Sunday, May 06, 2012

Can You Name The Sign Thief?

This supporter of Susan Brooks apparently doesn't like seeing David McIntosh for Congress signs in his gated Carmel community. It's against the rules he says.


Downtown Indy said...

If within 10 ft of the road, they are in public right of way and therefore illegally placed.

Anyone who likes may pick up litter in that area.

Cat Ping is far and away the leader of this blight, having hundreds scattered along the road side. They blanketed the I-65 and Keystone interchange for a few days until someone cleaned up the area.

To date, I have not see a single one on private property. And I know zero about this person other than they plastered every curb, median, street corner and vacant lot with those signs.

If we are asked to hire these folks to uphold and respect our laws, they could start at home by demonstrating compliance with the simplest of them.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Uh, there's court cases that say homeowner's associations can't ban political signs because it's a violation of the 1st Amendment. Same thing with trying to prohibit candidates from going door to door. The right to do that is protected by the Constitution and homeowner's association and apartment complexes cannot prevent it.

Jason said...

That most likely wasnt even his neighborhood. License plate was Boone County and the video states that it took place at 126th and Towne. I'm pretty sure that is Hamilton County.

artfuggins said...

I don't know the sign thief but I think whenever a candidate violates the law and places signs in the public right of way that anyone can remove them. It is when they are removed from private property that it is an actual theft. Besides, I am tired of seeing signs in the public right of way from either party.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I didn't realize there was a video when I wrote my first post. I thought it had to do with signs in a subdivision. Apparently he was removing signs he felt were illegally posted in the right of way. I'm not sure what authority he thinks he has to do that. He was also clearly absconding with private property, which could be theft and conversion. Once his identity is found out, he should be turned into the Hamilton County Prosecutor.

The burbs said...

I just saw this guy at around 9:00pm in the same area doing this. Shouldn't he be hard at work trying to figure out how to pay for that overpriced piece of crap Rover that he is driving? Pretty much a known fact that 90 percent of people who drive those can't afford them in the first place!

Paul K. Ogden said...

I'm sorry, Art, but you'll have to point me to that law that says anyone can remove signs in a public right of way. I do not think that law exists exists. Regardless, the person removing the sign certainly can't just keep it. That is certainly theft.

By the way, here is a full list of candidates who haven't put signs in the rights of way:

That is blank, because everyone has done it this cycle and every election cycle. I can't think of a candidate whose signs I haven't seen in the rights of way.

Jeremy Morton said...

Watching the Brooks/McIntosh fight unfold shows why sending more lawyers to DC won't work. Send a Doctor and General. Send John McGoff.

Jeremy Morton said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lawyer said...

Paul, the same right that allows you to pick-up trash out of the right-of-way allows you to pick-up signs that have been illegally placed in the right-of-way. Anybody who lives in a downtown neighborhood fights this blight with signs placed at street corners, telephone poles, etc.

artfuggins said...

Paul, even in subdivisions and condos, a resident may place political signs on their property only. The law does not give them permission to place them on common property of the subdivision and/or condo. Let's not confuse the private property rights with littering on public or commonly owned property. I am not a lawyer. You are. Find me the law or court ruling that says political candidates may legally place signs on public right of ways.

CES said...

Have to weigh in here. I have been examining Marion County's sign ordinances in order to tweak ours to allow for easier removal of illegal placement of sign "litter". Technically, signs placed in the ROW without proper permit, are only allowed to be removed by authorities designated to do so by ordinance. This means code enforcement officers, I believe, the sheriff, and those working under the sheriff, such as community service workers.
I have spoken with city legal and legal experts around the country who have dealt with the problem of illegal signs, as well as elected officials in other cities who have passed more stringent sign laws to see how they have gotten around some of the problems in fining perpetrators and protecting citizens who remove signs from lawsuits by the sign owners.
It has happened that well intentioned citizens who have removed signs on city ROW's and other non-permitted areas, have been taken to court and have actually paid damages for destruction of private property. Problems include that claims are made by the sign owners that they personally did not place the signs where they were found, tracking the actual business owner and proving that he allowed the signs to be put where they were(sign placement is often contracted out), proving that the signs were placed illegally and that the person removing it didn't maliciously set it up, etc. have all been defenses successfully used.

Since code enforcement and other city officials have limited time to devote to illegal sign removal, the best solution is to have the municipality train and deputize community groups or individuals to have the authority to pull up illegal signs.

In terms of political signs, the State passed a law about two years ago to clarify that the law supersedes homeowner association rules. Political signs are allowed to be placed outside a person's residence regardless of homeowner rules.
Christine Scales
City County Councillor,
District 4

CircleCityScribe said...

It seems to me that if someone makes a deposit of an item that the law prohibits.....then it is any citizen's duty to clean up.

My neighborhood association frequently teams up with public service organizations and walks down a main street filling bags of trash. Removing waste that was unlawfully placed on the property of anyther is a civic duty.

Indiana Law spells it out: 35-45-3-2
Littering a Class B infraction; "refuse" defined; littering from a moving vehicle
Sec. 2. (a) A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally places or leaves refuse on property of another person, except in a container provided for refuse, commits littering, a Class B infraction.

Downtown Indy said...

Sec. 734-202 or the Indiana Code prohibits any sign in the public right of way.

I welcome anyone who wants to provide supporting data as to any enforcable prohibition of removal from the public right of way by a concerned citizen.

I have been to the 1200 Madison offices of the City's Dept of Code Enforcement to register complaints on several of the worst offenders - for 'we buy homes' and for '$200 mattress' signs.

I was able to track down contact info for the source of both and gave them to a dept head there.

They have no problem with anyone taking them up.

However, they don't seem to be too eager to seek enforcement, either. They don't even put up the 'orange stickers' anymore.

I never got their promised call-back for followup, either.