Monday, April 30, 2012

Town of Sandwich political sign policy

It must be either 1) difficult to obtain a copy of this policy, or 2) difficult for candidates to read a two-page document. (Really, guys and gals, it's only one page without the giant Town of Sandwich letterhead and logo.)

Get your copy here.

A few observations about this policy:

1) There are many places where it's difficult to get a sign ten feet off the pavement, although my house is not one of them. Sometimes, the state road crews will pluck signs along Routes 6A and 130 that are within their right-of-way, which is 25 feet from the center of the road. My suggestion is to do your best to comply with this rule.

2) Only three locations on town property are allowed for political sign placement (other than at the polling locations on election day). They are a) on the corner of Cotuit Road and Quaker Meeting House Road across the street from the liquor store (where the public safety building is being proposed), b) at the island where Route 6A and Old Main Street meet (across from the fish hatchery), and c) at the grassy area adjacent to the DPW entrance. In each of these three areas, only one sign per candidate is allowed. Did I mention that in each of these three areas, only one sign per candidate is allowed?

3) Every other town-owned parcel is not available for political signs nor is any state property. You know that island at the intersection of Quaker Meeting House Road and Route 6A? The one with the flashing red light?

4) There is a "gentlemen's agreement" that we wait until 30 days prior to an election to erect signs. The policy allows for 60 days, convenient for statewide and countywide races for which there is a primary and a general election. The reality is that 30 days is plenty of time for us to get used to the signs and stop "seeing" them. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that erecting a sign on private property would be upheld by the Supreme Court no matter when it's displayed. Something in the U.S. Constitution about that, as I recall.

Here's my takeaway on this: If a candidate for select board, school committee, planning committee, or any other elected position is unable or unwilling to follow this straight forward policy, then that person doesn't deserve my vote. No discipline on the easy stuff means no discipline on the complicated stuff.

28 comments:

  1. Thanks, Randy, every sign I have in place is either (A) a single sign on one of the three allowed town sites, or, (B) on private property where I sought and received the permission of the owner. In many of the latter cases the owner asked me.

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    1. Hi, Jim. I've noticed exactly that about your signs. Your opponents, however, do not seem to be too concerned about following the rules. You have my vote (for many more reasons than just following the sign policy) and I hope that other voters see the depth of your thought, your virtual fountain of ideas, and innovative thinker that you are.

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  2. Yes, Randy you are straight on about Jim. He is hard working, bright, and cares. He has all of us at this house voting for him. As for the signs, I can tolerate most anything in a campaign for 30 days. The town does not enforce business sign laws so why should it enforce, or the candidates adhere to the sign code.

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  3. Carl Johansen would also like to say that the State owned property across from the Fish Hatchery does not allow signs to be posted at all. Some candidates over the years have made the error in placing signs on state property only to have them removed.

    As far as Cotuit road, as Randy has indicated the place for signs is not where the package store is located. What has happened to the towns person whom is supposed to remove any signs that are not placed where they are supposed to go? When it states one sign, why do some still place multiple signs?


    The Town tranfer station also is very clear as to the area they are supposed to be.

    One only needs to look around at all on the places one candidate has placed signs ,especially in and around the schools and town owned property to better understand the rules do not apply to me attitude.

    The election is not until next week, so why is this allowed to be ignored by the department that is supposed to be enforcing the bylaw


    I find it interesting that Jim receives permission to place his signs on private property and the others simply place them there as well.

    This signage problem during elections has been an eye sore to the community for a long time and like Randy has indicated above, those whom find the time to place signs in places not allowed, speak volumes in that persons inability to follow the laws we all are supposed to follow.

    I like many, will be placing our support for Mr. Pierce as a person that truely cares about our town and its image. The man does not have any apples in the pie, as he is looking at the whole pie. He has gained a great deal of insite to how town governement works and has put in his time to address the short falls. Do we agree on every thing, no, but no one will ever agree with every thing another will do. That is part of a natural process in human relations


    It is more then signs, but if some one cannot follow a simple rule, voted on by the citizens of Sandwich, what do you think will occur when they are dealing with serious issues and money is involved?

