 60 days before an election, then so be it. We live in America and a great town, one should be allowed to express their personal freedom!!!