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  4. Greg the originalMay 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Gee Randy, I don't know about Jim Pierce he keeps picking on the size of my couch! But, I have to agree with everything else you said about him. Our house is also voting for his individual thought process! He earned another round!

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    1. Greg, Please apologize to your couch on my behalf. My remarks were never aimed at any specific sofa. It was sort of a generic term. Jim

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  5. We can vote down the meals tax at the polls. No doubt it will pass town meeting.

    Jim is one of the most creative thinkers I've ever run into. I've often kidded that he has a hard time thinking in the box. When we tasked ourselves with coming up with a list of revenue generating/cost savings ideas a couple of years ago, Jim penned a list of around 25 possibilities. Even after scratching out the items that we determined were not legal for the town to do, there were still about 17 left on his list.

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    1. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm wrong about the meals tax vote. It is a vote of town meeting only. Nothing on the ballot. So, whether you're for it or against it, you need to go to town meeting to weigh in.

      I was confused because Plymouth voted against the local option meals tax at the polls on a Saturday back in February or March. It turns out that their town meeting passed the tax and a citizens group created a ballot initiative to get rid of it. It was voted out, by the way; no extra meals tax in Plymouth.

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  6. I really am against this tax - this town needs to generate income I agree, but to add more taxes to the general public is not the way. We need to encourage people to come to our town and utilize our service, s,to me this is one more reason people will go to another town to eat out,probably before or after they utilize another service in that town. The people who work in these establishments will also be effected. I know Mr. Pierce stated that people able to eat out will continue to do so, but other people who might only be able to on special occassions or infrequently may not now because of the added expense. I realize owning a business is difficult enough in these times, but maybe a commercial tax increase on the business would keep the public in the stores and in our town. If you make it harder for the people to spend money the businesses will see a decrease in their income - lay off staff etc, or people will find a job were this meal tax won't interfere with their tip money. When (and if) I go out to eat, it is usually with a budgeted amount of money for the whole meal, including tip, more to the tax less to the server, sorry. The board needs to find another way to find revenue. Look at the outrage of parents who might have to pay yet another "tax" at the schools, fees, taxes whatever you want to call them,they all cut into the family budget. Hopefully the schools will find a way to decrease their fees, the town needs to do the same.

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  7. Carl Johansen would say good morning and once again address the subject matter at the top of the page. Spoke with the sign enforcer in regards to all of the signs being displayed all over town especially in places not allowed to post signs for political reasons. Apparentely he has recieved other complaints as well.

    I was told that a letter would be sent out to each candidate.

    In the meanwhile several running for Selectman have disregarded the rules they were provided by the Town Clerks office in placing more signage on many town properties that are not included on the list of where they can post them. It is time that the town fathers put in place an enforcement policy that penilizes those abusers of this bylaw, approved by the citizens of Sandwich.

    One sign at each approved site should not mean 3, 4 as two candidates have placed.

    The same two, also have placed multiple signs on places they are not supposed to be placed around the town of Sandwich, especially on town property around the schools and the dividers, where flowers and shrubs have been planted to beautify our town/

    It may be called arrogance or simply, we can do what ever we want, because no one is watching the chicken coop. If they apply the same logic should one get elected to the board of Selectman, we all will be in trouble, in my opinion. To be clear, if Mr. Pierce, was doing the same thing I would be saying the same thing, as well

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  8. Mr. Carl, IN MY OPINION, you are just making the point about signs because you support Mr. Pierce. I support him also. I do think that one of the last things I would do is to vote or not vote a candidate based on his sign placements.

    Having moved years back from a snooty area of the country, I saw what by-laws can do. This one, if you were successful in bringing up public conscienseness, would be a can of worms. If we quibble about a few weeks, then what do we do about the MANY illegals signs all over town.

    The political signs are part of America. It is why I served and its speaks volumes the open and free society that we have in this wonderful nation. Each year, I look forward to the signs. I love to see them on Town Property and in front of the homes of our citizens. I love the different colors and the folks who hold them on corners and at the dump. Wake up Johansen, this is America. Those signs, for a limited time, do little if any harm to anyone.

    When a law is broken year after year, maybe its time to change it. It is time that we allow them on any public property. If business in this town can brake the law day after day, then why can't an American citizen running for office do the same? If you have the time to spend on this trivial matter rather than running for office to change it as you might, then maybe your way would get done.

    Rest assured that the readers blog are VERY few in relation to the number of voters that vote. We need you to work for the Town not to let every matter that you feel is wrong end up being an argument we don't need. At least in this instance, you did not slaughter anyone.

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  9. Carl Johansen would state to poster 953. Glad to see that are supporting MR. Pierce. Once again if the town of Sandwich did not feel that the sign bylaw was needed, why did it vote that it did???

    A majority of the taxpayers here in Sandwich, voted to impose places where signs could go and how many, when it comes to town owned property. Private homes, do not apply to any of those conditions. It is no difference then the law that states a stop sign means you must stop. Why have a law at all, if every one can make them up as they go along? The same priciple is involved, but to a lesser degree of importance.

    Just because some one gets away with breaking the laws in place , does not justify every one else can follow and do the same thing.

    It would appear from your comments that you do not support following the laws that law abiding folks put in place to prevent lawlessness? It begins with a simple process and then it esculates into a more complex issue .

    I would ask when you come to a stop sign in the road , do you stop or run the sign and slaughter some one as you used above?.

    The complexities of following the laws are very simple when you approach them all with the same convictions.

    If you feel that the present sign regulations imposed upon all candidates is wrong then you should attempt to change that. Rather then attempt to say it is ok to not follow the prescribed Bylaw which was voted on by a majority of Sandwich Taxpayers.

    By the way apparently you did not read the part where I stated that if Mr. Pierce was doing the same thing as the other two I would be all over him as well. At least Mr. Pierce can read the same information that was given to every candidate and is able to obey and follow a very simple directive that does not infringe on any ones rights to support the candidate of there choice.

    Now take the time to smile, you just may feel better in the morning>

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  10. Well said 9:53 AM. All the sign complaints are political. They always are. The first big change came a few years ago for partisan reasons. Now we have a new building inspector who handles things differently. Frankly I think he has a good attitude about it. A friend of mine ran and signs were routinely stollen. Someone suggested that the candidate look behind a town building and guess what, there they were. Small town politics, politicians and gadflies...you got to love them. All rules in this town change whenever it suits the powers that be. But that's government, designed to serve those who have the connections too much of the time. And believe me the boys will stick up for the boys on their team. The old guys will stick up for the old guys, the business people for their kind, the yuppies for the yuppies, the women who need suits for suits and so forth.

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    1. Rufus T. FireflyMay 5, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      Well if her signs were stollen, it's no wonder they routinely went missing. Stollen is delicious. You should make signs out of liver and onions.

      Who are "women who need suits"? If the Barenaked Ladies are playing in town I want to know about it. They're terrific.

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    2. mr. Simmo... I mean Firefly, you are so sophmoric, stick to the other blog. Mr Hunt has a blog where people can state their opinions and normally not be ridiculed. Not everyone is a great typist, especially if you are using a phone. Take a hint from Mr. Pierce and cut people some slack. Your type of responses are welcomed on the other blog, its what they're all about.Leave the people who want their opinions heard and appreciated for what they are, opinions, alone. Oh and by the way... bullet vote Sherry Marshall for SC.

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    3. RTR whoever you are, you have a right to speak your mind the way you want, even if you don't let others do the same. Anon101, so do you, even if you don't want others to do the same. I find the blogs most entertaining because of little cat fights like yours. Keep it up. Great lessons.

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    4. Cripes. Could you ladies possibly take yourselves more seriously? If I made a typo and it were turned into a joke, I hope to heck I'd be able to laugh, or at least groan.

      (You know Rufus T. Firefly is a Marx Brothers character, right? Anyway Simmons isn't using the moniker. He strikes me as more a Lou Costello type :-).)

      Anyway, if I may respectfully, gently, not-in-any-way-meant-to-be-insultingly ask anon 3:31 about the "women who need suits," that would be great, as I did not understand that part of her post. Thank you.

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  11. Folks, let's cut my opponents some slack on this one. Three years ago I messed up on the sign policy. They're new at this candidate thing. Signs don't vote, people do. Anything that reminds folks to get out and vote is a good thing. Sure, I "worked for" my sign placements. That's a sign (pun intended) of experience. Genuine concern for the community, knowing the numbers, experience and a focus on Long Term Planning; making the Local Comprehensive Plan happen, is the basis of my candidacy.

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    1. This is really about the new building inspector being an adult and not going crazy about the sign things. Do we really want to use our staff dollars to pay him to be the sign police? Also, if you are running around putting up signs and you see signs on public property, it is natural to think it is a free zone. The islands have business signs on them that make it look like they are not the town's if you didn't know the facts. Jim is a townie. If you look at his signs he's got lots of old time local support and lots of partisan political support. Last time he had no opponent. This time he had to actually run a campaign and he has done a good job with a definite leg up. He is right, it is nonsense to make such a big issue about the signs. It is all political.

      FYI sign placement or not. I'm voting for progress and longer experience in Town Government. I'm voting for some more youth on the BOS. I'm voting for Tim Cooney. We need to get real work done. Tim's work on all his town committee's and as the former President of the Sandwich Chamber proves he is interested in getting things done. He has balanced a number of important issues, worked on them and actually accomplished things, brick and mortar, better systems, progressive ideas. He is opinionated but willing to listen and he is fair minded. He has no baggage except trying to keep the town on its feet. He hasn't worked any deals for support but sought it through his record. He respects diversity but stands up for his beliefs in public straight up. He is a straight shooter who comes right out in the open with his concerns and ideas. It is a value we need more of in town government.

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  12. I see more signs added to the Forestdale School ! WHY I thought no signs by the schools till election day. I see the candidates to what they please. None of them get my vote

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  13. Anon 7:37, I understand your frustration but please vote! The apathy is killing this town.

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    1. anon 737 will be able to vote. It seems that 2 candidates have not put their signs at the schools. Mr. Pierce and Ms. Marshall. They get my votes.

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    2. Apathy is killing this Town. I think that the complexity of Town Government is keeping people away. Do the unwashed masses understand any of the little compartments in our budget and how they budget system works, oh, I think not. Could they identify the two new SC members if they saw them in the streets, or, for that matter, the opponent to the newly elected moderator.

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  14. Once again, one of the posters who started this going after people who put signs where they are not supposed to be, conveniently failed to address the fact school committee candidate Ms. Killion, who should know better, should not be placing signs near school property until Election Day. It makes me wonder what other rules she is blatantly ignoring. Apparently she is giving poor advice to candidate Johnston whose sign is there also.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  15. I completely agree that apathy is killing this town, to use that phrase. But I also think that apathy is a sign that this form of government is the wrong form of government for this town. Small town political thinking and actions taken because of it is a major factor is what is hurting Sandwich. We are a town still trying to figure out who we are after 10,000 additional people showed up beginning in the late 1970's with another near 10,000 showing up beginning in the last 1980's. We are a little city that pretends it is a small town. The best of that is a community that can pull together and a community that raises millions through fundraising to take care of stuff falling through the cracks. But will that save Sandwich? Talking about signs is a distraction. Increasingly at every level of government, the distractions are being used as excuses by leaders. It keeps them from solving real problems, major problems and helping citizens face the future.

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    1. It's interesting that my opponent made almost this identical argument at a chamber meeting the other day. If apathy is the problem, let's work on that. Replacing our form of town government with a mayor or strong town manager is a consolidation of power that ejects the purest form of democracy in the United States: town meeting and a select board. Don't abandon democracy. Rather, get involved.

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    2. Randy, you have got it right-on. It is not the form of government. I wonder though if we can ever do anything about apathy. It may exist only because people think they are content or maybe they think they can not effect what happens.

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